Summer Sweet Tooth

Now that summer is fast approaching, I’m starting to pull out all the favorite seasonal recipes. I served one when I hosted my Book Club girls earlier this week and plan on making the other this weekend.

Post-Whole 30 and with this new, lighter Jenn, I’ve been satisfying my sweet tooth in healthier ways, and these recipes are perfect for that.

Grilled Peaches with Mascarpone and Honey

You’ll need:
Peaches
Mascarpone
Honey

That was easy, huh?

Slice the peaches in half, remove the pit and place cut-side down on a medium-temp grill. Just kind of keep an eye on them — 5ish minutes or so until they get some good grill marks and start to warm through. I’ve never really timed it. Use tongs to turn them over.

Now, you can go ahead and take them off if you want, but I like doing this next step on the grill. Just depends on how OCD you are about keeping your grill clean.

While mine are still on the grill, spoon in some mascarpone (or to be honest, I like goat cheese, as well – and it’s a lot easier to find) into the center of each half. Then drizzle the whole peach with honey. Close the lid and let them hang out just one more minute so the cheese gets gooey. Serve immediately while still warm.

If you follow the link to the photo credit below, she bastes hers in honey butter. Get it, girl.

peaches - foodiecrush.comphoto credit

Watermelon, Feta and Herb Salad

This is the one I made for book club the other night. It is so good!

You’ll need:
3ish cups of diced, seedless watermelon
8 oz. block or container of feta cheese
A good handful of fresh mint and basil

I used almost a whole one of these little guys from Kroger, each for the Mint and Basil.

Fine chop your herbs, crumble your feta and toss it all together with the watermelon. Salt it to taste. That’s it. Serve immediately. We ate the leftovers the next day as well – but that was about as long as it’ll keep. The cheese starts breaking down and it’s just weird. So fresh and summery, though.

You could get crazy and squeeze a lime on it. Maybe drizzle with EVOO. You could make a dressing with a little honey, EVOO and lime juice. But it’s good enough as is.

Photo credit

There you go — two perfect recipes to accompany your Memorial Day grilling extravaganzas. Happy summer, kittens.

XOXO,
Jenn

Wade Beach Trip – 2015

Last week marked possibly my favorite week of the year – Wade family beach vacation week. My parents discovered Destin, FL when I was a toddler. It was still a sleepy Gulf of Mexico fishing town in the mid-80s. (No, that’s not a typo. Shut it). And it’s just been our spot ever since then. Now it seems like everyone knows about and loves Destin – so we’ve pushed our family vacations till just before peak summer season to avoid the crowds and rental rate hikes.

I can’t tell you how much this week means to me. Now that Josh has his own family (who knew a 17 month old person needs double the luggage of two grown adults?), we rent a big house so we can spread out a bit. It is just glorious. Vacations look a little different – waking up at 6 a.m. because there is a toddler pacing outside your door, going to dinner in shifts – but this vacation was the best yet. It’s so fun experiencing everything through my nephew’s eyes. Not to mention getting to hang out with those other people I love so much.

It was also priceless to finally have Justin spend more than a quick weekend with the Wades. So glad he sacrificed a whole week of work to tag along with us. :)

As usual, I cried a little when we left. Health and family – the two things in life that are such a deep blessing and we should never take for granted while we’ve got them.

Now here’s some vacation eye candy for you. Most taken by my fabulous sister-in-law, or at least her fabulous camera.

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Until next time, Wades! Love you all so much.

XOXO,
Jenn

10 Years in Music City

It’s true what they’ve all been saying – time really does fly. I blinked and somehow I’ve been in Nashville 10 years.

Of course when I reflect on all that’s happened in those 10 years, I pick out certain moments and think “that was a million years ago,” – but for the most part, it’s flown.

I’m sure I’ve told this story before here on the ol’ blog – but on May 7, 2005 I walked across the graduation stage at the University of Tennessee with a BS in Communications, ate lunch with my family and drove straight to Nashville. I had an apartment leased and a job lined up. Like, a legit PR Account Exec. job at a firm.

