Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Lake Break

After five days of job searching last week, I was ready for a break. I realize the irony here, but it can be truly exhausting. My friend Erin invited a group of us to her family's lake house on Lake Brownwood for the weekend. What was meant to be a day trip turned into an overnight stay with me brushing my teeth with my finger and sleeping in my swim suit. I wasn't complaining though. Any time I can be in/on the water with a beer in my hand, you can color me content.

Before a delicious dinner of fajitas, we went out on the boat to watch the sunset. I tried to catch the light with a Vine, since iphone photos never do a sunset justice.

On Sunday, after some seadoo rides and a nice heart-to-heart with the bestie, I reluctantly returned to Abilene. Yesterday I resumed the job hunt, even though now I feel almost more lost than before and I'm trying to get a grasp on what exactly I want to do.

One of our journal prompts in Paris last month was to think about ourselves five years ago. I think I wrote some two pages about my life as a junior in college or something, but as I think about it now, I almost envy my 20-year-old self.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do and was so sure of my passions and my future. I've never been the person with a 30-year-plan, or even a 10-year-plan, but I never expected to be living at home at 25 looking for a job. It is a self-inflicted problem, I know, and I'm only allowed to complain to you because I have a blog and you are reading it.

Then again, how fortunate that those five years are behind me. They were some of the best -- going abroad, living in DC, making great friends and memories -- but I hope I am wiser and have learned a few things about the world. Somehow, I'm happy that I'm going through this time of confusion and aimlessness. This was never not going to happen, and like everything, it will pass. I'm optimistic. Just gotta keep truckin'.

Now back to the job search. It's a bit like George Costanza when he quit his job, although quitting my job was most assuredly not a mistake.

Have a good week!

Friday, August 23, 2013

What did I even do this week?

This week has kind of flown by without my knowing it. It's all of a sudden Friday and I have no idea what I did. Let's see shall we?

A lot of thought goes into my brother's birthday wishes.

1. My birthday was on Monday, so that's one thing. And I know you all read about it in my last post.

And no, mine didn't look this pretty, but
I forgot to take a picture so you're getting this one. Here's the recipe.

2. My mom went to visit my brother in Pensacola, FL, where he's in training currently, so it was just the ol' pops and me this week. I tend to cook much more when my mom's not here. Perhaps I don't feel like I'm invading her turf (the kitchen) as much when she's gone. So I suddenly had an itchin' to make some grub. I made these Chicken Alfredo Roll Ups on Tuesday night, and they were pretty delicious, if I do say so myself.

And then my brother sent me tamales for my birthday, and they were already cooked. I warmed them up, though, and I did a baller job of putting them in the microwave.

3. I found out this morning that Ben Affleck is playing Batman in the Man of Steel sequel. It's bothering me just a little bit that people are saying that he's replacing Christian Bale, because he is not. Christian (1st name basis) said after The Dark Knight Rises that it would be his last movie as Batman. And it was a trilogy, as in three, which there have been. Plus, Christian could never be replaced because he is perfect in every way and Ben Affleck is...well, Ben Affleck. I'm sorry, but did you see The Town? I may have never seen worse acting. Then again, Argo was epic, so who knows how this will turn out...

4. I'm going to my friend's lakehouse tomorrow for the day, and I'm pumped. Yay for soaking up some rays and having fun!

5. When I went on Pinterest to find the Chicken Alfredo Roll-Ups picture, I saw a photo of pumpkins and foliage. It reminded me how excited I am for fall! Even though Texas in the fall is a slightly cooler version of summer that leads right into no leaves on trees and brown grass, I always love the changing of seasons and look forward to it every year.

Have a good weekend!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


It was my birthday yesterday! I always pretend like I hate my birthday for the few days leading up to it, but then the day comes and I love it. Not only do I get to hear from friends from all over that I miss dearly, but I spend time with family and friends that are close by. Also, presents.
Last night, my family and I went to a restaurant in downtown Abilene called Cypress Street Station, and I had a wonderful birthday dinner sipping their delicious house Malbec, eating some steak and their to-die-for chocolate cake.

a rare moment captured.

As a strong supporter of celebrating birthday weeks months, I actually had a few parties... sue me. I knew I wouldn't get to see my brothers for my actual birthday, and that aggression could not stand, man. I wanted to celebrate in Carmel when we were all together!

