Archive for 2013|Yearly archive page

All that Glitters Ain’t Gold

In friendship, inspiration, social media on September 21, 2013 at 8:15 am

Hi my name is Jess and I struggle with feeling inadequate, with jealousy, with comparison, with…social media.

Hi Jess.

In the past year this is one of the most sound pieces of advice I’d received: “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Given to me by my bestie Justine. See photo below. She doesn’t look wise but she is. haha jk jk.

justine and jessMy generation especially lives in a world of glitter. Every day we are inundated with glitter – sparkly images of our friends and their great jobs, new designer outfits, trips to Europe, perfect relationships, pinterest worthy homes and so on. I can’t explain how many times I’ve met up with friends and the conversation centers around what they recently posted on their Instagram, or where they last checked in on foursquare.  Not to mention we’ve spent the majority of our dinner dates instagramming our food, tweeting, and looking at our phones! That’s NOT normal.

As if all of that isn’t bad enough I recently found myself emotionally invested in other people’s photos and not in a positive way. I was saying things like: ‘Babe, so and so is on vacation here’, ‘Look at this new bag she got, I want a new bag’, ‘Look who just bought a beautiful house’ ‘Really another selfie of you and your perfect hair?’…and on and on.

Jealous. Judgmental. Sad. And worst of all totally ungrateful for all of the things I should be grateful for. I was in a place where nothing was enough. As a matter of fact I would take one facebook photo and fill in the blanks with the perfections I assumed a friends life consisted of.

Bad idea. Very, very, very bad idea.

So, I started to really pray and meditate on what was going on. Why was I all of a sudden so unhappy with what I’ve been fortunate enough to be given and what I’ve worked hard for? More importantly, why was I getting so sad at seeing others happy??

Oh wait I know why – because comparison is the thief of joy.

Here’s the thing – I’m not the only one. I have plenty of friends who have gotten off facebook because every time one of their friends get’s engaged they find themselves crying. That’s not how it’s supposed to be, but it can be an unfortunate  byproduct of social media.  I didn’t want to have to quit sites, I wanted to be able to see things, process them and move on without it affecting me emotionally. So it started with these two articles that REALLY helped put things in perspective for me.

Stop Instagramming Your Perfect Life

Why Generation Y Yuppies are so Unhappy

The first article states: “My life looks better on the Internet than it does in real life. Everyone’s life looks better on the internet than it does in real life. The Internet is partial truths—we get to decide what people see and what they don’t.”

There it is. All that glitters isn’t gold. Partial truths are so dangerous.  Sure we’ve all been guilty of hiding the Negative Nancys on our timeline who are constantly griping about their bad luck and misfortune because it’s well, depressing.  But what about the people who are constantly promoting their perfect life?

Well let’s look at this:

A. Their lives aren’t perfect – nothing is perfect. I’m not telling you to take solace in other people’s imperfections but to keep things in perspective. That couple who just posted a happy photo of them at a friend’s wedding probably got into a fight on the way there. Haha! Seriously though, perspective is everything.

B. Good for them.

Here’s how I’m working through things. What I’ve learned:

1. To be aware of how much time I’m spending on social media and put my devices down. Learn to just be. Not every moment needs to be captured, shared, or filtered.

2. To be aware of why I’m posting on social media sites – is it to portray a perfect life, get a certain number of likes (aka recognition/validation) or to inspire others or to just remember a moment? What’s my intention?

3. In case I wasn’t clear in #2: To stop finding importance/validation in the response/reaction of others.

4. To be very aware and in control of my thoughts when scanning social media sites. This takes practice and intention. Your thoughts will run away from you quickly – manage them before they manage you.

5. To be grateful for everything because nothing is guaranteed and most of all because life is GOOD.

6. To be real. To be uplifting. To be honest. If I’m going to share I’m going to do it in the realest way I know how.

7. Tangible things I do: Turn off all notifications.   Log myself out of my social apps so that I’m less tempted to just sit and scroll. Leave my phone in the other room, the car, my purse.

Whew! Okay that was a big one but I hope it speaks to someone out there and if not well I’m glad I got it off my chest haha!

