Thirtying Like a Boss: Some Facts About Turning 30

FullSizeRenderI’m officially 30 years old.

I was the last grandchild born on both sides of my family, always the baby wherever we went. I must say, turning 30 feels surreal.

If I’m 30…are they all….DEAD?!!!

I’m at this weird juxtaposition where I was an adult, but not really because who’s that much of an adult as a twentysomething, but now I’m really, really an adult. Because I’m 30. I’m 30.

One would hope that with each birthday you get a little bit wiser. So today I bring you…

Some Facts About Turning 30

1. You will have mixed feelings about this. 

With societal pressures being what they are, especially if you’re a woman, turning 30 feels momentous. Because when you tell all your twentysomething friends that you’re turning 30 they see 30 as something lightyears away which causes them to respond by saying things like “Seriously? You don’t LOOK that old?” and “Oh, you’re NOT going to go out to celebrate?” And that leads me to the following internal monologue:

  • I’m sorry, you must have misheard me. I’m turning 30, not 300. There’s no reason to buy dentures and Bengay just yet. And furthermore, just because I’d prefer to stay in and celebrate with close friends rather than pub crawl my way through the occasion and wake up in last night’s mascara does not make me alien, it makes me 30. I already have dark circles under my eyes and I’m not trying to define them. 

Then when I tell my thirtysomething friends I’m turning 30 they all get this reassuring look in their eyes like they’re mentally patting my hand and inviting me to join a cult that takes ups crafts like scrapbooking and knitting. They say things like “Don’t sweat it! Your 30’s are your best years!” and “You’ll be more confident in your 30’s, enjoy it!” I think:

  • Yes, I’ve been looking forward to this growth stage. I will be a more indestructible me. I will takeover the world. … But then I remember I still don’t know how to cook anything besides baked chicken, and how the last time I tried knitting I gave myself carpel tunnel. So how will I enjoy the greatest years of my life when I still feel like such an impostor? 

2. Phrases like “enjoy it while you can” and “you’re face is going to freeze like that” take on new meanings.

I’d say somewhere between 28 and 29, eating whatever I wanted and not gaining a pound went away. Now I have a license to conceal and carry…my muffin top. As the youngest of four, I have fond memories of sibling scrabbles and epic battles of making grotesque faces at one another. Plenty of adults warned us to knock it off or else our “face was going to freeze like that.” I somewhat regret making this face so much.

Let's not talk about what's happening here.

Let’s not talk about what’s happening here.

3. You won’t have it all figured out yet, but you’re better at it. 

Your 20’s involve getting a leg up. You’ll do crap jobs to work your way up a ladder you’re not sure you want to climb, but that’s ok. Say YES! It helps you figure out what it is you DO want to do. My 20’s is when I figured out I did NOT want to do sales, but also where I learned I’m good at talking to people, being a leader, and that I wanted to get back into writing.

4. Remember all the cool girls who guided you along your way. Now you get to BE one. 

I wouldn’t be who I am today without the love and support of some amazing girlfriends. Mentors along the way who let me be me. And there are a few older ones whose wise words and attention particularly meant something. I had coworkers who gave advice and let me vent when I just needed to get my frustration out. I have professors who’ve become friends and asked for my help or had me talk with their classes. And I’ve got four older sisters who all treat me with respect and love. Now, I love love love giving that back. I love being a mentor to the college students that I meet at work and help pump up their confidence to try new things and make messes and seek opportunities. I don’t mind that when I attend conferences, I’m often sharing advice or experience instead of always getting it. I remember what it was like, and now I get to be the one that helps. That’s a great feeling.

5. You’ve lived three decades on this earth! 

In case you didn’t major in math*, I’ll add it up for you, you’ve lived three whole decades on this earth!

*I didn’t major in math, so I asked a friend. Yes, it is in fact three decades. 

You officially have experience with things. You are now old enough to make references to pop culture that young people won’t understand!

What do you mean you’ve never heard of Popples?!!

And you have friends who’ve known you half your life or more!


Basically, 30’s not so bad. So don’t sweat it.
I plan to rock 30 like a boss. 

Cheers, everyone! 

What If Mermaids Take Over Our Jobs?

If you google “will mermaids take over our jobs” you will, in fact, find a slew of mermaid job opportunities.

I thought it was important you know this. Because Professional Mermaid is a thing.

