Fall-Ow Your Passions

OctMono

This year is the first time in a very long time that I have Halloween off to do whatever I please. Last October 31st, I stood miserably at the front of a restaurant I was hosting at – my second job – as I watched children in costumes happily frolic about with their parents and steal the candy off my stand. In fact, I’ve spent many holidays stuck at work, wishing I could be celebrating the time with my family and friends.

But not this year! 2015 saw my one year anniversary at my current full-time job, as well as the end of my time working a second position. I have been lucky enough that one job supports me enough to only work five out of seven days. Many people work two, even three jobs to support their families, and it wears you down quickly if you’re not careful.

Too often in my adult life, I’ve let a lot of time slip by not doing the things I want to. This past summer came and went without a blip. I dreamed endlessly about hosting a beach BBQ with friends, but never set the time aside to make it a reality.

When fall rolled around, I decided this wouldn’t be the case. I was determined to get out there, enjoy the weather (which is most definitely not fall-esque out here), and celebrate the season. With a little digging, I found an apple festival about three hours north of the city.

I grabbed my brother, and we spent the drive talking and singing along to old Disney tunes. The festival turned out to be a big flop – instead of 140 booths, as advertised online, we saw about maybe 20. The day was drizzly, the crafts were few, and there weren’t as many apple themed foods as we thought there’d be. Afterwards, we toured around the town looking at yard sales, but they were disappointing as well.

Nonetheless, we had a lot of fun, especially on the haunted hayride we rode back in LA that night! I wished the fair had been as engaging as the ones back home are, but I’m so glad I took the chance on it. Had I not gone, I know I would have regretted the decision immensely. As it stands, I was able to spend some quality time with my little bro AND face my fears and sit in the back of that hayride without crying.

I want to continue this streak of DOING rather than WISHING — and so far, it’s paying off! I spent the weekend working on  my apartment, finishing a DIY project, and getting some artwork hung. Stay tuned for updates! And in the meantime, remember that wishing doesn’t get you a cool hayride t-shirt.

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Hostess with the Mostest


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Tonight, my apartment is a little too quiet. Maybe that’s because for the first time in about four weeks, it’s just my roommate and I again. We’ve – or rather, I’ve – had a constant stream of friends and family alike crashing anywhere they could find a spot and basking in the miracle that is Southern California weather.

Playing hostess can be a tough gig, especially if you find yourself doing it fairly frequently. That’s why I’ve compiled a quick guide of to opening your home (or teeny apartment) to others!

BEFORE THEY ARRIVE

  • Clear your guests’ stay with your housemates ahead of time if applicable, and be sure to ask, not tell them that you’re having someone over. It’s a courtesy that should always be extended, especially because this is their home too.
  • If your guests are vacationing with you, make sure you’ve taken the appropriate time off from work. Nothing will ruin a trip quicker than having to go in on your planned day off.
  • Determine whether you are picking them up from their chosen port of travel, or if your guests have alternative means of getting around.
  • Ready some clean sheets and towels ahead of time, or at least have your guests’ sleeping arrangements in order. Nobody likes to touch down after six hours of flying to be greeted by dirty linens, or worse – nowhere to crash.
  • Make sure you have an extra set of keys, just in case you need to split up at any time.
  • Throw a few snacks in the fridge. People often end up at your home hungry. You don’t need to go overboard, and don’t feel bad about asking them to pitch in for more groceries as the vacation goes on.

WHILE THEY’RE THERE

  • Establish house rules. Don’t be afraid to bring up topics like whether or not you like shoes left at the door, how you split dishes,

    Mom & I in Santa Monica on her recent visit!

    or whether drinking/smoking are OK in your home. Your guests will appreciate not having to guess and getting in trouble later.

  • Lay out your schedule, if your guests are just staying with you as opposed to vacationing with you. Talk about when you go to work, when you’ll be home, etc. That way, they know not to call you at 3AM for a ride home from the club.
  • Help your friends out by giving them a rough guide to your area. What public transit is available? Are there any local restaurants you like to eat at? What kinds of activities are there to do?
  • Don’t forget to enjoy some quality time together! Even if you can only do one meal, it’s better than nothing, and it pulls you out of your regular routine.

AFTER THEY’RE GONE

  • Be sure to thank your roommate for their support. I plan on treating mine with a gift basket full of his favorite goodies 🙂

 

Your apartment doesn’t need to be the Ritz for everyone to have a good time! For now, though, I’m going to enjoy having my room to myself again.

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Party of One

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Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you – when it comes to staying in, I’m the queen. If someone shows the slightest hesitation at going out for the night, I jump all over it like bees on pollen. “Of course you should stay in! Get some rest, watch some Netflix. Who would want to go out after the hellish week you’ve had?!”

Trust me, though, I love a good adventure. Lately, though, it seems like I haven’t had many. The last time I went out with a friend was in early December – we met up to explore Chinatown and have pho. Before that… I don’t even know! My weekends are filled with sleep, working my second job, laundry, and writing (if I can get motivated enough). What I’m missing is passion and trying new things.

