Jul 29, 2016

Politickin'

I'm coming out of a self-imposed blogging break (more about that on Tuesday) for this post because I finally educated myself about our political system and I learned some things that really pissed me off.  But I'm going to try to come at this from a calm and rational angle.  Wish me luck.

I have clients who are Republican.  For the most part, I find it doesn't matter in the least, because they're on the local politics level and I rarely disagree with anything they have to say (jobs are good, pollution is bad, sure let's treat drug abuse like an illness instead of a crime, all good stuff).  But every once in a while I'll hear something like, "We need more Republicans in government positions in Delaware!" or I get invited to a Republican event and then I start to feel a little uncomfortable.

I wouldn't put myself in the Democratic party either.  Both parties have basic tenants that I disagree with.  I've more closely aligned with 3rd party candidates in the past, so just last night, as I realized how frighteningly close the 2016 elections are, I did my research to see who the other options even are.  I really, really liked Gary Johnson's description, "Socially liberal, fiscally conservative."  That's probably how I would describe myself.

I've been thinking, with the extremely low approval ratings of both of our main candidates, this might be the year of the 3rd party.  But as I continued to research Gary Johnson, I learned some things that really disturbed me.  3rd parties can get into the debates, but only if they receive 15% of the vote on the preliminary opinion polls.  Do you know who runs those polls?  The media.  You know what else?  Candidates often have to pay to get their names put on those ballots in the first place.  And while the organization (The Commission on Presidential Debates) that chooses which 5 polls to use to determine that 15% eligibility for the debates is supposedly impartial, neither they, nor any of the news sites, explain how the polls are conducted, how you can be part of them, or what kind of sample they use.  I spent hours researching this and I still don't know how it actually works and I feel utterly helpless as far as being able to do anything to influence the outcome.

HOW does this make any sense?  Do we, as a country, even pretend that our media has any semblance of impartiality anymore?  So why the hell are they the ones in charge of which candidates we'll take seriously?  As much as I'd love to "throw my vote away" and vote 3rd party, I'm also scared.  Because Trump is a disaster and the idea of a racist, misogynistic bigot whose platform is built on ignorance and hatred as our leader terrifies me.

I mentioned this to my sisters and they asked why I didn't want to vote for Hillary.  I thought about it and realized my (slowly forming) negative opinion was based entirely on what other people had said about her.  Not my own research.  And you know... it's a little suspicious that no one has been able to give me good, solid reasons for their intense dislike of her.  In fact, I'd go so far as to say some people hate her more than Trump or consider them roughly equivalent and that blows my mind.

I've heard Trump described as a joke, a clown, a disaster.  But I've heard several people call Hillary a bitch and other, woman-specific derogatory words.  I had started to wonder if maybe people were judging her more harshly for the same shit that a majority of our politicians do, just because she's a woman.  Not unlike that study done about CEOs, where the same career description was handed out to students, but the pronoun changed so that some read "she" and some read "he."  Both were considered competent BUT the male CEO was well-liked and the female CEO was considered selfish and cold.

After doing my own research and not just listening to what my male acquaintances were telling me (I don't think I've had a single woman tell me how horrible Hillary is), I'm less and less convinced she's even that corrupt.  And yes, it is really fucking sad that I can quantify something as "not that corrupt" but I think the majority of our politicians are in it for power and not to support "we, the people."  I know of one, specific example where she did something that was a little shady, and that's the emails that "disappeared." (I'm linking to Wikipedia here, because I honestly trust it as a source more than any news outlet at the moment.)

So yes, there's one example of "corruption" which is somewhat debatable.  Other things people have used as their reason for such extreme dislike: she lies, she changes her stance on things, she panders to people.  Let's take a look at the lying, since that's easier to find factual information for.  Because I have to trust someone for information, I've decided to go with PolitiFact.  I read their "who pays us" page, and I think they're the closest thing to a truly independent source of information we've got.  PolitiFact double checks statements made by politicians and then gives them a scorecard based on the percentage of answers that were true, false, or somewhere in between.  Here's Hillary's scorecard.

Hillary Clinton PolitiFact Scorecard

You might look at that and say,"Oh man, so much half truth and some stuff that is blatantly false!"  But here's Obama.

Barack Obama PolitiFact Scorecard

And Bernie Sanders, the man who was supposed to be an end to political corruption.

