30 going on 30

30! What on earth. Not sure how three decades have passed since I made my entrance into the world, but I feel nothing but blessed for all I’ve been given and experienced. Even considering the tough times…and the really low times…I still don’t know how I could be any luckier.

photo(22)Birthdays are a good time to pause–to mentally tread water for a few minutes–to keep the years from whizzing by unnoticed.

wineBecause I love birthdays, and I love lists, I decided they should join forces to recognize 30 important pieces of wisdom I’ve accumulated in my ripe old age. These are mine, no need to comply. Just some observations on stuff that helped me get to today.
photo1. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. This pertains to everything from weight lifting to writing thank you notes.
2. Admit when you’re wrong. Even if it makes you feel like a turkey.
3. Always make time to let the people you love know how much they mean to you.
4. Give money to homeless people, kids at lemonade stands and school fundraisers. Be the good guy.
5. Tell people when they’ve inspired you with lollipop moments.
IMG_29296. Never underestimate the value of downtime. Life’s busy. Take some chill pills.
7. Take care of your health. Life would be far less enjoyable without a strong, healthy body.
8. Accept that as years go by, friends will enter and exit a range of chapters in life. You won’t always relate the same ways, but if there’s love and respect, the relationship can survive more than you’d expect.
9. Know when to be there for others. Don’t wait to be invited, just show up. Give hugs. You’ll figure out what to say.
10. Don’t let TV be the center of your world.
DSC0117911. Always lock your car doors.
12. Learn CPR.
13. If you aren’t in a position to donate money to charity, donate your time, your blood or your hair…
14. Don’t lie, cheat or steal unless your life depends on it, and/or you’re completely willing to be caught.
15. Pick your battles. Yes, always.
D042016. Try to shrug off the ‘shoulds.’ Self awareness is good, self-imposed guilt is not.
17. Adopt pets, don’t buy them.
18. Rock the vote.
19. Money doesn’t buy happiness, it buys stability and security. So, keep a savings account to fall back on and do not sneak funds from it.
20. It’s always easier to be nice. If you don’t believe me, imagine watching a video of yourself the next time you’re tempted to mouth off or be an ass. It’d be fantastically embarrassing.
IMG_174221. Living in a college dorm for nine months provides more life training in negotiation skills, patience, compromise and moderation than nine years of working in an office can. I think adults should all have to live in dorms for a few weeks each year as a refresher.
22. There will be times that suck and it seems impossible to move forward. But every day one teeny tiny iota of improvement will rear its head. And one day, it’ll be ok again. Let yourself feel bad when things are bad, but always have faith that they’ll be good again.
23. Don’t smoke cigarettes, that’s gross. But wear sunscreen, that’s cool.
24. Going camping every so often won’t hurt you.
25. Accept compliments wholeheartedly.
DSC_090926. Don’t trust females who don’t have close girlfriends. That only happens as a result of unpleasant tendencies.
27. If you have to question whether you should do something–whether it’s an outfit or a business deal–it’s probably not the right option. Trust your instincts and make decisions with the information you’re given, not what might occur.
28. Never question eating dessert, even if it means skipping dinner.
29. Balancing the art of being brave and kind is rarely easy but always important.
30. Enjoy the small things; it’s all relative.

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Kids don’t even know what film is.

Yesterday I saw a commercial for Sprint that stated, among other things, that more photos are taken on iPhones everyday than on any other camera. I don’t have a clue how this statistic was substantiated, and sort of feel bad that it’s anyone’s job to figure that out.

I picture a bunch of camera researchers (you know that job exists) sitting around a conference room in glasses and white lab coats reviewing pages and pages of data. Desperation engulfs the room as the team fails to draw any factual conclusions. Then quietly, one brave soul simply shrugs and meekly whispers, “Come on you guys, it’s obvious. No one uses their regular cameras anymore. Kids don’t even know what film is.”

It’s a cultural pandemic and I LOVE it.

If you’d told me back in high school that within a decade my cell would fit in my pocket and take better digital photos than anything I’d find at Best Buy, I would not have believed you. But behold, the smartphone!

Anyway.

I take photos obsessively, and the world keeps giving me more ways to forcefully share them with others who may or may not want to see them. So whose fault is it, really? Those filters on Instagram aren’t going to use themselves, for crying out loud. We’ve been subliminally coerced into hyper-documenting our lives under the guise of an artistic pursuit.

I love documenting the little things that make life entertaining and unique. I’m home sick today and started sorting through the  hundreds of photos on my iPhone. I came across some great memories and hysterical moments I’d forgotten about.

Here’s a selection of what I found today:

1. Tomorrow is Michelle’s birthday. I sent her flowers. The florist decided to change my name from ‘Jess’ to ‘Jeff’ on the card, and this photo was how she told me.

