Thursday, February 9, 2017

Valentine’s Day gifts you didn’t even know you wanted

It's Valentine’s Day again!!

And it’s time for another list of Valentine’s Day gifts!!

I know, errrrrrr, no one actually asked me to write a list of Valentine’s Day gifts for any of the years I’ve been writing these.

But there are a lot of clueless, scared people out there who need to get something for their significant other in FIVE DAYS.

TICK TOCK TICK TOCK.

This list follows my previous Valentine’s Day gift lists:





(There’s bound to be something in one of those lists that will make your significant other take his or her clothes off on Tuesday!!)

I was having a hard time coming up with a “theme” for this year, so I thought about things I actually own or have experienced where I was like, I. HAD. NO. IDEA. I. NEEDED. THIS.

ME-TESTED!!!!



Perhaps you don’t know anyone rich or fancy who got the new iPhone 7 and got the wireless earphones that come with it. TOO BAD FOR YOU. Once I put those little things in my ears I. HAD. NO. IDEA. that I could be so enveloped in music without huge earmuff headphones. They’re magical; no wires, so you can use them to work out without getting tangled in machines, crystal clear sound and bonus, it’s a great way to tune out your significant other. Ha.

2.) Amazon Echo (Alexa)



Perhaps you don’t know anyone rich or fancy who has an Alexa, BUT I DO, IT’S MY ROOMMATE. For the past four months I’ve been able to experience this much-nicer Siri basically be my electronic servant and answer anything I ask. You can ask her to stream WWOZ (I heart N.O.) or when the end of the world is. I honestly don’t know what life was like without her.

So, if you aren’t rich or fancy, you probably have an old iPhone and it’s always dead. (I know...I'm psychic.) Make everyone's life easier with a portable charger! Yes, the secret here is to remember to charge your charger AND to remember to bring it with you. But this adorable charger fits on your key ring so that means you'll at least always have it whenever you have your keys. Baby steps...


4.) Groupon all-inclusive getaway
I used to be skinny
I know what you’re thinking. Booking a flight through Groupon?? Uh, ok idiot. But it’s legit! I swear! I went on an all-inclusive trip to the Dominican Republic in 2015 and it was one of the best vacations I’ve ever been on. And it was totally affordable for all you can eat and drink plus the flight and hotel on the beach for a week (like less than $100/day for all that) GO TO JAMAICA, MON. OR ICELAND. SHE’LL LOVE YOU.

5.) Hardcover photo book


Shutterfly lets you put up to 1,000 pictures into a book for $20 !!!!! Every time I go over to my sister’s house and see the photobook she made for her husband, I smile with every page turn. It's an easy way to shove your good time in people’s faces when they come over to visit. Keep it on your coffee table and everyone who comes over will look through it.

6.) Portable blender bottle



I’m in my 30s now and every diet book is all like, “MAKE SMOOTHIES!” “BUY PROTEIN POWDER!” “STOP DRINKING A BOTTLE OF WINE EVERY NIGHT!” Rude. I found that it’s much easier to make a smoothie when you can just blend it and take the bottle with you without having to do laborious things like "rinse it out" or "do the dishes." And it’s only $30! And you can get TWO water bottles if you choose the pink/blue option here
It is my most used kitchen appliance (aside from the wine key)

So there you have it. 

Valentine's Day gifts you didn't even know you wanted!!!

Valentine's Day gifts I didn't even know I wanted!!!

And, well, if all else fails, you can just take your own clothes off on Tuesday.

-Jenny

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Thank you, dolphins

I wasn’t expecting for my knees to buckle.

But then again, if I would have thought about it seriously beforehand—like, checked boxes of all the emotions I would expect—“buckled knees” would definitely have been on the list.

I certainly couldn’t imagine how his knees felt, especially considering he was kneeling on one.

Errrrr…you might see where I’m going with this one.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YA’LL!!!

I’M ENGAGED!!!!




January 20:  The day Donald Trump got sworn in, the day of the most seasonably warm Friday in Charleston, South Carolina, the day I GOT ENGAGED TO DANIEL.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

People ask me if I knew he was going to propose. And I did.