Bernie Sanders PolitiFact Scorecard

And the one that won't surprise you, the Drumpf.

Donald Trump PolitiFact Scorecard

If you want more information, I highly encourage you to check out PolitiFact's website.  They have articles discussing every single fact they checked and the reason for their rating.

As for Clinton changing her stance or "flip flopping," this NPR article talks more about that.  Honestly, I don't think that bothers me.  I've changed my mind on plenty of issues in the short 29 years that I've lived, so is it really a big deal if Clinton changes her mind over a decade or more of living and working in a nation that's continually progressing?  I'm not even going to address "pandering" because A) That's not objective in the least and B) What politician doesn't pander?  I'll admit that Trump does tend to run around telling people how stupid they are, but I'll take any normal pandering politician over that any day.

So here's my theories for why the Hillary Hate is so high:
  1. The email scandal is genuinely a big deal, and somehow I've failed to understand that
  2. People are still disappointed that Bernie didn't make it and find Hillary to be an unsatisfactory substitute
  3. Blatant sexism
I'm inclined to believe it's a combination of 2 and 3.  Which is not to say that people think, "Oh man, we can't have a woman as president."  But that deep down, subconsciously, we see certain traits in a woman and think, "Oh God, she's the worst" when we wouldn't be bothered by those same traits in a man.

So am I still disappointed with the ridiculous hoops 3rd parties have to jump through to get into the debates?  Yes.  I absolutely believe we need to expand beyond the 2 party system, both to break free of the inherent corruption of our current system, and to give ourselves more choices instead of just "left or right?" (EDIT!!!  In the attempt to do whatever we can to get Gary Johnson into the debates, please consider signing this petition.  Even if you're solidly Hillary or solidly Trump, what's the harm in allowing another person to have a say?)  But am I still conflicted about voting for Hillary?  No.  She's not just "not Trump" as I would have said only days ago, she's a good candidate in her own right, and Steph had a really good point yesterday about the open supreme court seats that our next president will fill.  And, if we're being completely honest, I would be excited to have our first female president, in the same way I'd be excited to have more minorities (especially female minorities, who are the least represented), an atheist, or a member of the LBGT community.  The more diversity we bring into our government, the better we can reflect the needs of our entire population.

EDIT #2: IF Gary Johnson gets into the debate, there's a good chance I'll change my mind.  It's too early to be set in stone anyway.  So much could still happen.  Also, Stephanie provided this cool link to isidewith.com which gives you a quick idea of which candidate most closely shares your views.


What's your take on the issue?  If you've got any facts or information that I've missed, I would love to hear it!  (But I will ask for sources, because this independent woman does her own research.)  Got a preferred candidate yet?


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Jun 29, 2016

29 Things You Probably Don't Know About Me Part 2

If you missed last week, I'm celebrating my 29th birthday (today! on the 29th) with 29 things you probably don't know about me!  Kudos to those who aren't surprised by things on this list.  Obviously you're my "real" friends.  ;-)

I already posted the first 15, but here's 16-29.

16. I have worked as a...

...waitress (Charcoal Pit and Red Robin), cashier (Dominoes), writing tutor (Deltech), copy center specialist (Staples), and finally graphic designer (numerous).  I used to say waiting tables was my "backup" if I ever moved and couldn't find a job, but now I think I'd do anything else to avoid it.  It made me so unhappy.

17. I am strangely overconfident

Faced with any new craft or art project, my first assumption is always that it will be a piece of cake.  I've been proven wrong more times than I can count, but I still seem to make this mistake!

18. I wore mostly black in high school

I think it was a confidence thing.  I didn't have any, so I hid in oversized clothes and wore dark colors to deflect attention.

19. I don't like the act of cooking nearly as much as I like feeding people

I will almost never cook food for just myself.  There has to be at least one other person to make it worth the bother.

20. I went to Mexico when I was 19

I ran off with a friend to have a wild adventure and establish my independence from my parents.  It was a surprisingly good experience, given our youth and lack of planning, but then again we were staying with her then boyfriend's family so they prevented us from doing anything too stupid.

