the side effects of being over-caffeinated

How do you know when you have a crush on someone? Sometimes it’s hard for me to gauge my emotions. (don’t worry; my therapist says that being aware is a big, good step forward. cool.) Ridiculous or no, though, I have a hard time with things that aren’t logical. If it doesn’t make sense, I’m going to struggle; I can promise you that. I know what you’re all thinking “But Jenna, how do you even live in a world where bologna is spelled “b-o-l-o-g-n-a” with an attitude like that?” I’ll tell you how. I stopped eating meat. Take that, inconsistencies!*

Feelings do not make sense. The only consistent thing about them is that they are always changing. (This is where my most favorite English Professor would say “…mutability” in this slow, almost creepy way to ingrain in our minds the inevitability of change and its significant impact on all good literature, but none of you were there, so it’s not funny to you like it is me–why am I still writing about this?!) Where were we? Right, FEELINGS. They are the worst. So in working with something so impossibly challenging, I of course see a personal challenge. How do you master feelings? You create a framework for them to function within, then you pretend like they naturally make sense (and ignore the fact that they only make sense because you’ve now manipulated the system and shaped everything to your liking).

I realize that the only convincing I’ve done so far is to assure you that I am indeed a hot mess, mentally (and otherwise if we’re being real, but come on you guys we can’t follow every rabbit trail), so now let me attempt to convince us that feelings can be logical.

A quick poll of some people I know ( I mean, people on the streets because we’re all about objectivity here)** revealed that there are a few consistencies present in the emergence of a developing “crush”. (At this point I would like to be commended for avoiding the rabbit trail of discussion regarding why “being minimally attracted to without pressure or excessive expectation of someone” is referred to as having a “crush on someone”. I want to OED this business so bad, but I won’t. For your sake, and actually more so because I don’t think I have access to that database anymore and because I don’t want to put you to sleep with my fondness of semantics.) (LONGEST PARENTHETICAL ASIDES EVER; I FEEL SO DICKENSIAN RIGHT NOW) Apparently one begins the process of recognizing one is beginning the process of “crushing” by noting the evidence of the following things:

1. You become a stalker (albeit a socially accepted one).
Two words. Social. Media. It starts simply enough, “Oh, I’ll just scroll through their twitter feed.” You think it’s innocent enough; you feel like you’re just getting a feel for their sense of humor, but before you know it you’re pages deep and you’ve decided you know with complete accuracy their driving motivations, (potential) favorite Girl Scout cookie type, and (theoretically) who they voted for 2 elections ago. This is the point where you should exercise restraint. But you don’t, not if you’re crushing. No, no, if you’re crushing, this is the part where you start clicking on @replies and reading complete conversations between PEOPLE YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW. This is how you learn that they love Garth Brooks or went to the Bahamas last year or have 4 siblings and are pseudo-dating a girl named Carla. This can be a turning point for you because these things, that you’re not even supposed to know yet, will either solidify your commitment to stalk or end your PI days before they ever stand a chance. Should you choose to continue down this slippery slope, you move towards the next apparent signifier.

2. You become a good stalker (and probably not as socially acceptable as you are with stage one).
You’ve decided that their weird infatuations and *surely* innocent connections with all the other people they talk to are not a threat, so now you’re safe to move on to, let’s say, Instagram. Apparently being really curious about what they’re seeing and doing is important to you if you have a crush on someone. Sometimes it gets weird here, because as I discovered (in that completely objective poll I mentioned earlier) good media stalking goes hand in hand with real-life-someone-could-probably-press-charges-against-you stalking. One minute you’re scrolling through scores of sunsets, the next you’re accidentally cooing over a picture you found (probably by perusing their “tagged pictures”) of them giving butterfly kisses to a kitten they saved from the top of an oak tree and the next minute you’re accidentally ‘heart-ing’ a photo of them at a coffee shop that you’re going to just-so-happen to appear at 20 minutes later, and friends, that’s the end for you.

But maybe you’re not convinced yet. Maybe you need more hard-hitting evidence (It’s me. I’m the choir I’m preaching to here). Good thing for me you I always over-do it with the research.

3. You get really intentional.
You’re introverted? You’ve never said one word to AH single friend in their group, ever before? Those days are gone. Now you are so super into ALL the different things ol’ Margret can knit in under 5 minutes and you’ve at least heard of InDesign, so duh you’ll totally make some posters for their friends in that one up-and-coming band. What’s that? Your group is going bowling? Sure, bowling is gross and unsanitary and only minimally entertaining, but if their friends love it, SO. DO. YOU. and you will be there. with bells on, and maybe one of everyone’s favorite kind of cookie in hand too. “Tell me again about that one time he/she got really embarrassed over that one thing…” you’ll request. “Oh how funny”, you’ll say as you make a mental note to never ever suggest sushi or anything with rooftop seating. Can’t be too careful.

