Sunday, July 15, 2012

New places.

     Two days ago, I made the drive up to Connecticut from North Carolina for my ten week long internship. Honestly, the drive wasn't so bad because I had my husband along for the company and to drive through the crazy parts. We ran into crazy amounts of traffic (hello, sitting in NYC for 2 hours- and Philly, I'm looking at you as well), and overall the drive took us 14.5 hours. Unfortunately my main squeeze had to leave yesterday. Throughout the entire drive to the airport we were chatting and laughing, and I honestly felt okay with things. Once we got to the airport, however, the tears started flowing. I was literally a waterfall. Usually I can tell when these messy cries are coming, but this one hit me like a wall. We have done the long distance deal before throughout college, but never for 10 weeks straight, or with me in a new place (and no friends to keep me company).

I am staying about 25 miles away from where I'll be interning at a house of an employee with the hospital. My house host is wonderful. She's very friendly, talkative, and social. All things that definitely help to break me out of my shell. Saturday we went out to a great dinner at a place right on the CT river. Very beautiful.

Today has been a horse of a different color. Loneliness is starting to set in for sure. I have no friends, husband, or family here to make my days feel more comfortable. I know friends will come with time, but new beginnings are always hard. Today is the day of feeling unsure. I'm asking myself questions like, "Why did I take an internship so far away?", "Did I make the wrong decision?", etc. It's a slippery slope to think that way, I know, but it is tough to not allow yourself to think those things. As many of you know, I am typically very shy when I first meet people. It is hard for me to be myself. It may sound silly, but that's just how I've always been. Because of this, I am worried that things will be awkward, or that I may never get to the point of being 100 percent myself. I told Matt on the way up here that I was planning on trying the "fake it till you make it" tactic. Where I will try not to let my shyness get in the way and pretend I am an outgoing person, and also to force enthusiasm for the weeks to come. I love my career choice, that's the honest truth. I'm just not thrilled to be 600 miles away from home while I do it. I'm desperately hoping that things will get better and easier as time goes by. I have to keep reminding myself that this is just the beginning and that sometimes the beginning can be the hardest part.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Constant changes.

     Remember a while ago when I wrote about life's constant changes? Well, true to form, life has thrown my family another curve ball. Recently I took a hiatus from Facebook (some of you may or may not have noticed). The reason for this being that I honestly was getting so fed up with the little, tiny bits of drama that people felt the need to share on a daily basis. Not only that, the arguments and such that were being shared were so ridiculous and infuriating that I found myself in a terrible mood every time I got on.
       A few days after I started noticing how upset I was getting over Facebook, Facebook!, I found out that my Dad (and best friend) had been diagnosed with an Acoustic Neuroma (or, in the medical world- Vestibular Schwannoma).  I know this may sound like a bunch of jargon to you all, and trust me- it was to me at first too. Basically an Acoustic Neuroma is a brain tumor that sits on the nerve that connects the ear to the brain. It severely impacts hearing in the affected ear and also affects balance. The tumor is usually benign and is slow-growing. It is also a fairly rare diagnosis with only approximately 2,000-3,000 cases diagnosed per year.
     I am breaking all of this down medically because, honestly, it's the only way I can really handle all of it right now. My reaction is to research, research, research. He is planning on having surgery and will require a fairly long amount of recovery time to compensate for balance issues and possible total loss of hearing. As many of you know, this is going to be an especially difficult road for someone who has total vision loss. His use of hearing and balance is vital in his daily life. I don't exactly know how to begin to express the mix of feelings I am experiencing, and the worry that all of my family is experiencing. I do know that my Dad will fight through this and is, and always has been, one of the strongest individuals I have ever known. I'm not typically an over-sharer when it comes to things like this. I had thoughts of spilling all of my heart out via blog post, but honestly, I just really don't have the words right now. I appreciate any and all good thoughts, prayers, words of support, and love that you all may share, and just know that even if you don't have the right words- it does help to know that you are there for us. I have received more kind words recently than I can ever remember and it truly has helped. Thank you all for being there, and thanks for letting me spill out all of my crazy emotions with you. I know that this post may not seem super personal to many of you, but it has taken weeks for me to work up the courage to write this.

Also, I don't have the heart to read back over this post for grammatical errors and mistakes, so please forgive me if there are any (which, let's be honest, I'm sure there are plenty of errors with commas as I am the reigning terrible-comma-using-queen).

With so much love,

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I'm alive!

Can we all shout out a big "hip-hip-hooray!" that my computer is still lounging in the my lap of luxury! 

I got it back from the Geek Squad quite a while ago, but simply have not had the spare time to string together a coherent set of words for you fine friends to read. I have definitely entered the crazy throes of the semester, and projects/papers galore are looming ahead of me. It's not a pretty place, I tell ya. 

