21 April 2011

Discover Your Music

Tuesday night I attended a guest presentation for one of my lectures called "Discover Your Music".  To be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to it since I had already pulled a ten hour day at work, it was cold outside and my bed was calling my name a little louder than usual.  But, I went (I have a phobia about skipping classes)... and I ended up being so glad that I did.  So glad in fact, that I though the experience was worth sharing with all of you :)

When I first walked into the classroom, I saw speakers and guitars and the first thing that crossed my mind was "Oh no, this is going to be one of those things where they make you clap and do chants and move out of your seat." - Yes I am one of those weird people who absolutely detests team building activities, ice-breakers and forced participation in general haha.

But once the program started, I was absolutely blown away with how well the speaker incorporated the theme of music to get his message across and it turned out to not at all be what I was anticipating. 

The whole presentation was built around the reality that so many people sit in jobs that they absolutely hate for the majority or entirety of their adult lives and yet never choose to leave or look for a different position elsewhere for one reason or another.  People somehow cope with terrible bosses who treat them as if they aren't human or in jobs in which they aren't happy at all and use the excuse "It pays the bills", for years and years and years - (are any of you seeing one or both of your parents in this yet?) - until it is time to retire and their unhappiness at work has spilled over into every facet of their outside life as well.

But, don't worry, this post is not going to be all doom and gloom!  The main point was that in this new generation of young adults now entering the workforce (i.e. us), we have the right to look for employment that we are passionate about, where all employees are treated with respect and where we feel that our ideas will be heard and considered.  We have a right to work in organizations that are willing to help us develop and grow to our full potential and allow us to explore other areas of interest.  We have a right to be happy in our jobs and feel as though we are making a contribution to the greater good.

Now this is not to say that if you hate your job you should walk into your bosses office first thing tomorrow morning and tell them exactly what's been on your mind for the last however many months and then storm out with no plan or idea of what you're going to do next. 

What it means is to get to know yourself, spend some serious time in reflection, figure out what you love - all of those things that make you tick - and then go after them

You may not be able to get to exactly where you want to be within 24 hours, or a week, or a month, or even a year, but set goals for yourself and start working towards them.  Start researching other organizations that you think would be a better fit for you and send them your resume/CV.  Start studying part-time towards fashion design, or cooking or photography.  Start thinking of ways you can incorporate your interests into your everyday life.  Talk to your boss about taking on more responsibility or attending that course or workshop that you think would really enhance your skills.

I think we sometimes forget about the fragility of life and the fact that we only have one.  After this year I will never be 24 again and after next year I will never be 25.  It seems so obvious, but then why does it seem that we so often slip into this mode of "just being".  This is our one shot and there isn't going to be another.

Obviously, this whole (way more deep than usual) rant of mine applies to way more than just our work.  It applies to our relationships, our overall happiness, our motivation, and the list goes on.  I think this poster sums it up perfectly:

What do you guys think...

Is this whole idea of taking action to ensure your happiness realistic?  Or do you think it's much easier said that done?

Should it be your company's job to ensure that you develop and grow to your full potential?  Or do you think that you have an obligation to make sure that it happens regardless?

Is it ever justified to stay in a job you hate for years and years, when there may be other options out there?  Or are you wasting precious time?

Hopefully this gets you thinking like it (obviously) got me thinking!

I'll be back with a much more light-hearted post tomorrow :)

19 April 2011

The Art of Making Pizza

This weekend I tried my hand at making pizza... from scratch... like dough and all - and I must say that it turned out pretty well! 

In actual fact it was more of a thin-crust pizza-inspired foccocia bread, but it was delicious, much healthier than normal pizza and would be perfect to use as a starter or finger food at a party!

Here's the recipe - and some photos just for good measure :)

Tomato, Basil, Chevre and Honey Pizza

You will need:
  • 250ml (about 1 cup) Luke warm water
  • 1 Tbs Honey
  • 1 Tbs Instant Yeast
  • 2 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 4 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 10 Baby Roma Tomatoes - Halved
  • 1/2 Cup Crumbled Chevre (or any other soft goat's cheese)
  • 10 Basil Leaves (I picked mine fresh from my herb garden :)
  • Honey to Drizzle

  • Mix the water, honey and yeast together in a bowl.  Leave the mixture for five minutes to activate the yeast and, when it's foamy, add the flour, salt and oil, mixing together to form a dough.
  • Knead the dough well, place in a clean bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave it to prove in a warm place for one hour.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl, punch it down and stretch it out with your fingers to form a large pizza base.  Place the base on a lightly floured baking tray, and top with the tomatoes and half of the chevre.
  • Bake at 250 C (480 F) for five to six minutes, until the base is golden and crisp.  Remove from the oven, sprinkle the remaining chevre and basil over the top and drizzle with honey.