Mehgan Heaney-Grier trying out a new style of swim fin in the waters of the Florida Keys. (Creative Commons)

Mehgan Heaney-Grier trying out a new style of swim fin in the waters of the Florida Keys. (Creative Commons)

I was recently out to coffee with a friend who had heard about a documentary (later outed as a docufiction) called Mermaids: The Body Found. It aired on both Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel. You can see film clips about mermaid sightings, their evolution, and history here.

Or you can look on YouTube and find the whole thing – but I’m not responsible, related to, or acquainted with whoever put it there.

I think the show’s worth a watch, if you can get past the narrator referring to them as “underwater apes”. That’s as bad as calling a tyrannosaurus rex a “big lizard.”

But this story gets better.

During its US premiere, Mermaids: The Body Found received 1.9 million views, the largest the network had seen in six years.

A vast majority of those viewers missed the teeny tiny, somewhat hidden disclaimer behind this mockumentary, and believed that shit WAS REAL.

As a result, thousands of people started writing letters to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration demanding action.

What if the mermaids started eating all our shrimp and caused a food shortage?

What if they were after OUR JOBS? 

mermaids doing various jobs, working at a computer, using a power drill, checking a patient's heartbeat with a stethoscope

Artwork by Heather Hertzel

Okay, timeout.

In what bored, cubicle-trapped mind, would you fear that of all the possible things that could possibly happen, MERMAIDS swarming the workforce, overtaking your career, would be something worth writing an angry letter about?

Like a pack of mermaids are gonna scuba their way inside the nearest factories and corporations and start mass applying for jobs with 401k plans?

Or like, you’ll be in a video store with your family, looking for a movie to watch, when suddenly the clerk shouts out from her tank behind the register that ‘Free Willy’ is her pick of the week and she highly recommends it?

Do you know that only 36% of the population even voted in the last federal election?

We can’t remember to vote for the bi-pedal humans that LEAD us, but we’ve got time to get pissed off about mermaids?!

Wait for it, it continues to get better.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration got so many letters that they issued a statement. And in that statement, they said that mermaid migration leading to infiltrated job opportunities was not a concern of theirs as 1) mermaids aren’t real and 2) if it ever DID happen, it’d be a problem for immigration, so please stop writing them letters about mermaids.

This is too rich. I mean, this story is like eating a decadent cheesecake. Or a crab cake. Either way, I want another bite.

While researching mermaids (and finding the definitive proof they exist, but I don’t have time to talk about that today), I also found these gems.

  • Plan your next vacation at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park – Home of the Weeki Wachee Mermaids
  • Check out Tears of a Mermaid, the short film starring Hannah Fraser, who works to promote education and conservation of ocean life. She took a unique approach to not just deep dive, but dance, with one of the deadliest ocean predators, the Tiger Shark.
  • Another ocean conservationist and entertainer is Mermaid Melissa. You can even hire her for parties!
  • Watch the trailer for Funny or Die’s latest Sophia Coppola film, The Little Mermaid

What do you think? Are mermaids real?
And will they take over our jobs?


Last but not least, this week is the final #Keanuthon countdown.

We had a great time watching The Matrix last wednesday. Hop on the hashtag #Keanuthon to see all the fun!

This week we’re watching Constantine, one of my favorite Keanu Reeves movies. He plays John Constantine, a man who has “been to hell and back.” He’s on a mission to prove himself. Co-starring another favorite actor of mine, Rachel Weisz, together they team up to solve the mystery of her twin sister’s untimely death.

I hope you join us for one more round! I’m looking forward to it!

Hubby and I are thinking of hosting a scary movie marathon in October.
Interested in joining us for a #ScreamingScreening?

My Serendipitous Run-in With Keanu Reeves

I met Keanu Reeves last week.

By now, if you read my blog, or follow me on any social media account, you’re well aware that my husband and I have been hosting a Keanu Reeves themed movie marathon all September long called #Keanuthon. I’ve been live tweeting the films with friends and followers every wednesday.


So when we serendipitously ran into and MET Keanu Reeves last week, I guess people wanted to know the story.

To begin, we unknowingly kicked off #Keanuthon on his birthday. 

Some luck!

And on the sunday before we were to watch Speed, my husband and I decided to go hiking. This usually doesn’t end well for us as you’ll see here and here.