I was making 24K a year. I remember that distinctly. In one of my senior Public Relations classes they told us the industry average for new grads was 22K, so I was basically rich. I thought I might as well get it in cash every two weeks, fill up the bathtub and roll around in it. That’s how huge this was for me. My apartment rent was $525. BALLIN’. (In six months it got broken into – so the low rent and crime could correlate).

I also was too naïve to know to ask for a reprieve between graduation and beginning work for the rest of my life – but hey, I just couldn’t wait to make that gravy, mentioned above. So, I graduated on Saturday and started work on Monday. The rest is history.

Somehow, overnight, I went from this:

Phi Mu phi mu 2

To this:

headshot

Ok — not really. There was quite a period of transition in there. ;)

Since moving here in 2005, I’ve lived in SEVEN places in Nashville. I will assume my 8th residence this November. Maybe I’ll stay in this one for a while since I’m buying it. (More on that in another post).

I’ve only had three jobs in 10 years, which I guess seems like a lot or not very many depending on the generation you ask.

Sometimes at work, in organizations I serve with, etc. I look around and think “you people really trust me to do this?” But dang – I’ve been at it for a solid 10 years now. Guess it’s time I give myself some credit. It’s just insane to think about how much things change and how quickly. How did I go from an intern to an Assistant Account Exec., to a Sr. Acct. Exec., to a PR Manager to a Sr. Marketing Coordinator? I feel like I just blinked. (there were about a million steps in between, mind you).

One thing that hasn’t changed though – my love for this city. Nashville is changing like a fart in a whirlwind. It’s hard to keep up it is moving and growing so quickly – but all for the better. I love this place.

So cheers, Nashville. Here’s to at least another 10. Or 50.

XOXO,

Jenn

Is this Thing on?

Well, well. Hey there, blog-land. I am not dead after all. Call off the search party.

As you can see, the blog has received a little face-lift — perhaps in the anticipation of me resurrecting it.

I miss writing here. I think I had begun posting mostly photos – and with the introduction of Instagram and Facebook being what it is, this felt like a duplication. So, as fodder presents itself, I am going to try to jot it down here. We’ll see how it goes.

If you were to troll through the blog, I’m sure I’ve come and gone more times than I care to count — but hey, we do what we can.

In the meantime, I’ve tried to update my Meet Jenn page at the link above. Catch you soon, friends.

XOXO,
Jenn

Called Out by a Four-Year-Old

Yesterday I went to a Super Bowl party at a coworker’s house. Several of us from work were there, and one lovely lady has three beautiful kids who were FAR more entertaining than that catastrophe on the television. (We still love you, Peyton. VFL).

Baby girl, we’ll call her, is 4 years old going on 25. I think she is smarter than some adults I know. She learned everyone’s name and had hilarious things to say all night. She always addressed us by name, then went on with her story. Example – “JENN – did you know that I went to my friend’s birthday party and she had a cat but I never saw the cat because it was hiding?” “Chip – your real name is Jesse? There is a Jessie on Toy Story 2 but she is a girl and you’re a boy.”

By the end of the night we thought we’d heard it all, but turns out she’d waited to drop her best work on me as I was walking out the door. I packed up and was headed out, leftovers in hand. Then this happened:

Jenn: “Baby girl – it was so good to see you.”

She takes her eyes off the iPad, reaches for my hand and holds onto it.

Baby girl: “Jenn, where is your husband?” Oh goodness.

Jenn: “I don’t have a husband.”

Baby girl: “Oh. Why not?”

Jenn: “Well, because I make poor life choices.” (I’m of course being a bit dramatic, yet honest – seeing where she’ll take this one).

Baby girl ponders on this for a minute while I say goodbye to a couple more people.

Baby girl: “Jenn….Jenn.” Pulls me in closer to her – and real serious, real concerned, she says, “Why do you make bad decisions?”

The whole room is now focused on and slapping their knee at this conversation and I can hardly look her in the eye for giggling. She is so sincere and so adorable and the question sounds so simple. Why DO you make bad decisions, Jenn? Just stop it.

Jenn: “Well, I’m trying to figure that out.”

Her Mom said, “Baby girl – you know how sometimes you do things that you don’t mean to and you wish later you hadn’t done them?” Yes, she agreed. “It’s kind of like that.”

