November 29, 2011

It's Sad How Much I Am Exactly Like This

Via Gemma Correll
I think maybe it's time for me to accept the fact that I am never going to grow out of it.

Office Space!

I decided to dick around with the Retro Camera app on my phone, and now you have to look at these pictures.

This photo shows how well my miniature Diet Coke can features my shiny Russian Roulette nails.

This photo shows me doing one of my favorite things: shoving paperclips into the paperclip hole while listening to Pulp on my iPod.

Also this photo was taken at 10:00 pm on a Saturday night. That's the kind of balls out, reckless lifestyle I live.  No regrets, y'all.

And this is a photo of my office boyfriend Aidan posing proudly with his pals Lipgloss, Hand Sanitizer, Lotion and Fortune Cookie Fortune.

November 28, 2011

I'm More Excited About This Than I Was About The Gypsy Wedding Show

Have you guys seen this commercial for TLC's new show Virgin Diaries?

via the Jen But Never Jenn blog

I can't even... what is going on here? Why? How?

I can't stop watching.

It's Christmas Movie Time!

There aren't a lot of things I can discuss on this blog with a great deal of authority.  Most days what I lack in authority and knowledge I make up for in enthusiasm... bounding, manic enthusiasm.

This is what my enthusiasm looks like in human form.

I can't tell you how to take perfect gallery-worthy photos, teach your baby to speak Thai, bake macarons with perfect frilly feet, or Vidal Sassoon your hair into a party-perfect up do, but I can tell you a few things about movies... Christmas movies to be more specific.

I watch Christmas movies all year round.  Honestly.  It's disgusting.

When I was a kid (or, like, a month ago), in the middle of the summer I would put up a string of Christmas lights, close all of the blinds, crank up the A/C, curl up in a chair with some cozy socks and a mug of coffee or cocoa and I would watch Christmas movies and pretend like it was Christmas time.

I wish I were joking.  I really did this, like, regularly.  I was and am OBSESSED with Christmas.

So we all know the obvious Christmas movies... Miracle on 34th Street, It's a Wonderful Life, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, etc.  I thought I would focus on some of my favorite lesser known Christmas movies.

1. Mixed Nuts

This is bar none one of my all time favorite Christmas movies.  It combines two of my favorite things: Christmas and zany, caper films where all of the action takes place in one day or night (a specialty of the 1980s a la Blind Date, After Hours and Adventures in Babysitting).  It stars Steve Martin as the director of a failing suicide hotline charity who is about to be evicted.  Throw in Adam Sandler, Juliette Lewis, and Liev Schrieber as a drag queen named Kris and hilarity ensues.  Seriously, lovelovelove this movie.

2. Meet Me in St. Louis

This Judy Garland movie isn't strictly a Christmas movie since it follows the Smith Family of Saint Louis through an entire year broken up into chapters based on the four seasons, but the real heart of the movie are the scenes set during Christmas during which Judy Garland sings 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas'. It is beautiful. What I love best about it is that during this part of the movie the family isn't happy... it's not a magical, wonderful light-hearted Christmas romp, and the lyrics of the song reflect that. It reminds us that we aren't always perfectly happy at Christmas time.  Our problems don't all go away just because it's Christmas and we're only supposed to be happy at that time of year. Sometimes it's okay to just do our best at Christmas... it doesn't have to be perfect.

3. One Magic Christmas

This is another Christmas movie about a family going through a difficult time, and trying to learn the true meaning of Christmas. But the thing I loved about it as a child, and now as an adult, is the atmosphere of the movie.  It's very hushed and quiet, which somehow lends itself to the "magic" of Christmas time.  I remember as a child thinking during the scenes where the little girl Abbie travels to the North Pole to visit Santa that this must truly be what the North Pole and Santa's workshop would be like.  It just seemed so realistic to me.

4. The Shop Around The Corner

The plot of this movie will be familiar to many as the basis for the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie 'You've Got Mail'.  The story is about two clerks in a department store who hate each other in person, but are secretly in love with each other as pen pals.  It's set in Budapest which I think is random, but it has Jimmy Stewart in it and it's pretty hard to go wrong there.

Look forward in the month of December to more blogs about Christmas movies including the really horrible ones that I am ashamed of myself for watching. Happy Viewing!!

November 23, 2011

Expectations Vs. Reality

Ah Thanksgiving!... A magical holiday whose only purpose is to bring loving families together to share a meal and give thanks for all the blessings in their lives!

