I’m sorry I’m not sorry.

In recent years, it has come to my attention that on average, many people, whether they believe it or not, are only out for themselves. Go figure, all of you Manhattanites-

Everyday is a hassle just to ride the subway, as people pack on like sardines in a can, just to get to work. I have had the pleasure myself of now experiencing this, as I have now become a “commuter” myself. Frustrating enough to wake up and give yourself an hour to get 7 miles, now I find myself vouching for elbow room just to change a song playing on my phone.

Being back in the ‘burbs, I realize the attitude I portrayed for years, is actually the one I now can’t stand. From smooshing onto a subway car, to now patiently waiting for the next, I realize I have found the old me.

For years, on my own, I had not a care in the world, and now, on the opposite end of the spectrum, my life revolves around the greatest love of my life, and the home we are building together. Those yester-years of selfish, demanding actions aren’t even thoughts of mine anymore.

I am finding a more considerate, patient, problem-solving inner-me. As any relationship isn’t perfect, I have been told during the occasional disagreement that I need to stand ground. Stop taking all the blame, and be affirmative in my opinions.

Nothing wrong with telling someone how you feel. Doesn’t mean your wrong or right, but it means you have a view-point. A view-point that other person may have never recognized.

Its funny how at one point in time, it seems all I had, was that hard-headed, “sorry-I’m-not-sorry” mentality, and now that I’ve matured to realize that isn’t really who I am, I’m being told to act accordingly because my actions are now the exact opposite.

Where do we find balance?

I have told myself that 2014 is the year to go after whatever it is I want. I think this may sound pretty naive to most, but if the ending of this past year has taught me anything, it’s that what you know, & what your comfortable in, can be changed in an heartbeat. My once steady job ended after a great new opportunity presented itself, and I learned I was starting from stratch all over again. My every day comfort zone was gone, and I needed to learn to re-build a new one. What I once prized as my “sex-in-the-city” lifestyle, complete with adorably furnished studio on the UWS to boot, is now no more than a ((very expensive)) box I once shared memories in and am ready to leave behind for bigger and better things. I accepted many financial detriments, and have since done what is necessary to fulfill them so I can actually appreciate what it is to work for a living.

I find humor in that thought of people who declare they are proud of their independence. In all honesty, it’s something I used to call myself, but its meaning gets misconstrued for adult. 

One can be independent, yet have no understanding of what it means to be an adult. 

I fell creature to this habit, yet have been able to recover and thankfully before it was too late.

With the idea of standing ground and taking an affirmative stance on things of value to me, is quite the empowering thought. Like many, I’m sure there are thoughts & feelings that are never spoken. I always have  so many various thoughts running through my head, ranging from everyday tasks to superstar dreams, and blink my eyes realizing I never actually have spoken them aloud. The things I told myself I’d never do, or was naive to think would never happen to me, are the exact things that have caused a whirl-wind chain of events to happen in the past few months. If someone who have told me I’d be living with a boyfriend, I most likely would have laughed and then told them they’re crazy. Mental even.

But now I embrace those changes. I find myself smiling for what I have, and at those moments that I will always have to share as memories. Maybe that’s the balance I’m looking for-

❤ Jackie

 

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Light Years Away

With the start of a new year, I always reflect on the past year’s events, memories and “oh, about that” moments. With some I find myself full of tears, others with a smile and sometimes find myself just shaking my head. In the past year, I realized I made the most personal changes, I ever have, my whole life.

Datingaholic-never settling down-stay up && party-all-night-can’t get-enough-of-NYC-selfish-as-they-come gal falls in love with her high school…((whatever you wanna call it))…moves to the ‘burbs..and decides to move in with her very committed to boyfriend, whom are both in bed, roughly, by 10:30 every night.  ((Throw in some mystery lover-turned baby daddy, a tantalizing sex scene and murder of a past lover’s wife, and you have yourself a James Patterson novel)). Things changes. A lot.

My eyes were awakened, and with all of these altercations, my life has been filled with clarity. As amazing as the past nine years living in NYC have been, I wouldn’t take back any single bad ((why did I just do that)) moment. ((Maybe deciding to live on my own and pay obscene amounts of money for rent)) but aside from that, it was an experience I’m excited to be able to share. 