Baby girl turns to me with a solution. I can tell a light bulb has just gone off.

Baby girl: “Jenn! You can marry my BROTHER!! He’s really handsome.”

Normally I would have accepted on the spot – but baby boy is two and a half. Baby girl had been saying all night that SHE was going to marry brother – and they would skip off to the other room. “Going to get married!” Then come back, happily married.

So, this was a HUGE gesture on her part. Very selfless. I told her that was so sweet and I really appreciated it.

She thought some more and said, “Or, you can marry me!” Oh my.

Jenn: “Well, that may be the next thing I try….”

Kidding. Only kidding.

From the mouth of babes, right? It was a good moment of comic relief but also a reminder of how black and white it can all be – especially in the eyes of a child. Don’t have a husband? Made some bad decisions? Here, marry this one? He’s cute, so that’s easy.

Oh baby girl – stay so innocent, or at least so smart and witty, always.

XOXO,
Jenn 

The Time I did Judo in Sephora

I went in Sephora over the weekend, which means I was in Green Hills Mall on a Sunday afternoon. There are so many things wrong with that sentence already, I know. I was asking for it.

First thing first. I decided to fuel up on Starbucks as soon as I walked in the door, where I had to have a conversation in line with an old lady about personal space. Before you go thinking I’m picking on my elders, please understand that she literally had her boobs pressed into my back she was so close to me. I just politely turned and said “ma’am – would you like to go ahead of me? You seem to be in a hurry.” I fully expected her to mistake me for a smart aleck young whippersnapper and realize she was standing ON ME – but no, she just said “Oh thank you hun. That’s so nice.” Geeze Louise. She stepped around me to assault the girl in front of me. That minor setback was worth having her set out of my back, though.

After I got my Chai Tea Latte I headed for Sephora. I was on a mission for this particular lip balm that I had already researched and learned they carried. I NEVER go near Green Hills Mall without a set agenda and a clear, decisive mission. I park nearest to the entrance with the store I am seeking and am in and out in under 15 minutes every time (unless the Apple Store counts). Malls with stores like Tiffany, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Tory Burch, etc. are no place for me to be browsing. Clear mission – target identified – execute – retreat.

I walked into Sephora and was not immediately swarmed by the sales staff. This is different. So I did a quick lap and did not see the lip balm. Dang it – I’ll have to ask someone. Of course, the one time you NEED help is when all 38 associates are busy.

Finally, near the “beauty bar” or whatever the makeover counter is called, a woman dressed in all black (slightly different from the other associates) asked if she could help me.

“YES – thank you. I am looking for Dr. Lipp’s lip balm.”

“Hmmmm. I don’t know. I don’t actually work here. We’re here with Dior. (she nods at her twin Dior-mate standing there).”

I know this trap. I once got suckered into trading my paycheck for some Tarte concealer just because their “rep” was in the store that day.

Red alert – retreat, retreat.

I backed up one foot into an actual Sephora sales associate. Dior #1 said, “This nice lady can help you.”

I was sweating for sure, by now. (Sweating is my reaction to almost every situation ever, but especially this one).

“Hi – I’m looking for this Dr. Lipp lip balm. Do you have it?”

Looks at my sample quizzically – “no – we don’t carry that.”

“Oh weird — your website says you do.”

“Well, sometimes we have things on the site that we don’t have in stores.”

I fully believe she just wasn’t familiar so that was going to be her go-to answer. But, nevertheless, I had to get out of there. No time to argue.

About that time Dior #1 speaks up and says “wait – what do you like so much about it? OUR lip balms and glosses may be just what you need.” Dior #2 nods enthusiastically.

“Oh, no thank you. I’m pretty devoted to this stuff. I’ll order it.”

And then the unthinkable happened. I went to step away, to the door – and Dior #1 grabbed my forearm in a firm wrist/arm lock, gave me a pull back toward her and said “WAIT. Just talk to me. TELL ME what you like about it.”

But I barely heard her because WHY ARE YOUR PERFECTLY MANICURED FINGERS GRIPPING MY ARM!?