At the end of our hiking trip, we decided to grab a beer and then get dinner because it was still the weekend after all, and beer is delicious.

Do you believe in signs? Cause this is the part where shit gets crazy.

The first bar we went to was near the bluffs we were hiking in, but when we got there we learned it was closed. Like really closed. The place was condemned.


Our second stop was to a new brewery in town, which neither of us had yet tried. Also closed. (Not also condemned.)

At that point, we got out of the car and decided to walk around downtown and just bum til we found a place. So we find a bar we’ve frequented aplenty, buy our drinks and head upstairs for a table by the window.

Now, we’re in the bar approximately a half hour, chatting about our hiking trip, making future plans, blah blah blah, when I look across the street and start watching this guy standing outside a restaurant.

“You know, my contacts are a bit dirty, but that guy looks like Keanu Reeves,” I said.

“Oh yah,” said Joe, turning around.

We stare at the man. We watch him take a drag on his cigarette and run his hand through his hair.

“It’s uncanny,” said Joe. “Even his mannerisms.”

“Huh,” I agree, nodding.

We go back to talking about whatever else we talked about.

Once we finished our drinks, we headed out to get dinner down the block, but the Keanu Reeves lookalike was still outside. We started to wonder…

Joe suggested we cross the street “for a better look.”

Mid-street crossing I was in the mindset that this was just an extreme lookalike situation, and I bet he gets asked this all the time, but I’m going to ask for a picture because I’ll tell him about #Keanuthon and how funny it would be if I posted that I met Keanu Reeves (but it was just a lookalike).

Understand that at this point I’m walking up with full confidence. 

And when we’re 3 feet away…

*laughter* “That’s really Keanu Reeves,” Joe said. 

Everything after this happened SO FAST. I halted in my tracks. I thought Joe was pushing me forward, he thought I was pushing him forward. The REAL Keanu Reeves heads inside the restaurant and I hear Joe say, “We’re eating here.”

The entrance to the restaurant has a few stairs down to the floor and again, we’re pushing one another.

All Joe can say is “It’s really him.”

And all I can say is “BUT WHY???”

Why is the REAL Keanu Reeves inside a restaurant in my city when we’re in the middle of hosting #Keanuthon???

We walk further into the restaurant, past the bar, looking around for confirmation. Surely others are freaking out like we are. It’s KEANU REEVES, Duuuuuuuuuude!

Nothing. There’s no response.

The bartender directs us to the hostess desk for a table. We ask the hostess if we can sit in the bar.

“Can we sit at THAT table?” my husband asks. She nods.

You guys, we sat at the table NEXT TO Keanu Reeves!

There’s no chair for me, so I walk a few tables over to move one and slide it to our table, right next to Keanu – who turns and looks to ensure I have plenty of room to fit.


We get our menus and we’re both acting like crazy people, giggling and muttering “BUT WHY?”

Joe keeps telling me to “make my move.”

I’m feeling like a creep, but I figure it’s now or never and I gotta just say hi and that I’m a fan and we’re hosting this marathon. (And that I’m NOT an axe murderer.) 

I literally turn in my chair and tap Keanu on the shoulder. He’s a foot away or less. He turns around, extending his hand, and says…

“Hi, I’m Keanu.”

HOLY AJF;AII$%@^%!!!

I lose it again. I’m laughing. I can’t believe I’m in real life right now. I’m shaking Keanu Reeves’ hand and laughing.

I pull myself together enough to say that I’m a fan and that, it might sound crazy, but my husband and I have been having this movie marathon with all of his films and we’re live tweeting his movies.

I also show him the #Keanuthon poster I made on my phone so he believes me. 

“You’re doing what?! That’s crazy” Keanu said. “What films are you watching?”

I read him the lineup.

Keanu: “Constantine! Nice!”

Jess: “That’s my favorite one!”

Keanu: “You should do one of the weird ones. You should watch A Scanner Darkly.”

Jess: “Ok. This is just so crazy. Could we get a photo? No one’s going to believe this.”

Keanu: “Yah, let’s get a photo.”

More Examples of How Lovely Keanu Is

I introduce Keanu to my husband and we ask a friend of his to take our photo. Afterwards, I’m totally ready to slink away. I’m stunned and fangirling and don’t want to take up any more of his time. I don’t even look at the photo, I’m just grateful for what has happened.