Not that I knew he’d propose on that day, or that time, but I knew it was going to happen.

We had been together for over a year and had talked many times about how we wanted to be together forever.

We are in a long-distance relationship and we had talked location logistics many times. About how I was going to move back home to New Orleans and we were going to be together every day, not just once a month.

Not for nothing, he’d say. 

I wouldn’t be giving up the life I built in Charleston for nothing.

I was going to move home so that we could get married and start this part of our lives together and there was no questioning or second-guessing that on his end, not even for a second.

There was no one else in the world he'd rather be with, or talk with, or even sit next to, talking about everything and nothing at all. And I felt the exact same way.

So yes, I knew.

:)

But did I know that he had packed the velvety ring box in his luggage on his flight to Charleston this past weekend?

Did I know that the morning I had planned for us to go sit on the beach and stare at the lighthouse he had slipped the box into his pocket?

Did I know that it was more important than ever that the temperamental golf cart my roommate owns would make it to the lighthouse without incident??

No, no I did not.

In fact, I live Instagrammed a video that day specifically calling him my boyfriend.

:)



(a video of a video)

IS THAT THE FACE OF A NERVOUS MAN???

But all went as planned—and more—when we arrived at the Morris Island Lighthouse on Folly Beach on January 20.

The golf cart made it, the beer stayed cold, the weather was warm and sunny.

Now that I remember it, Daniel actually pointed to a big rock nearby where someone had spray-painted “Bree, will you go out with me?”

Clearly, this was a spot where you ask someone a major question. 

Ha

We sat in our beach chairs facing the lighthouse for about 30 minutes and then as if planned, I saw two dolphins break the surface of the water.

“LOOK!” I shouted to Daniel, pointing at the shallow area near the lighthouse, having his eyesight follow my finger.

Then: “TWO DOLPHINS!”

They weren’t shy about popping out of the water, about 40 feet out in the ocean.

“Awww it’s good luck to see them!” I said, a mantra I made up myself.

“Well, speaking of good luck...” Daniel said, and then he got on one knee right in the sand next to my beach chair. 

“I want to ask you something I’ve been wanting to ask you for a long time...”

“NOOOOO!” I said—yes, I actually said NO before he even asked me…THIS ISN'T LIKE THE MOVIES, PEOPLE!!!!—because I couldn’t imagine being engaged right then and I was completely taken off guard.

But I wasn’t serious, and Daniel knew that. 

He laughed and looked at me seriously and asked me to marry him. 

And then he opened up the box with the most beautiful diamond ring I had ever seen. Knees in the sand.

“Will you marry me?” he asked.



“YES!” I said and then leapt out of my chair and kissed him and that’s when I realized I couldn’t feel my knees and had to sit back down.

I put the ring on my finger and it fit perfectly, despite neither me nor him knowing my actual ring size.

After a number of “Are you serious? Is this serious?” questions and “When did you---? How did you--?” and more hugging and kissing and me crying under my sunglasses it hit me that it was happening.

This part of my life was actually happening.

And then: "DID YOU CHURN UP THE WATER AND MAKE THESE DOLPHINS APPEAR???"

And just like that, all the talks about us getting engaged weren't just talks anymore. 

Of all the dolphins fish in the sea, this was where I landed, into the arms of this fantastically kind and caring person who truly meant it when he said he wanted me and only me for the rest of his life.

And right then Daniel told me that he secretly made reservations at a fancy restaurant that night, the same restaurant that was our first date in November 2015.

A reservation in anticipation of our engagement.

“What if I said no?” I asked, still happy crying.

“You did, technically,” he laughed. And we both laughed and I realized that I’d get to laugh with him forever.

I called every family member after that right on the beach, and then called all my close friends interrupting their Friday work day. 

I had to FaceTime my twin sister Joy who screamed with excitement and disrupted all her co-workers.

“You know, he asked your father for his blessing months ago,” my mom revealed, and I beamed.

After another 45 minutes we went back to the golf cart, back to my apartment and everything was wildly different yet everything the same.

“It feels different getting ready to go out this time,” Daniel said a few hours later, as we were getting ready to go meet friends for celebratory champagne and then on to dinner.

