calm the fuck down i promise you won’t be single forever.

Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday. I’m well aware that this is an unpopular opinion. One of the reasons it’s my favorite is because of a tradition that started back in high school.

No, I didn’t have a secret admirer profess their love for me on Valentine’s Day or anything else super sweet to make me love this day forever. It is actual the complete opposite. My bestie, Shan, and I were hella bitter about dudes and we started making mix CDs each year for Valentine’s Day entitled It Sucks to Be Single. You can read more about the origin story here.

Last year we brought this tradition back with a slightly different twist. Instead of focusing on how terrible it is being single we wanted to inspire some hope and to reassure our younger selves that it’s really not that bad.

We are ready to unveil this year’s masterpiece. Our anti anti-Valentine’s Day playlist. Celebrating unrequited love, breakups, and everything in between.

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If you’d like to check out our previous creations you can find them here:

2005: It Sucks to Be Single

2006: It Still Sucks to Be Single

2007: It Totally Still Sucks to Be Single

2008: It Really Totally Still Sucks to Be Single

2009: It Honestly Really Totally Still Sucks to Be Single

2016: Calm the Fuck Down You Won’t Be Single Forever

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Top 10 Albums of my Teens

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I’m sure you’ve seen this Top 10 Albums from your teen years list going around the internet. When it comes to music and nostalgia there is zero percent chance that I wont participate.

Coming up with my list was a struggle because most of my teen years I didn’t listen to entire albums! This was the dawn of the Napster + mix CD era, so I primarily listened to singles. I think anyone who knew me in my teens would agree that this is a solid representation of who I was as an emo around the edges teeny bopper. #stilltrue

[Listen along here!]

Why did these albums make my list? I’m so glad you asked! Here’s a breakdown with more deets inside the mind of teenage Jess as the mind of 30 year old Jess remembers it.

1. The Click Five – Greetings from Imrie House
Favorite song: Friday Night
(Fun Fact: This was my first ringtone.)

the click five

Y’all!  I can’t even get all my feels out about The Click Five. My senior year of high school into freshman year of college I was straight OBSESSED with them. The summer between senior and freshman year of college I think my friends and I saw them live 4 times in 2 months or something ridiculous. I need to do a full post on The Click Five sometime soon because, damn, it was bonkers and I have such a happy place in my heart for this time in my life. Do I still follow all of them on social media? Yes. If you have no clue who these dudes are you might remember their biggest hit, “Just the Girl“.

2. Ashlee Simpson – Autobiography
Favorite song: Surrender

ashlee_concert

This photo is right before we all piled into my Chevy Lumina, Lela, and drove downtown for the Ashlee Simpson concert. (BTW this was the first time I discovered The Click Five, they were one of her openers!) I unapologetically still love this album. I loved the Ashlee Simpson show, she seemed so fun and spunky and just edgy enough for my rule following high school self. Honestly, the number of times I’ve copied Ashlee Simpson’s hair styles over the years should be embarrassing, but I just don’t give a fuck. My friends and I listened to this CD on repeat on the way to the Jersey Shore one summer. 17 year old bitter and single high school me really identified with these lyrics from Autobiography “right now I’m solo, but that will be changing eventually.” 😂

3. *NSYNC – No Strings Attached
Favorite song: Space Cowboy / It Makes Me Ill

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Obviously *NSYNC had to make the list. You can see more about my *NSYNC obsession in this previous post I wrote. No Strings Attached is the album that made me decidedly TEAM *NSYNC in the war between *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys. This was Justin Timberlake’s best hair phase IMHO. This album showed us that *NSYNC wasn’t going to continue to be taken advantage of by Lou Pearlman and taught middle schoolers everywhere about cyber sex. What more could you want?!

4. Relient K – mmhmm
Favorite Song: My Girl’s Ex-Boyfriend
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This is right before a Relient K show at Club Laga before it closed. We were in the very front row and Dave smiled at Ashley (left in photo) with a toothpick in his mouth. It was a very exciting moment for high schoolers. I’ve seen Relient K live more than any other band and they’re still a go-to when I’m having a bad day. Confession: I actually hated Relient K originally, but they won me over. I would still totally date Matt Theissen, who I like to think of as the blonde Adam Brody.