It ends up looking really hazy for some reason. I show it to Keanu.

“Let’s take another one. Here we’ll move this way. Jess, you get in the middle.” Keanu is allowing us a second photo op and he remembered my name!

Soooooo, long story short, that’s how we got this baby.

Jess Witkins Meets Keanu Reeves

There you have it. That’s how I met Keanu Reeves. And he was wonderful. 

(Oh yah, I did ask him why he was in town and he was here for S & S Cycles – there was a conference or show going on and he’s into motorcycles. So I wished him a great trip. And a belated happy birthday.)

With that said, #Keanuthon is going strong with a bonus feature this week.

Today at 4pm CST we’re watching A Scanner Darkly (requested by Keanu Reeves). 

This is “one of the weird ones.”

It’s an animated movie set in the not too distant future and tells the story of an undercover cop who gets too close to the world of mind-altering drugs. Reeves costars with Robert Downey Jr, Woody Harrelson, and Winona Ryder.

Fun Facts: 
  • the filming of this movie took 23 days, while the animation took 18 months
  • Robert Downey Jr wrote all his lines on post-it notes and stuck them around the set so he could read off them, then they were edited out during the animation process
  • In Arctor’s kitchen there is a drawing of a head in a box next to the phrase “Time to thaw Walt out!”. This is a reference to the urban legend that animator Walt Disney had himself cryogenically frozen.
  • This is the highest-grossing digitally rotoscoped animated feature, grossing $7,659,918.

Also this week…

We’re watching The Matrix on wednesday night at 8pm CST.

Co-starring Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Hugo Weaving, Keanu Reeves plays Neo, a computer hacker who’s about to learn about multiple realities.

Fun Facts
  • It took the actors six months of training and four days to shoot the opening action scene
  • In the first half of the movie, half of Keanu’s lines are questions, averaging roughly one question per minute
  • For my literary nerds, the room that Neo is in at the beginning is room 101, and is a tribute to George Orwell in 1984, where room 101 is where a prisoner gets placed to face their worst phobias

Tune in and live tweet with us using #Keanuthon to follow the fun!


30 Questions Before 30

I turn 30 next month.

I’ve moved on from childish behavior like eating Cheetos for dinner. Now, I am a sophisticated adult who eats Cheetos for dinner…with a glass of wine. And with better clothes, because I shop at Stitch Fix.

Afro Hair 4

Thanks for the “fashion advice,” Mom.  NOT.  

I’ve surpassed the emotional roller coaster that this new decade has been inducing. I’ve let go of “do this by the time I’m 30” deadlines. And now, I’m looking forward to it. I think 30 is going to be a great year.

I still feel the need to document my life thus far though. A lot of change and growth, and loss and love, has happened in my 20’s and I want to acknowledge it. I’d been thinking of doing some kind of 30 facts before 30 post, when lo and behold, blogger pal, Liz from Be. Love. Live shared her own 31 Questions theme. And since she invited others to join in, I’m doing just that.

Here’s 30 Questions Answered Before I Turn 30.
  1. Where’s your cellphone? If not in my hand, then it’s right next to me. I have a problem.
  2. Where’s your second half? After making us a scrumptious breakfast this morning, he is out for a run, letting me work in peace.
  3. Your hair? Is messy. I let it air dry. But the color is my natural red.
  4. Your mood? Excited. It’s going to be a good day.
  5. Your plan for today? To catch up on writing assignments and then go hiking with my bae. 
    Out for a Stroll
  6. What’s the best you know? Best I know of what? I know I like red ales and Leinenkugel’s Red is a great one. I think David Sedaris’ essay Six to Eight Black Men is the funniest thing I’ve ever read. I think sharing that story about that time I pooped my pants has made more people come forward and share their own shitastrophies, and that makes me like each of them a bit more.
  7. Your dream last night? I didn’t dream last night, or if I did, I don’t remember it. But last weekend after Joe and I binged watched Season Five of The Walking Dead, I dreamed that I was out scavenging for food and shelter all night long. I was exhausted the next morning.
  8. Your goal in life? To publish my book, and to make people laugh.
  9. The room you’re in? The kitchen, at the table by the window. The most common space I write in, and where Joe often catches me.
  10. Your hobby? Blogging, reading, hanging out in coffee shops, doing improv, talking in weird voices, shocking my mother…

    worlds largest latteHobbying like a boss. 

