Whole30: Part One

Free rangin' chickens at my grandmother-in-laws house

Free rangin’ chickens at my grandmother-in-laws house


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The L Word

I’m only, oh, 10ish years behind on watching and loving the TV series The L Word. To be fair, I was 14 when the series first aired – the Showtime hit that follows the lives of a group of lesbian friends living in L.A. isn’t exactly tweeny bopper material.

I first heard about this series from my husband – he had lots of lesbian friends in college and often watched bits of the series with them. He laughed off the sometimes-super-racy scenes but gave it a great review.

After being hounded by friends to finally watch it, I found the series on Netflix and hit play. I’ve been watching it nonstop since. It’s funny, sexy, relatable and addictive. The women are executives, housewives, hairdressers, students, writers, small business owners and sports figures. They’re witty and funny and kind, sometimes confused about their own lives and choices. They face parenting alone, discrimination, breakups, breast cancer, the death of parents, divorces, military deployment and career changes. They’re extremely loyal and painfully honest.

It’s the most relatable series I’ve ever watched. Which is interesting for someone who isn’t gay and has very little in common with anyone who lives in West Hollywood. I’ve never dated a woman, a solider, a person dying of cancer. I’ve never buried a parent or been fired from a job. I’ve never dealt with addiction or fame. But on a very simple but profound level, I understand what it means to be a woman. And I’ve never watched a series that so perfectly illustrated the nuances of female friendships and what it means to be a woman in this world – an educated, passionate, ambitious, smart, funny woman.

What series are you watching and loving (even if you’re a little late to the game)? Tell me in the comments!




Christmas in July: Wishlist 2014

July is my usual time for a whopping case of reverse seasonal affective disorder. I hate sunny days. So does Cory.  Our apartment is dark and 67 degrees year round…Yes, that’s ridiculous electricity usage. I have no regrets. We just  prefer cold and stormy weather – the drama of a thunderstorm, the flickering of candles in an icy power outage, the crisp bite of a winter morning. After a full day at the lake this weekend, Cory said to me “I’m ready for fall.”

Me too, boo.

So in the spirit of Christmas in July,  I wanted to fill you guys in on my already formed 2014 wish list. Y’all, it’s really never too early to start thinking about the most wonderful time of the year. These are my favorite picks around the net right now, and they are perfect for the free spirit or creative heart in your life.



via Kelly Moore Bag

via Kelly Moore Bag


via Velour Lashes

1. Kelly Moore Bag, The Kate: I already own the Chapel bag, but just one of these isn’t enough. All canvas with leather trim + lots of ways to wear it make it the new bag in my life.

2. Velour Lashes in Strike A Pose: These 100 percent mink lashes look gorgeous and you can wear them up to 30 times… Yes, please.


via Whitey English Etsy Shop


3. Whitney English Day Designer: I’ve tried to digitize my life organization, from Google Calendar to Evernote. The truth is, nothing works for me like old fashioned pen and paper. I have a monthly/daily planner + a composition notebook to keep random thoughts and lists. With this beauty, I can combine the two for one, go-to place for everything.

mala beads

via Mala Collective

4. Rockstar Mala Beads: This wish list item marries my hippie tendancies + my skull obsession…Cory has a large skull tattooed on his back. The image always reminds me of him and has become a theory in my wardrobe. Mala beads are made  with 108 beads, similar to the 108 beads used in a rosary. In addition to being beautiful, I love the symbolism + integrity of this product.



6. Fujifilm Instax Mini 8: Film is making a comeback in a big way, and I don’t want to miss out on the fun. While my iPhone takes amazing pictures, I’m always delayed at getting them printed and up in my home + in my frames. Taking fun, adorable mini photos and seeing them instantly in my palm is tempting enough. Plus, it’s pink.


‘Randa Inspired Tech Freebies

download iPhone wallpaper here

download desktop wallpaper here

I’ve been listening to Miranda Lambert’s “Platinum” for a couple-ish weeks now. I’m a huge fan of her music – along with the Pistol Annies & Ashley Monroe – and it doesn’t hurt that ‘Randa & Blake live in my hometown. Miranda owns multiple businesses along the once decrepit Tishomingo main street, and is really active with local government and causes. It seems Miranda can’t resist the urge to jump into a place or space and shake things up, and that’s somethin’ I can dig about a woman.

Naturally, my curiosity peaks when she releases a new album….How much of her life in Tish inspired the music, if at all? Small towns have some interchangeable characteristics, and Tishomingo is no different than most. But I always like to think that our little town serves as a country creative’s muse.

If you’re a fan of pink or country music or blonde hair…This one is for you.