5. The Killers – Hot Fuss
Favorite Song: All These Things That I’ve Done
the killers_albums
This album came out my senior year of high school and my bestie Shan and I used to listen to it when she was tutoring me in AP Calc. I owe all those C’s I got to her 💜. A friend of mine recently made a post on Facebook that said, “Mr. Brightside by The Killers is the best rock n roll song of this millennium. Fight me.” and I can’t say that I disagree too much. This album is still so so so good. Walk the Moon covered “All These Things That I’ve Done” on their most recent tour and I lost my fucking mind. (Seriously do yourself a favor and watch it here.) I really think they should have considered using my expert level album art…

6. Jesse McCartney – Beautiful Soul
Favorite Song: Get Your Shine On
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Senior year of high school my bestie, Ida, and I were OBSESSED with Jesse McCartney.  My dad took us to NYC when Jesse McCartney was on TRL and we stood outside with this poster we made out of 4 poster boards taped together. It was February and cold AF, but we laminated our poster and everyone was jealous of us because their posters were ripping.We were in the same graphic design class together and every project was based on JMAC. The shirts we’re wearing we made in that class. They say “I’d Come See Your Big Modern Loft Any Day” and they are based on this shirt that JMAC wore. I also dabbled in some really sweet photoshop in our graphic design class like this work of art: me and jesse black and white
7. Justin Timberlake – Justified
Favorite Song: Like I Love You
 bandcamp
Obviously Justin Timberlake was my favorite member of *NSYNC so his solo album was an instant favorite. I went to the Justified Stripped tour featuring Justin and Christina Aguilera during her DRRRRTY XTINA phase and it was amazing! I remember driving to the movies to see The Ring and I made sure to have this CD in the car. I only had my permit so my dad was present along with my friends and crush, that boyband haired soccer player pictured #noshame. For the record my crush got really scared during The Ring and held my best friends hand instead of mine. It’s fine.

8. Simple Plan – No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls
Favorite Song: I’d Do Anything

band_Trip

This album was so perfect for my teenage angst. There’s no one who knows the struggle of high schoolers like a bunch of Canadian early 20-somethings. We listened to so much of this album on band trips or in the car on the way to practice. Many songs from this album were AOL away messages and made it on mixed CDs when I was feeling sad about boys, which was always.  Simple Plan was also featured in the Mary Kate and Ashley masterpiece, New York Minute, which I was very into and currently own on DVD.

9. Jet – Get Born
Favorite Song: Rollover DJ / Get Me Outta Here
shan

This was another album I used to listen to with Shan. “Get Me Outta Here” was basically our anthem for senior year. We were sooooo over high school and all the bullshit. Because, like, finding a date to prom is fucking exhausting.

10. Skye Sweetnam – Noise from the Basement
Favorite Song: Tangled Up In Me / Hypocrite

big modern loftsHere’s some more album art I created. This was a Skye Sweetnam + Jesse McCartney mashup. I honestly can’t tell if I made this in photoshop or MS paint which feels equally problematic and amazing. Skye Sweetnam was so much girl power and I love it. She was rebellious, but approachable. I really identified with her lyrics like, “Nerd, geek, super freak I’m a movie of the week.” 😂 This album was definitely about embracing who you are even if/especially if you’re different. Early 2000s “edgy” pop is the best.

Thank you internet trend for this nostalgia spiral that led me to this happy music-filled place. I’m a pretty big fan of Teen Jess and her musical tastes.

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Electric Pursuit: A Career Manifesto

If you haven’t heard through other channels on the interwebz, I lost my job.  As I start out on my job hunting journey I wanted to make sure I have a clear vision for what I’m looking for.

I decided to create a career manifesto inspired by a recent episode one of my favorite podcasts, Happier. I approached writing my manifesto as a guiding force as I apply for new opportunities. I also wanted to make sure that it was something I could use in the future as I make career decisions down the line.

Here it is, making its public debut, Electric Pursuit: A Career Manifesto.

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Confused about what these 7 things mean to me? I’ll give you the breakdown.

The phrase electric pursuit was born during my quarter life crisis days with my bestie, Jithu. It started as a rallying cry for finding a job in DC, but morphed into something more. For me electric pursuit represents searching for something that excites you and lights you up as a human.

1. Love over fear. This one is simple and something that I try to keep in the front of my mind with everything I do. I want to make sure that I am making choices based on love instead of out of fear.