I spent a majority of this week wracking my brain to figure out why I’ve become a total homebody shut in, but it wasn’t until this morning that I got my first major clue. A couple girlfriends and I were planning on attending this very cool Hollywood costume exhibit today, and for the last few days had been going back and forth on times. At 10AM, my phone rang. It was my friend, profusely apologizing that she and the others wouldn’t be able to make it, that they had just wrapped on a four day-long set and she woke up feeling absolutely lethargic. Could we re-schedule?

Immediately I agreed – I’d had those weeks where at the end, it’s all you can do to get out of bed and throw some food into your stomach, before climbing back under the sheets. Sets are mentally and physically exhausting, and I wasn’t about to throw a fit and demand she meet me to look at Dorothy’s dress from The Wizard of Oz.

We hung up the phone, and I sat there in my pajamas, mildly wondering What now?

Aha! And there in lies my problem. I’ve been relying too much on friends to do the activities I want to do. About a hundred times a day, I think about the day trips and hikes I want to pursue, followed up quickly by a mental checklist of who’d want to do them with me. Many times, I draw up short, because I haven’t got a friend who adores long hikes like I do, or someone that rock climbs. At that point, I abandon the idea and promise to think about it later, when I’ve got someone to do it with.

Now, I’m seeing a little more clearly that it’s okay to go off and do some of these things by myself. Not having a partner in crime shouldn’t dictate that I’m stuck at home all day, uselessly purusing the Internet. I just relocated my dog-eared guide to Los Angeles and Southern California, and am thinking about scheduling in some places I’ve been dying to see.

Additionally, I’ve got to make a greater commitment to making plans with my friends doing things we all like. My roommate got me a fondue set for Christmas, and I’m eager to put it to use.

Bring on the potatoes!

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Traditions. I have a propensity to create traditions. I believe it is a genetic quality I inherited from my mother, who bless her soul, is the queen of tradition starting. I believe it started one summer when I was 12. Each week, we would go to the beach to get beach pizza. These dinners were something that every person in my large family enjoyed, a little bit of peace for my mom. This small journey to the coast encapsulated my early pre-teens; which in turn strengthened the importance of traditions in my life.

I am fortunate to surround myself with individuals whom equally enjoy tradition making. One of my favorites comes every fall with the changing of leaves. Typically, the last weekend of September is full with sleepovers, baked potatoes, farm animals, unique crafty goods, and an unlimited supply of fried foods. What amazing weekend is this, you ask.  The Big-E!

The Big-E is short for the Eastern States Exposition. It is one of the largest fairs in the region, but also one of the largest in the U.S. This past year over 1,498,605 people attended to try their luck at unbeatable fair games and enjoy the company of the cutest farm animals. This fair brings in vendors and performers from all 5 New England States.Check out all the fun events and the count down to next year!

One of the state houses!

One of the state houses!

This is where my tradition begins. Every year my gal pals and myself come together from our now distance residences to have the most epic adult sleepover and overload our systems with an unsavory amount of calories. These weekends often follow an very simple formula.

1. Caravan-The weekend begins when we drive together across the state. We cram ourselves and our overabundance of things into a Corolla and hit the road. We spend the hours stuck in traffic sippin’ on Dunkin’s and planning out how we will spend the next day or two.

2. Home cooked meal-We are fortunate to have a family to welcome us when we arrive in Western Mass. Not only with open arms, this amazing family often has a meal cooked and ready for us. It is fun to see how we have evolved around this dinner table.

3.Early risers- We are that group to get to the fair before the gates open or at least before 10 am. Full with another homemade meal, we are full energy (comparable to a child around the holidays) and ready to go!10646939_10100532398995435_428231066930759155_n

4. Photo-shoots- these comes at any point in the weekend. This year we decided to take it before the fair. It is only customary that we document all crazy adventures, this being the show piece of most of our collections. (notice the matching shirts)

420140920_105554.Maine baked potatoes-We always start the day with a Maine baked potato. I mean, wouldn’t you? The Big-E dedicates a building to each NE state, Maine being the best. These things are massive, but the best part of the whole fair. Our strategy is to fill up on the potato early, walk it off, then try other things.

5. Mosey-ers-We LOVE to stroll the fair. We go into every booth, specifically making it a point to skim the the $1 booth.(Everything is honestly a buck!) This year we did our most mosey-ing yet. We did around 20,000 steps!

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How often do you get the chance to be near or even take a picture with a cruiser?! Supporting the men in Blue ❤

6. Photo-ops- This place if filled with photo opportunities. Most times we go for the cardboard cut outs you can put your face in. Other times we pose with animals or note able characters we find in our travels.

I dare you. I dare you to resist their cute-ness.

I dare you. I dare you to resist their cute-ness.

Without a doubt this is one of my favorite traditions. I love being able to build upon memories and keeping in touch with the people that mean the most. I mean how often do you get to wear matching super hero t-shirts with your besties?! Until next year!

Jess (2)