But let's be honest with ourselves.  Because every year in our heads we picture Thanksgiving looking like this:

Just look at all those shiny happy faces!
But the reality turns out to be  little more like this:

Yep, that's about right.  Except in our family there are more dogs...  and half of the people at the table are three sheets to the wind by noon.

I can usually be found in the backyard pacing, or in a closet curled up in the fetal position muttering to myself.

It's a splendid, splendid time. And, yet, I wouldn't trade my family's Thanksgiving hootenanny for anything in the world. It may be chaotic, stressful, and borderline maddening but it's ours.

And, now,  a recipe from my dysfunctional Thanksgiving table to yours!

Every year I make my dad a pecan pie for Thanksgiving.  This has become my favorite recipe.  It's a little unusual in that, unlike most pecan pie recipes, it contains no corn syrup.  The filling is amazing... every bite is like a mouthful of caramel. Yum!

Image blatantly stolen from user SaveRoom4Pie on

My Pecan Pie - slightly (very slightly... okay mostly I just added some salt) adapted from this recipe.


1 unbaked 8 or 9 inch pie crust
1 c. light brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 eggs
1 T. all purpose flour
1 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 healthy pinch of kosher salt
1 c. chopped pecans (or 2 cups if you don't want to garnish with pecan halves)
3/4 c. pecan halves for top of pie


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Beat two eggs until light and foamy. Stir in melted butter. Stir in both sugars and flour; mix well. Add the milk, vanilla, salt and nuts.
Pour into unbaked pie shell. At this point I suggest arranging some pecan halves on top of the pie.  This pecan pie bakes a little differently than most pecan pies, the result of which is that it tastes amazing, but it is lacking in the pecan-studded, traditional pecan pie appearance department. Without extra pecan halves for decoration, or at least adding extra chopped pecans to the filling mixture, you end up with an underwhelming looking pecan pie.  It will taste amazing, but look kind of 'meh'.
Bake in 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking an additional 30 to 40 minutes.
Allow to cool and then apply directly to face.

November 22, 2011

Treat Yo Self!

Some years if the living isn't too lean, I like to treat myself to a special Christmas / birthday gift. You might say it's how I celebrate Treat Yo Self Day.

Here are some things I'm considering.

1. House of Harlow Zig Zag Starburst ring.

Image from Google.
2. Karen Walker Perfect Day sunglasses.
Image from Google.
3. Tiffany Beads Earrings.  I used to have a pair of these, they were a special Christmas gift from my Dad, but then I got a cat... a cat who likes to find shiny things and put them into bowls of water, like toilets.  So one day I woke up and went to the bathroom and then walked into the kitchen for a cup of coffee and noticed one of my precious Tiffany earrings in the cat's water dish.  I never found the other earring, but my suspicion is that it got flushed.  That cat is a real jerk a-hole.

Image from Google.

November 21, 2011

Terrible Advice

Image from Google.

Attention Crazy Cat Ladies... I know you love your cats.  I know you have photos of them on your desk and you tell stories about them to anyone who will pretend to give a shit, but this is the absolute WORST IDEA EVER.

Don't ever do this.  It's not okay.  You will get caught and everyone will laugh at you.

Manly Monday

Monday is the day I pick my imaginary boyfriend for the week.  Yes... just a week.  I'm very fickle and not at all interested in committing to any one imaginary boyfriend.

Here are the candidates for this week:

Marcus Mumford - Plays the guitar, the banjo, the mandolin, the washboard and, also, is adorable.

Image from Google.

Seth MacFarlane - Adorable and nerdy for showtunes.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt - Looks terrific in a suit, speaks French, and is really, really adorable.

Donald Glover - Nerd. Rapper. Comedian. Glasses. Fucking Adorable.

So clearly the most important criteria in my choice is tangible adorableness.  These guys are killing it on the adorable factor.  I can't choose.  Opinions?

November 18, 2011

Meet Your Hostess

Name: Jessica Dyan
Age: 29
Sex: Female
Location: My office, Wichita, KS

1. What time did you go to bed last night, and were you alone?
I went to bed at 8:30 last night, but I read until almost 10.  I always sleep with my pug, Henry.  He's very cuddly.

2. If you could be given ANY gift what would it be?
If we're going the super greedy, ridiculous, never in a million years route... a 1985 white Lambourghini Countach.  My brother had a poster of one when I was little, and whenever we talked about someone who was rich I would ask him how many Lamboughinis that person could buy.  My entire concept of wealth as a child centered on the ability to purchase Lambourghini Countachs.