2. Your career is not who you are. This is something that I constantly need reminded of. I don’t find all of my self worth from what job I have. Sometimes it’s ok if your job allows you to do the other things that you love. It’s also ok to want a career that you love and find meaningful.

3. Everything is temporary and everything is forever. This one is a little more abstract, but stay with me. 😉 What I mean by everything is temporary is that both the good and bad are not going to last forever. You can get through the bad days, but also make sure you appreciate the good days too. “But Jess! Next you say that everything is forever!? WTF?” I see this as a reminder that whatever position you are currently in is your forever. Your every day is going to look the same for the foreseeable future unless you make changes. Finding the balance between temporary and forever just feels right to me. (I’m a libra, I can’t help it.)

4.  Opportunities are out there, but you might have to be the one to create them. My dream job may not exist out there in a perfectly packaged position waiting for me to apply. I want to be open to the opportunities that exist and be willing to find a way even if they don’t.

5. Knowing what you don’t want is just as important in knowing what you do. I tend to be jealous of people who have always known they wanted to be [fill in the blank]. I was never that person and that is ok. There are lots of ways to figure out what you want. I have learned so much from my past experiences and that is a great thing to keep in mind that I now know what environments I do well in as well as the ones that I don’t.

6. Confidence, Cohen! Yes. This is an OC reference.

confidence_cohenI read The Confidence Gap from The Atlantic years ago and it really stuck with me. “Do men doubt themselves sometimes? Of course. But they don’t let their doubts stop them as often as women do.” This is my reminder to believe in myself and my skills because I’m pretty awesome.

7. Aspire and adapt. This one is to make sure that I’m always thinking about future goals and big pictures stuff while remaining flexible with the way that I’ll reach those goals. It’s easy for me to get trapped in a routine or become focused on one way to accomplish something.

I’m hoping this will help me as I continue to search for what’s next! I’m planning to revisit my manifesto every three months or so to see if I’m still living up to these ideas.

I’ll keep you updated on how it works out for me! Up next may be a dating manifesto…

Have you ever written a manifesto?

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30 sounds like this.

I’ve been 30 for a little over a month now. I haven’t had any revolutionary break throughs yet, but I have been slowly piecing together a playlist based on being 30.

I was listening to some of these songs around the time I turned 30. Some are songs that I always come back to and love. Honestly this might be the most random collection of songs I have ever put together. Something about it just feels right. For me this playlist encompasses who I am in this current moment.

30_sounds_like_this

Do you have songs that remind you of a certain age?! If you had to pick one song to represent your current age what would it be?! I’d love to hear about them!

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100 Days of Vlogs

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Hey you party people — I started a vlog! After months, maybe years, of persistent pestering  encouragement from my bestie, Hannah, I’ve decided that now is the time.

My main response every time Hannah suggested I start a vlog was, “What would I even vlog about?!” Well I still don’t really have the answer to that.

One day a month-ish ago on my commute home from work I was listening to the Elise Gets Crafty podcast. Elise and her guest, Allie Lehman, had both completed something called “The 100 Day Project” and I was very intrigued.

Basically, you create something for 100 consecutive days. Elise chose 100 Days of Pep talks and Allie opted for 100 Days of Paintings. Here’s the official description of The 100 Day Project:

What Is the 100-Day Project? It’s a celebration of process that encourages everyone to participate in 100 days of making. The great surrender is the process; showing up day after day is the goal. For the 100-Day Project, it’s not about fetishizing finished products—it’s about the process.

At that time I decided to embark on The 100 Day Project and start my vlogging journey. I selected my 30th birthday as the start date.

Here we go:

If you want to follow along on my vlogging journey subscribe to my YouTube channel or just check back intermittently when you are bored and feel like Netflix is too big of a time commitment.

What should I vlog about?! Give me any and all suggestions that you’d like to see across the next 98 days!

 

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A Breakup Mix For T. Swift

By now I’m sure you’ve heard that the couple formerly known as ‘Hiddleswift’ has ended their relationship.

If you’re oblivious to this news then you should probably stop reading. Not sure what choices you made to end up here.

I am not here to judge my girl Tay’s love life. Because, if I’m being honest, in the current dating climate a 3 month long relationship feels like a pretty solid accomplishment to me.