So I deemed one of our beach fire nights a celebration night. After many groans and accusations of wanting everything to be about me -- mostly true :) -- we had a little beach party, complete with hotdogs roasting on an open fire, plastic cups of wine, and red velvet cupcakes.

My family was there too, I promise.

To continue the celebration at home, I had a party Saturday night, too. I invited some friends over to my house after a few drinks at an Abilene bar that I heard was closing. It was so fun spending time with people I rarely get to see!

One of my BBFLs since playgroup! Love you, Erin!

A friend brought these sweet glasses for me to wear. She said I had to pass them on to someone else. I think it's one of those "pay it forward" things.

Sitting outside in the summer night air, we regaled the past, talked about current times, and "perhapsed" all over our futures. I'm pretty sure I have the best friends and family in the entire world, and even though some are far away in places like DC, NYC, Florida, Dallas/Ft. Worth, and Lubbock, I am so happy and grateful they're all in my life.

A happy birthday, indeed. Here's to (at least!) 25 more. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Moral of the Story: 6 things I learned in Santa Barbara

After Carmel, I headed down to Santa Barbara for the wedding of a friend from SMU. I lived next door to her in the sorority house my sophomore year, and we became fast friends. She is one of the sweetest people I know and I was honored to be there to celebrate her wedding! Here are some things I learned after being in Santa Barbara for the weekend:

1. Getting breakfast by yourself is not the worst thing in the world, especially when it's 65 degrees and you're sitting outside. I went to Jeannine's in Montecito and had some amazing eggs benedict and this huge bowl of coffee. I'm like Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride, I love eggs benedict.

2. Never walk where you're not supposed to on a beach. After my breakfast, I decided to venture down to the water. Well, I must have not been paying attention to where I was going because at some point, the beach turned into this rocky, mountainous platform. The next thing I knew, the sandy beach was about 7 feet below me and people were staring as if I weren't supposed to be up there. When the rocky part ended, I had to jump down to get back to the sand. Luckily, I landed on my feet with all the gracefulness of a cat. (JK lols I fell on my side and may have gotten a concussion. I also got all sandy like they do in SEAL training.)

Before the incident.

3. I hope my wedding is as beautiful as this one was. The photos I took don't even do anything justice, but it was a breathtaking scene overlooking the Santa Barbara polo fields and the Pacific Ocean...

...And the couple was so clearly in love and having the best time with each other.

4. When in doubt at a wedding, just hit the dance floor. Do you need to avoid an awkward new acquaintance? Or get away from a conversation that is about to turn to one of your more embarrassing college experiences? All these and more can be solved with a perfectly timed rendition of Gettin' Jiggy With It.

5. Hosting a brunch for all the guests the next day at a polo match is a good reason not to get too crazy at the reception: you have to see everyone again in broad daylight. I adhered to this new rule of mine, so I enjoyed it thoroughly.

The beautiful bride and me, even more gorgeous flower arrangements, and the polo field. 

6. Sometimes, it just takes a glass of wine to steel yourself when leaving a place as wonderful as Santa Barbara.

It's my birthday on Monday, so I'll probably be out celebrating all weekend (read: trying to forget the fact that I'm about to be 25). Hope you have a good one!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Reality vs. Beach: A Choice Not Easily Made

I thought I would get a lot of writing done on our trip out to Carmel, CA this year. My expectations for the week were of quiet mornings watching the fog bank roll in from the ocean and blanket the beach and town while I clicked away on my keyboard. I tried to get up early to write, but every day I set my alarm for just a liiiiittle bit later. And once I was up with my computer in front of me on a blue couch in the living room, coffee and conversation seemed to take precedence.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a small beach town a few hours south of San Francisco tucked in the Monterey Bay next to famous golf courses like Pebble Beach and Cypress Point. Sunshine and heat are rare items here, which is a refreshing break from the constant beating known as 'Texas in the summer.' I'll take 65 over 100 degrees every single time, thank you very much.

I've been coming here since I was one year old, and I love it more each time. Carmel holds a special place in my heart. Maybe it's nostalgia -- memories of my grandfather on the beach or my grandmother baking pies in her rent house -- or perhaps it reminds me of a fairy tale land, where the temperature is entirely too cool for summer and the ocean can be seen, heard, and felt.