So, in keeping with my scattered lifestyle, I will now provide a scattered line of thoughts that spontaneously corrupt from my brain: 

I am so happy that the Giants won the Superbowl! Woohoo! This saves me from an extended mourning period within the Duff family. Peace and happiness has been restored. 

I just discovered the deliciousness that is the Odwalla protein "shake". It literally tastes like I am drinking a Yoohoo, and honestly, who doesn't love that. 

A very exciting possibility has begun to happen on the school front. I promise to give details as soon as I am sure this thing is 100% real :)

I have no chicken in my house right now. I'm not sure this has ever happened as this is really the only type of meat I eat for dinners. I'm not sure what to think about this. I am also not sure what I will be having for dinner. 

Did you just hear my stomach growl? 

Speaking of stomachs, I hope that everyone is staying healthy and far, far away from this nasty Norovirus mess that is going around. 

I've recently discovered a new word that I find absolutely disgusting. Some of you reading this may know that I have self- diagnosed myself with verbal defensiveness (this is similar to tactile defensiveness where people have a severe aversion to specific types of touch). I will not write the new word on this page, nor will I write any of the words I despise, but rest assured- I am aware of my weirdness on this matter. 

Well, now that I've gotten that bit of over-sharing out of my system, hopefully I can return soon to our regularly scheduled programming. 

Lots of love,


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

For the time being.

Oh, friends. Never, ever take anything for granted. My wonderful, amazing computer crashed and died on me yesterday. My life was on that computer (and apparently for the small, small fee of $175 BestBuy can get all that back for you).

She lived a good, long(ish) life. Born in 2006, she certainly got her fair share of miles.
I'm planning a memorial service soon.
... in lieu of flowers, please send money to the "buy Jennie a new mac" fund.

I had big plans to post the red velvet cupcake recipe, but alas, I can no longer do that. So things are on hold here for a bit. I am hoping to get a new computer next week.

Let this be a (big) lesson. Do NOT procrastinate on buying an external hard drive. Don't be like me.

Don't despair, I'll be back, I promise! You just might have to live on blogs without pictures for a bit.

Side note, why are macs so expensive? I am a loyal friend. Long time supporter. Why must they drain my bank account?  No good, Apple. NO GOOD!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day Trip # 1

I am off and running on the Day Zero Project! On the 9th, Matt and I took a quick day trip to downtown New Bern to visit the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola! Neither of us had visited downtown New Bern before, and I have to say, it is really a cute place! It's not especially large, which I like. It's just a simple, cute downtown filled with lots of quaint stores and historic sites (like the birthplace of Pepsi-duh!)

Unfortunately it was really cold and rainy, but gosh darnit we were determined to get ourselves a Pepsi float from the original Pepsi site!

Turns out, Pepsi was created in a pharmacy and was originally called "Brad's Drink"- named after the guy who created it, Caleb Bradham.

The store was filled with cute, little "Pepsi" trinkets. I loved these salt and pepper shakers!

Lots of these vintage-style signs.

We really loved all of the old Pepsi bottles they had on display (There were tons of different Pepsi glasses from around the world, too!). It was neat to see how the Pepsi look evolved throughout the years.

The style of writing on the bottle on the left was fantastic! I wish they would bring that back.

The original Pepsi formula. Look at all that sugar! There was a sign in the store advertising Pepsi-Cola as delicious, and nutritious! Bahaha.

After getting our fill of Pepsi history, we finally sat and enjoyed our Pepsi float. So delicious!

I wish we could have stayed and explored more of downtown, but it was freezing! We were ready to get our homebody selves back to our comfy, heated home. We'll definitely be taking another day trip to really discover all the downtown New Bern has to offer.

So, now that I've completed a few things, I've updated the Day Zero Project page with my recent activities. I feel like I've already started making a dent in this hefty list! Can I get a woot, woot??
... Hello?
... Anyone?

- I'll be back soon to post about movie watching adventures with Matt, as well as a post about the fabulous red velvet cupcakes I made! Mmmm. In fact, I think I may go eat one of those now.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New project!

I promised an exciting new project, so here I am to deliver!

During my break from school I have had so much free time, I honestly don't know what to do with it. I can't decide if being bored is better than being stressed and busy or not. Earlier this week I was browsing the internet and I came across this project idea. After reading more about it, I decided that it looked so neat that I couldn't pass it up.

The Day Zero Project is basically a list of 101 goals that you come up with to complete within the next 1001 days (1001 days works out to be approximately 2.75 years). I LOVE that this gives you a realistic amount of time to complete your list of goals. It's not a the typical "year" and allows you a longer period of time to really set up some great and sensible ideas/tasks for the future. You can do any type of goals you want- big goals, small goals, in between goals- no discrimination on the type of goals you want to set!

