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Lucky Bamboo

I don't have much to say about the Luck 'O the Irish, but let me tell you about this Lucky Bamboo plant that is gracing my desk these days. (It's lucky and it's green, so this ALMOST counts as a St. Patrick's Day post)     COME ON! It's so freaking cool I can hardly stand it.     It was love at first sight at Wegmans and I ended up buying it a few weeks later when I saw that she was one of only two of her sisters left. I just couldn't resist the cool juxtaposition between the curving lines of the stalks and the straight lovely leafy canopy that shoots up from them.     No clue how the Bamboo Wizards do this sort of thing, but I'm digging it. I'm also really on board with the fact that I apparently can't kill it because it doesn't need a lot of sun (which my home office doesn't have) and it also doesn't need a lot of water (like... once every two weeks. Maybe. Even I can handle that!) So with the snow

“It’s the Most [Difficult] Time… of the Year…”

Christmas became a hard season for me five years ago. Maybe even earlier, I can't quite put my finger on it. And since it's a painful situation to begin with, putting my finger on it only seems to make it worse anyways. So I'm backing off with the finger pointing. I have neither the energy or the courage to truly bare my soul to you and explain my grief, so I will summarize: divorce is nasty business. The death of my marriage has introduced me to concepts of grief that I thought were only experienced by those who have lost a loved one to actual death. But something did die. My marriage.     And Christmas is a grief-anniversary. Because the traditions surrounding Christmas are usually about family togetherness and our family is not... together. And some of the Christmas seasons have been harder than others, but each time I try to trick myself into thinking I'm "there." I'm "back..." I'm ready to do all the cool-mom things I used to do. I'm ready to

Reality with Jess | Sometimes $h!t Happens

Sometimes you have to just force yourself to sit and snuggle under your quilt and drink your coffee and read your book, because you can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself, and that's how you stay sane sometimes. Sometimes you are only home from Italy for two days before you get a new job at a place you love that you found out had an opening while you were still in the airport. Sometimes you have to leave a training shift at said new job and rush to the ER to meet your parents and your broken-wristed-baby. Sometimes little girls that are so bold and confident and amazing on the monkey bars fall and break their wrist. Sometimes you spend sleepless nights in the hospital and at home, giving round the clock meds and hugs and "I'm so sorry baby" words of comfort. Sometimes you haven't even had a chance to finish sorting through your trip pictures, let alone start editing them. Or you still have bits of luggage to unpack. Or outstanding client work to

Creativity… Better Done than Done Perfect

I had a student say she had a former photography teacher tell the class that "Every photo should be a work of art." and she asked me if I think that's true. And I said that's complete garbage.  I mean, what a creativity-crushing statement to give a new photographer! I sincerely hope this teacher was joking, or just trying to push for everyone's best, but if they were serious, shame on them. "Better done than done perfect" has always been a favorite life motto for me. It suits me because I gulp life down in pretty big chunks so I don't really have time to devote absolute perfection in any one area. So I really enjoyed reading Elizabeth Gilbert's new book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. {affiliate link} She is a huge cheerleader for creative souls to just get their dang work out there and then get back to creating more! If you feel like you have even one creative bone in your body (which really, all of us do!) then I highly recommend this book. As a teacher, and

3 Places I Find Girl-Power Inspiration

In this all-girl household, I am ALL about empowering women. All women… Myself… And these mini-women!     One thing I love about being a girl-Mommy is that I am not allowed to be lazy on personal growth in the girl-power department.  I mean, sure, I'm technically allowed to do whatever the heckity-heck I want. But I don't roll that way. So even on days when I might want to be self-deprecating towards MYSELF, I find those hateful vibes get choked out a little faster because I am very rarely without these two monkeys watching my every move. I am glad that I don't have the luxury to give up. I'm glad that I feel the pressure... that there are two very adorable reasons not to give in to those awful messages. I'm glad that they will think of their Momma as strong as hell, and their biggest cheerleader. They'll probably even roll their eyes about it, because I'll probably overdo it... it's just my way ;-) Anyways when I’m feeling low on the

