Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Family Photo

My grandmother just sent me this picture (she has email AND facebook....coolest grandma ever), and I just had to post it. While my family does a lot together... like take on lions in Africa and play intense games of Brain Teasers and/or Catchphrase during Christmas...we hardly ever have a good picture of the four of us.

My poor dad, blessed with three wonderful women, has heard every excuse in the book: "I don't feel cute", "She is on my good side", "Its too cold/hott/rainy/snowy/foggy/early/late for a picture".  And usually one of those excuses comes out the second the four of us are together and ready to pose. Not to mention the times when we do finally take a photo and the dreaded "Oh my Gosh delete that now!" or "I just want to see it....whoops it deleted!" happens. (Whoever said a house full of women wasn't interesting?!)

However, at my Aunt's wedding we had finally run out of excuses and were ready for our close-up.
Christmas Card next year? I think so.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Drop It Like It's Hot

First and foremost, a very special Happy Birthday to my Mom! Not only is she responsible for bringing this very loveable blogger into the world, but she has passed on a wide array of things to me such as her good looks and love of traveling. I hope that one day I turn out to be at least half the woman she is, both in her personal and professional life.

Now I would like to introduce you to my nerdy side.... I bet when you read this title you thought,  hoped, I would have something remotely cool to say but, in fact, it is exactly the opposite. When I was in college the final week leading up to a new semester was always my favorite because of one thing....ADD/DROP. I absolutely, positively loved Add/Drop to the point I did it for any and everyone who needed me to. Somehow, through persitance and sheer stubborness, I always got the classes I (and others) needed. (I warned you it was nerdy).

Anyways, last week I received an email from Mollie with "drop/add!!!!!" in the subject bar and I knew it was going to be a good day. She wanted two of the hardest classes to get: Personal Health and Wines and Vines, and knew I would be up for the challenge. Man was she right! By 1PM I had secured both classes and felt a great sense of accomplishment for my ever present add/drop skills. (Thanks Smolls!!!)

OK it is a little pathetic, but I am totally ok with that. Plus, I know there is atleast one person happy to read it (Dad, you there?).

While I am on the topic of college, I have a new obsession with the website . For those who are unfamiliar with the site, it features all handmade creations where different artist can open their own "store", or site, with their products.

For Christmas my mom bought me four of my new favorite pieces of art, all based on bars in Blacksburg. To all you Hokies out there, you will LOVE these. Everyone I have purchased from on this website has been approachable, gracious and completely wonderful to work with, including this man. Here is the website:
PKs, TOTS, Sharkeys, Boudreauxs

I received Sharkeys, TOTS, Boudreauxs and Cabo and could not be happier! Now when I am missing add/drop I can remember the incredible times I had in Blacksburg, with my much cooler friends. :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Eat. Pray. Love.

With everything going on, and the fact I have been sick for over a week, I was ready for some serious R&R this weekend. However, before I could do any of that it, we needed to celebrate Julie's birthday! We decided to go to the Wine Loft in Short Pump and enjoy a night full of great friends, food and wine. After hearing Julie sing Wine Loft's praises for over a month, I was ready to experience it for myself. Let me tell you, it was everything she said and more. There was an overwhelming selection of wine and delicious appetizers, along with comfortable seating perfect for a little relaxation after a long day of work. Thursday also happens to be jazz night, so we were serenaded by an incredible band as we sipped and chatted among our large group (they even sang the most beautiful/seductive version of Happy Birthday I have ever heard!). Happy Thursday to us, and thanks fore being born Julie. :)

Since Thursday was so eventful, Julie and I decided to watch her latest Netflix delivery on Friday night. Recently we have not had the best luck with our Netflix movies (has anyone seen The Box? We have...), but we were ready to give the movies another chance when she received "Eat. Pray. Love." I was not sure what to expect from this movie because, to be perfectly honest, when it was in the theatres I had absolutely no desire to see it. In the previews it seemed slow and uninteresting so I chalked it up as another bad book to movie adaption, but man was I wrong. I was shocked to find a great admiration for the character in the film, along with the journey itself. Traveling always seems to win me over, and for that I am definitely my mother's child.

Instead of hitting the bars post-movie, I planned my own Eat.Pray.Love case I need it in the future: 
  • Eat: I would begin my journey by heading back to Thailand. I was fortunate enough to visit this country two years ago and immediately fell in love with the food. The fruits are undeniably the best (mangosteen? all day every day), their noodle dishes satisfy even the pickiest eaters (me), and every meal is incredibly fresh. This is the first vacation I have been on in 22 years where I thoroughly enjoyed every meal, and I am getting hungry just thinking about it.  
  • Pray: For this I would undoubtedly head to Africa. When we visited Tanzania I was awestruck by the love of life, and spirituality, all of the natives exhibited. Though they had virtually nothing, they seemed to find an unmatchable joy and sense of peace. To say that kind of trip makes you thankful is an understatement. They have truly mastered the idea that pure happiness has no dependence on material possessions, and that God always has a plan. To say it is life-changing sounds cliche, however, I believe anyone who has experienced it will have a hard time describing it any other way.
  • Love: Finally, to fall in love with a gorgeous foreigner, I would probably head to Tahiti. This one has no good rhyme or reason, just that I have ALWAYS wanted to go there and they are bound to have some interesting 20-some year olds right?

Tahiti, who doesn't want to go here?

As for the rest of the weekend, it was filled with friends, family and some much needed R&R. And while it was not the most eventful, it was perfect in my mind.