  11. Your fear? Bugs.
  12. Where would you like to be in six years? Celebrating the six year anniversary of you asking me that question. ;)
  13. Where were you yesterday evening? At home with the hubs, watching The Grand Budapest Hotel.
  14. What are you not? I am not coordinated. Please don’t throw balls at me.
  15. Something you wish? I wish I had some chocolate. Like now.
  16. Where did you grow up? In a small town in southeast Wisconsin.
  17. What was the last thing you did? Watch Hannah Hart’s My Drunk Kitchen: Toad in a Hole. This girl makes me giggle.
  18. Your clothes? I’m rocking my Dolly Parton tshirt.
    Dolly Parton tee
  19. Your TV? Is a host to many epic marathons such as #Keanuthon.
  20. Your computer? Is a multi-holiday gift from my husband after my old one died. It’s a MacBook Air, and I still don’t really know how to use it. For the love of God, why can’t I just double click on things??!
  21. The best thing you own? My journals. Those notebooks hold my soul.
  22. Do you miss anyone? I miss my family. I miss the members that passed on too early. I miss friends that are kindred spirits despite living across the country.
  23. Your car? Is a 2004 Nissan Sentra, and her name is Dionne.
  24. Something you’re not wearing? Socks.
  25. Favorite store? It is quickly becoming Etsy. And does Stitch Fix count? It is a store, but you don’t go to it, it comes to you.

    Where my book nerds at? Etsy is the greatest for gifts.Where my book nerds at? 

  26. Your summer? The highlight was our annual summer vacation and road trip to Tennessee where we ate copious amounts of barbecue, listened to lots of live music, and visited with friends and family. Additional highs include storytelling at the Old School Variety Show, co-hosting part of the Film Freaks series with the library, and joining an improv troupe.
  27. Do you love anyone? Yah, there’s this boy I like.

    It’s the one on the left. 

  28. Favorite color? Green and turquoise.
  29. When did you last laugh? I laughed watching that Hannah Hart video. Did you watch it? Go watch it. She’s so silly.
  30. When did you last cry? I cried watching The Walking Dead because some of my favorite characters were killed off. I won’t say who, but it’s sad.

Feel free to copy these questions and share your own responses.
Thanks for tuning in! 



It’s mid-month of #Keanuthon and this week’s classic is Speed. One bus. One bomb. One Keanu to save the day!

Co-starring Sandra Bullock, Dennis Hopper, and Jeff Daniels, Keanu plays a cop that has to rescue a group of strangers trapped on a bus that can’t go less than 50 mph. If you already feel like one epic joy ride isn’t enough, rest assured, there’s a Speed 2: Cruise Control – which takes place on a boat. Unfortunately, Keanu isn’t in that one.

We’ll be live tweeting the movie once again on Wednesday, September 16th at 8:00pm CST. Join me and friends or follow along using #Keanuthon.

Get ready for rush hour! 

Also this happened last night. What. Are. The. Odds? 

Jess Witkins Meets Keanu Reeves

Now, even KEANU knows about #Keanuthon. 

Sh*t My Husband Says While Sleeping, Vol. 3

He’s baaaaaack!

Maybe it was the onset of school starting (him being a teacher and all). Maybe it’s the change of the seasons. Whatever the reason, my hubby has started talking in his sleep again.

If you’re new here, this is my husband.

Joe readingHis name is Joe. 
He’s a fan of hot sauce, guitar solos, and
beard oil for facial hair maintenance.

Occasionally, Joe talks in his sleep. Sometimes he calls me his “little pear juice” or starts laughing about crackers and email.

And then there are times, when he’s fast asleep, and he says shit like this: 

Joe: It’s hot.

Me: Are you too hot?

Joe: It’s time to install the hot tub.

Me: Hot tub?

Joe: Where should we put it?

Me: What???

Joe: Don’t you think we need one? To store all this hot water?

Me: …

I don’t… Yah, we’re not getting a hot tub. We’ve never discussed getting a hot tub, and if we ever DO get a hot tub, I am confident that Joe would not install it himself.

Where do YOU keep your hot water? 