Before I knew it I was executing a move similar to this one.

grabcr

Ok, it wasn’t THAT cool – but I instinctively did some twist move that wrestled my arm from her grip and left me holding HER arm, at a 90 degree angle while she yelped with surprise.

Dior #2 said “OH MY GAWD!”

I said “don’t touch me. And I don’t want your $50 chap stick.” (hit her where it hurts).

And I walked out before they could call security.

What the heck. What is wrong with people? I don’t know where they were “in” from – but you don’t go grabbing on people in the South, sweet pea. You’re lucky TSA took my taser. Bless your heart.

Next time, you get the Judy Chop!

judy-chop-o
In other news, I ordered the dang lip balm off the internet from the comfort of my own home, which is what I should have done in the first place. But then, I wouldn’t have this blog fodder.

Jenn Wade School of Self Defense and Smack Talk for the Elderly, coming soon to a run-down Wal-Mart shopping center near you.

XOXO,
Jenn

Shhhh, I’m in a Tree Stand.

This morning I called my Dad’s cell just to check in before the holiday travel schedule. He picked up after a few rings, but all I heard was a muffled shuffling in the background.

“Hello?” I said.

More muffled sounds. Like he had his hand over the speaker and was trying to talk through it.

“I can hear something….but not you.”

Finally a faint, “hey…”

“Oh hey! I couldn’t hear….”

Then, in the slightest, faintest but clear whisper I hear, “It’s me. I’m in a tree stand.”

“What??”

Slightly louder whisper, “I’m in a TREE STAND,” followed by whispered giggles. He thought this was hilarious.

I said to call me later, and he whispered that he would.

Then, I received this on my phone.

photo2

Ahhh, Daddy Wade. One of the many reasons I cannot wait to get home to my parents’ house for the holidays. To hang out with weirdos like this one!

I hope your holidays are merry and bright, friends. Enjoy your time with loved ones. Hold them close and kiss them often.

I’ll be kissing a lot on this little guy – so, be jealous.

Meet Cooper, my new nephew. He’s perfect.

IMG952944

Merry Christmas, cotton-headed-ninny-muggins.

XOXO,
Jenn

Have you Eaten Anything Today?

I went to the doctor yesterday for some lab work. I’ve had this cold that I just can’t kick – even with the help of an antibiotic. So, my doc wanted to run a couple of additional tests. The sweet lab tech who was going to draw some blood said “Have you eaten today?” I said “yes, some fruit this morning – like usual. Should I have fasted for this?”

“No,” she said. “I just want to be able to let your doc know in case you pass out or something.” Oh nice. (remember this, it will be important later).

I was like “no – I’m usually fine as long as I don’t look at it. I just have to turn my head the other way. Otherwise, I can get a little lightheaded. But I won’t pass out.”

I turned my head and started studying the calendar on the wall – just to look at something. She said “take a deep breath.” Needle went in – nice and easy – no problem. She did her thing and I never looked. She had me take another deep breath and pulled the needle out.

I felt like a CHAMP. No dizziness. Boom.

I looked over to her side of the chair (I was sitting, thank God) – and there was a lady about five feet away from me having blood drawn as well. Like a moth to a flame, I looked RIGHT AT the damn needle in her arm.

I instantly felt dizzy. What the heck? When did I become such a wimp?

I felt the color drain from my face.

pass-out

“Actually, I’m not feeling so hot.”

“OH!” she said when she looked at me.

I was breaking out in a cold sweat. I sweated through my shirt in about 30 seconds. My bangs were instantly matted to my forehead. I asked for a Kleenex to wipe my face, which also immediately got matted to my forehead.

Then my ears started ringing. Oh – this is it. It’s happening. Here we….

GONE.

Dentist-Kid-Freaks-Out-Before-Passing-Out-Gif

She said I was just out for a second and my head just flopped back on the chair – and I came right back up.

She gave me some OJ from a tiny Donald Duck branded sippy can. I tried to pick it up and sloshed it everywhere. I was shaking so badly. She had to feed it to me like some kind of invalid.

I swear – 30 is rough, y’all.

After she did a strep test on me and almost made me projectile vomit on her, I went back to work and decided I better fuel up on chicken fingers and sweet potato fries to get my strength back. Paleo can wait until tomorrow.