Oh, and a quick congratulations to my little sister for joining the Greek world. She is now an Alpha Sigma Alpha, and though I have no idea what that is since we did not have them at Tech, I am sure it is perfect.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lessons Learned

Sometimes it is hard to get motivation for a post and, to me, that is a very frustrating feeling. I love writing them, but they are only fun if other people enjoy them as well. Talking about my new found love of "Teen Mom", or hatred of food on the bone, might make a good sentence or two but probably not an entire post.

With that in mind, I was determined to write something interesting so I googled "Good Topics to Blog About". I know it sounds a little desperate, but just wait until you hear some of the findings.

Thanks to my Google search, you could have had a blog based on many intriguing topics including:
  • What might a shoe and a sock talk about? (Feet? Are they serious?)
  • How can you make friends? (By not blogging about this....)
  • Could a lapidary play leapfrog in a lyceum? (Dad, if you are reading this: 1. I know you answered this faster than you read it and 2. you know, without a dictionary, I have no idea)
  • How is a skiff like a lugger (They both have double letters? I am sorry, what?!)
As you can imagine, I gave up on that idea pretty quickly. I continued to think myself through this slump, and realized I had 21 and 1/2 years of my life, undocumented, with great potential.  So, with that said, I wanted to take you back to one of my favorite stories. It is not my favorite story because it is joyful, in fact the whole thing was pretty unpleasant, but it did teach me a couple very valuable lessons.

It is Christmas time (of course) and the Bryson family has once again traveled to Hampton, Virginia. I think I was in sixth grade at the time, and was still obsessed with all things Christmas. However, this particular Christmas, there was one thing that I was dreading: sharing a bed with my sister. Remember that whole song thing? I think the Jaws theme song would start playing (haha, kidding Katie....kinda).

After a wonderful Bryson Christmas, Jaws, I mean Katie and I crawled into bed and started to slowly fall asleep. Katie was uncomfortable so she asked me to roll over. Since she did not (technically) specify, and being the wonderful big sister I am, I thought it would be funny to roll towards her. She immediately got angry, and told me to move over again. Well I, of course, was enjoying this so I once again rolled towards her. Bad. Move. Jessica. Two seconds, and a very hard twist of a finger later, I was crying.

When something like this happened, Katie and I had come up with a very mature solution (haha). Stop crying and one of us will promise to do something for you so we don't get in trouble. It went a lot like this "Katie, stop crying and you can choose what movie we watch....and you can have the pretty Barbie....OK fine, Ill even slice you some apples and bananas to snack on!" Once the offer was compelling enough, one of us stopped. That night was no different and Katie offered to rub my back until I fell asleep. Crisis averted.
I like to think of it as learning negotiation at a young age.

It wasn't until the next morning I learned the first lesson of this whole event. I woke up with a black and blue finger, showed Katie, and before I could put my toes on the ground she was already in Mom and Dad's room telling them about how mean I was for rolling over. She is kidding right? She broke my finger! I ran into their room and before I even got the full sentence out of my mouth, the lesson was learned:

The early bird really does catch the worm.

I was grounded and Katie was free. To humor me, my parents made a splint out of Q-Tips and band aids (how could a 2nd grader possibly break my finger? it wasn't even that swollen) and sent me on my way.

Finally, one week of slight discomfort later,  I convinced them to take me to the doctor and have my finger checked out. Turns out it really was broken.

This is where I learned my second valuable lesson: negotiation doesn't just happen between a 6th and 2nd grader.

My parents were, of course, very upset they hadn't attended to my finger sooner and exclaimed "Jessica, we are so sorry, are you OK?! Is there anything we can do??" I quickly replied "Yes, Mom and Dad, I am fine...just some pain.  There is only one thing need you to do....I think my finger will feel a lot better if I know Katie is learning a should probably ground her."  Crisis, once again, averted. :)

Terrible, I know. Now, Katie and I are obviously way closer than we were back then, and it is all water under the bridge, but it makes for a good story, right?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Smorgasbord of Interests

From a young age I have loved music. When I was two I would stand on my parents bed, grasping my dads hands, and wiggle around to "Twist & Shout" until my 8 o'clock bedtime. Now, twenty years later, I not only still enjoy (poorly) dancing to it, but I think that often times it a really good job of explaining things. 
There have been many times where I have been in the car, heard a song, and looked at my passenger to quickly inform them - "if my life was a movie, this song would play during _____ (insert a specific instance/ or series of instances in my life)."
Weird? Probably, but I love it.
A few examples? "Here Comes the Sun" would play as I remembered my travels in England (Summer '06) when Shelby and I studied abroad.  "Buy You a Drink" would be the montage of nights in the Spring of 2007, our second semester freshman year. "Time of Our Lives" (by Tyrone Wells) would play during our VT graduation. You get the picture.
On a completely different note, my Aunt got married this weekend so I would like to extend a big congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. The wedding was a simple, yet beautiful, ceremony for close family and friends, followed by a reception at Hondos. It was so refreshing to see such joy on their faces, and once again confirmed my love of weddings.
Along with my love of music and weddings, I also love to read quotes. I saw this one and believe it has a wonderful way of capturing everything that has been going on in the past couple of months, both good and bad. 
It is: "If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together...there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart, I'll be with you always." -Winne the Pooh (Yes, really.)
Basically, the take-away from this smorgasbord post: if my current career fails I am going to become a song-selector for movies, wedding planner, or quote guru (which is closely followed by the official presidential photographer...thank you Netflix documentaries). If you need any or all of the above, you now know who to call. :)