21. Despite the statistical unlikelihood, I think I'm a tetrachomatic

You know that condition where you have an extra type of cone in your eye and can see more colors than most of the population?  I have no evidence to back up this belief, but if there was a test for this (that wasn't an Internet scam), I would take it.  More likely, I just like colors more than my friends and family, but it's fun to feel special.

22. I have 2 tattoos

These are hardly secret, and I've definitely posted about them at one point long ago, but they're not in a super visible place, so unless I've been to the beach with you, you probably haven't seen them.  One is about the importance of the self, and the other is a tribute to my sisters and our attempt to stay close despite increasing physical distance.

23. I drew both of them

Ain't no way this control freak graphic designer gonna put someone else's design on her skin!  Though the 2nd one is just 3 interlocked circles, so anyone could have drawn that.

24. I don't understand soda drinkers

I need water when I'm thirsty or with a meal.  Soda, while sugary and tasty, just doesn't make me feel hydrated, and it's really not enough of an enticement on its own to be worth the calories (I can't stand diet soda).  So in the past it's really just been a carrier for my alcohol in but now that I don't drink?  An entirely pointless beverage.

25. I have tried cigarettes, the green stuff, and certain pills

None of which did much for me.  Cigarettes were just nasty, what was supposed to make me mellow and happy instead made me angry and miserable, and pills scare me too much to repeat.  I'm actually really glad to be a non-drinker now, because it means I don't rely on any substances to feel good.  At one point, I wanted to "try everything" but I'm glad I never got the chance to because now it seems entirely unnecessary and the idea of permanent damage or flashbacks is terrifying.

26. I AM an adrenaline junkie

I really enjoy overcoming fears and doing things that scare me.  I LOVE that thrill of excitement you get when you're falling and your stomach feels like it just slammed into your spine.  White water rafting, rides but especially the ones that drop you, sky diving (except that we felt sick afterwards), driving a quad, anything that is just unsafe/uncomfortable enough to give you that tingle.

27. I had been engaged once before I met Ryan

We were too young and hadn't been together long enough and started being miserable almost instantly after deciding to get engaged.  My only regret is that it didn't end sooner.

28. I had to take a remedial cursive class in elementary school

That's how bad my handwriting was.  I did, however, get to do the advanced art class in middle school, so there!

29. Nope, sorry, just 28

I had one here, but reconsidered, and then I almost didn't post this because it was incomplete, and then decided what the hey!  I'm on vacation.  And it's my birthday.  You guys will survive, I'm sure.

To sum up: Happy birthday to me!  I live in a tree.  I look like a monkey and I broke this rhyme when I switched from "you" to "me."

Have you ever tried to come up with things people don't know about you?  Was it hard?  (Cause this really was - I struggled)


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Jun 23, 2016

Spending Freeze - It Is Time!

So you know how I went from full time to part time this year, in order to focus on freelancing?  Well, despite having enough work to keep me busy, I haven't quite managed to attain my prior salary (understatement).  I'm not upset about that, because it's only natural and my client base is still building, BUT I've finally hit a troubling truth.

I gotta stop spending.  I've been completely ignoring my reduced salary and continuing to shop the way I did with a 9-5 and my bank accounts are finally making it clear that that's not a sustainable pattern.  I've also been mixing my business income and my personal money together pretty freely and it's also time for that to end.

So here's my spending freeze rules.

1. No Eating Out

For me, personally.  Totally allowable as a date night, because the joint account does what the joint account wants!

2. No Personal Shopping

Sorry, Amazon.  It looks like you and I are on a break.  Again, household purchases and things for the dogs are fine, because that's joint account money (and Ryan approves it first, obviously).  But clothes, makeup, and little optimizer things for myself are all out.

3. No Impulse Buys and Exceptions Planned

If there seems to be a legitimate reason to purchase something, put it on the "Stuff Jenn Wants" list and sit on it for a week or so, then decide.  Also, I was set to do this hard core and then realized I have at least 3 occasions when the freeze will be broken, so it'd be silly to pretend it won't.  But other than the following, I'll do my best to avoid extra expenses: 1) Concert tomorrow with a friend 2) Family vacation for the week after - I should pitch in for groceries and I'm sure there will be activities to pay for 3) NJ Blate in July

4. Business != Personal

Now that I have a business bank account, it's time to keep that money separate from my personal stuff and to save it for business purchases and taxes.  I might pay myself out of it occasionally, but only if there's surplus.  Also, keep business expenditures within the range of what that account can cover.  No more credit and then paying it with personal money.  My business might not be able to pay for all my expenses but at least it can pay for itself!