Last week was the only time this year when all the family was together. Having the five of us under one roof doesn't happen very often and I enjoyed every minute.

My week consisted of: three rounds of golf with the family (no, I did not play well, but I never lost my temper which is a feat in itself), a couple of beach fires, getting a drink at Pebble while watching my brother come in on the 18th, a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, some shopping in town, and lots of delicious food and wine.

As vacations tend to go, it was over before I knew it. Part of me wished I could stay there a bit longer, avoiding a job search and apartment hunt that will hopefully take me to Austin in the next few weeks. Sometimes it's easier to hide in a blissful beach town than to deal with my reality. But no, I must begin to face the music.

I left Carmel on Thursday bound for Santa Barbara for a friend's wedding (which I'll talk about in my next post!), and now I'm back in Dallas, sipping coffee in the lobby of a Holiday Inn Express because I missed my flight home last night. I'll board a plane for Abilene in a few hours, but all the while I'll be longing for overcast skies and cold sand between my toes.

Here are some photos from last week!


Teeing off at Monterey Peninsula CC. Love these guys.

The front garden of our little rent house.

Sea life is fun.

This otter wouldn't let me get a good pic!

Wine tasting on my last day with these two lovely people.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Jennabeth and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Anyone remember the children's book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day?" It was one of my favorites as a kid.

Well, I wrote this a couple of weeks ago about my time in Paris and thought I'd share. I used a lot of friends' names and some real experiences, but a lot of it is fictionalized. It was fun to read it at one of our soirees! Enjoy!


I went to sleep with too much Cote du Rhone in my system and now I have a hangover and when I got out of bed I wanted some water but was too afraid to drink the tap water even though my friend Megan said that it was okay. My shoes pinch just a little too much when I walk up the stupid hill to school and I’m sweating like I used to on the playground when the other kids never did and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

When I got to school my friends were sitting outside Café Universel and they all had their café au lait. When I tried to get one I had to get it to go and it spilled and burned my hand on the way to class, and then I put it down and forgot it was there so I had to drink it cold.

In workshop, Amanda wrote a piece that made me cry and Rita made me root for a 12 year old boy that doesn’t exist, but in my workshop I wrote an ending that didn’t make any sense and no one believed it so I’ll have to rewrite it.

At lunch Andrew ordered oysters and forced me to eat one because he said if I didn’t then I wasn’t living the Hemingway life in Paris and the waiter didn’t understand me when I said “Un. Verre. De. L’oh.” So he brought me a glass of lemonade and I hate lemonade. In the restaurant, I didn’t get to sit outside or even sit by the window and that made me angry because I could smell the fish that they were cooking in the kitchen and it made me have to vomit. I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

We went to the Louvre in the afternoon and I got shushed for talking too loudly and a tourist pushed me into the glass covering the Mona Lisa and a docent gave me a dirty look. The door we came through was locked when we wanted to leave so we had to walk all the way around just to go out a door that was miles away from where we wanted to be. The others wanted to stop for a glass of wine, and the waiter spilled some all over my yellow dress and a glass broke and cut me in the finger and it stung and stung. I told everyone it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. No one even answered.

Then we went to a store on Boulvard Saint Michel and Angelique picked out a pretty black dress and Amanda picked out a lovely blue one; Megan found a nice pink one and Chelsea got a pretty green dress, but I only found an ugly brown one and it didn’t even fit me.

I went to print my non-fiction story and the printer man said that he was out of paper and that I’d have to come back tomorrow. But my story was due tomorrow and I didn’t want to go somewhere else to pay for copies so the story was going to be late and I knew how professors hate that.

When I got home my mom called and reminded me of the bills that were piling up on my desk at home and wondered why I was in Paris at all. I said I was on adventure, but she asked why I didn’t sound excited like I should be on an adventure. I told her it was only because it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. She said some days are like that, even in Paris.

Then I bought a gyro across the street and I heard a group gathering at the Shakespeare & Company bookstore. I hated crowds but thought I would wander over anyway. When I got there, there was a reading by Charles Simic who said he used to live on the streets. I thought of my charming little apartment in the 5th Arrondisement and the gyro in my hand and the wine in my belly and my new friends up the road at Paris American Academy. I turned around to look at the Notre Dame and as I was eating the last of my dinner, I remembered how lucky I am. So maybe it wasn’t such a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.