P.S. We’re coming up on week 2 of #Keanuthon. Thanks to all who watched Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure with us! We found out it was his birthday on the 2nd, so what a great day to kick off the party!


Here is one of my favorite tweets from the event, which came from my movie-clueless friend, Heather. This was a legitimate question she asked before coming over. Oh, Lawd.

This week we’re watching Point Break, the one where Keanu plays an FBI agent who goes undercover to catch a bunch of bank robbers that might be surfers. Costars include Patrick Swayze (with what is possibly the most epic of surfer hair imaginable), Gary Busey as his FBI partner, and John C. McGinley (who you may know as Dr. Perry Cox from Scrubs).

The preview promises 100% pure adrenaline!!

Watch along with us at 8pm CST this wednesday and live tweet the movie using #Keanuthon. Hope to see you there!

Enjoy your week, everyone!

ICYMI: Where I’ve Been Laughing While I Was Away

Hello Cats and Kittens,

How is everyone’s week going?

I’m keeping very busy as usual. Last week I kicked off my debut with a local performance group called Old School Variety Show as a storyteller. I shared two excerpts from my work in progress, Oops Baby. It was quite fun. Here’s a little teaser from my chapter entitled Have No Fear, Dad is Here. 

This past weekend I traveled home to hang out with my sister, but fear not, I was still in the blogosphere. Here are a few of my favorite funny tales ICYMI.


Alice Whitmore, of Lutheran Liar Looks at Life, dishes all in her date with Steve Martin, The Jerk and The Dude. True story!

Andrea Culletto battles elephant rides and kid debaters (I’m not saying their coach was their dad, but it might have been their dad) in The Elephant in the Room.

Naughty PickleSummer Heacock of Fizzygrrl shares a humorous, gif-filled retelling of her encounters with hyper-religion. This recovering Catholic girl laughed her butt off at this post, but a caution to readers, it’s not for the fundamental of faith. Enjoy Are You There God? It’s Me Fizzy.

Brick House Chick had me screaming with her dietary rant, Cut the Carbs, They Say. We all know it’s not that easy, and this fiery chica was just saying so.

It might sound like a headline out of The Onion, but it’s a true tale over at Jenny Hansen’s blog More Cowbell. Check out her latest post, Hubby’s Jewels Threatened By Doctor With Tuna.

I can only guess that all authors aspire for this kind of acclaim, but The Bloggess is now #4 on Amazon if you search for “giant dildos”. Well That’s…Huh.

The hilarious woman behind Don’t Pet Me, I’m Writing is sharing her response to How Do I Write Humor? (And Other Questions I Suck at Answering).


And don’t forget, #Keanuthon starts tomorrow! Grab a copy of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Dudes, cause we’re starting at 8:00 pm sharp! I can’t wait to live tweet the movie with you! 


What’s made you laugh lately? 

Prepare Yourselves, #Keanuthon is Coming

The Husband and I have been planning to have a movie marathon for months now. A themed marathon. A celebrity-themed marathon.

A Keanuthon. 

We all have our celebrity crushes and idols. My husband’s is Keanu Reeves.

And Jane Fonda. But we’ll host her party later.

So, we’ve decided to host a #Keanuthon. A Keanu Reeves themed movie marathon for the month of September!



Here’s the scoop. 

Starting September 2nd, we’ll watch one Keanu Reeves movie every wednesday. And we’re going to live tweet the movie using the hashtag #Keanuthon. Find me on Twitter @jesswitkins and let’s talk all things Reeves-related.

Feel free to dive in the fun using whatever your favorite social media hangout is, just use #Keanuthon so we can find you.

At the end of the month, I’ll share a wrap up post featuring the funniest and best tweets and photos from #Keanuthon.

So tell all your friends! Head to the movie rental store (AKA: Netflix), and get ready for #Keanuthon!!!

It’s all starting with Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

Spread the word! #Keanuthon starts in one week! 

I Said ‘Yes’ For a Week, and Here’s What Happened: 5 Lessons Learned

I want to talk to you about…my schedule. It’s busy. I work as a freelance writer, am a board member for my nonprofit writers group, helped found and organize a monthly feminist education series, participate in a book club, attend twice a week rehearsals, and work a 40 hour day job.

You know what? I love it.

Say Yes to the Work

Working lunch. Working on writing assignments over dim sum.