Love y’all!





Confessions of a Newlywed

In friendship, inspiration, love, marriage on September 17, 2013 at 11:31 pm

When my husband asked my dad for his permission to marry me, my dad told him, “Alex, Marriage is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do and it is one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever experience.”

He was SO right. I wanted to share this thought because I think people have a misconception that when you get married everything will be PERFECT. Let’s be honest, you see instagrams of newlywed couples gushing about how much they love their spouse and their newlywed activities and adorable matching shirts (guilty) – but you don’t hear about the growing pains, adjustments and tough compromises that have to be made in the first well, forever.

For all of my friends who are married, getting married, and will be married I need you to remember that even when things are hard, if you’re BOTH willing to work together, compromise and be understanding of the other person’s feelings then the reward is immense. The trials will come and that’s okay, embrace them – use them to better yourself, to better each other and as a means to love even more fiercely than the day before.

It’s overcoming these trials that will make the two of you even closer, a stronger team, an unstoppable force.  If I may, I’d like to impart a few of the lessons I’m learning along the way and as I feel inspired I will continue to add to this post.

As long as the end goal is the same it doesn’t matter how you get there.I think the biggest struggle for me has been not doing things my way. It sounds ridiculously childish but all of a sudden there is this other person with an equally strong opinion on how  something should be done and wholeheartedly believes his way is the right way. That’s hard!

Our first few weeks of marriage we spent going head to head on everything! Take for example a furniture shopping trip we went on about a couple of weeks after we moved into our apartment. The night before I’d found a great print chair in Homegoods, snatched it up and brought it home. Husband loved it and we were planning to keep it until the next day when we found two gorgeous matching wing backs for a steal in TJ Maxx. Husband says, “Yep let’s get these but I want to return the other chair today.” I say, “yeah, I’ll return it sometime next week, what does it matter?” But it mattered to him – for his peace of mind he wanted it returned that day.  Naturally we begin to go back and forth when it hit me – we both want the same thing we’re just going about it in two different ways.  So I conceded.  And it hurt. And I cried. Then it felt good – because I realized that I just tapped into something that is going to save us a lot of heartache and strife in the future:  If we are both seeking the same outcome, be okay with doing it his way. We returned the other chair that night and you know what he did? He thanked me.  He hugged me and said in the sweetest voice, ‘thank you for that’.

“A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.” – Proverbs

2013-04-20 19.40.10

Contrary to what I believed, compromise or putting somebody’s feelings before yours does not equal weakness, defeat, or inferiority – it’s actually this beautiful, beautiful thing that brings you and your somebody closer and makes you fall in love again, and again and again.

xo – JP

String Lights and Summer Nights

In fashion, friendship, Good Eats, Los Angeles, love, mr. and mrs. pooch, music on August 24, 2013 at 1:44 am

Recently I was going through old blog posts and remembered how I used to share photos of things that made me happy, inspired me or just good moments. So I’m thinking I’ll do that again today in hopes that a few of these will make you smile as well.

Finally buying THAT pair of shoes I’ve been wanting for forever. These add just enough spunk to my wardrobe.


Seeing my husband on the big screen! My heart skipped a beat the first time I bought a ticket to see my husband in his first film. I’m a little biased but he did great and the movie was hilarious. You can download it on iTunes!


Having my husband’s parents over for dinner and uno at our new place for the first time – incredible! We ordered pizza from their favorite pizzeria, Lamonica’s and enjoyed a summer evening out on our semi-furnished balcony.


The first time we saw the stringed lights on over the balcony. Few things in the world give me happiness like great ambiance. I even covered my eyes for the ‘big reveal’ – I love it out there.


Getting our wedding photos back and realizing how blessed we were to have found the photographer we had. Nicole at Sorella-Muse Photography completely captured the essence of our day. She is nothing short of amazing and I’m so happy we found her and have her in our lives.


Figuring out how ridiculously simple it is to use our crock pot and then spending an entire Saturday eating homemade teriyaki wings and watching season two of Friday Night Lights.