I hate passing out. I’ve done it a few times and the buildup (all that sweating and queasiness and ear ringing) is the worst.

I apologized to her about 10 times, but I did not cry like I really wanted to. I walked out of there on my own, but don’t really remember it.

XOXO,
Jenn

Paleo

Have you all heard of the Paleo Diet? Anyone doing it or have success (or horror) stories?

I’ve been interested in it for a while – but didn’t care enough to research it. But I’ve been eating Paleo this week, I’d say 80%, and think I can actually do this.

Paleo is basically the “caveman diet.” If a caveman couldn’t get it, you shouldn’t either. Natural, scavenger-like eating. Hunting and gathering. So fruit, veggies (although not all) and most meats are fair game. Grains and anything processed are not. Notice I didn’t so “carbs.” You can still eat fruits and veggies that have carbs, but in moderation. So, high protein, low carb diet basically.

I steer clear of “diets.” They don’t work. The weight comes back. But Paleo seems like more of a lifestyle change, and that I can support. I’ve been really lax lately about my eating and can tell I totally crash in the afternoon. This week, especially day 4 and 5 on Paleo has been MUCH better. I can already tell a difference.

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In  my research several websites said to let yourself have up to three cheat meals a week. Don’t go crazy, but eat that piece of cake. Have that pizza for dinner. Have that glass of wine. So this also makes it sound more manageable. Sometimes you’re out to dinner with friends and just can’t “diet.” OK, maybe you can – but it sucks.

donut1

I’ve been “easing in” this week and have still had wine some evenings – we “cheated” with Chinese food last night – I’m still having creamer in my coffee. Etc.

Now my favorite thing to say is “do you think cavemen had Reese’s Cup Pumpkins? What about International Delight coffee creamer?”

Here was my menu this week:

Monday –
Breakfast – mixed fruit, two hard boiled eggs
Lunch – Steak, carrots, broccoli
Snack – coconut and almond bar
Dinner – non Paleo, leftover spaghetti

Tuesday –
Breakfast – scrambled eggs and bacon
Lunch – Salad with ham and mixed fruit on the side
Snack – coconut and almond bar
Dinner – tilapia with garlic, garlic mashed cauliflower and Asian slaw salad

Wednesday
Breakfast – fruit smoothie with spinach, two hard boiled eggs
Snack – freeze dried edamame
Lunch – pork loin, sweet peppers, mixed fruit
Snack – grapes
Dinner – Paleo chile lime chicken wings, sweet potato fries.

Thursday –
Breakfast – scrambled eggs, three pieces of bacon
Snack – edamame
Lunch – pulled pork, greens with hot sauce and fresh fruit for dessert
Dinner – CHEAT – Chinese food.  :)

Friday –
Breakfast – fresh fruit
Lunch – leftover chicken wings from Wednesday night and tomato soup
Snack – chile lime almonds
Dinner – TBD

Thoughts? Would love to hear what you think or have experienced!

XOXO,

Jenn

From the Mouths of Babes

Every Tuesday I get to leave work for an hour and go read with two first grade girls at a local school near our office. My company sponsors the Family Resource Center at the school, and this is just another reason I love my job. It makes my day to see these sweet girls and help them get their reading skills up to par. They are doing so well!

Today, there were so many funny things said, I just had to jot them down real quick before I forget. Between the two of them, in a combined 50 minutes, we talked about the following (and so much more):

  • I love Halloween at school. We are going to have ghosteses in the trees!
  • My mom is having a baby. If it’s a girl, I’ll be a big sister. If it’s a boy, I’ll be a big brother.
  • What’s wrong with your hair?
  •  Give me that bubblegum. (Referring to the gum in my mouth).
  •  Who is that on your phone cover?

My boyfriend

    Who is that baby?

                That’s his kid, Brantley.

    Your kid?

                Nope – his.

   (Blank stares).

   You aren’t a baby momma?

  • I had a sleepover last week. We ate chips that glow in the dark.
  • Do you know what I means?

Yes – it’s like this! (pokes me in the eye).

Never a dull moment.

XOXO,
Jenn