Last week was really hectic for me. I had places to be every night of the week. But I think it was one of the best weeks I’ve had in awhile.

Here’s a little rundown…

Monday night started with a board meeting for my writers group. We are going to be hosting the Feminism on Tap gathering in October and since I work closely with both groups, I’m planning it.

Tuesday was a special treat wherein I traveled a couple towns over to meet with New York storyteller and filmographer, Jen Lee. A dozen area “makers” – artists, craftswomen, writers – gathered to learn about her latest collaboration, The 10 Letters Project, a correspondence documenting the creative process and how we critique ourselves. I was invited to attend because another writer and I were offered the chance to emulate the project.

I spent six hours on wednesday night at the public library for a back to back film showing of Johnny Guitar, the 1954 film by La Crosse, WI born director, Nicholas Ray. I was representing Feminism on Tap and co-led a discussion after each viewing. (And during the second showing, I ate pizza with some of the library staff and wrote one of my freelance articles standing up in the library kitchen.)

10 Letters Project

Jen’s book with fellow storyteller/writer, Tim Manley. Everyone who attended also wrote their own anonymous letters and got to answer one anonymously too. Very cool experience connecting with other makers.

I hemmed and hawed most of Thursday over whether or not to audition for an improvisation group, but the writer I met on Tuesday and will be working with on the local 10 letters project was in the group and invited me to go. I went, expecting an audition and nothing more. It turned out to be a two hour improv workshop wherein I became a monster, a pterodactyl, an overtired mother judging a fake gymnastics tournament, and I pulled (imaginary) gum out of a guy’s mouth. At the end of the two hours, I signed up for the next rehearsal.

Friday afternoon I left work and headed to a dim sum shop where I finished my freelance assignments (due that day). Then I hit up the library book sale and came home with a bag of books just in time for date night with my husband.

Finally on Saturday, I attended the first rehearsal for the improv group, which started with a photo shoot for a newspaper article and show flyers. When I got home, my friend picked me up and we hit the shops so I could help her back to school shop for a family through the Salvation Army and find a wedding gift for her sister.

Wow. I’m tired writing this. 

It sounds exhausting. And it is a little, but in the best possible way. I’m a person that thrives on having lots to do. Too much time will make me bored and I will not leave the house or stop watching movies for days. You guys, I’m really good at watching movies! I can do it all damn day!

But here’s what this week of “YES” taught me. 

1. Saying Yes Leads to Amazing Opportunities

I made new friends and connections all last week. From future partners on events to kindred spirits in creativity. I’m looking forward to partnering with a new writer for our project, and through partnering at the library, I got valuable information about hosting film festivals that may lead to a future partnership. Whatever happens, the best part was it was all fun!

My book sale buys.

My book sale buys.

2. Saying Yes Gets You Out of Your Head

I can be a worrier. I overthink things. I love when I find something that takes me out of my head and makes me focus. I use to think only hard exercise could do this, but I was wrong. Improv allowed this. There’s no time to think in improv! I had to close my mind outside thoughts and completely be in the moment. I love making people laugh (that’s why I wrote a humor blog), but what I loved more and why I decided to join the group was because improv allowed me to get out of my anxious brain and just play. That’s a great life lesson.

3. Saying Yes Helps You Process Quickly

With a jam-packed schedule, I learned fast what parts of it I liked and didn’t like. I learned what my strengths and weaknesses are. I played a variety of roles – from the facilitator to the student – throughout the week. It helped me process where I am in my life journey and what I want to spend my time on.

4. Saying Yes Makes You Vulnerable

I was out of my element more than once last week, but I think that’s ok. I thought a lot about something a friend once wrote that moments in our lives where something big is happening cause us to panic about what we’re going to “give” of ourselves. What kind of impression are we going to make? What witty words are we going to say? But sometimes, those moments aren’t about us giving, they’re about receiving. What can we learn from this now? What am I listening to? What resonates? I took a step back a few times and reminded myself that I was in a “receiving” moment, and to enjoy the experience.

5. Saying Yes Makes Each Moment Matter

When time is precious and packed, then the things you’re doing with it have to be just as important. I’m glad I was able to still have a date with my husband and go out with a friend. You learn what things you’re willing to cut out in order to preserve others. Yes, I was busy. But I still spent quality time with the ones I love. In fact, I even called my mother. ;)

Tell me about a time you said yes and it led to something great. 