Seeing my absolute favorite twosome Johnnyswim  (think Johnny and June Cash meet Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell) and the brilliant Emeli Sande (get her album, you’ll put it on repeat) with hilarious girlfriends. I was blown away by the sheer talent these two artists displayed. No gimmicks – just a love for what they do.


That’s plenty for now!

xx – jess

You are Beautiful in Every Single Way – Damian, from Mean Girls

In inspiration, Mean Girls on August 16, 2013 at 1:19 am


Ok seriously, this is turning into a inspirational blog. But whatever – if it’s on my heart I’m going to talk about it. Beauty and how we view ourselves is a crazy thing. I used to think it was just women who struggled with it – but learned quickly that men have the same self doubts and insecurities that us ladies do.

I was chatting with a friend today and she mentioned she saw a photo of me where I looked ‘so comfortable in my own skin’ and that she wanted that. It got me thinking – how did I get there, because I DEFINITELY was not always comfortable in my skin. When you go to three high schools, in three different states, in four years you become fairly self conscious.


Then it hit me. I remember being on facebook (post on the perils of social media coming soon) and seeing a girlfriend who manages to look PERFECT in every photo she posts or is tagged in. I noticed she always took her photos from her good side, smiled just enough and opened her eyes just right. Perfect picture every single time. She looked amazing – flawless even. So what did I do? Head to my mac photo booth in search of my good side. I found it that night!


Then I forgot which one it was.

Instead I decided that when I take pics I’m just going to be in the moment. Live every second of that moment and move on. It’s not easy – I still catch myself asking a friend to retake a photo, or picking myself apart when I look through my wedding pictures. But it’s about making a conscious effort to stop being so concerned about the perfect this and that and just live. So there it is – embrace that lazy eye (raises hand) and own whatever you’re feeling next time you take a photo.


Are there going to be times when we use little tricks to look our best ? Sure!  A head tilt here, crossed legs there, a hand on the waist every now and then never hurt anyone. But let’s be real, a photo is for the moment and the memory  – nothing else.  So just own it.  I’m guessing when you look back 10 years from now you’ll be glad you did.

– Jess

The Plight of Perfection

In inspiration on August 10, 2013 at 8:42 am

I am the worst kind of perfectionist. You know, the kind that wants everything to be right but doesn’t quite have the attention span or focus to get it done all the time so instead they just do nothing?  Yep – that’s me.  My friends would argue I’m being too hard on myself, but I know I could do more. Trust me, I KNOW.

Admittedly, that’s why this blog hasn’t been consistent. That’s why my business is still just a novel idea – but I’ve realized lately – that’s OK.   None of us and nothing we do will ever be perfect ; so instead of me sitting around thinking about how I would like to do things, well, I’m just going to do them.  And perfect them as I go. And trust that things are going to work out.  Because you know what? They always do! Can I get a witness??

One afternoon I was talking to my good friend Whit about how I didn’t want anyone to come to my newlywed abode (that’s Jess talk for new apartment) until I had this and that and things were just right. She quite bluntly told me I needed to shut up and just live.


It was great. I needed to hear that. I needed to know that if I only have two chairs and TV my people aren’t going to care. If boxes are still unpacked, or our bed frame hasn’t come in yet – my people won’t think less of me. They just want bask in our newlywed bliss and have a glass of wine.  They want to laugh with us and hear funny stories about the hubster and me sharing a bathroom and a closet and having TJ Maxx breakdowns in the pillow section.  Whoops I digress.

Bottom line is – she let me off the hook. I needed to be let off the hook. So if you’re like me and you have a million ideas, goals, aspirations but your ‘perfectionism’ is holding you back – you’re off the hook my friend. Let it go and live life. We only get one after all.

Whew – so if I don’t blog for awhile, or it’s years before Cereal & Wine Events launches, cut me some slack and know that I’m out here at least thinking about it and that one day it will get done and it will work out. 🙂


xx – jess

Short Hair…well you know the rest

In hair care, inspiration on August 8, 2013 at 6:22 pm

In light of Queen Bey’s recent chop I thought I would touch on my own decision to LET IT GO.  Let it go as in almost cut all of my hair off. First of all I think we can all admit that we’ve heard over and over again that a woman’s hair is her glory. For a black woman especially you spend years growing your hair, nurturing it, straightening it or wearing it natural. It’s a sign of beauty in society and really a safety blanket for a lot of us. At least I know it was for me.