“Tell me about it!” I said, staring at my ring (I CAN’T STOP STARING AT MY RING).



And things have felt different ever since then.

Sure, physically different, as in sometimes the ring feels heavy on my finger, sometimes I don’t feel it at all and panic to make sure it’s still on there—but also different in that I have a new sense of confidence. 

In not just us, but in myself, too.

Like...he knows everything about me and he still wants to marry me! Hahahaha

(I know...Me??? Neurotic???)

He wasn't even deterred by my Toolbag Tuesday blog! In fact, he's made sure I'll never, ever have to date another Toolbag again.

:)

(...But I'll still write about your toolbags!!!)

:)

I’ve been overwhelmed with love from all corners of the world, especially from Joy my twin sister, who married her OWN Daniel last year, which is 100 percent fate.

FUN FACT: WE BOTH GOT ENGAGED ON FOLLY BEACH TO GUYS NAMED DANIEL

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Someone up there is laughing, over the moon.

...Possibly getting weak in the knees.




-Jenny

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

TOOLBAG TUESDAY

It’s hard not to complain about everything lately. There’s just so much material. 

Trump’s Twitter feed. A five-foot-tall Christmas tree costing $40. 

…The fact that my health insurance refuses to cover a typhoid vaccine from when I went to Guatemala because reimbursing customers for preventative health care is as foreign a concept as…Guatemala.

(Also, complaining about having first-world problems.)

But, in these seemingly DARK and DISMAL times, you know what is virtually impossible to complain about? 
S-e-x.

Or…so you think.

!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!

Apparently, there are GUYS out there who complain about sex, and I don’t mean complain about NOT getting it.

!!!!!!!!!!!

I KNOW!!!!!!

My friend Margie told me this mortifying story about this guy she dated, Griffin, who was nothing but a critic. UGH.

They went out several years ago, when they both worked at a restaurant. 

Griffin didn’t exactly get a good life review himself, since we’re on the subject of assessments.

He was in his early 30s, lived at home, wasn’t in great shape and he struggled with getting customers’ orders right. 

He also spent all his free time at the restaurant bar.

But Margie thought he was fun and harmless, so they went out for a few months. 

One day, there was a throwback “drive in movie” playing somewhere and they decided to go. Margie said in typical 1950s fashion, they totally did the hanky panky, grab-ass or whatever the cool kids call it, all in the privacy of the car.

Margie said it was the first time they had ever been that physical before, and it was all very exciting as Indiana Jones played on the big screen.

And, well, she didn’t do anything that uhhhhh Monica Lewisky hasn’t done before.

No complaints from Griffin there.

Margie felt a little sheepish on the way home about it, as most teenagers in the 1950s did, I imagine.

But as she looked to Griffin for some sort of comfort about itGriffin, the guy who had absolutely ZERO going for himhe politely told her, "thanks for going out with me tonight" and then added….

“That was the eighth best B.J. I’ve ever had in my life."

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

EXCUSE ME?!??!?

THE WHAT-th BEST????

I don’t know what the bigger joke was, his B.S. line or pretending like he’s had eight B.J.s before.

Regardless, it was in poor taste, the worst of the worst in poor taste, and Margie ran out of his car mortified, 5000% regretting her decision.

WHO THE F SAYS THAT????

How about, "Baby, that was amazing, I'll never look at the Ark the same way!"?????

No, let's make up a rate system instead! Let's make the girl I'm dating feel **really good** about her life choices!!! 

Gross.

GROSS EIGHT TIMES OVER.

Now, how can we get him to contract typhoid…..

-Jenny

Monday, December 5, 2016

A December to remember

My twin sister Joy said a co-worker came into her office recently and asked how to pronounce her last name.

“That’s weird,” I said. “Our last name is, like, one of the top five most common names in America. What an idiot!” (Actually Census says it's number 65)

Joy paused.

Then I paused.

"OH DUH!!!!!!"

“Of course…your ‘married’ name.” 

(For the record, her new last name isn't even in the top 1,000 most common last names in the U.S.)

(I guess that coworker wasn't an idiot haha)

It feels like only yesterday that a such a major life-changing event occurred, but in fact, it was a year ago.

