Wednesday, September 27, 2017

This Is Us: S2 E1 Recap

Last night, I walked to Rachel's house around 8 o'clock.

The evening's itinerary included taking a dip in her new hot tub and then drying off in time to watch the season premiere of This Is Us.

Naturally, once we opened a bottle of wine and got to chatting, we lost track of time and decided to skip the show entirely.

And let me tell you, having just finished watching last night's episode, I am very glad I watched this one solo.


We are talking red face, heart hurting, tears streaming down my face sobs.

Shall we recap the journey?

Spoilers ahead.

I believe tears first welled up in my eyes when Jack and Rebecca picked the kids up from their sleepover and had to discuss *the break* with them.

Why did they choose a diner for this discussion? We'll probably never know. But if I was one of the Pearson triplets, I'd likely never be able to enjoy greasy, griddle food again.

After that difficult scene, the show started to steer away from the gut-wrenching stuff and more into everyday stresses and annoyances.

Toby getting frustrated with Kate and Kevin's obnoxious codependency (Who could blame him??? Toby is the third wheel in that relationship for sure).

Sweet, perfect Randall straight-up pressuring Beth into adopting a third child (and yet, remaining totally adorable and likable despite this because he is Randall Pearson, and he is lovely).

Sophie having to miss her flight for Kevin's birthday. Snooze. Boring. I'm so uninvested in that relationship.

Kate skipping her audition because she is scared.

Miguel setting up the sofa couch for Jack.

All pretty standard for the Pearson family.

I felt my chest getting tight a few times here and there, but I was mostly keeping my cool.

"Ha. Just wait," I imagine Dan Fogelman grinning, as he waited for viewers to experience the total sob fest he had created.

So then, Beth (who is as cool, confident, and sharp as they come) takes Randall to a park and says if they're going to do this adoption thing, they're going big. She says they should take in an older child who no one wants.


After that? We see Rebecca knock on Miguel's door. She has come to speak to Jack, to tell him that he should come home. She says things like "this isn't us" and talks about how they aren't quitters. They will get through this.

Jack tells Rebecca she doesn't know him.

He *does* have a drinking problem.




"I have to deal with this on my own," he essentially tells Rebecca, gently shutting the door as viewer hearts' explode.

The screen goes black. Followed by more knocks.

Rebecca isn't going to let him go this alone! She says he is her husband, and she is his wife, and they will deal with his problem together. She even tells Jack to think about where they will be in a few months' time and how this will all seem so far behind them.

"Whew! It's all going to be fine," naive viewers like me surely start to think, breathing sighs of relief. "Rebecca Pearson has got this under control."

Flash forward a few months in time.

Randall (and a girlfriend? She's cute! Go Randall!) are crying on a sofa. Kate is clutching a dog and crying beside them. Kevin is off making out with Sophie, oblivious to all of this because he is the worst.

We see beautiful Mandy Moore, all decked out in her Pittsburgh Steelers gear, driving the Jeep down a darkened street. It's eerily similar to how we have just seen her, except instead of Jack in the passenger seat, there is a zip-top bag of his things, including his wedding ring and wallet.

WHAT IN THE WHAT!!!!!!!!!!

My heart has started to pound at this point. Thump, thump thump. The tears have sprung forth from my eyes.

But This Is Us isn't done yet. Oh no.

Because then we see the Pearson's house completely burned down to the frames with caution tape everywhere!!!!!!!!!!!

Mandy Moore screams and sobs.

"Noooooooo!!!" I sob, equally as hard, into my fur throw pillow, making our dogs start to whine and grow anxious.

Adam is out for a friend's birthday. I text him that I just need to hug him.

He knows I am watching This Is Us, and responds that he loves me. Because he knows exactly what I need to hear after Milo and Mandy tear my heart out every week.

Doesn't he look like Jack Pearson? Am I just trying to make "fetch" happen?


As usual, This Is Us has totally outdone themselves.

I now need to pour myself a glass of chardonnay and apply bags of frozen vegetables to my swollen face.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Songs That Make Me *Feel*

You know how when certain songs come on, you just feel them? Maybe you imagine yourself somewhere (like I often do), or maybe it's just an indescribable mood that washes over you.

Music is powerful, dude.

Here are some of the songs that do that for me. 

"Hall of Fame" by The Script featuring
Favorite Line: 
the piano opening, of course
Feels: Inspired and unstoppable. While listening to this tune, I am transported to a bookshop in New York City where I'm signing books for my hoards of fans. Sometimes, I simply daydream about walking through a busy airport en route to the next stop on my book tour.
Relatable Photo (backstory: this was taken during a night of celebrating after I *thought* I had landed a literary agent; "revisions with an eye to representation" does not always have a happy ending):

"Let's Dance" by David Bowie
Favorite Line: And if you say run, I'll run with you
Feels: Excited and a little sassy. I like imagining this coming over the speakers at the grocery store and having the associates all burst into a flash mob.
Relatable Photo:

"West Coast" by Coconut Records
Favorite Line: I love you, Standin' all alone in a black coat
Feels: Angsty and dramatic in the best possible ways. I have no actual experience with a lover leaving me for the West Coast, but gosh darn it, that doesn't stop me from getting the chills. I just love the image of a woman standing at the entrance to airport security, wearing the saddest, loveliest black coat, as her soulmate tosses a backpack over his shoulder and says farewell. It's heartbreaking and beautiful.
Relatable Photo:

"Miracles Happen" by Myra
Favorite Line:
All things come with a little time, when you believe
Feels: SO DARN HAPPY. If you're an early 2000s gal, you had better remember that this is the song that started to play when Mia Thermopolis received her first kiss from Michael Moscovitz. I turn it on whenever something totally epic has happened. This song makes me swooon.
Relatable Photo (the picture taken immediately after Adam and I got engaged; I was shaking I was so ecstatic):

"Sandra's Theme" from the Big Fish soundtrack
Favorite Line:
This song is instrumental, and that first lift in the notes? Gah. Too. Much. This plays during the iconic Big Fish circus scene, when Edward spots Sandra for the first time and time literally stops (popcorn floating in the air and all)
Feels: This song makes me remember how it felt to first fall in love with Adam. It has a very whimsical, magical vibe, and it makes me cry sometimes.
Relatable Photo (I think this was taken in the back of a taxi cab because when you're newly in love, you just don't care where you snap your selfies; notice we are wearing our seat belts because #safetyfirst):

"Let It Be" by The Beatles
Favorite Line:
For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see, there will be an answer, let it be
Feels: This song makes me think of my parents and how they always manage to make everything better. It's a comforting, hopeful song for me, and so, so, beautiful.
Relatable Photo:

"Tiny Dancer" by Elton John
Favorite Line:
Count the headlights on the highway, lay me down in sheets of linen, you had a busy day today
Feels: Adventurous, wanderlust, spontaneous, romantic. I love when this song comes on at the bar toward the end of the night, when everything is rose-colored and a bit fuzzy. I often make Adam turn this on while we're cooking dinner and demand he dances with me.
Relatable Photo: 

Monday, September 25, 2017

A List of Everything I Accomplished Today

1. I packed a well-balanced lunch before heading off to work, which included yogurt, grapes, a turkey sandwich, a garden-fresh tomato, and Quaker "Popped" Rice Snacks (they were Creamy Ranch flavor).

2. I drank 88 ounces of water. And I continue to drink as I write this post.

3. We officially reserved our wedding photographer, and she is just wonderful.

4. Regarding point three, I made my credit card go, "Dude, settle down. It's 2 o'clock on a Monday afternoon."

5. I WORKED OUT DURING THE LUNCH HOUR! This was a huge win for me!!! With my brother's wedding in a mere 12 days, and wedding dress shopping in 26, I finally found the motivation I needed to get back to the gym. The Universe rewarded me by having Four Weddings playing on TLC.

6. I made two return stops after work: the first at Francesca's Collections and the second at Target.

7. I spent all of the money I was refunded (and then some) at Ulta. Purchases included Saint Tropez Tanning Mousse for aforementioned brother's wedding.

8. I finally, finally, FINALLY got a new set of tires following a phone call with my mom that ended with something to the effect of "hope you don't blow a tire on the highway." Panic ensued. Adam called the tire place and scored me a deal. The Corolla and I are much happier.

9. My credit card was further enraged.

10. So I went home and bought a new pair of Pumas. Because I got blisters today from my two-year-old gym shoes.

11. My credit card audibly sighed.

12. I caught a photo of Clementine sitting in the cutest position ever. She's seriously so adorable.

13. I made myself a mug of tea and read AKR's Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life in a rose-and-sandalwood-scented bubble bath.

14. I bring library books into the bathtub even though my parents always told me not to.

15. Adam hung up the piece of art his sister made us for our engagement. I think it looks spectacular.

16. I walked almost 15,000 steps today. Proof of a day well-lived.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Clementine Gets a Manicure

This morning, I woke up to my alarm at 8 o'clock sharp.

(I snoozed until 8:08.)

I threw on a t-shirt, yoga pants, and a light jacket. I let Gus and Clementine outside, fed them their breakfast, and then slid Clem into her pink "sports bra" (more conventionally known as a harness) before snapping on her leash.

We were off to the vet for a nail trim.

The short walk to the vet was positively glorious. There was an unusual chill in the air for early August, and the sun was shining.

I let Clem walk some of the way, but carried her for the majority of the walk.

See the below video for a sense of how slow Clem moves. If you put her up against a molasses spill in a race, my money would be on the molasses.

We arrived at our appointment time of 8:40 and were ushered into an examination room. This was our first visit to this particular vet, as we just recently moved neighborhoods, and all of the employees ooh'd and awed over Clem appropriately.

Call me bias, but I think she's just about the cutest thing in the world.

I sat down on the bench in the examination room, and held Clem against my chest. She was starting to get nervous and stress shedding.