These changes brought about a new person, I found in myself, that have allowed me to grow. He may never know the impact he has had on my life thus far, but my boyfriend saved me. Some of the toughest decisions I’ve had to face, came with his respect, confidence and support. The kind of selflessness he has shown me, makes me realize what is truly valued, and what I truly value. Things I could have never cared about, gave insight to, or even considered, are all the things I am making myself try. && much to my own surprise, wonder why I haven’t sooner. 

Smiling is something I find myself doing a lot more lately. He made me realize the decisions I made years ago, don’t need to dictate who I am today. We all grow up and make mistakes. The lesson learned is not making them again. That girl who was irresponsible, living in this fantasy world, she thought she wanted, is a girl that has since, been long gone. Accepting that, and being given acceptance for that, was one of the greatest gifts he could ever give me. 

As a new year embraces us, I find a new me being able to fully enjoy it. My changes, as great as they have already been, are just beginning. If this is how exciting life can be, then I hope 2014 shines light on even bigger and better decisions to be made. Thus far, we agreed on bathroom paint colors. I say baby steps make all the difference. 

It seems like light years ago, I was out, selfishly making my own choices, and telling myself it’ll all be okay in the end. Not because I was willing to work hard for change, or honestly knew I needed to make changes for the better, but because I didn’t have any other options. If I could fill my head of this better future ahead, then I could continue on, with my immature decisions, and fool myself another day. I learned I was capable of a lot more than I wanted to give myself credit for.

Rightfully, it has been OK. With hard work, dedication…oh, && with a few of those life-altering bumps along the way. 

 

xo Jackie 

&& that just happened.

They say the holiday season is the most wonderful time of year, and this year was no exception. Aside from the ciaos of last-minute shopping, burnt holiday cookies, crazy neighbors calling the cops on you for apparently burning your dog alive, (doesn’t that happen to all of us?) and driving yourself insane over the PERFECT gift for your boyfriend..((next year I’ll know the simplest of things like matchbox cars would have sufficed)), this holiday was magical. Our first holiday season together was a success, with the added bonus of some spur-of-the-moment changes.

As if putting yourself through college isn’t enough of a financial stress, the lovely state of NY really loves their residents living on the most amazing island in the world. So much love, that they decide to jack rent by 600 dollars a month. && if that doesn’t bring tears ((of happiness)) to anyone’s eyes, I’m not quite sure what will. Given I have just an extra 600.00 hanging around every month, that’s was my wake up call. As much as I love crazy neighbors, carrying 40lbs of groceries in the pouring rain, and walking home in the wee hours of the morning to find someone using my stoop as a toilet, I made the decision to have “the talk” with the boyfriend. 

I’m not sure if it was the six-hundred dollar neon sign flashing in my mind, or my uncontrollable impulse to constantly surprise him when he least expects it ((typically with homemade cookies, or his favorite gum)), but something came over me, enough so, that I broke down ((in 57 texts non-the-less)) why I thought it was a good time for us to move in together. 

Now…my glass of pinot gritio probably helped smooth over my nerves, but in all honesty, I have been asking myself, && waiting for the right moment, for when this chance would come, I would just know.

I needed a sign. One that told me it was appropriate, and that in due time, we would both be ready. Now was that time. 

As I poured my heart and soul into these 57 ((you think I’m joking…)) texts, and myself some more wine, I realized that I was saying everything I have been feeling, and if he wasn’t ready for this, then I had a pretty clear cut answer regarding other things. Much to my dismay and the 2 minutes of “why-the-hell-aren’t-you-answering-maybe-he’s-still-at-the-gym?” moments, I heard that infamous beep go off and looked down, as if I was waiting on what seemed like brain surgery to end. Give me the good news, doc? Are we gonna make it?

He couldn’t have been more thrilled. What a perfect idea he said. We spend most of our time together anyway, and financially, it benefits us both. Score. 

I was beaming with light from here to Queens, and thought to myself for the 2 minutes of sobriety, that this txt had caused, “that just happened”. There was no turning back. We are in this together, and are taking one of the most serious steps you can in a relationship. 

In that moment, I realized how much I loved him. Through the ups and downs and times of “well that was really stupid, so you probably just want to break up with me now” moments, I learned that all of those moments brought me here. To this point in our relationship. Where I’m about to live with a boy. 