One year ago EXACTLY, in fact.

A YEAR AGO THAT MY TWIN SISTER GOT MARRIED!!!!!!!!





I know it’s hard for most people to remember what they were doing a year ago.

(I’m not real clear about what I was doing a week ago.)

But on this day exactly a year ago, I know exactly what I was doing—getting scolded by my mom for my makeup.

“YOUR FACE LOOKS TOO ORANGE!” my mom said, across the large, airy room at a rented beach house on Folly Beach, South Carolina. “IT NEEDS TO BE BLENDED MORE!”

I took a sip of champagne (also met with displeasure by our mom haha) and apologized to the makeup artist for my whiteness.

Seven bridesmaids were all lined up to get our hair and makeup done and I felt like I was getting ready for the Academy Awards.

We all wore gorgeous matching silky robes Joy bought us and the day could have just ended right there and I would have been happy.

But then, we looked out the window and saw the group of men approaching.

All wearing matching charcoal gray suits walking up the wooden dock to the beach house, sticking out like sore thumbs against the sand and the shore.

OMG there he is!” Joy said, seeing her soon-to-be-husband for the first time that day. 

And then she teared up.

THE MAKEUP ARTISTS SHOULD HAVE KNOWN NOT TO APPLY THE MASCARA YET.

“Well of course there he is!” I said, confused. “There they all are!” 

(Some of the men included the husband/significant others of bridesmaids.)

But the married bridesmaids knew the importance of this moment. The moment you think about when you agree to say YES to someone.

And just for a second you forget about the wedding planning you've been stressing about for months and months.

Because all that matters is that there he is.

And there you are.

And there we ALL were.



(...errr some more orange than others.)

From that moment at the beach house, everything that happened on December 5, 2015 has been etched permanently into my brain.

The limo bus to the chapel, where I filled everyone glass with exactly two sips of champagne. 

Posing for every possible combination of photos for the photographer. Waiting in the “bridal suite,” at the chapel, peeking out to see all the guests arriving.

Even walking down the aisle, which felt like it was twice as long as it was the night before.

Tearing up as Joy walked down the aisle with our dad.



...And then holding her very heavy bouquet and realizing the terrible logistics of having to wipe tears from your eyes while holding a bouquet of flowers in each hand.

The entire thing was just perfect.

And then, if the day couldn’t have gotten any better, I had every single person I know and love, to hang out with for the rest of the night.



Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing all 130(ish) people at a party, but it’s amazing. You’re never in a corner, never at a table alone. No one turns you down for a dance. 

Everybody tells you how great you look (Lol). It was remarkable how many people I was able to catch up with in four very short hours. 

My maid of honor speech went over VERY well (thanks for asking) and after an insane amount of BEAMING from everyone on both sides of the new family, tons and tons of eating and dancing, memories and jokes, photos and singing, pans and pans of shrimp and grits later, it was time for the send-off.

I arranged a boat charter captain to meet at the dock right outside the venue so Joy and Daniel could leave the wedding on a boat. (Who needs wheels?)

We added battery-operated holiday lights on both sides of the boat, just like Cinderella’s carriage, only with…uhhh…different kind of horsepower.





And the saxophone played “When the Saints Go Marching In” and the boat puttered away into the distance, capping off the best December 5th I’ve ever had in my entire life. 

And then, just like that, everything went back to normal.

Well, except Joy’s new last name.

(Duh)

#hurrayFarrae

12.5.15

-Jenny



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

TOOLBAG TUESDAY

I really don’t know why toolbags just arrive in my midst, in front of my face, sitting next to me. Even internationally!

You may remember the pure delight from the Netherlands who BERATED me in a tiny shuttle in Guatemala in front a lot of people about being a “dumb American” and not having international health insurance. (No one was discussing health insurance.)

That was toolbag #1.

There’s a toolbag #2 I encountered. The same day.

I must have blocked him from my memory because I just remembered him the other night. 

He was an American, a fellow Delta Airlines passenger in the Guatemala City airport. 

I got out of the shuttle and there he was, toolbag #2, waiting at the gate.

I was reading a book, or looking at my phone, when he sat in the seat next to me and said, “We were on the same flight from Atlanta here last Thursday! I remember your hair.”