I’m here to provide Taylor with this breakup mix.

whatever you do, don't think of what used to be

The tone of this mix is meant to encourage feeling all the feels of a relationship ending while maintaining an optimistic outlook for the future.

As a friend of T. Swift’s, based on her definition provided in this video, I’d like to let her know a few more things.

Taylor, if you need someone to spend your time with I have a pretty busy schedule, but I would be happy to make time for you. Female friendships are so important! We could paint portraits of our cats, drink wine, and play Mash to determine who we’ll actually end up with. [Fingers crossed I get Matthew Gray Gubler, have a mini pig as a pet, and live in a modern loft after honeymooning in Tokyo.]

I’ve been giving a lot of thought about who you should date next — when you’re ready, of course! I really think that SNL’s Colin Jost is a fabulous choice. What’s your stance on being referred to as ‘bae’? colinjost snl weekend update
Just think of how cute it will be when you host SNL and you can make a cameo on Weekend Update with your adorable new BF next season. I see a Leslie Jones flirting battle in your future and it is awesome.

Keep your head up, girl! Way to be brave and put yourself out there. There are so many people who don’t embrace their feelings and just live cautiously in fear. Remember, haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.

curtsy

Do you have any go-to breakup songs? I’ll save them for the next time someone I meet on Bumble doesn’t want to go out on a second date. 💁🏼

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overcome the force of attraction.

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These are the jams I’ve been listening to on repeat for the last few months. Recommended if you like being sweaty outside on 100 degree days and drinking cocktails on patios and rooftops. This mix is perfect for accompanying you on summer road trips and poolside parties (flamingo floaty not included).

Faves: Both songs by Will Joseph Cook. There was a week where I exclusively listened to him on repeat. This video for “Take Me Dancing” is guaranteed to brighten your day!

What has your summer sounded like?

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Seasonal Moxie: Summer Twenty-sixteen

Some people make New Year’s resolutions. I am not one of those people. I create goals based on the season because it works better for my life, dreams, and sleep schedule. I also gave these goals a cooler name — seasonal moxie — because I can. 

Seasonal Moxie Summer 2016

We’re already month into summer, but (YOLO) here are the things I want to focus on for the remaining sweaty summer months I have left. As you can see from my Spring recap I did an ok job at completing last season’s goals. In an effort to focus more on my follow through I’m approaching my goals with these 5 steps. Fingers crossed for better results come fall! Let’s dive right in…

  • Be Active AF. I’ve been doing a little better about going to group fitness classes through ClassPass, but I really want there to be some form of activity every day. I’m not saying I want to get a one hour work out in every day, but something more than the walk from my car to the office and back would be nice. Basically, I’m trying to avoid getting to this level:
    regina-george
  • Make time weekly for creative pursuits. I’m the type of person who has too many ideas and doesn’t know what to do with them. I’ve narrowed a few ideas and I am ready to run with them. I’m excited to see where they go and how much progress I can make. I want to get in the habit of working on these projects weekly, but I don’t want to put too much pressure on finalizing anything within a certain period of time. At this phase I am leaving myself some flexibility to discover and adapt as I go.
  • Organize my room. I’ve lived in this house for almost a year now and some of my stuff is still just shoved in boxes under my bed and in my closet. I need to go through all my shit and get rid of what I don’t need. I have a pile of clothes that are waiting to be altered. These things need to find permanent homes or be donated.
  • Be more intentional with how I spend my $$$. I want to get a better grasp on how I’m spending my dollars so I can use them more wisely and on things I actually want. Less impulse shopping and more thoughtful purchases.
  • Dream routine!!!  Dudes, this is serious. I want to be this human who has a time and a place where I accomplish all this badass stuff. It’s going to be easier to accomplish all these other goals if I have a routine in place. I’ve been saying this for, like, ever ever, but I am really feeling it right now. Summer time is the perfect pressure free time to test out some new options for my schedule. I’m going to test out some different routines and adjust accordingly when necessary.

Summer is also time for FUNZIES. Here is some more lighthearted shit I would like to accomplish:

  • Ride a swan boat. I have been trying to to this FOR-EV-ER.
    welcome_to_me
  • Brunch all the GD time.
  • Perfect my own iced coffee recipe
  • Swim in any water that exists, especially Barton Springs
  • Make my own signature sangria
  • Watch a movie outside

You guys, I’m feeling super pumped about this right now. Please feel free to ask me how any/all of these bad boys are doing over the next couple of months. The first day of fall is September 22nd and I’m going to do my best to attack these in full force. Starting with brunch this weekend because, duh.