The next piece of evidence I’ll submit for review was apparently inevitable and present in 110% of all cases of “crushing”.

4. You get weird.
Word on the street is that no matter how hard you try to be cool, you will end up being an idiot. Examples may include, but are not strictly limited to:

Crush: Did you see that funny thing on Fallon last night?
You: Duh. So hilarious.
sidenote: you didn’t.
Crush: ((yeah.))
You: ((Gasp for air because you’re like wheeze-laughing to prove you really did see it and you thought it was so super funny.))

Crush:You know sometimes I dip my fries in ranch.
You: OMG. Sometimes I go an entire week without showering.
sidenote: you do not at all understand the rules of this game
Crush: ((yikes))
You: ((hippies are coooooooooool shoulder shrug))

Crush: Hey do you want to grab a strawberry smoothie?
You: Of course! They’re my favorite
sidenote: you’re actually really allergic to strawberries
Crush: ((Cool, things in common))

5.You find yourself saying “Who am I?” a lot. (and you mean it. you’re legitimately confused about it).
I think once you find this particular phenomenon beginning to happen you’re more than likely also saying “He [she] smells good” and you’re having a hard time looking them in the eyes and you’re completely unable to fathom why your hair suddenly “NEVER works the way it should” (actual quote from research). And the butterflies. Let’s include them here.*** Those things are multiplying like freshman girls at a Leagues show, and somehow you don’t find the feeling of imminent potential vomit enough of a deterrent to alter any of your current life choices. Having a crush is maybe the boldest thing you can do.

My mom says “You know when you smile if you think of them”. Which whatever, because by that same logic I’m crushing on multiple burritos, nail polishes, and dead poets. but yeah, she’s probably right.

Or, maybe none of this is true. And maybe you just “know when you know”. Nah, that’s dumb. Look for the signs, and be sure to over-analyze things that way if you do end up having a crush you can realize it before you commit too many social faux pas-es (uhhh, French plurals, SOS). Or just do you. Either way, good luck and God speed.

*Although I am in fact a vegetarian, it has absolutely nothing to do with the spelling of a fake sandwich meat.
**This is also not true; I am being just the biggest liar in this post.
***Did you know that caterpillars literally DIGEST THEMSELVES to become butterflies? (Did I just get weird on you?) (DO I HAVE A CRUSH ON YOU?!)

A Single Girl’s Guide to Life (and/or Valentine’s Day)

As a single lady, people will make all sorts of inaccurate assumptions about you. They will also give you unwelcomed advice. This post does both. Assuming you can get past that, I’ve comprised a guide for my fellow ladies on how to live…life…and/or Valentine’s Day.

Single ladies always get dissed on because they like to call V-Day Single Appreciation Day or a holiday created by greeting card companies (which, if this is you, READ A HISTORY BOOK). So, first things first, Don’t Hate Valentine’s Day. And please for love of Jane Austen, coffee, and all things holy, do NOT call it Gal-entine’s Day. You may however say ANY of the following things, and if you choose to do so, please know I want to be your bff.


Single ladies are always assumed to be bored or lonely. So, nextly, (and this is really crazy and lengthy, so look out) Do Something. Don’t want to sit at home? Don’t. Tired of playing solitaire? Play my personal favorite game, “Bet-On-Your-Unsingle-Friends’-Relationships”. Grab a few other single ladies and place your bets: How long is this couple going to last? When will that one get engaged? Will they be married by the end of this year? Loser buys dinner. (And depending on your mood or inclination, everyone is a winner or everyone is a loser in alternative versions of this game).

(my current bets are for March, May, and by December 31,2014)

Single ladies always act like they can’t dress up without approval or plausible cause. Wrong! Put On Some Heels. And I’m going to cater this tip to this holiday in particular, don’t act like you not wearing pajamas and Uggs tonight will cause the world to implode. You know those shoes you only put on when you need to hang the star on your Christmas tree or get that cobweb from the corner above the fridge? Well, dust ’em off girlfriend, because you’re wearing them tonight! And even better, 98% of the people you see will be on dates, so no one will try to hit on you or comment on how tall and intimidating you are. SorryNotSorry, suckas!