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2. This text conversation that occurred after a recent cross-country flight. I’m creepy, I know that. But still.

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3. On Cinco de Mayo I ran into the Dos Equis man at the grocery store.

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4. Facetime brings the iPhone’s camera goodness to new heights. Like, for instance, when you and your friend force your dogs to interact while thousands of miles apart, because that’s normal.

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5. The moment when we understood we’d made a poor choice in restaurants, because we were the only two people in a completely empty dining room.

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6. Neighborhood lemonade stands that my husband insists we support.

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7. Realizing we may have over prepared for a three-night camping trip because no people could fit in the vehicle.

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8. The all-knowing wisdom of Words with Friends #yankeessuck

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9. The art of healthy snacking.

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10. Coffee predators.

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11. Looking back while moving forward.

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12. Dogs who offer moral and physical support.

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13. Blood donation entertainment and distraction.

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Mr. Forbes

PS: I met** Steve Forbes a week ago.

**invited myself to an event and snuck into the VIP area to meet Steve and give him a fan letter

I’m a huge fan of this guy, and he couldn’t have been any nicer. He even maintained a smile amidst my crazed stammering about his influence on journalism and my career. I told him I was honored to have been published on his sites and we got to chat for a few minutes before his handler whisked him away.

reflections on breaking and entering

Let me walk you through a highlight of my recent trip to Boston, that happened shortly after my arrival.

I landed around 6:30 p.m. and took a cab to my best friend’s apartment, a converted house in Medford. Michelle and her room mates weren’t going to be home when I arrived, so she left her keys hidden under a trashcan for me to use when I arrived. I found the keys right away and entered the main foyer of the house, only to realize there were no numbers on any of the apartment doors…

I knew she lived in apartment # 3, which I deduced would be the door on the third floor. The only issue was that a small landing made it difficult to determine which level was, in fact, the third floor. Feeling optimistic, I schlepped my suitcase up three flights and stopped outside the door. I unlocked the door and stepped inside.

Immediately, something seemed a little off. I knew she lived with three other girls who she’d only recently met, but the place I’d walked into did not seem like a place where four females would reside. There was a lot of fancy abstract art on the walls, and it reeked of curry. This isn’t to say young ladies can’t dig some eclectic decorations and foreign cuisine, but my gut told me this was the wrong place. I then proceeded to panic, freeze and then dart back out the door with my luggage, slamming the door behind me.

Panting from the heat and the sinking suspicion that I was in the wrong place, I was relieved when I noticed another tenant leaving the apartment on the first floor. I called out to ask her which was apartment # 3, and she told me I needed to go up one more flight from where I was standing. Yeah – that’s right – I had just unlocked and wandered into a complete stranger’s home.

Wide-eyed and completely mortified, I climbed another flight of stairs and entered what I now knew was the correct place.

When Michelle and her room mates got home later that evening, they were delighted to learn that I had accidentally broken into their neighbor’s home. My faux paus led to the discovery that all the apartments in the building use the same master key, which is only slightly ridiculous. At any rate, it made for a good story, and Michelle now knows to always deadbolt her door.

 

fun. x 3

I was lucky enough to see fun. perform three times on their current tour. In Tucson, Mesa and Flagstaff. The shows were as different as can be, but each was amazing.

In Tucson, they preformed at a standing-room-only venue to a small crowd.

The Mesa show was at a large performing arts venue.

And the Flagstaff one was at a huge outdoor amphitheater under the stars.

Here’s a snippet:

Adult Foam Party

I think anyone that went to college between 1995 and 2005 is familiar with the infamous foam party. To those falling outside those years, this phenomena can be explained as a cheap night club filling it’s entire capacity with foam for young people to dance around in (and hopefully not die), while wearing bathing suits and moving awkwardly to house music.

Where the foam came from? No idea. Magical foam machines I assume.

I went to one such party when I was 20 at a classy joint called Club Rio in Tempe. And despite feeling slightly awesome for doing something the cool kids were doing, I was mostly terrified and fighting for breath the entire time. Girls Gone Wild was filming in the parking lot if that gives any indication of the type of place I was at or the caliber of university I attended…

I had flashbacks that night to when I was seven years old and fire fighters came to my summer camp to dispense a bunch of foam for campers to play in. I got it in my eyes. Cried. Brother laughed hysterically at me and still feels remorse.

Flash forward almost a decade and I’m ready to tackle it again. Only this time it’ll be part of a 5k race with mud and army-like obstacles. I’m completely terrified but also pretty excited. Assuming I exit unscathed, I’ll post a follow-up next week. Until then, feast your eyes on the course and details here.

shutterbug

Ever pretend to be a professional photographer?

Me neither. Until today.

The challenge? Family portraits.

Katie dear – you’re an amazing friend and inspiration. I love your family. Thanks for trusting Lisa and me to attempt this, it was fun 😉