Drizzle with balsamic and you have yourself one delicious pizza-inspired foccocia bread!

18 April 2011

Back On Track

It feels like its been ages since I've been able to blog!  Last week was another crazy one and between starting my new job (which is going well so far!), a huge paper being due and an exam on Thursday evening, I just couldn't squeeze in time for anything else.

I spent this weekend just trying to get back on track and into my normal routine again.  On Friday night Jurgen and I went out to dinner to celebrate the fact that I made it to the end of the week alive and then I spent Saturday morning organizing all of my binders and getting my desk back in order.  Saturday night I met up with a good friend for dinner at a new Greek restaurant in town (which was delicious!) and then Jurgen met us later on for a friendly game of bowling :)  It was wonderful being able to relax and take a little time off after having been so busy over the past week and weekend.

For anyone who has been following this blog for a decent amount of time, you've probably noticed that I tend to disappear from the blogoshere for a week or so every once in awhile, and when I finally come back, I normally write a post very similar to this one about how I had so many things due and was so busy at work and had to spend my whole week with my eyes glued to the computer
(Cue - "Hi... my name is Jenna and I'm a Procrastinator"). 

I'm starting to realize more and more that I need to break my habit of procrastinating because it's not working for me anymore, I'm just too busy to save things until the last minute.  It honestly worked pretty well for me when I was just a student, but now that full-time work is also tied in, it's impossible to save things until the night before and then hope that nothing else interferes.

That being said - from this point forward I'm really going to make an effort to be more organized and plan so that I can meet deadlines without having to pull all nighters :)  I already started by organizing all my work from this year so far into binders and also re-organizing my desk, but tomorrow I'm also going to go through my day planner and make sure that it is completely up-to-date and I'm also going to download google calendar as recommended by Ashton in this post.

I'm hoping that by getting more organized and by being determined NOT to leave things until the last minute anymore; I won't find myself in the same predicament I found myself in this week :)

What about you?

How do you make sure you stay on top of your hectic schedule???

I'm all ears for any tips and recommendations :)

08 April 2011

Weekend in Clarens Recap

Clarens was wonderful, relaxing and everything I'd hoped it would be!  It was so nice being able to spend some quality time with Jurgen and we enjoyed eating delicious food, meandering through the art galleries and spending some serious time buried in good books. 

As is always the case upon returning from a trip, I'm now super busy trying to get unpacked, catch up on class work and prepare for my new job that is officially starting on Monday.  But before I get too carried away with everything, I want to leave you with a a few of my fave snapshots and a little recap of the weekend.

A bird's eye view of Clarens

One of the many adorable cafes

The food was SO yummy!

Jurgen was happy to discover this traditional German restaurant! (he's half German)

We stumbled upon this cute little guy the first afternoon, but couldn't resist going back to visit everyday :)

Most afternoons involved hours of sipping cappuccinos and having epic chess battles

A peek inside one of the adorable shops :)

On the last day we abseiled down this monster!

At the top! - I was absolutely terrified!

Starting to get the hang of it!

Jurg was a Pro!!!

All in all it was a wonderful weekend!

Even though the weekend was amazing, I will admit that it is sorta nice being back again, getting to read up on what's been happening in all of your lives and getting back into the normal swing of things.  A huge shout out to all of the lovely ladies who guest posted for me while I was away!  I hope you all enjoyed reading their wonderful posts as much as I did :)

PS: I took so many photos of all of the different guest houses, cafes and things to do in Clarens.  I can't wait to tell you guys more about it in one of my upcoming Monday Spotlights

06 April 2011

{Guest Post} Love Is Home

I am so thrilled to have Joelle here from Where We Love Is Home today to wrap up my series of guest posts.  Joelle and I went to college together and long before I had my own blog I used to read her wonderful posts daily.  In fact, although she doesn't know it (until now), she is the one who inspired me to start my own little blog :)  I love Joelle's blog because of her genuine style and the fresh perspective she provides on anything that she writes about.  She also happens to write beautiful calligraphy and has an etsy shop which can be found here

Since this is the last day of my trip and we will be on our way home, I asked Joelle to post on some of the things she looks forward to coming home to after a long trip.  Thanks so much for guest posting Joelle!