I’ve heard urban legends of Single ladies who think it’s okay to still play pretend when they’re out of middle school/well into their 20s. Having an active imagination is probably a good thing, but please oh please, Don’t send yourself flowers. [Read: Don’t pretend like you have some secret super model banging down your door, but like, he’s way too attractive to be seen in daylight and like, so for real too busy to stop by and meet everyone, but has the jaw line of a young Brad Pitt and the eyes of an experienced George Clooney so everyone just calm down.] You may not believe this is a thing; I didn’t, but 2/2 girls told me they’ve heard/seen this happen first-hand. WHAT?! stop it. Pick some flowers out of the grass behind your apartment, but don’t send them to your workplace.

Single girls also really enjoy a good cry (EXAMPLE). And I get it, tension release, freedom, the cleansing from days/weeks/months of mascara build-up-it’s all liberating, but please Don’t curl up with The Notebook OR THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE. Seriously, crying can be cathartic, but watching an impossible love take place between two people genetically engineered to make you swoon will not somehow make any of what you’re seeing a probable or even possible reality in your life. Let’s be real, Ally was kind of a brat, and pulling even half of the crap she did would be enough for any real life Noah to throw up some deuces and hit the road. AND don’t EVEN get me started on that time traveling crap. If time is relevant, wibbly wobbly if you will, then love is a joke. I could rant for days about that movie (and about how I literally continued crying for 3 hours after I saw it), but I don’t believe it’s necessary. Stick with the Burlesques and Devil Wears Pradas tonight, friends.

I for one, as a single girl, still love Valentine’s day. And I loved making cards for my friends to let them know they make my life happier than I can make it alone. And I love making reservations to spend an entire meal with people I love talking about life and laughing about…well mostly boys and movies and how you probably shouldn’t paint your nails while driving. I love dancing in parking lots and living rooms and belting out some Pat Benatar with random strangers at karaoke. So THAT’S what I’ll be doing (probably as you’re reading this) ((well maybe not right as, because the only time I could get a dinner reservation for 3 girls was 5:45pm, so at this moment I’m probably chatting up the other 80 year olds about what Valentine’s Day was like back in the 50s and did people still like chocolate this much, because how could they not, and yes, I get it, I’m not getting any younger, and why are we still talking to you, you’re ruining our night)). And I’ll be imitating Prince, just like this all night, because, duh, why would you ever not aspire to be this way?


**Today I am wearing my most favorite shirt, and in honor of the occasion (and the pressure my friend Annie put on me to blog again) I am going to share some of my other favorite things. You can call this my gift to you, a get to know Jenna better event, or you can play “These are a few of my favorite things” in the background and start prepping for the Christmas Season, because Mariah Carey will be here before you know it.
Four is my favorite number, so here are four of my favorite things.
1. Pancakes. but i don’t like syrup. I would say that pancakes are a straight shot to my heart.mnnnn….actually i really just love breakfast in general. I could eat it every day and be content. I could do the same thing with Mexican food though.
2. Bobby Pins. i would so for real be lost and eternally depressed without them.
3. Turquoise. and Native Americans in general. i have this one friend, Bear Attack (that’s totally not his real name) and he’s a Native American and one time his mom made me this super awesome necklace; it wasn’t turquoise, but i liked it a lot.
4. the lowercase “i”. i think it’s the dot i like so much. maybe that’s why i so enjoy emphasizing dramatic textual pauses with periods.**
I didn’t feel like I could delete the post (because of its accuracy), but I did think maybe I should enhance it a little. So here are FOUR MORE THINGS I like a lot. Can you even catch the breath you lost when you got so excited and started hyperventilating with excitement?! (Sometimes I can literally feel the sarcasm escaping from my body)
1. popcorn. life goal? get popcorn added to the food pyramid.
2. children’s books. ESPECIALLY ones illustrated by Mary Blair. I mean, Disney’s whatever, but Blair, she’s a treasure.
3. Dramatic TV shows. I know, I know, you hate me now. Whatever, Revenge, Deception, Nashville, you tell me what happens before I watch and you will be dead to me.
4. The idea of running. I ran in college, loved it, but these days-wish I loved it more than ice cream or sleeping or anything really.
lamest post ever. you’re welcome for the insight?


BFF Allison does this fun reoccurring post on her blog called “instalife” and it’s always my favorite to see glimpses into her world so I decided to copy her. Also it’s sort of a rule of thumb for me that if Allison does it, I want to because she’s just like, the most cool, you guys. So here’s some (fairly) recent pics from the life and times.

picstitch-2picstitch.1so briefly, and I’m sure elaboration will follow in days to come, I’ve enjoyed:

Birthday parties for one of my most favorite boys
NOLA and catching up with my dear Andrea
Path Project
Fresh ink
Luminous (& co.)