Happy Friday,


Haters: How To Deal

hatersWhat is the meanest thing someone has ever said to you? Maybe it was something cruel, attacking your hair, skin, weight… Maybe it was something snide, some underhanded comment that was meant as a dig at you. Maybe it was said by someone to your face, subtweeted or in a super nasty comment via social media.

Probably the nastiest thing ever said to me was said by another woman (no surprise there, sadly). I was in college. She asked to talk to me about an issue, which I graciously obliged because at 21 years old, I felt confident we could resolve the problem through honest conversation. Nay. As soon as we sat down, she looked right at me and said,

“Nothing would satisfy me more than to slit your throat right now.”

Whoa. Like…whoa. Looking back, this girl was obviously suffering from some serious issues that had very little, if at all, to do with me. It wasn’t the first or last mean thing someone has said to me, but it certainly takes the crazy cake in terms of insults.

Unfortunately, we all have to deal with haters in our lives. Maybe you serve in some role in your community – through government, in a community service role, or maybe you’re a small business owner – that garners you lots of (and, sometimes) negative attention. As a blogger, I purposely share parts of my life and work and thoughts on the internet and that, naturally, generates haters. I have people who religiously creep my blog just because I piss them off. But why? And what do I do about it?

Let’s talk about dealing with haters, wherever they may be trollin’.

1. Hear it, feel it. Whenever someone subtweets or says something super hateful to/about me, no matter how untrue or ridiculous, I allow myself to read it/hear it and feel whatever emotions come next. If that means going on a cussing, ranting tirade for 20 minutes to my mom or husband, or doing the super ugly cry, or whatever…Whatever it takes to work through those gut reactions to meanness. Feeling angry or sad about it is natural and okay. Until I confront those emotions, I cannot really move forward.

2. That’s on them. Take a deep breath and realize that, most often, what is underneath someone’s meanness is really fear. When people feel threatened, they kick into fight-or-flight. Today’s version of this evolution-based reaction is fighting via the internet. If something I say or do threatens another’s ego, sense of self, view of the world, value system or comfort zone, that person often reacts angrily. Something about me challenges them and their thinking. And instead of engaging in honest, respectful conversation with a “agree-to-disagree” attitude, they act hatefully. I have great compassion for these people…I sincerely hope that, in the future, they can replace their defensiveness with a willingness to learn, grow, engage and tolerate those who are different than themselves.

3. Create boundaries for moving forward. Because we know that the hateful tweet or comment really is about the other person, and not ourselves, we feel no need to return defensiveness with defensiveness. Fighting fire with fire will burn the whole house down, y’all. Instead, create boundaries for moving forward. Delete the negative comments/tweets immediately. If you need to block that person from your Facebook, blog or Twitter, do that. Your space on the internet is YOURS and you are in control. In the same way we control the music that enters our ears and the food that enters our bodies, we control whether positivity or negativity lives in our space on the Internet.

It has taken me years to accept these truths, and I am still working everyday to put them into practice. It takes thoughtful, conscious intention to not let our negative thoughts and feelings – and the negative thoughts and feelings of others – to reign over our days, weeks and beyond. After the last super meltdown I had, I proceeded to spend the next FIVE HOURS on the phone with mentors and my parents, crying and really, generally, losing my shit. At one point one of my mentors, in an effort to gauge damage, asked “…..Jessica, do you have pants on right now?”

“NOOOOOOO!” I wailed and burst into more tears.

That’s how she knew it was serious.

Which leads me to my last and final tip….

4. Let yourself be loved on. This little nugget comes courtesy of a conversation with Kathleen Shannon, and she was totally right. When I’ve been hurt I allow myself to lean on those who really love me. I want to, of course, be tough and suck back the tears and insist I’m okay but in the long run, taking the time to be cared for, emotionally, will do far more good for me and those in my life. And, often, it makes those we love the most feel good to swoop in and wrap their arms around us, literally, or through their prayers, encouragements and love.

If you have a super hard time dealing with haters, I suggest Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly” and “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. In the meantime, here are some great reads on dealing with haters, courtesy of Gabrielle Bernstein and Peter Bregman.



P.S. If you’re feelin’ sassy, I love this temp tat by Tattly.

P.S.S. This is my favorite hater confrontation OF ALL TIME. Watch it here.




Over the weekend, I went to see Jamey Johnson at the Stockyards with my parents. They’re groupies, so to speak. Fanatical followers, country music lovers & tour bus frequenters. The band gives them free tickets. During the gospel portion of Jamey’s show, mom & dad were clapping & hootin’ & hollerin’ like it was the day of Pentecost. It was a great time, dancing & drinks & real country music.

I’m in Oklahoma all week – seeing friends & family, freelancin’ like crazy & even traveling to OKC for some feature writing, interviews & tours. I’ll try to post later this week, but not guarantees. The busyness of spring has already begun.

If you’re around OK or in OKC this week, holler at me:)