I was so very excited when Jenna asked me to guest post for her. You see, the fact that she lives, actually lives, in South Africa absolutely fascinates me. I am a travel lover myself, and while I don’t get to visit as many faraway places as I did while in college, I still like to dream about all of the places that I have yet to see.

Regardless, I have still done my fair share of travelling in my young twenty-four years of life. Boston. Sweden. Costa Rica. France. And while I’m sure that I would be entirely happy spending each day of my life in a new place, there really is just something about home.

Hotels are nice. They’re clean {for the most part} and the beds can be comfortable. But when my vacations come to an end, there is really only one thing that I can think of.

Sure, my bed isn’t as pretty as some of the ones in the hotels I’ve found myself in. It isn’t magically made for me every morning, and the sheets aren’t as nice. But it’s mine. It smells like home and it’s comfortable and familiar.

And the same goes for my bathroom. Just as I love my own bed, as messy and imperfect as it is, there is no shower that I love more than my own. Call me weird, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

Now, one of my absolutely favorite things about travelling is getting to try all of the new and unique cuisine that the place has to offer. I’ve discovered some truly wonderful tastes that I have brought home with me. But anybody who knows me knows that I have only one true obsession in the world.

There’s a reason why there is an In-N-Out next to the Los Angeles airport.

Driving by is kind of a necessity on the way home. It doesn’t matter how tired I am, or what time it is, I have to stop and get my burger and fries. There’s just no other way. 

So, while I love getting on a plane and flying to some far off place, discovering all there is to eat and see and do in the world, nothing compares to my very own little corner of the world.

Thank you Jenna, for letting me take over your wonderful little blog today. And thank you to all of Jenna’s amazing readers, for letting me ramble on. You’re all fabulous.


05 April 2011

{Guest Post} Packing Essentials

Today I'm excited to have Michelle here from A Tale of a Thousand Cities posting on five essential packing tips that will come in handy regardless of whether you're going on a weekend road trip to the middle of nowhere or jetting off to Europe for a couple of weeks.  I love reading Michelle's blog because it's both informative and hilarious and never fails to have me doubled over in laughter.  She's extremely well travelled and it's so fun reading about, and learning from, her adventures.

Without further adieu, here are her essential packing tips:

Since Jenna’s off to a cute little town called Clarence with her boyfriend, she asked me if I’d like to guest post on her blog, which of course, I was more than happy to do. Her road trip with Jurgen inspired me to write a post on packing essentials, which I always find to be the most challenging part of any trip.

I used to be the worst packer in the world. I mean, if I were going on a 3-day hiking excursion, I would pack ten pairs of heels and some dresses in case I was asked out on a hot date or something. Also, I would have to pack my resource books, and by the time I throw my first aid kit into my backpack, I realized that I haven’t even packed my essentials like proper boots and water. As a result, my over packing usually leads to some poor guy offering to carry all my bags for me.

Luckily, after traveling so much within the past few years, I’ve been able to master the art of packing. When I visit a friend in another city, they’d look at my tiny suitcase and go, “wow, that’s it?”

Here are my 5 sure-fire tips to conquer any of your packing dilemmas:

  1. Start small. If you’re only packing for a weekend, a small suitcase or over-sized tote bag is more than enough. Even for yearly trips, a large suitcase will suffice. Once you’ve set your limit, you’ll be less likely to pack unnecessary items.

  1. Roll your clothes. It takes up less space in your bag, is less prone to wrinkling, and you can put your valuables within your clothes to protect it.

  1. Buy small travel bottles so you don’t have to bring full-sized bottles of shampoo or soap. Large bottles are also quite heavy, so this should reduce your weight significantly.

  1. Bring comfortable clothing only. You may love your skin tight sequined mini dress, but chances are, after traveling for a bit, all you want to wear are your shorts and a tank top.

  1. Leave some extra space in your luggage. There’s no doubt that you’ll be bringing a few souvenirs back!

My major issue has always been to over pack clothing. One of the things I’ve found comforting is that other travelers could care less what you’re wearing. And with romantic weekend trips with the boy/girl, they find you attractive no matter what - that’s why you’re dating them right? (And besides…they prefer you sans clothing anyway).

