Back to Philly

I've frequently asked me myself, what kind of person would I BE, if I had stayed in PhilLY?

If you don't know, I didn't always live in the majestic Pacific Northwest. I was born in Jersey, my parents had a bridal shop in Philly, and we moved to Seattle when I was 8. Since then I've only gone back to visit family a handful of times & this was one of those trips. We were visiting one of my uncles that had recently suffered from a stroke. 

When it comes to visiting family across the country, from my experience, it's never been for a good reason. My last visit was 10 years ago for my grandma's funeral. Man time flies. This time though, I knew my uncle was discharged from the hospital was ok. For some reason though, I still didn't know what to expect of this trip. I just knew that I missed Philly's endless brick town houses, it's beautiful murals,  & Dunkin Donuts.

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It was pure nostalgia to see some parts of the city, but at the same time, it was a realization that I could no longer say I was from Philly. It had been 19 years since I've lived here & the pacific northwest had changed me. I was in the middle of town in full PNW gear: a North Face jacket, Toms, looking for a grain bowl with salmon to eat. 

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The thing is though, it didn't bother me. I wouldn't change anything about where life took me. I'm proud of the diverse community I'm from & I'm happy for the nature I now have at my doorsteps. I don't know how my life would be if I had stayed, but as a Washingtonian, the garbage littered streets that I was used to as a child, was now shocking. Hiking didn't exist for me pre-1998 (when me moved) & the beautiful brick town homes had now become dull. Their appeal only stuck to me in Seattle, because of how little brick houses they have. It's just an interesting thought, how where you live, almost without you knowing it, influences your perspective & what's "normal" for you. Love, Jen 

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Moment of Discovery

Who am I?

Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking about what I wanted to do with the next 5 years of my life. Coincidently, I also recently got a reminder about my high school's 10 year reunion. Has it been 10 years already? Time seemed to have just flown by, yet it's crazy to think about how much has changed in those 10 years. 

In ways, I am very much the same: always hyperactively seeking a creative outlet, with border-lining, minimalistic, OCD tendencies. In other ways, I feel like I'm a completely different person, compared to who I was 10 years ago. My wants are different, my hopes are different, and my outlook on life is different.

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If you could have met 18 year-old Jen, the outdoors meant bugs & physical activity was not in her repertoire. Her eyes would double in size & sparkle in the face of brand names & luxury sport cars. In fact, she could probably identify the brand of any clothing item, on the spot. She was ready to work her life away, however many work hours it took. She wanted to take life by storm, by the standards of the materialistic American Dream, big house & all.

Now?

What's the point of putting your money towards sitting in a big fancy house, when there's so much of the rest of the world to see? I see no point in giant collections of designer bags, shoes, figurines or DVDs. I am no longer impressed by site of Christian Louboutins or other high end brand names, and the fashion world feels empty. I seek more; more adventures & more experiences, more sites unseen. I am on a mission to live the most interesting life possible for myself, and that means being ok with having less. But is it less, if by giving up things, I gain so much more?

I've cleaned out my DVDs & CDs (moved to all digital), and have slowly donated about 1/3 of my closet so far. It feels good to remove the clutter & live only with what you need. I've begun to travel the world, but The question is, where do I go from here? What's my next step?

Currently, I don't have the answer (suggestions welcomed). It's definitely been a  thought that's been clouding my mind every night. I just have this impending feeling & that I need to make a drastic change. Love, Jen

"Once you've been still too long, it's best to throw a grenade where you are standing - and jump. And pray.โ€ - Robyn Davidson, in Tracks

Portlandia

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Hope everyones having a safe, yet fun weekend. I spent the weekend heading down to Portland with friends, to celebrate my cousin's birthday!  We stayed the night at beautiful Airbnb & explored the Division District quite a bit. The weather could not have been more perfect, after the record breaking rainy season Seattle's had. Of course the sudden heat meant we Seattleites made sure we'd find some refreshments.

On Division Steet, shortly after they open, you'll see a line wrapping around the corner of Salt & Straw. That some of the most deliciously unique flavors I've ever heard, and to my delight, a lot more dairy-free/vegan choices. I had a scoop of their vegan  Green Apple & Wasabi Flowers Sorbet. All it all it was a great weekend end. I'm already waiting for the next time I get to go back & explore what other hipster foods Portland has to offer! Love, Jen

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Becky

May I finally, formally introduce you all to Becky.

After 10 years in my Scion tC, I finally moved onto another car. Once a car enthusiast, always a car enthusiast, but my family has never been the type to go car hopping. We buy cars we like and we hang on to them for a long time (like a decade, or two, or more). Because of that fact, it took me 5 years to pick Becky. It's a commitment!

Basically, the car I wanted & needed, didn't exist. I loved the sporty 2-door look, but at some point, you just have to stop asking your friends to climb in the back seat. We're too old for that shit. At the same time, 5 years ago, I didn't think a car looked good, unless it was a 2 door sport car. My active life needed a 4wd SUV. 2-door sport cars don't usually go hand-in-hand with 4wd. I wanted electric, but I wanted power, without the price of a Tesla. Everything I wanted was completely opposite of each other, but time was running out & I was outgrowing my teenage car.  I'm not in the position to have 2 cars, so I had to find something that gave me a little bit of both.

Then, 2 years ago, Lexus released the Lexus NX F. Besides the Range Rover Evoque & and the Porsche Cayenne, I rarely thought SUVs looked good, because of their sheer size. The NX F intrigued me though.

Initially, when I told people I was thinking about getting A lexus, I suddenly learned that everyone "had an opinion."

The thing is though, they're not going to be driving the car, you are. They're not the ones paying for it, you are. It's not a secret that work a lot & I work hard for my money. I'm a car enthusiast, so chances are, that's where some of my money is going to go & I'm ok with that. So after 2 years of reading Kelly Blue Book reviews, for what felt like every SUV on the market right now, I went with Becky. Then on Valentine's Day 2017, she was  mine!

Here's to a good long run & many adventures with this sexy lady! Love, Jen

P.S. Totally worth it.

Lake 22

My Ankle 1 : Mountain 0

Today I went hiking for the first time since I sprained my ankle earlier this year. I've always had pretty stretchy ligaments (aka double jointed), so I had never sprained anything before. Now that I have, I have to be a little more cautious with that ankle, but I wasn't going to let it stop me!

Summer is finally here in Seattle, so I welcomed it by hiking up to Lake 22, on Mountain Loop Highway. I saw streams, waterfalls, rocky pathways, and slush galore. I wasn't fast, but I made it. I can still feel that my right ankle isn't quite up to par with my left, but I'm getting there. Can't wait to go again! Hope you're all having a great Sunday.

Love, Jen

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Coming Back to Youtube

It's been a long time coming.

Time & time again, I get messages & tweets, asking me when I will return to Youtube. To be honest, my efforts have only been an average of 1-2 videos a year, over the last 3 years. All that time though, I never put the camera down. I continued to take photos, blog & record video footage. The pictures went on my blog, but the videos seemed to pile up in a folder. That is, until now. I promise I've been busy, but where did my time go?

Besides towards the obvious of spending 2 out of the 12 months last year, traveling... I worked. Obviously the traveling costed money, but while it didn't actually cost me that much last year, I believe in working for what you want. When I wasn't traveling, I was working 50-70 hours a week, to finance my trips, my life, and my savings (which lead to Becky). Now I've finally gotten the opportunity to cut down my work hours & relax. With that said, I'm ready to use that newly available time, to get back on Youtube! Hope my first edit in awhile is enjoyable!