Happy National Book Lovers Day!

Book LoversAugust 9th is National Book Lovers Day! So grab a friend off your bookshelf and spend some time reading today!

I plan on grabbing one of my books and cozying up in a chair to spend some time with my favorite characters. And I’ll be hopping around the blogosphere hanging out with my fave book bloggers.

I’ve got a few more titles on my To Be Read Pile Challenge completed, but need to do my reviews. So here’s what I’ve recently been reading!

The Picture of Dorian Gray
By Oscar Wilde

Read this one for my book club and we had a great discussion with it. It’s about a young man with the world before him who befriends a rather poor influence. By making just a few despicable choices, he alters the path of his life forever.

If you’re familiar with the paranormal aspect of the book, you know that Dorian never ages. He remains a beautiful and suave gentleman, while a portrait of him takes on every crooked and cruel act he does, displaying his true nature.

I thought this was a great eerie read and a classic I would recommend. When Wilde describes the portrait, hidden away in the attic, it left me cold!

I would also recommend the 1940’s film version of this story. The special effects of the times for the final view of his portrait are seriously terrifying! It’s one of the American Film Institutes Top 100 Thrillers.

Fans of Wilde’s work will be surprised by the artsy, dramatic voice in Dorian Gray as its very different from his other works like The Importance of Being Earnest. And I would recommend it for book clubs as we did have a rich discussion about Wilde and his book.

By Jane Austen

The last book I had to read in order to complete Austen’s six main novels. I hope to start in on her novellas this year and read Sanditon.

Persuasion is the story of Anne Elliot, a woman who abides by duty and what others desire of her before her own heart. As such, she refused the hand of the only man she has ever loved. But when chance propels them into each other’s lives again, will she have the gumption to share her true feelings? And will he have the heart to forgive her all these years later?

I am always delighted by the works of Jane Austen. Each one is a treat to read bringing lovable and not-so-lovable *cough* (Anne’s sister, Mary Musgrove) *cough* to life! Persuasion is one of her best. It has overbearing family members, silly schoolgirl crushes, a family feud, a mysterious cousin, hidden affairs and agreements, and oh yes – a romantic sea captain, Frederick Wentworth!

Persuasion is a tale about second chances and trusting one’s own mind. True to many of Austen’s works, the reader must know that not everyone can be trusted based on their first impression. Cold and stoic personages can be caring and charming, gentlemanly characters may be downright scoundrels. But that’s why you have to keep reading!

Death Comes to Pemberley
By P.D. James

Even if you watched the BBC miniseries, you really ought to read the book. There’s much more to the story and you learn a lot of details about what became of each of the Bennett sisters. For example, it is Kitty who remains at Longbourn taking care of their mother, not Mary!

The book picks up a few years after Darcy and Elizabeth are married. The household is preparing for a ball when suddenly Lydia, Elizabeth’s ill-mannered, flirtatious sister shows up announced and screaming that her husband is dead!

Fans of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice know that Lydia marries the scoundrel, George Wickham, and he is no less changed in this fan mystery. It is not Wickham who is found dead in the woods behind Pemberley, but his best friend Captain Denny. Wickham is however, the prime murder suspect!

The author, P.D. James is one of Britain’s foremost mystery writers and she captures Austen’s voice meticulously. The last thing Darcy wants to do is save Wickham yet again, but save him he must if he wants to keep scandal away from his home and family.

I listened to this book on audio and it was a delightful mystery to get swept up in. And of course be reunited with all the best characters in Pride and Prejudice. Even Mr. Collins!


That leaves just five more titles to complete for the TBR Pile Challenge. How are the rest of you doing? 

What are you currently reading right now? 

Any fun plans to celebrate Book Lovers Day?

I Really Do Hate Kayaking! Five Truths and a Lie Answers Revealed

Hey Lads and Lassies,

Thanks all for playing along with last week’s post Five Truths and a Lie. All of you made admirable guesses and many of you left your own five truths and a lie for me to guess, which was super fun. Thanks!

As promised, the answers are revealed this week and I decided to do so via vlog. Enjoy my muppet voice!

You’re welcome.

Still wanna play along? Leave five truths and a lie in the comments and I will try to guess which is the lie.
Or write your own blog post! Link back here so I can see it.
Happy week everyone!


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