Its a change. A HUGE CHANGE. for both of us. Both of us city-folk use to our own space && our own way of doing things. If an OCD-Anal retentive girl and a ADD organized clean-freak boy don’t scream LIVE TOGETHER, I’m not quite sure what does. But if he’s willing to take the risks, so am I. I’m not expecting it to be perfect, but so far, scary-enough, it has been. 

After talking ((interviewing)) with most of my girlfriends and their current live-in husband/boyfriend situations, I’m getting a sense of a “constant-sleepover-with-sexual-benefits where-he-will-call-the-next-morning” vibe.

sign me up. 

Its my next chapter in life, and as many doubts and negative thoughts I could have, to force myself to think of reasons why it may not be a good idea, I find myself smiling at the 400 reasons it will be a great idea.

Life is suppose to be fun. Enjoy the small things, and laugh whenever you can. Hes taught me that. && its funny how much of the stresses of everyday seem to disappear when I think I have him to come home to at the end of the day. 

 

xo Jackie

 

Just add Sprinkles!

There’s something about the color of sprinkles that makes me feel like a little girl again.

They’re happy and fun and add that girly touch, (( a pre-req I need on anything I make ))

Maximizing your time and work-load given has been a skill I’ve developed in my career thus far, so it has naturally crossed over to my baking habits as well. If we were living in Pleasantville, I’d love nothing more than to sit at home all day and bake my little heart out. Unfortunately, that’s not possible, so I try to take advantage of any shortcuts possible, without losing any personal touches. My newest find has been these no-bake truffles. They almost look to amazing to be true, but in fact they are not! 

Here I shared one of my favorite ones, that is sure to please anyone. Who doesn’t love anything funfetti?! 

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  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 cup funfetti cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • rainbow sprinkles
 Coating
  • Candy Melts (found at any craft store) or melted choc. of your choice (may need to add water to thin out)
  • sprinkles/colored sugar

 
Beat together butter and sugar until combined. Blend in vanilla.  Add cake mix, flour, salt, and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add 3 Tablespoons of milk or more if needed to make a dough consistency. Mix in sprinkles by hand. Form one inch balls and place on wax paper lined cookie sheet. Chill for 15 minutes so balls can become firm.
 

While balls are chilling, melt candy melts/chocolate in the microwave. Once melted dip the truffles with a fork or drizzle coating over the balls, and decorate with sprinkles/colored sugar. Place back on the cookie sheet and allow coating to harden in the fridge. 
 
Enjoy!
 
**special thanks to The Loopy Ewe for your gorgeous photo! Original recipe by The Girl who Ate Everything Blog, but tweaked by me!

The Art of Appreciation

Twenty-six years && I feel like I’ve just begun to live. At least realize what living means.

I’ve been experiencing, much to my own doing, an abundance of gratitude I never have before. I’d like to say I could thank my boyfriend for the happiness he has shared with me, or my mom for the support she’s given me, or even my friends for the guidance they have shown me, but in reality, all of those things have just helped me to draw out feelings that I am finding, make me, me.

Over the years, I have come to accept change.

I’ve asked myself, time and time again, why? I always told myself there had to be some reason, for things to happen. It may have not been in my favor, but I always looked for some silver lining. That small amount of hope, to break through.

The small pity party in my head was my best way of dealing. I’d bottle up every emotion possible, and keep face. It’s not an easy task. Especially when you’re alone.

Feel alone, I should say. 

It took me a long time to accept things had changed. People had moved on in different directions, the one person I loved more than anything, wanted nothing to do with my existence, and I had all of NYC at the palms of my hands, and no direction of how to take advantage.

For the first time in my life, I was 22 years old, and never felt more afraid or scared. Fearful of the unknown and afraid because I was alone. My privileged upbringing was gone. Financially, my decisions were my own. Days of shopping endlessly, having bills taken care of, and waking up with only the cares of what to wear for the day, had somehow slipped graciously through my fingers. I wasn’t sure how to comprehend. I was still a single girl living in NYC, with the opportunities some never have, and It was just beginning.

After these past few years, I now look back and smile. I’ve learned to appreciate what it took, for me to get where I am. Life has been good. It may have had some winding roads to navigate, but I always kept on track. This past Thanksgiving was an eye opener, and let me walk away, grateful, not just for the people in my life, but for the reasons they are in it.