Back in 2007 I had to cut my hair due to it being damaged and I hated it. Then in 2008 I got the worst “trim” of my life.  Can you say traumatized? From there I never cut it again. As a matter of fact I’ve never so much as a highlighted my hair. So about two years ago when my hair reached a little past shoulder length I was through the roof with excitement. BUT I really loved the idea of cutting my hair into a pixie.  HOW FIERCE RIGHT? Never did it – never even got close. Talked a lot of game but could never pull the trigger. Frankly, I was SCARED and crippled by none other than… FEAR. My hair was still defining me, it was still an element of comfort, and I wasn’t ready to let go.

Fast forward to 2013 and I’m promising my then fiance Pooch (who was 110% for this and wanted me to do it so badly for years) that I would cut my hair post wedding. So it’s a few months after our wedding and I’m looking at my wardrobe and my hair that has been stuffed into a top knot/bun thing for weeks on end – and began thinking to myself ‘wow I’m really ‘plain jane-ing’ it up these days’.  Like I told my friends, I felt like a soccer mom – a cute, young, pulled together soccer mom. BUT STILL.

Then it hit me – I’m playing it safe. OMG I’ve gotten to the point where I’m SCARED to take risks. What would happen if I cut my hair off?

First thought: I won’t be able to do all of the cool styles I love to do with my hair.

Second thought: Oh wait…I don’t do cool styles with my hair.

Third thought: Why not…

Fourth thought: Cue jeopardy music because I had no answer for ‘Why not?’

So I ran it by two close friends (Jammie & Whitney) to get their opinion and for accountability. This time I was not chickening out.

Next thing I know – I’ve made my appointment….




Whoa!! Can I just tell you I felt like I gained a whole lotta FIERCENESS?! Holy Cow! I have NEVER felt more feminine, more confident and more free than I do now!!


It sounds cheesy but we are NOT our hair ladies (and gents) and we’re also not our comfort zone.  If there’s something you’ve been wanting to do – do it! Enjoy it, embrace the change and own your beauty. We only get one shot at this thing and I personally don’t want to look back and say, shoulda, coulda, woulda.

One of my biggest inspirations was this chick Shameless Maya. Check her out she is incredible – she cut off her gorgeous curls and did it just because she was afraid to and didn’t want fear to hold her back!

What’s a change you’ve been wanting to make for a long time but you’re too scared to do?  Can I challenge you to something? Do it. Be fearless You’ll love it – Queen Bey and I do!



Breathe In, Breathe Out, Relax.

In inspiration, travel on August 2, 2013 at 12:46 am

Step 1: pick a place – not too far, not too close.

Step 2: plan nothing.

Step 3: breathe in, breath out, relax.

I needed a break. Badly.

I owe a big fat thank you to my bestie Justine also known as my spontaneity coach for reminding me to do all of the above.

poolside sf


In cereal and wine events, friendship, Good Eats on July 27, 2013 at 12:15 am

I love brunch. I love going to brunch. I love eating brunch foods. I love cooking brunch foods. But most of all I love hosting brunch. It’s really the perfect meal – the sweeter items from breakfast meet lunch’s savory counterparts and all is right in the world.

A few months ago I got to host Easter brunch for friends. Awesome. Just awesome.

Decor wise I kept it simple: two long tables, white table cloths, white spring flowers in mason jars styled by my lovely friend Whitney, the coolest gold chevron paper, whatever chairs we had in the apartment, and handwritten place tags for everyone.

I believe in place settings whenever possible.


“There is no sweeter sound to any person’s ear than the sound of their own name…” – Dale Carnegie

For food we kept ours as potluck – but truth be told we had some killer entrees from Miss Becky Reams.

Champagne, fruit juices, pellegrino (duh) and great people made for the best brunch I’ve ever had.


So there you go! Now you can host your own or call me and I’ll come do it because once again…I LOVE BRUNCH!

xx jess

P.s for more brunch inspiration check out my pinterest board.