5. Re-Establish Bank Account Baseline

I'd like to get my accounts back to where they're comfortable before ending this spending freeze.  If I'm good and nothing unexpected happens, that should take 2-3 months.  Of course, there's a good chance I'll be due for 60,000 mile maintenance and life always have curveballs, so we'll see.

6. And Then Budget

Oh budgeting!  What a tumultuous history we've had.  I've tried this several times and failed, pretty consistently.  So I think I'll start this attempt by just tracking purchasing for a month, and then setting budgets based on that, rather than pulling numbers out of the air.  Undecided yet if I want to use Mint (which has a beautiful layout, but I rarely check often enough to be useful), or do it manually with Google Docs or iSpending or some other app.  Anyway, I have time for this since I need to get through the freeze first.

And that's it!  Wish me luck.

Have you done a spending freeze?  How did it go?  Do you feel like a "freeze" actually prevents you from spending money or do you tend to just wait until it's over and then buy what you wanted during the freeze?


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Jun 21, 2016

29 Things You Probably Don't Know About Me Part 1

To celebrate my 29th birthday (an age that fills me with a strange combination of "Omg, I'll be entering a new decade soon" and "Thank god I'm finally an adult.") on the 29th of June (a combination that Dani pointed out to me only happens once), I'm going to continue my oversharing ways and find 29 new things that you (Internet friends) probably don't know about me.  Since 29 is a lot of things, I'm splitting it into 2 posts, 15 things and 14 next week.  And, like the birthday itself, this really can't be repeated, as I will be out of new information after this.

Sorry, family, but you already know everything, so you can't really play this game.  For everyone else, let's go!

1. I used to be afraid of dogs

Right up until adopting Luke, actually.

2. I have an ex boyfriend who is now a woman

Actually, some of you do know this, but still crazy, right?  And I haven't said this enough, but good for her!  I don't have any bitterness anymore, but it is still confusing to think about sometimes.

3. If you eat something I've baked, chances are I have licked the spoon at some point

Sorry... but not really.  I mean, I'm pretty sure germs die at 350+ degrees!

4. I almost failed out my senior year of high school

AND I pushed the limit for total number of absences permitted.  To say I lost interest would be an understatement.

5. I was, somehow, still allowed to be a peer mentor

We worked with the special education class and it was awesome!  We basically got to play card games and teach the girls Miss Mary Mack and go bowling every other Friday afternoon instead of going to class to help the kids prepare for Special Olympics.

6. I can rarely wear mascara because I'm really bad about pulling eyelashes and it would just accentuate the gaps

Sometimes just subconsciously while I'm reading and sometimes in order to get the mascara off in the first place.  How do you guys get your mascara off?  I need a better way!

7. I have been held up at gunpoint

Honestly, we were kind of asking for it with the stupid decisions we were making at the time.

8. I used to have a fake ID

Actually it was a real ID - it just wasn't mine.  We found it in the street one day and the woman on it looked enough like me that it was usable.  She was also half a foot shorter, 60 pounds lighter, and had blue eyes, but somehow no one ever called me out on this.

9. I am just about 200 pounds

I'm tall-ish (5'9") and people rarely believe that I weigh this much, but there you have it.  I have a couple of family members who, when gossiping about heavy people, would say things like, "She's gotten so big!  She's almost 180 pounds" and the shocked tone of voice would indicate that they couldn't even imagine a weight heavier than that.  It bothered me at the time, because I was 180 pounds and what did that say about me?  But now that I've exceeded their wildest imaginings, I've made peace with it.

10. I dropped out of college and supported myself and an unable-to-hold-a-job ex for 9 months on a waitress salary

Then we went into debt and begged our parents to let us come back home.  Best decision I ever made, seeing as my parents forgave me and helped me go back to school.

11. I am not modest

Despite years of insecurity about my body, I am perfectly comfortable changing in front of friends, walking around naked (in the privacy of my own room), and even modeling for a figure drawing class (though I was admittedly nervous for that one until I got my clothes off).