I was confused by this stranger’s opening line. I rolled my eyes up the ceiling to try and remember what day I had flown in to confirm.

He was in his 60s and relatively attractive, given the decade in which he was born. 

It was a bit odd/creepy that he remembered my hair after spending an entire week in Guatemala, but I don’t know how other people’s minds work.

His name was Barry and he was from West Virginia and had a thick accent and was very interested in chatting. 

We talked about what we each did in the past week—many different options because Guatemala is a large, wild, gorgeous place. 

Barry said he went to Tikal, one of the largest Mayan ruins, like the Cadillac of Mayan ruins. 

I knew of it, and it was discussed among my friends as a potential destination, but was too far away. Plus I don't care about ruins.

Barry then pulled up his photos of Tikal on his iPhone and handed it to me to scroll through.

“Did you go with friends?” I asked.

“No, I met a woman there,” he said.

“Oh.”

Barry then unloaded his life on me—how for the past five years, he’s traveled to Central America every month to meet up with Guatemalan, Brazilian or Costa Rican women and pays for them all weekend long. 

He pays for hotels and meals, pays for their company and their attention.

Why he was telling me this was a mystery. 

Do I LOOK like someone who’d be interested in this information?!?!?

“I don’t even have to pay that much because of the dollar rate!!” he said, bragging. 

“I could spend as much on one nice meal in the states as I could for a whole weekend in Tikal!”

“Oh.”

So, they’re prostitutes?” I asked in a way that sounded less harsh than that.

“NO! I don’t sleep with all of them,” he said. “They’re just grateful to have a nice guy like me spend time with them, because all the men in Central America beat their women,” he said. 

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

“Plus they like my blue eyes.”

It was the most bizarre conversation I’ve ever had with a stranger.

I was uncomfortably scrolling through his iPhone photos of Tikal when I saw his “woman companion,” in a photo with him at the Mayan ruins.

She was 20 years younger than him at least, an awkward photo of the two of them. She wasn’t smiling.

“Well, she’s… pretty,” I said, coming up with nothing else, handing him back his phone.

“Yea…she doesn’t have as many curves as I would have liked though,” he said, studying the photo. “You know, to feel something when you hug 'em. I like curves and a big ass.”

!!!!!!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(ED NOTE: WHY ME????)

“I find these women on Facebook,” he told me, unprompted. “I have a friend down there who tells them who I am, and the next thing I know, they message me on Facebook."

Then…OMG…HE OPENED UP FACEBOOK AND STARTED SHOWING ME PHOTOS AND ACCOUNTS OF THESE ‘ELIGIBLE’ WOMEN. 

All downward facing shots of boobs and asses and pouty lips and dark hair.

“Look at THOSE curves,” he pointed to one woman. 

OMG.

WTF 

“Once, I had two women fighting over me,” he laughed. “I’m telling you I’m the only nice guy they’ll ever meet.”

Barry was bragging about all this, with an air of authority like he was some sort of king. Picking out women as if they were chairs or a couch—this one is too big, this one just right. 

It was totally gross. 

And, why on Earth did he feel compelled to tell me, a female, about this operation? 

“Now this one, wow, she was so beautiful, her hair was so black it was almost blue,” he said. 

(Ew another hair reference)

“But then she showed up at the hotel with her kid. Her kid! What am I supposed to do with that?” 

I had no answer. I felt like I was being punk’d.

“And I tell you what, dental work down there is much cheaper too!” he said, ignoring my creeped-out face. 

“Look!” he pointed at his very straight, obnoxiously white teeth. “ALL CAPS. Only $600.”

Lol

(ED NOTE: WHY ME????)

“Well, that’s a very…interesting life,” I said. “I’d love to go to Central America once a month…maybe not to meet strangers though. Excuse me, I’m going to go get a bottle of water before the flight.”

I never returned and only saw Barry again when I walked through the plane to my seat. He was looking down at his phone again, no doubt trolling/scrolling/creeping.

In my mind, though, he was frantically researching how to replace his fake teeth after getting punched in the face. 

A gift from the Mayan gods.

-Jenny 
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