Perfection is in the eye of the beholder. My view of perfection differs very greatly from another’s and as does theirs to me. I use to want everything with a gold seal of approval. But that approval was not my own. It was what society deemed as “perfect”. Pretty unrealistic view, but then again I’m a Virgo.

My view on people’s differences has taken a 180 turn, and I now value them. Every person has a personality that is their own, and I have finally accepted that is their golden seal. A small tear formed as we said grace at the dinner table, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed for the amount of gratitude I had this Thanksgiving. The people I was surrounded by loved me, and I love them. They have a special place in my life, wherever that is, and they are all partly the reason for my happiness and well-being. As I turned to sneak a peak at my amazing man, I saw a different look in his eye. Without words, all the emotion I was feeling, he connected with me on, and I felt complete.

I have since walked away recognizing differences are OK. Change is OK. We may try and fight it as much as possible, but in a years time, we don’t realize how much we actually have contributed to it. My outlook has drastically changed, as I continue to grow and find my way, I realize that appreciation comes in many forms. From the everyday acts of kindness, to the time we put into our relationships, whether with our friends or family. We show our appreciation in the way we care for others. The way we care for ourselves. Having that balance, I’ve found is key. I’ve always been given the advice from my mom, that no one has the power to make you happy, but yourself. Its true. When we stop to take a look around at everything we are given, most of it we accomplished on our own, but don’t give ourselves the credit.

Each and everyday we are given a chance to prove ourselves. Dedicate our efforts to our jobs by taking the initiative. Show our loved ones, how much we value them in our lives. && even make ourselves proud for doing it.

I can now answer my own questions of why. The thing is I always could. It just took others appreciation of me, to realize. 

 

xo Jackie

Wake Up && Smell The Bubblegum

At any given time, there will be at least 10 candles to be found in my apartment.

I’m pretty obsessed with them.

&& not those plain Jane taper ones…no. The real deal, smell-as-amazing-as-I-hope-heaven-does candles. Some of my favorite Friday nights are spent inside, with my favorite wine (Voga Pinot Grigio  try it sometime, you’ll love) and the intoxicating fragrance burning off from one of my candles.

I handpicked some of favs to share…

Jonathan Adler- Bubblegum– who doesn’t love the smell of bubblegum?! When I discovered this during one of my recent trips to my home away from home (Bloomingdale’s) I nearly jumped for joy and hugged the sales associate. The fragrance that lingers is just what you would think. Its slightly sweet, but with a floral undertone.  It’s just fun. And girly. Perfect for warm summer nights, windows open and fresh air blowing through.

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Voluspa- Crisp Champagne I stumbled upon this one during a routine trip to Rickys for hair-dye and body wash. I have always been a fan of Voluspa, but this takes it to the next level. The intoxicating aromas of this candle are breathtaking. Its sweet, with notes of vanilla bean and Brut champagne, but accented with notes of woodsy musk. Its just plain sexy. This is my winter candle. It reminds me of a winter ski-lodge cuddled by the fire. (if I was to ever actually to experience one, I’m assuming)

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Henri Bendel- Chai– During fall, my go to comfort is chai tea. There’s nothing more relaxing than the creamy and delicious. Not the greatest on calories, but we all need a little indulgence now and then. One of my previous buyers turned me onto Henri Bendel’s candles, and they are fab! Little on the pricey side, but mine lasted a good month, and I burn them constantly! This one, newly released for fall, has that comfort that lingered through the whole apartment. Notes of cinnamon, clove and steamed milk. Make sure you have some Chai on hand…you’ll be craving it!

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Lafco- Pool House- I discovered Lafco candles at one of the citiest greatest cosmetic shops, Blue Mercury. This line of candles are really neat- each fragrance is targeted to scent a specific “room” in the house. I fell in love with the Pool House, as it was spring and I was searching for something on the floral side. The notes of lilac are divine, and whisk you away to a field of wild flowers. There’s an element of freshness too, that made my studio give off that “just cleaned” vibe. 