The catch? All of your goals need to be measurable. As the project explains, you can't use ambiguous wording like "lose weight". If losing weight is one of your goals, it's best to specify how much weight you want to lose- that way you are more likely to set a realistic goal and be able to better track your progress.

I am so excited to start this project! But let me tell 'ya-  a list of a 101 things is a lot! It took me so long to come up with all those different goals! I was seriously struggling towards the end there!

You can see the list of all my personal 101 goals on my Day Zero Project Page. I'll be updating and (hopefully) crossing things off as they happen! I really feel like this will be a great way to fulfill the next 1001 days with fun projects, trips, and important responsibilities, and help me keep track of all that I've completed! Everyone loves to set goals for themselves and then check those goals off their list, so I can't wait to start crossing those babies off!

Has anyone else heard of the Day Zero Project? If not, I challenge you to start one of your own! We can do it together! DO IT!
... No pressure.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Quick fix

This is a life lesson for me:

* Things don't have to be perfect * 

I sometimes (okay, most of the time) have trouble remembering this. My friends and family would not hesitate to use the word "perfectionist" to describe me. I'd like to think of myself as simply thorough.

.... Please stop laughing at your computers. I can hear you.

Which brings me to my latest project. When husby and I bought our bedroom furniture we found it off of a yard sale website and bought it from a wonderful woman who lived one town over. She was a single mom with 4 children living in what looked like a one bedroom house, and they were obviously a little down on their luck. She and her family were some of the nicest, most polite, and hopeful people we have ever met. The set was in very good condition and she even dropped the price over a hundred dollars for us. We called her before we even got home and said we would take it. This set is perfect for us, and just needed a little cosmetic work (some of the drawers had come off their tracks- which my main squeeze fixed fairly easily). The set also has quite a few scratches in the finish due to regular wear and tear from the original owners. 

This is where I come in. We have lived with the scratches for a while now, and honestly, I just couldn't take it anymore. They were starting to stare at me.

(This one just shows the general roughness- the scratches really aren't all that noticeable with the exception of the first picture)

So I took the easiest route possible. I grabbed a sharpie and started filling those suckers in! It did take some time- probably just over an hour to do our two dressers (still need to finish the headboard and night stand), but the end result is pretty great! 

This picture is of the major crack in the finish. This is literally the only section where I can still see the scratch in the finish, but at least I was able to cover the light wood showing through.

See, no more scratches or bump marks showing through:

Needless to say, it certainly is not the most glamorous fix, but it definitely got the job done! The end result is a smooth, flush, and completely finished look. Now I can relax in my room in peace again. Has anyone else done any quick fixes recently? Got any good stories of super easy home repair? I'd love to hear about it!

Come back soon, I've got a really exciting project I am working on that I'll post later for you lovelies! 

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Happy New Year! I can hardly believe it is already 2012! I know this post is a few (ahem, five) days late, but better late than never, right?

This holiday season has surely felt like one big blur. It came after the busiest semester I have ever experienced- which I blame for how quickly Christmas and New Years snuck up on me :)

2011 was an amazing, stressful, lovely, frantic, tiresome, and memorable year. It was filled with good times, and certainly with difficult times, but it was by far the biggest year of my life.

Ever since I can remember I have always gone out and participated in a big ta-do for New Years Eve, and I have always had a blast, but this year the Hubbles and I decided to stay home. We relaxed in our pajamas, watched our favorite TV show (Big Bang Theory), and nibbled on snack foods.

(Nothing like pigging out under a warm, fluffy, comforter!)

Of course, we also watched the ball drop in Times Square- it just wouldn't be New Years Eve without it!

I don't really believe in resolutions as they tend to be thoughts bordering on fantasy wishes that end up forgotten a week after we make them. I do, however, always think it is a good idea to continue to better ourselves as people and to work on maintaining our happiness and peace of mind.

That being said, I "resolute" to try and stay positive during stressful times, remember that there are always reasons for why things happen, and to continue the gallant effort to maximize my patience (my husband surely appreciates this one).

I have also solemnly sworn off biting my fingernails. I am guilty. Sad, but true, friends. I firmly believe it is a sub-conscious outlet my body has picked up to deal with stress, or nervousness, ... or boredom. So I am putting it all out there onto the world wide web in hopes that I will actually stick to this particular "resolution". I feel it's a necessity.

I hope everyone has had a great start to their New Year! Any closet nail-biter's out there? Feel free to express yourself and allow me to feel a little less freak-ish! I'd love to hear other "resolutions" for the new year as well. Happy 2012!