On a slightly less greedy route I would really like these super cool Helvetica playing cards.

Image from Pinterest

3. What was the last film that really thrilled/moved/disturbed you and why?

I watched a documentary on Netflix a couple of weeks ago called Cropsey, and I had to bail out about 30 minutes into it because I got freaked out.  The documentary is about the origins of an urban legend in the director's childhood neighborhood on Staten Island about an escaped mental patient who lives in the tunnels under the city and snatches little kids. The documentary is about how the community learned that the story wasn't completely made up after children started disappearing from the area.  It was super creepy.  I really want to finish it once I get my courage up.

4. What is your favorite TV show of all time (i.e. you've seen every episode, can watch it over and over again, and quote lines from it)?

Based on that criteria I would have to go with Arrested Development... with 1st and 2nd runners up being Wings and Designing Women.

5. What would you call yourself if you could choose your own name?

The perpetual girl-child that lives inside of me wants to pick something flowery and princess-y like Aurora or Georgiana, but I've always thought it would be awesome to have a cool nickname like Pepper or Scout.

6. What is your favorite article of clothing and why?

Right now it's my red flannel shirt.  I put it on every night when I get home.  It just seems appropriate for fall weather.

7. If you could go anywhere in the world for vacation where would it be and who would it be with?

I would love to go to Germany with my parents to see the village they lived in when they were first married and my Dad was stationed there in the army.  I've heard so many stories about Kothen and the family they lived with while they were there.  Plus Germany just looks amazing.

8. What did you want to be when you were little and do you think you ever will be?

I had three dream jobs as a child:
a) Barker's Beauty on The Price is Right
b) Cashier at the grocery store
c) Roller skating rink DJ

I'm going to say no on all three, but I'm okay with that :)

9. What was your favorite toy as a child... and now?

Barbies and my cabbage patch kid dolls.  I was a pretty girly child.
Now... I don't know.  My iPod?

10. When was the last time you cried laughing and why?

Yesterday while I was at work listening to a Ricky Gervais podcast. I was praying no one would walk into my office and see me laughing like a maniac.

November 17, 2011

Thursday Playlist

I usually try to make a new playlist for myself every week, and burn it on a disc to play on my drive to work.  Part of the fun is trying to find the perfect mix of music that will come in at around a perfect 25 minutes (the length of my commute) and match my current mood or theme.

This week I'm listening to a lot of what I call "New Folk".  Some of it is pretty new to me, but that is also part of the fun of making a new playlist every week, it keeps me out of a musical rut of recycling the same songs and forces me to discover some music that is new (at least to me).  I usually just look up a musician on YouTube and start clicking around and listening to different things.  That is how I have discovered some of my absolute favorite bands and musicians.

Here is this weeks playlist:

New Romantic - Laura Marling

Clementine - Sarah Jaffe

The Cave - Mumford and Sons

The Littlest Birds - The Be Good Tanyas

Hesitating Beauty - Billy Bragg and Wilco

It's mellow, but slightly upbeat at times.  I think The Cave will make my workout playlist, I feel like I could run 100 miles per hour when I listen to it.

November 16, 2011

The Jolliest Bunch of Assholes This Side of the Nuthouse

It's not my intention, but it seems to happen every year at Christmas.

You see, I love Christmas... most people do, but I have a tendency to take it to new, dizzying heights of manic excitement. It's disturbing to watch, or so I'm told.

I don't know how to explain it really.  I always assumed I would grow out of it, that sometime in between childhood and adulthood I would reach a point when I would be able to sleep Christmas Eve, or maybe even have to be woken up by someone on Christmas morning.  But nope, I'm 29 years old and I'm still lying awake in my bed watching the digital numbers on my alarm clock slowly ticking by trying to decide if 1:30 is a reasonable time to get up to look at my Christmas stocking.

I think I've finally learned to accept  that I will ALWAYS be the first one up for Christmas.  I will beat my kids up.  I will be 90 years old and creeping into the living room to look at all of the wonderful things "Santa" has brought me.

I get excited about Christmas in February.  No lie.

I have one good month of feeling indifferent about Christmas, and then I'm ready to go all over again.  I can't wait.  I dream about it. I crave it.