Yoga Journey | Slow Down and Be Okay

In a lot of ways, I feel like I've taken some serious steps back in my yoga journey. But in the interest of full disclosure, I've taken even more staggering steps back in my personal life. The transition to single parenthood took a lot out of me. Kind of knocked me on my butt for about 18 months to be honest. The end of a marriage is a sad sad thing. I'm no longer depressed and I'm starting to get my sparkle back, but there are still a lot of really hard days.     So it's no wonder my body has suffered as well. I am less bendy than I was three years ago. Less limber. Less strong. WAY less strong. I am tight in ways I used to be flexible. I am tense where I need to breathe. My mind is racing when it needs to meditate. Lessons on the mat, as I have always found in my 5 years practicing yoga, are also essential lessons for my life.     Lately I have had to embrace almost a complete slowing down in my yoga practice. I am

Walking Towards the End of School

I'm really proud of my ladies for how hard they've worked this school year. But I'm happy for them that it's almost time for PLAY! School is almost over y'all! It's crazy.     What's even crazier is that we finally just started walking to school again. It feels like it's been six months.     I guess it has actually been that long. We had the kind of NY winter that lasts until April this year, something I haven't experienced in almost a decade since living abroad. (And yes, I sort of count Mississippi as "abroad", especially where the weather is concerned.) It's not just that it was cold and rainy and sometimes snowing on and off in March and April, it's also that I was just out of habit. I'm still a firm believer in the German phrase "no bad weather only bad clothing." But it does take a little too much effort (for me) to brave certain types of NY winter weather (with kids.) Even on a nice day, we have to get out the door at

30 Ways to Think Outside the SAD Box this Winter | Part Three

This is obviously not a comprehensive list, but I feel like we're all a little more armed and dangerous to make the last few months of this winter less of a bummer.  Which is good, because all the ice-slush-snow-freezing-rain we've gotten this weekend in Upstate NY is KILLING ME. Without further ado, here are the last ten tips to kick seasonal depression's booty...     21. Brew a hot cup of your favorite tea. Just putting your tea kettle on the stove can improve your mood. The cozy feeling of a warm beverage in your hands is one of the many ways to warm yourself up. Inside and out! Plus you get a bonus boost from feeling virtuous for treating yourself to the antioxidants and other nutritious goodness you get from most teas. I'm looking at you green ;-) 22. Spend $10 on something you don't really need. New makeup, nail polish, hair accessory, scarf, jewelry, etc. Anything that makes you smile. Even if you already own 30 scarves. or more. Not that I

30 Ways to Get You Through the Rest of this Winter | Part 2

  My best friend always laughs at the similarities between her husband and yours truly. Most people get a "blah" sort of feeling when the sun isn't around... but she says she watches some people (raises hand) just seem to droop on dreary days. She calls us "solar-powered people" and I just love that description. SO for those of us who are more solar-powered than others, here are the next ten tips in this quick series on battling the Winter Blues.     11. Plan a trip. Maybe you don't have the time or budget for a big sunny cruise down south, but taking some time on a dreary day to plan a vacation (big or small) gives you a huge mood boost. Some people say that PLANNING a vacay can actually bring just as much if not MORE satisfaction and good vibes than the trip itself. I don't know about that, but hey, I'll buy into just about anything at this point ;-) It's a super good idea to break up your routine... especially at the end of Winter when you're

30 Ways to Get You Through the Rest of this Winter | Part 1

Today I'm going to give you the first ten (of 30) tips and tricks I've learned to battle seasonal depression. You certainly don't have to have actual Seasonal Affective Disorder to experience the Winter Blues. February is that odd month for me... and I know many agree. It's short, it's full of exciting/busy activities, but it also just DRAGS on and on and on because we can see the light of Spring at the end of the tunnel but we just aren't. quite. there. yet. So if you're feeling the winter blues a bit, here are some ideas I've found to help me power through.      1. Spend 15 minutes looking at photos from an event that made you really happy. In her book The Happiness Project {affiliate link here, I highly recommend} Gretchen Rubin writes "Studies show that recalling happy times helps boost happiness in the present. When people reminisce, they focus on positive memories, with the result that recalling the past amplifies the positive and minimizes the