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Blue Capri- VolcanoAnthropologie. Oh, how I love thee. With the culmination of hours I have spent in this store, I should have my own bedroom there. I can’t get enough of this store and its amazing finds. One of them being, this candle! Its a regular at the apartment. It comes in this gorgeous, mercury etched glass container (great for reuse after the candle burns out), and smells FAB! I’ve never been to Hawaii, but if I had, I’m pretty sure this candle bottles that essence up.  Its sweet with citrus; orange, lemon and grapefruit, but fresh with a mix of lush greens. Its great for anytime of the year..This is a winner!

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I hate being called kid.

At a young age, we’re taught the basics. Don’t pull your sisters hair. Don’t chew with your mouth full. && share your crayons. As we grow, some of those lessons are learned, as others never quite catch on with people.

Until I had the opportunity to experience, what most girls experience in their late teens, in my late twenties, I find myself learning the most meaningful lessons through the eyes of my relationship. The everyday acts of kindness, consideration && decision-making are opening my eyes to who I am and what I truly value.

During my college years, I learned some of these lessons the hard way. 

My nights of acting aloof to my surroundings was easy. It was easier to forget the way I felt or cared about the men I dated, problems I was having, and just have a good time, then to put effort into something ((anything)) that really didn’t mean anything to me. This attitude spread across to all areas in my life, including school and work. I had a full-time schedule with both classes and my job, but my effort was minimal. The passion for what I once cared about was lost, and in this window of time, I lost myself. I lost who I was and what I genuinely  cared about. Life was easy, and the endless hours of spending it carelessly partying were taking a toll on any priories that should have superseded it.  I found myself being taken advantage of by people, I would later learn, were enablers to my slowly spiraling out of control lifestyle. This fake happiness was allowing me to forget all that I had once believed in. The lessons I was once taught; those of responsibilities, maturity && consideration, faded away. As college graduation approached, I was blessed to have been able to actually graduate, by the skin of my teeth, && realized I had made this happen, and if anything was going to change, now was the time.

I cleaned my act up. I put myself first. I stopped dating men who were merely objects of affection to me. I began to do the things again, that once interested me, and dedicated time to putting things back on track. I was starting my first job post-graduation and felt the world was at my feet. I dived in, full of fear and anxiety, but the past 3 years, as stressful as they were, were my proudest. I developed a career && relationships, that many my age haven’t experienced yet. I traveled immensely, and took full advantage of everything I could. When I began dating again, I knew what I wanted. Maybe to a fault, but after what seems like countless hours of disappointment and disaster, my price charming came along.

The ironic part of my journey, is that he was part of my past, and weighed heavily on the issues I had with dating to begin with. I always compared everyone to him and how he made me feel, and yet, he was the one that I needed to distance myself from so that I could move on. My years of contemplation, came to a screeching halt when I gained the one thing I had been waiting for all these years from him.

Acceptance.

This lesson was formulated after years of personal blame, resentment, && my own ability to mature. That hit me harder than any lesson I could have ever learned on my own, and all my resentment has transitioned into gratitude. I would wait another 10 years, if I had to. He needed time, just as we all do in life, to take what we’ve learned, and hopefully apply it in a positive manner. He opened my eyes to the lessons that I once thought were lost, and I opened his to the ones he never knew he learned.

As we embark on this new road together, I have noticed that much to my happiness, he has shown me how to express myself, and that if I’m scared, he’s here to protect. If I’m nervous, he’s here to support. && If I have something to say, he’s here to listen. Just as I once found myself lost during my partying escapades, I realized that the art of being honest with yourself is crucial for both parties sake. If there is anyone I would ever want to be the most upfront and honest with, its surely him, but expressing yourself is hard. Being vulnerable with the person you love can be a scary encounter.

what if I offend them? Or they don’t view things the same? 

As I fight off the negativity in my own head, the lesson becomes easier to learn when I accept it. Why should we have to struggle with something we don’t like? I hate being called kid. Its one of those “friend zone” phrases. I’m not quite sure why it bothers me so much, but it gives me a feeling of non-personal communication. I could be called babe, or love, or sweet thang, all of which always put a smile on my face. But kid? not so much.

Little things like that I have come to embrace. I don’t want to relive those years, when I wasn’t true to myself. Life’s lesson of acceptance and learning what it is I want are ever changing and  growing. We don’t need to accept anything we don’t want to. I’ve learned that the hard way, but in any case am glad I did. Given, a small comment like that is instantly forgotten, its those small reminders that are what help open our eyes to what we value as important.

 

❤ Jackie