By the time November rolls around and every one else is starting to think about or maybe get a little excited about Christmas, I'm in super manic out of control Martha Stewart mode.  I'm making lists. I'm decorating.  I'm setting incredibly unreasonable expectations about how wonderful THIS Christmas will be.  Better than all the rest!  I'm baking. I'm wrapping gifts. I'm decorating some more.  Everything will be perfect! Everything will be beautiful and special!  And I'm planning menus. I'm crafting. I'm decorating anything that will stand still.

And then it all falls down around my ears.  It usually looks something like this... except it's all happening INSIDE my brain.

And then I get sick.

My body finally gives in, worn out from all of the going going going and decorating decorating decorating, and, more times than I can count, I wake up Christmas morning with a sore throat and aching body.  The thing I seem to forget is that Martha has a team of minions to do her Christmas bidding while I have just me.  And the other thing I always forget is that Christmas is going to come whether I have everything decorated to perfection or not, whether I have bought everyone on my list the absolute perfect, most special gift ever or not. It's going to come anyways and it will be perfect all on it's own because it's Christmas.  There will be beauty and light and wonder and family and joy without me having to try.

I love it.  I can't wait.  I'm taking extra Vitamin C just in case.

November 15, 2011

Mental Patient Song - Little Lion Man

Like most people, I love music.  Unlike most people, or maybe everyone does this, I go through phases where  I fixate on one song and play it over and over again not unlike some kind of mental patient who thinks the music is telling him/her that extra terrestrials are coming to harvest humans for slaves on their home planet, hence the reason I call these my 'Mental Patient Songs'.  This is my current one, Little Lion Man by Mumford and Sons.  I've got it on a constant loop in my car to and from work everyday.  I hearts it.

November 14, 2011

Love the Lovely Aziz Ansari

I would happily walk around with all day, every day just like this with Aziz Ansari... plus holding hands.  And maybe singing songs.

Image from Google.

The Road to Now

A little over a year ago I decided to join Weight Watchers.  At the time I was pretty down in the dumps... my life had taken a weird turn over the previous 6 to 8 months.   I found myself unemployed (due to lay-offs), single, and at my highest weight ever (due to loving food? A lot?)... highest by a long shot.  As in, when I stood on that scale at the Weight Watchers meeting and finally had to confront how much I actually weighed, I was stunned.  I struggled to process that number... holy shit THAT NUMBER.  The best I could do was accept it and know that at least I was taking teeny-tiny baby steps to fix it.

This, however, is not a Weight Watchers success story. Unfortunately.

I diligently went to meetings and counted points and went on walks with my dog Henry for about 2 months, and I lost weight... about 15 lbs.  And then an atomic bomb hit my life.  My life and my family's life.  My brother passed away very suddenly at the age of 33 due to complications from diabetes.

November 11, 2011

Image from Pinterest.
I made an EPIC wish... how about you?

Love the Lovely Matthew Gray Gubler

I was stumbling around Pinterest yesterday, which is what I am doing 98% of the time I am on a computer, and I found this written by some young actor I had never heard of named Matthew Gray Gubler.  And I pretty much instantly was in heart with him. So effing sweet.

Image from Pinterest

Girlfriend Wanted by Matthew Gray Gubler

must love decorating for holidays
kissing in cars
and wind chimes

no specific height
hair color
or political affiliation required
but would prefer a warm spirited non racist

and “stick in the muds” need not reply

voluptuous figures a plus

any similarity in look, mind set, or fashion sense to
mary poppins
claire huxtable
snow white
or elvira wholeheartedly welcomed

i am dubious of actresses, fellons, and lesbians
but dont want to rule them out entirely

must be tolerant of whistling
tickle torture
james taylor
and sleeping late

i have a slight limp
eerily soft hands
and a preternatural love of autumn

I once misinterpreted being called a coal-eyed dandy as a compliment when it was intended as an insult
I wiggle my feet in my sleep
am scared of the dark
and think the Muppets Christmas Carol is one of the greatest films of all time

all i want is
butterfly kisses in the morning
peanut butter sandwiches shaped like a heart
and to make you smile until it hurts

November 9, 2011

And A Tree Falls In the Woods...

In an exercise of total vanity and self-absorption, I thought I would start a blog to document the thoughts in my head and the feeling in the thoughts.

There will be recipes, angst-ing, humor, recommendations, tips, confusion, and squee-ing over cute boys.  Oh the squee-ing there will be.

Howdy! I'm Jess.  How the heck are ya?

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