On a weekend beach excursion I once took with an ex-boyfriend, I remember all my nice clothing being in the wash. I ended up wearing a simple white t-shirt and when he came to pick me up, he remained strangely silent when he first saw me.

Of course, I began to wonder if I should’ve put on something sexier, or possibly styled my hair a nicer way, or put on more perfume, or…

Later that day over lunch, he looks at me and tells me,

“You’re so gorgeous.
You always are,
but when I saw you this morning,
you literally took my breath away.”

Ahh, au naturel. I guess that’s still the way to win a man’s heart!

04 April 2011

{Guest Post} Finding Balance

I was so happy when Ashton from Soulshine agreed to do a guest post for me while I was away.  Ashton is someone who I consider to be one of my bloggy best friends and since we are both working and studying, we often empathize with one another on the craziness of life as a grad school student.  Since Ashton has so much on her plate, but still seems to find time to squeeze in a good bit of fun, I asked her to write a post on how she keeps the balance between work and play. 

Here is what she came up with:

Hello, y'all! It's Ashton from Soulshine.  I was very excited when Jenna asked me to guest blog for her, and I was honored to do so.  She and I share stories about grad school and offer each other wonderful words of encouragement.

I am a second-year law student at the Charleston School of Law.  Law school is hard enough by itself, now try going to school in Charleston, SC, where there is always something going on, sights to see, and weather that is near perfect 8-9 months out of year.  Then, let's add the roles of SBA Vice-President and Law Review Marketing Editor on top of my regular schoolwork.  I am a busy gal.  Don't forget I am a twenty-something single girl who wants to have fun with friends and enjoy life.  The stresses of life and law school wear on me and I have to take a step back from everything.  I work hard, but I play just as hard.

The secret to a happy life is being able to find balance between work/school and play.

Here are my five tips on finding balance in your life:

1. Organization, Organization, Organization.  I cannot stress how important organization is.  I have told myself that if the whole law thing doesn't work out for me, then I will be a jam-up personal assistant.  I use both a "hard" planner and a google calendar to make sure I know whether I am coming or going.  Effective organization and planning can give you an abundance of spare time, if you stick to that plan.  Make realistic "To Do" list for yourself each day in the hopes that you can mark everything off.  It will give you more self-gratification.

Color-coded Google Calendar

 2. Know Your Limits.  Know your tipping point on stress, so you can prevent the inevitable breakdown that is on the horizon.  Because believe me, it will come, if you don't step away and take a break.  Sometimes you might have to push your limits, but that just means you deserve an even bigger reward at the end.  I had to push my limits this past week.  I spent close to 80 hours in the lawbrary/at school.  So Friday, I didn't step one foot on campus.  I had to take a day off.

3. Have an awesome group of friends.  Have friends that understand you might not be able to do everything all the time.  You have commitments with school or work, and you won't be able to attend every happy hour or get-together.  Have friends that de-stress your life rather than add stress to it.  Basically as I see it, surround yourself with friends that are guaranteed to make you life until your abs hurt.  Most of my friends in Charleston are fellow law students.  We have a rule to not talk about law school when we hang out.  This is not easy, but we try.  It is also good to have friends that you don't see everyday and who you will not have to talk about school/work.  My other close group of friends is a combination of friends from high school and college.  When I am with them, law school never comes up.


4. Take time for yourself.  Everyone needs a little "me" time.  Stay in and have a night to yourself.  Go somewhere by yourself, whether it is shopping or taking a run.  Do whatever you want to do.  I think of this time as a time for me to recharge.  I did a post recently on where I go to recharge {here}.  My "me" time is when I think through my "life problems" and try to get some clarity.

5. Have an outlet.  I blog, obviously.  I also workout when I can make time for the gym.  Yoga is my favorite.  Blogging lets me be creative and read/write things that are not related to the law.  Do something that is rewarding to you.

If you do these five things, you will find a balance in your life.  It might not be a fifty-fifty balance, but you will find out what works for you.


03 April 2011

{Guest Post} Favorite Weekend Getaway

I was so excited when {av} over at Long Distance Loving agreed to do a guest post for me while I was away!  Long Distance Loving was one of the first blogs that I ever started reading and I followed it daily even before I created a blog of my own. As the title suggests, {av} provides advice on how how to love from afar and posts on everything from family to friends to fashion.  She is one of those bloggers who I feel like I've known forever and I feel like we have a lot in common since Jurgen and I were also in a long distance relationship for a couple of years.  Make sure to hop on over to her blog for more on her experiences in learning to love from afar!