April was a fun month. And May has begun with a bang!



One time several months ago, a friend asked me what my Top 10 MUST READ books were. I felt (and still feel) like it was a super somewhat unfair request to make, but I’ve been thinking about it ever since and have comprised a list I feel pretty ok about. (I do however remain of the opinion that you should only ever ask people to answer that question if you allow them 10 favorites per genre, and yes that means you will probably eventually get a different list of my Top 10 Poems. And Graphic Novels. And maybe even Dramas.)

I’m going to start with my MOST favorite, but after that (and I mean JUST after that [as in the difference between my most favorite and next most favorite is about as slight as the difference in the Olsen twins’ faces]) are my next favorites.

*for those of you who’re already debating closing this window, you can scroll to the bottom for the brief synopsis of my favorites.

  1. Anna Karenina.”He was nine years old; he was a child, but he knew his own soul.“-Leo Tolstoy y’all. this book is so phenomenal. and insane. i love russian lit so much because they (authors and characters alike) are so honest. they feel deeply and talk plainly. they infer; they develop. this book made me cry and laugh and scoff and think; it’s all about souls-finding them, growing them, understanding them. and now they’re making a movie (score!) just don’t ruin this for me, Kiera Knightly.
  2. Counterfeit Gods. “Idols give us a sense of being in control, and we can locate them by looking at our nightmares.”-Tim Keller this book was one of several of keller’s that we did in my bcm small group in college. not only did those girls (we somehow cheated our way into only having three of us in our group) and i become super close through our studies, but the way he described counterfeit gods and the measures we can use to extract them from our lives so practically really changed my life. it made me think differently and that’s what it’s all about.
  3. Pride & Prejudice. Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity, to what we would have others think of us.“-Jane Austen i know, i know, i’m a girl…and i love P&P, you’re shocked. but for real. her writing is genius. it’s funny, it’s descriptive, it’s beautiful. jane is the sister I want to be, but lizzie is more of who i am i think. no matter though because both bennet girls teach their own lovely lessons and i love them all.
  4. Blue Like Jazz. “I was talking to a homeless man at a laundry mat recently, and he said that when we reduce Christian spirituality to math we defile the Holy. I thought that was very beautiful and comforting because I have never been good at math. Many of our attempts to understand Christian faith have only cheapened it. I can no more understand the totality of God than the pancake I made for breakfast understands the complexity of me. The little we do understand, that grain of sand our minds are capable of grasping, those ideas such as God is good, God feels, God loves, God knows all, are enough to keep our hearts dwelling on his majesty and otherness forever.”-Donald Miller big quote. big meaning. i chose this book because reading it is when i understood a lot of things that i really just didn’t get at all. at first his tone and stories made me feel a little uncomfortable (again, what good books do…), but when i realized that was the point, and decided that maybe that’s what life’s really all about-living in the tension-that’s when blinders started flying.
  5. The Awakening. “She missed him the days when some pretext served to take him away from her, just as one misses the sun on a cloudy day without having thought much about the sun when it was shining. ”-Kate Chopin sometimes i feel a little guilty for loving this one so much because there’s so many sad unsavory bits to it, but it really is just so beautiful. i love the language, the freedom it represents, the art, the everything! i’m cheating a little because it’s actually a novella, but i could stay lost in this one.
  6. Celebration of Discipline. “The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.”-Richard Foster i just read this book last year, but it is certainly a have-to-read for all christians trying to grow and understand their faith. it’s practical and painful at times, but it’s great.
  7. Outliers. “Who we are cannot be separated from where we’re from. “-Malcolm Gladwell i first read this in my Rhetoric & Style class in college and for good reason because his style and rhetoric is so powerful and compelling that you forget you’re reading statistics and theories and only hear a story. i love that not only is the message optimistic, but it’s done well. i want to live life like he writes books.
  8. Night. “To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time. “-Elie Wiesel from another favorite (but extremely disheartening) college class. this book is important because as he says himself, “Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere,” and not knowing is just as terrible as not caring. i cry even as i type about this book because it’s so powerful, and as horrifying as it still is, the kind of blatant honesty Elie writes with is what we need today. this book will forever remind me that forgetting isn’t a gift, but a curse.
  9. The Brothers Karamazov. He spoke of many things, he seemed anxious before the moment of death to say everything he had not said in his life, and not simply for the sake of instructing them, but as though thirsting to share with all men and all creation his joy and ecstasy, and once more in his life to open his whole heart.”-Fyodor Dostoyevsky back to my russians y’all. i firmly believe that this book is necessary for every christian to read. if nothing else, at least book V, chapter 2 “The Grand Inquisitor. you. will. think. and think. and think some more. in true russian fashion everyone has 80 names, everyone is wild and unpredictable, honest, and fully engaged. i loved and loathed the characters all at once and that my friends, is a sign of true love.
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird. “People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”-Harper Lee this book makes me proud to be a Southerner. and not because the theme’s racism, because i don’t even think it is. it’s because as Lee says it, “I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.” i love hearing the story from an innocent and i could easily, easily be persuaded to name a child Atticus because we could all use more Atticus-es in our life.