12. I had a pet rock in high school

Raqueesha was one of my locker pets.  Two friends and I shared a locker and we decorated with drawings, and had a basket hanging on the coat rack with my pet rock and some tiny stuffed animals.

13. I used to have some skillz at bowling and pool

As in I have actually had a couple games with no open frames (all strikes or spares), and our pool games involved combos and different sets of rules depending on whether we were playing strangers or friends.  This is all lost to me now, along with my conversational Spanish (it was more like babytalk, but good enough to flirt!).

14. I was adamant about not having kids until...

I honestly don't know when I changed my mind about having kids.  Maybe when my friend had my goddaughter, who was the most amazing and perfect child ever and blew my 19-year-old mind.

15. I beat my class at and competed in a tournament for Math 24 in 6th grade

I've never understood people who don't like math.

Look for the rest of the list next week on the 29th!  I'll be away but I'm going to try to find ridiculous, silly things to do to celebrate this auspicious occasion, despite being on vacation.

What are some things I don't know about you?


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Jun 14, 2016

Bag o' Books

I was really good this month and read/listened to only library books (though I did buy one to read later).  And I'm glad, because how would I have known how gorgeous the covers of Inkspell and Inkdeath are if I hadn't picked up a hard copy?  I didn't read all that much, compared to some of my past months, but then again the Inkheart series is pretty long.  Looking forward to getting started with my own books!

♥♥♥♥♥ - Loved



Inkspell (paper)

I thought Inkheart was ok - a fun story but a little slow at parts.  Inkspell blew me away.  I'll admit; it almost became a do not read after trying to listen to it on audiobook, but that's my fault.  I can't listen to fiction - I have to read it for myself.  But after picking up a copy at the library, I was fascinated.  I love the world inside the book.  I love how they're able to interact with the world and change it, even though they're living inside of it.  It took a while to read (635 pages, yo), but I loved it and I am totally read to dive into the next one.



♥♥♥♥ - Liked


Inkdeath (paper)

So I'm not sure I'm being 100% fair to Inkdeath, because I got a little busier while I was reading it and had a pretty long hiatus a few chapters before the ending.  But even with all that, it was a definite 4 star, and possibly a 5 if it had had my full attention.  There were a couple things that annoyed me that hadn't bugged me in the previous one (Orpheus features pretty heavily and I can't stand him and while the emotions the characters are experiencing make sense, I didn't want to hear about them over and over and over again), but overall still a good story and very satisfying conclusion.

 

I Am America (And So Can You!)  (audiobook)

This was full of laughs and I was disappointed when it ended (it's only 3 hours long).  When I started, I was actually thinking, "I don't know about this, Colbert.  I'm not sure I'm in the mood for your shenanigans."  But it didn't take long for me to accept that it was utterly ridiculous and silly and more amusing than it probably should have been.  I'm tempted to share all the jokes here, but I'll let you discover them for yourselves.  Just keep in mind that the whole book is Colbert continuing his character from the show, in an over-the-top satire of the American conservative.


Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography (audiobook)

I knew from the beginning that this would be good.  It was silly and fun and I laughed out loud.  I kind of like that NPH isn't pretending to dispense wisdom (although I LOVE what he says when he's talking about his coming out experience and being a role model.  "Show, don't tell.") - he admits that it's one of many self-serving celebrity autobiographies and then makes it totally his own with the fun formatting.  Unlike a couple of the others that I've read, I didn't feel like he was trying to make it more than what it was - a fun way to tell his story - AND he went in chronological order which was a lot easier to follow than the ones that jump around.  The parts I found most interesting: his experience as a child actor and coming to terms with his sexuality, plus dealing with the public and their insatiable nosiness.


Invasion of the Tearling (paper)

I said I wasn't going to read the rest of this series because the first book was really just kind of meh, up until the end.  But then  I did pick up the 2nd one (from the library!) and had exactly the same experience.  The main character had a lot of growth towards the end of the first book, but at the start of the second one, she's somehow overshot becoming a confident adult and went straight into becoming arrogant and cruel.  I liked her less and less throughout the story, until the very end when it seemed like maybe she realized what a douche she was becoming.  Plus there were some historical flashbacks that didn't make much sense and revolving chapters from other people's points of view that didn't feel very connected, until the end.  And then it all came together and made me want to read the last one, which, sadly, isn't out yet.  Isn't that always the way?