Hi! My name is {av} and I'm so happy to be filling in while Jenna is enjoying some time away! You can normally find me in my corner of the blogosphere at {long distance loving}. Jenna suggested I share some snapshots from one of our favorite quick trips since she's on a weekend getaway right now! 

When {cv} and I were long distance, I happily bore the lion's share of the traveling. My school and work schedule was much more flexible, so it worked out for us. During our three years apart, we spent a good deal of the weekends we had together in North Carolina--where {cv} lived. His home in Charlotte was the launching point for day trips to other parts of that beautiful state.

One of our favorite weekend getaways was spent at The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. It wasn't a terribly busy trip, but with the hours {cv} worked, we were happy to have the down time admiring the scenery. We roamed the grounds of the historic inn, brunched in downtown Asheville, and watched an unforgettable sunset over the Smoky Mountains. 

Weekend getaways like this one always provided a fabulous opportunity for us to enjoy each other outside of the confines of the everyday grind. I think it's essential in a long distance relationship to travel together--you learn so much about the other person and you can pretend {for just a little bit} that the weekend will last forever ;)

I can't thank Jenna enough for having me here at A Home Away From Home! I always love to read about her South African adventures! Make sure to stop by {long distance loving} to get a peek at how I have learned to love from afar! Happy weekend! xoxo {av}

02 April 2011

{Guest Post} Road Trip Playlist

I'm so excited to have Christine here from Bun & Borough providing us with the perfect Road Trip Playlist.  Christine's blog has long been one of my favorites and I love her upbeat outlook on life and reading all about her adventures as a recent college grad.  She posts on everything from Food to Fashion to Running and her posts never fail to provide me with a healthy dose of inspiration.
Thanks so much for this incredible playlist Christine!
Hi guys! Christine here from bun&borough to deliver an AWESOME and the ULTIMATE road trip playlist for Jenna! Jenna is so so sweet, and is one of my favorite blog ladies. How cool are road trips? Not only do I love traveling, but I love the actual traveling it takes to get to wherever you're going (yes I am one of those crazy weirdo people who look forward to bus rides and 10+ hour plane rides!). It's the anticipation that makes the ride so exciting, and the music you listen to along the way is definitely a part of getting you pumped up! So let's get at it... introducing the Road Trip Playlist.

1) Teenage Dream :: Katy Perry | Such a good song, no? I'm 23, but can still relate to the butterflies feeling! Also, the music video is all about a road trip. Perfect!
2) Live Like We're Dying :: Kris Allen | We only live once! Make every moment count for something! Even on the road!
3) Back Where I Come From :: Kenny Chesney | LOVE KENNY. For all of you country fans out there, and for everyone who has rediscovered their roots and their hometowns. 
4) Someday :: Rob Thomas | This one's underestimated. It's deep.
5) Shark In The Water :: VV Brown | What a feel-good song!
6) Airplanes :: B.o.B | Reminds me of driving down to Cape Cod with my college friends to spend a week at the beach having a blast!
7) Hold My Hand :: Hootie and the Blowfish | A spring and summer favorite.
8) Lookin' For a Good Time :: Lady Antebellum | A good sing-a-long song.
9) The Show Goes On :: Lupe Fiasco | My newest pregame pick!
10) Feels Like Today :: Rascal Flatts | This one just makes me so happy and all smiley. 

Thanks for having me guest post, Jenna!

01 April 2011

Friday's Fancies #3

I'm linking up again with {av} at Long Distance Loving for her weekly link-up Friday's Fancies!  For those of you who don't know, Friday's Fancies is a chance to dream up whatever outfit you'd like to be wearing on a Friday night if money were not an option.

Since Jurgen and I are going away this weekend on a relaxing road trip to Clarens, I plan on spending most of my time bunkering down with a good book at a cute little cafe, people watching and drinking delicious cappuccinos.  I created a look this week with this image in mind and went with something cute, but still comfortable that would be perfect for a day of rest and relaxation :)

While I'm gone I've lined up some amazing guest posts from some of my favorite bloggers!  I can't wait to share their posts with you, I know you're going to love them!  Make sure to hop on over to their blogs and show them some bloggy love :)