*Summary. If it has stellar character development, makes me cry, makes me think, or teaches me something practical, it’s going to be a favorite. In fact if you didn’t read the middle, don’t sweat it because now that i’m done composing it i’m unbelievably dissatisfied with how inadequate it is at representing my loves. c’est la vie.

it don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing.

it’s always so hard to figure out exactly what to blog about post-blog neglection. i mean, along the way i’ve had all these wonderful ideas and exciting possibilities, but since i woefully didn’t write any of them down, they’re lost somewhere in the back of my mind.

it’s also challenging because even if i could remember them i wouldn’t want to overwhelm you with weightier issues and thoughts (yes, i have them from time to time) when you would surely be unprepared due to my leaving you in solidarity for so long. so here’s where i’ll start. i’m going to give you a short list of some of my MOST favorite newly-ish discovered blogs and since almost all of them can be used as a segue into those unnamed “other things” i haven’t told you about recently, i think it’s a good plan.


it’s in all caps because it’s so awesome. my new friend anna (click her name for her blog) introduced me to it, and since i have committed to a slightly ambitious reading plan for the year, it’s phenomenal and perfect.

#2 bookmania.

i know two in a row is revealing my geek nature hard core, but this blog is just SO wonderful. inspiration galore and it’s not just words; they post pictures too, so now you have no excuse not to go.

#3 The Blog.

designer Jon Contino. his tumblr is fun, but his portfolio is where it’s at. it makes me drool. (click here to swoon alongside me) also i really love it when people put articles in front of words and thus create a definitive tone. fun.

#4 Nerd Boyfriend

they take fun pictures and literally show you how to dress like the nerds in them. it’s awesome! and there’s a girl version too. clever, clever.

i’ll stop there because 4 is my favorite number, and i also think that gives you pah-lenty to enjoy for now. i promise to come back soon and debrief the Lord of the Rings series with you since i finally processed through finishing it.



i really hate new year resolutions. i mostly hate that people misuse the apostrophe in “New Year’s Resolutions” and the plurality of the resolution[s], but i also just don’t like the idea of only deciding to grow at the beginning of a year. however, if i haaaaad to speak out a list, this would be it:

be obedient and fully present in each moment. each one.

be consistent.

live with integrity.

and the list will be the same every january. and it would be the same if you asked me again in march. and in september. because i’m not to that point where i can toss away mastered resolutions every january; i have to remember the same things all the time. what’s a resolution you have?

Dear October.

Dear Allison, sometimes you write letters on your blog, and I always love it. I’m copying you now, because I love you and because if ever there was going to be someone I would want to be like, it would be you.

Dear internship, you’re kind of just the best thing for me right now. thanks for being so full of learning opportunities.

Dear TN, you’re really pretty and all, but I need you to calm down with the air-born allergens. For real. Calm. Down.

Dear coffee, thanks for being the best addiction a girl could ever hope for.

Dear October, I like the climate you’re putting out. Let’s keep that going, ok?

Dear friends, I love you. Thanks for visiting, and calling, and writing, and making mix cds, and blogging, and reading my blog, and being the absolute best friends a girl could ever have. I’m unbelievably grateful for your existence.


5 on friday!

what’s that, a new feature post? are you crazy? do you know who i am? have you forgotten secret saturday? maybe.

here are 5 things i really appreciated this week.

1. this website is so fun. for lots of reasons. explore it. analyze it. revisit it.

The Burning House

2. this album full of wonderful artists. free on noisetrade. and also a preview of what’s coming to Nashville Sept. 21-24 if you live in the area.

(my favorites are The Bridges and Humming House)

3. This lovely little online magazine, Matchbook.

the design is spectacular, the contents are entertaining. i always love it.

4. This blog, Mixtapes & Cupcakes, that is full of inspiration and sweet things. And this blog, Anthropology & Love,  that is full of thoughtfulness and scholarly desires (and is written by my friend Amanda who’s visiting this weekend).

5.This video on London fashion. And my friend Rachel, who’s studying abroad there as i type.