♥♥♥ - Ambivalent-ed

None here!

♥♥ - Mildly Disliked



Eat That Frog! (audiobook)

Meh... I think this was more targeted to people who are already on task 99% of the time and just need help prioritizing more important tasks.  It also seemed like a narrow definition of success (if it's not working toward your career, it's a waste of time!).  Overall I just wasn't feeling it and the advice didn't feel super revolutionary.  Basically don't procrastinate, and do your important tasks first.  The first chapter of that book tells you how to prioritize and then the rest is just further elaboration on a topic that probably didn't need it.  Plus he says "EAT THAT FROG" over and over to the point that it started making me wince.

 - Did Not Finish or Wanted to Burn in a Fire


And these are rare anyway, but none here.  :D

Currently...

I jumped into one of my currently owned books, Physics of the Impossible, which is about the crazy technologies in science fiction and how realistic they are compared to the laws of physics as we know them.  It is an interesting read, but my brain has to be all the way turned on for it, so I was weak and picked up another fun fantasy book to alternate (The Wise Man's Fear).  I'm also currently listening to Big Magic, which I got on audiobook from the library, and I have thoughts!  But I'll wait until I'm actually finished to talk about it with you all.

What have you been reading?  Have you read anything from my list and what did you think?  Do you use the library or buy your own?


Linking up with Steph and Jana
Life According to Steph

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Jun 9, 2016

Reeeeeeminiscin' - A Cheesy Post

When I was talking about all my favorite web comics, someone mentioned The Bloggess, and I suddenly remembered that she was my very first blog read.  Technically, I suppose, it was Hyperbole and a Half or The Oatmeal or XKCD, with varying degrees of accuracy on whether those sites constitute a "blog" but The Bloggess was the very first person I read who just put whatever words on the page she wanted to and people cared!  She was weird, and random, and funny, and made me wonder what else was out there.

I searched through Wordpress and found a couple other blogs, but mostly just stuck with The Bloggess and Hacker. Ninja. Hooker. Spy.  Then, by random chance, Sister2 sent me a link to Arkansassy's post about "real women" and I realized, "Holy crap!  There's a whole social world out there."  I hopped from sidebar to sidebar, at first only finding bloggers with so many commenters they couldn't really make real friendships (not with everyone), but eventually landing in my niche and finding a group I could really mesh with.

It's silly now, but I was so freaking nervous to leave my first ever comment.  I think it was on a post by Insert Classy Here, or maybe Avoiding Atrophy (who was so adorable - she was like my celebrity crush.  Blogger crush?  Is that a thing?), and I reformatted it like 20 times before posting.  Then I waited, refreshing the page every couple of hours to see if she would respond.  She never did, and, as I continued to comment on other, different blogs, I realized very few people did.

Finally, The Daily Tay explained to me about the whole responding by email thing, and that just blew my poor little brain.  From there, I dove completely into the "how to blog" world and learned all about things like sidebars, blogger profiles, Wordpress vs Blogger, how to make tweaks to the freebie templates, and so on.  I followed Helene in Between and Venus Trapped in Mars and soaked in every bit of blog advice I could find.  It was exciting, and not really scary anymore, and in a way I almost miss that.  Even though I was super impressionable and got caught up in the stats, and optimizing your posts for Pinterest, and all that other BS, it was just very thrilling.

Now my blog kind of feels like an old worn shoe.  I'm very comfortable in it, and I occasionally take some pride in it, but it's never getting that thrill back.  Not without some kind of drastic change, or decision to monetize.  But it's nice to remember the beginning, and I mention all the names because it's kind of fun to see the path I took, from blogs with hundreds of comments and enough pageviews that they don't need day jobs anymore, to this little niche of practical people with real lives who blog just because they like to write and make online connections.

I also read my first couple of posts.  I've deleted the ones that make me cringe, or that belong on the business blog, but even the ones that are just ok sound like a different person.  I think I was different, and I spent a lot of time looking for friends or social connections and I really didn't expect blogging to provide that, but it has and more.  When I write dumb shit like this, you guys actually read it and actually care.  We have conversations about things that I don't even want to bore my family with, and we discuss things near and dear to my heart that some IRL friends don't even know because our in-person conversations never get much deeper than the surface.