"You're just getting a manicure. We won't be here long," I told her (even though she's deaf as can be), as a cat screeched down the hall and some dog named Carly received encouragement in the room next door.

Yaaaaayyyyy Carly! her owners would exclaim after every, single part of her exam.

Five minutes turned into ten. And ten turned into fifteen.

Clem was really beginning to panic now. And lose most of her fur coat on my poorly chosen black yoga pants.
When the twenty-five minute mark hit, I wondered if they had forgotten us.

Clem's heart was pounding, and she was beginning to pant.

I felt so awful for her.

"Okay, we've got Clementine next," I heard someone say out in the hall.

"It's almost our time!" I reported to Clem.

Finally, after waiting THIRTY MINUTES, the vet techs knocked at our door and carried Clem to the examination table.

"She's really good during nail trims," I bragged. "She's as mellow as can be."

So naturally, for the first time ever, Clem was a wild woman. She was a straight-up maniac.

She thrashed and wiggled and squirmed.

She glared at me with widened, accusatory eyes that said, I am never trusting you again. You are the worst. I hate you.

It was a very stressful three to five minutes.

Finally though, the incredibly patient techs finished up with Clem, and the drama was over.

Until I went to the checkout desk and realized this new vet of ours charges twice as much as our old one.


I carried Clem the entire way home and fed her chicken jerky. I even went to Kroger and bought a new bag of her favorite greasy dog food in my quest for forgiveness.

But judging by the fact that she still won't look at me, it seems I've got a long way to go.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Worst Supper of All Time.

My eyes are burning. My ego is hurt. And the chicken is burnt.

This is what happens when you choose the "Conventional Roast" option on your oven as opposed to your standard "Bake."

Oh, how clever I felt pressing that special button!

I'm roasting a chicken. How perfect! I thought. Plus, this feature comes with an animated fan icon. Very fun.

I was nothing but confident as I slid that chicken into the preheated oven. 

Off I went to my writer's nook, smug as can be.

Twenty minutes later, Adam arrived home from work.

"Dinner is in the oven!" I announced triumphantly. "And I watered the tomatoes."

No praise or appreciation was given.

Instead, alarm was washing over Adam's face. 

"What's burning?" he asked, his nose prickling before rushing into the kitchen, which had begun to fill with smoke. 

He pulled open the oven door and whoooosh! Smoke everywhere!


My eyes were burning and tears were streaming down my face. The smoke alarm was going off. The dogs where whining and looking at us with eyes that said, "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO US???"

And despite the fact that the kitchen had turned into Jenna's Inferno, the chicken was still not done.

So after correcting the baking setting, that poor guy had to go right back inside the oven. And so did the croutons for the panzanella salad.

Needless to say, neither fared well. 

Each time I opened the oven door to check on them, MORE SMOKE, MORE BURNING EYES, MORE HORRIBLE BEEPING FROM THE SMOKE ALARM. I opened all of the windows (our poor neighbors!). I danced around the kitchen with a broom to shoo the smoke away. It was quite the workout. 

"This is the worst supper of all time," I declared.

By the time we plated our meal, things actually didn't look so bad. 

I mean, look at the dogs—they clearly thought the food was still worthy of begging. 

Luckily, this tale has a happy ending as Lowe's delivered a new gas range earlier this afternoon, which we truly hope will be less finicky than the electric one we inherited with our new home.

Now we just need a gas line installed.

Until then, no more "Conventional Roasting" for me. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Bottle of Hope

I absolutely love creating my resolutions for the new year.

I feel like a big bottle of hope and optimism on January 1st.

Absolutely anything and everything feels possible, and there's something so exciting about a clean slate.

I wrote all of my goals down in the front of my 2017 planner. I wanted them in an easily accessible place that I could reference whenever I needed a little reminder.

Speaking of planners, I take my annual agenda seriously. This year, I decided upon one from Rifle Paper Co. Isn't it lovely?

Without further adieu, I present to you, Jenna's 2017 New Year's Resolutions!

1. Spend way less time on social media. Blog instead. I can't believe how instinctively my fingertips navigate to the Facebook and Instagram apps on my phone. I know I post way too often, and I can't help but wonder, "Why?" I want my sharing to be more meaningful in the new year.

2. Be more thoughtful. Send birthday cards. Bring in treats more regularly for my coworkers. Be a better listener. Those sorts of things.

3. Be less gossipy. I'm such a nosy Nellie, and I need to mind my own business.

4. Focus on myself. Stop comparing my life to others'. This one connects with the first point (and let's be real, the third) on this list. Everyone is different and approaches life's milestones at various times. I need to remind myself of that and just concentrate on my own life.

5. Learn to French braid. Random, I know, but this is something I've been wanting to learn for quite some time!

6. Attend weekly mass.

7. Slow down. Impatient, painfully punctual, driven. These qualities of mine all make me rush through my days. I need to realize that it's okay if I arrive to my desk at 7:10 instead of 7am sharp, and that I can take life a little more slowly.

Happy 2017, one and all! I hope your year ahead is just fantastic!