Do you have any exciting summertime plans lined up?

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Seasonal Moxie: Spring Twenty-Sixteen — The Recap

I’m here to report on my successes and not quite successes of my Spring Moxie. If you need a refresher on what I was attempting to accomplish you can find the original details here.

  • Create a morning routine. LOL. Well I had a routine, it just wasn’t the one I was hoping for. My routine consists of resetting my alarm several times and barely having time to feed my cat and put on a coordinated outfit. I’m going to find a way to do this. I just gave up and stopped trying and loved my bed and morning kitty snuggles more than the idea of eating breakfast and doing morning yoga and having plenty of time to get ready in the morning. #YOLO
  • Take after dinner walks. So, I probably did this a handful of times which was great, but it didn’t quite become a habit. My reason for this was to work on my fitness. I ended up joining a volleyball team (we won the championship game!!!) and reactivating my Classpass membership, so I’ve been doing a little more physical activity which feels like a win.
  • No TV or Internet after 10 PM. There were some solid stretches here. I read Big Magic, Why Not Me?, and Chasers of Light. I definitely want to try to get back into this groove. I had to finish the new season of Orange is the New Black first, obviously.
  • Get a new tattoo! I actually got an old tattoo covered up with my new one and I couldn’t love it more! If you’re in the ATX area and looking for a tattoo artist I highly recommend Megan at Bijou.
    Boombox Tattoo
  • Try one new restaurant a month. The new restaurants I checked out were Annie’s, Counter Cafe, and Cover 3.
  • Make my room more awesome. I have officially put some art on my walls, but definitely need to add more. Gallery WallThe painting is a Synesthesia interpretation of the song “Who Knows Who Cares” by Local Natives and was done by Jennifer Morley of audioacrylics. The letter board is by Letterfolk and is currently featuring lyrics from Angel Olsen. The Joy and Sadness painting is by a pal I went to high school with (check out more of her stuff here). A friend’s BF drew me Taylor Swift with no pants on, this was obviously pre-bleach blonde bob Taylor. I also 💜  having old photos on my walls. Yes, that is a giant light up gummy bear.

I know we’re already a few weeks into summer, but I’m still working on narrowing down what to focus my energy on. I’ll be back soon with more deets. Do you have any big summer plans?

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My One Tree Hill Re-Watch: Season 1

I finally caved and decided to re-watch One Tree Hill. I have been putting this off for so long because there are 9 (!!!) seasons. I also tend to get a little addicted to binge watching.

This tweet is still 100% true. One Tree Hill is early 2000s perfection. The high school memories just flooded back with every moment of the show. And damn, so much happens in season one! Like, all the things I remember about One Tree Hill happen in season one.

Not going to lie, I got a little teary watching the opening credits for the first time.

The technology from 2003 is so fucking hilarious.

Selfies on a polaroid, because Peyton was the best prime-time punk rock princess ever.

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Doing a quick little Internet Search, y’all.

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Nathan snapping a 0.3-megapixel photo of Haley and Sheryl Crow, because even back then they knew that pics or it didn’t happen was the rule.
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I don’t know what is more retro about this photo, the classic Nokia phone, that Brooke is actually calling, or that it is titled “Brooke’s Cell” because they all still used their home phones too.

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These “Street Style” headphones that he was probably using with a discman.  Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 7.08.25 PM

The early 2000s fashion is also so perfectly captured.

This random extra on the basketball team who is only in this episode. His hair + necklace combo and, maybe eyeliner (?!) is so much emo perfection.

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The entire cheerleading squad wearing different track suits.

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The quotable moments from the show are killer. This gem is my favorite:

“I guess I’m just a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside a bitch.” — Peyton Sawyer

Oh and the soundtrack is beyond amazing. I’ve compiled my favorites from season one in case you’d like to stroll down a very emo memory lane. So many of the songs from this TV show were the ones on the mix cds my bestie, Ida, and I made.

I am so glad I’m re-watching One Tree Hill in all its glory. Season 1 gets a 10/10 in my book. Did you watch One Tree Hill back in the day? Are you a Brooke, Haley, or Peyton? I’m obviously a Peyton 😉

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