That first post ever?  It was resolutions for 2012.  I'm going to list them here:
  1. Finish all personal design projects left from preceding year; eliminate the ominous feel of projects too long left undone
  2. Find a design-related career job or way to support myself
  3. Stick to my budget (in 2011 I managed to pay off my credit card; now with additional expenses, ventures, and investments I'm hoping to keep it that way)
  4. Find time every day for work and play and exercise; make the most of each day
  5. Make new friends; expand my network and my personal horizons
  6. Find 3 ways to improve myself
  7. Complete at least one activity from my bucket list
It is almost indescribably satisfying to read these now, because I've kicked so much butt since then.  I have freelance work and I have a part time job that pays the bills.  Debt is so far behind me I barely remember what that was like, and I'm sooo much better at letting projects go when I don't want to work on them anymore.  I've made a bunch of new friends and experimented with all kinds of self improvement projects and crossed off travel goals, life goals, and adrenaline activities from that bucket list.

But I think the biggest difference is mindset.  I feel like I know what I'm doing know.  I write for you guys sometimes, my family occasionally (thought mostly I forget that they read and then blush when my grandmother mentions my profanity), and always for me.  I don't need to read how to tutorials, because I know the advice and I know whether or not I want to take it.

Of course outside of blogging, I do sometimes still feel lost.  Growing up is hard, and realizing that life doesn't always fit your expectations can be disappointing.  But for the most part I've got my ducks in a row and when I do need help, I've built up such a wonderful supply of resources and coping mechanisms to deal with it.

I don't have a great conclusion for this post.  Is it possible to feel grateful and wistful at the same time?  I appreciate my life now and I feel a great deal of gratitude for it, but there's something about a fresh new start and all the trials and tribulations that come along with that blank slate that has a certain allure for me.

Anyway, thanks guys.  You're the best.

Jenn signature graphic | Business, Life & Design

Jun 7, 2016

Jenn Wells's's's's of the World

I joke occasionally about what a common name I have.  I never think people will be able to find me on social media, but somehow they rarely seem to have trouble.  Be that as it may, getting my name to the front page has been just about impossible (I am on the first page for search terms "Jenn Wells Design" though, which is pretty cool and it looks like my twitter is on the first page of results for just my name, which is dumb because I rarely use it).

At one point (when I was trying to find a unique URL for my website), I became curious about these other Jenn (or Jennifer) Wells (no idea how to properly pluralize this) and what entrepreneurial shenanigans they were getting up to.  Here's what I've found.

1. Jennifer Wells - Jewelry and Metalworker

I found this Jenn Wells years and years ago because she took the url I wanted (jennwells.com) AND she doesn't even go by "Jenn" on the website (Um, rude).  But in any case, I thought metal working was pretty cool, as artsy fields go, so this was fun to look at.

2. Jennifer Wells - Art Teacher

This JW had the other URL I considered (jenniferwells.com) but appears to have moved on since I was in the market (6 years ago).  I did think it was pretty amusing that both of the URLs that were just my name were taken by other art-related fields.

3. Jenn Wells - Younique Saleswoman

Ok, cool I guess.

4. Jennifer Foehner Wells - Sci Fi Novelist!

Sooo cool.  I was really excited when I found this one.  Obviously I will have to read one of her books some time.

5. Jennifer Wells - Paranormal Mystery Author

Another writer!

6. Jenn Wells - Etsy Quilter

Interesting...

7. Jennifer Nichole Wells - Photography and Graphic Design

Whaaat?!  Another graphic designer.

8. Dr. Jennifer Wells MD - Gastroenterologist

Alright!

9. Jennifer Wells, DVM - Veterinarian

Save the animals!

10. Jennifer Wells - Public Relations Director

Another artsy one.

I could keep going, but we'll stick with the first 3 pages for each search ("Jenn Wells" and "Jennifer Wells").  How cool is it that over half of them are involved in a creative field?!  I'm going to pretend this is very portentous and that we Jenn Wells are just born with an innate creative ability.  :P

Also, I looked up Jenn Wilson Design (because Ryan and I have a running joke about why I should or should not take his last name), and that URL is taken by a web designer AND she's pretty good.  So maybe I'm better off with my current name/URL/SEO.

Do you know what your namesakes are up to?  Have you ever tried to get a unique URL and what issues did you run into?


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