July 23rd, 2014

Be who you are

be who you are and say

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”- Dr. Seuss.

While stuck in a car on the way to the beach, I wrote this down–one of my most favorite, Dr.Seuss-attributed, inspirational quotes of all time. Even if we can’t agree on everything, we should be able to say and feel what we feel and say it out loud because what we feel and what we say, ultimately, are who we are. And everyone should have a right that, or everyone should have a right to be who they are and have the chance to be celebrated for that. - Jessica

July 16th, 2014

Matching Outfits

IMG_0732Photographer’s dilemma. Going for prolonged periods without using the new camera you purchased under the professed commitment to “use it everyday.” *sigh. I blame the summer. This one was taken back in May in honor of my oldest daughters’ current love of looking like twins every day. It was uploaded two months later (this morning) along with hundreds of other pictures from our summer, thus far, in honor of a mother’s guilt about leaving pictures on her camera for so long. Never again. :)

Picture taken with Canon Mark II, Canon 50 mm 1.4

Settings: f/3.2 SS:1/125 ISO:1000


July 11th, 2014

10 Things About My LTYMDC Reading


1. My LTYMDC performance is online! Yes, I thought I’d dread the day that my face and voice were readily available on Youtube. But I did not (and do not) dread the experience at all. It’s kind of funny and cool to see myself performing on stage.

2. In reflecting on it more, I think that “mirror” moment described in my piece was less about my daughter and more about me. Even though I alluded to knowing what she thought about princess hair. I realize now that I don’t really know how my then three-year old (who is now four) imagined “princess hair.” I don’t know, beyond it going “around and around” if her princess hair was the same one as the one I imagined in my head. I don’t know, beyond her saying that she didn’t like how her hair looked in the mirror that night, if her princess hair excluded curly possibilities. I don’t know if her princess hair was culturally associative either. It likely wasn’t either of these things. Though, it became these things in my 30 year-old brain.

I felt like I should say this on my daughters’ behalf. I felt like I should say that the meaning of this piece is less about what my daughter thought or didn’t think of her hair. It was really about what I once thought and now think about my own hair. It was about being confronted with those thoughts while in the mirror with my toddler and having to grapple with how my past bears on how I mother my children. Make sense?

3. I read my piece fifth, so I was in the middle of this great show featuring other great women, writers, and storytellers like this and this and this and this and this. Seriously, the whole show was great, so grab some popcorn and watch everybody from start to finish.

4. Yes, I did cut my hair…four months before the show. My hair is naturally curly but when I cut it, on a whim, it was straight. Do you see the possible mistake in that? Yeah, so on the day of my self-inflicted hair cut and in the days after, my hair was sleek and edgy with lots of layers. But then I washed it and my straight hair became curly and, thus, half its size. And with that, suddenly, my hair cut became something else entirely.

I didn’t hate what it had become when curly, though I didn’t really love it either. I think we, or my short hair and I, were just getting acquainted when the LTYM auditions rolled around and we were still in that “almost friendly” stage when the show rolled around months later.

I felt like our relationship got complicated with the pressure I put on myself in thinking (over-thinking) my essay, which is, you know, about hair. (Gulp.) So for my hair in my piece on hair, I needed big! I needed a statement! I needed fierce! I needed…the eight inches of hair I cut off months before!!

But barring a wig or or mega growth vitamins or extensions (which I seriously considered), I couldn’t get my hair back in time. So I had to make do with what my little hair could do.  But that was okay because my piece is really about accepting yourself, all of yourself, because all of yourself is wholly wonderful, right? Yes, it’s that at its core.

love all of who you are

It has to do with hair, yes. It’s about the importance of affirming self-love in little girls (and boys). But the biggest message I hope to pass on is the importance of self-love. You can’t teach your daughters (or sons) to love their hair if you don’t really love your hair.

You can tell them their hair is beautiful, but until they see you loving your beautiful hair, they won’t really believe you.  Children are human beings, right? So I think we…as human beings…we crave authenticity. Authentic loving of yourself must happen to teach your children authentic loving of themselves, hair included. Yes, that’s it! Or that’s what I realized when I walked on stage to perform my piece. So in the end it was wonderful, but before that end, you should know that I had a panic attack.

5. My daughters actually love their hair. This is more of the same as what I spoke of in number two. That moment that I talk about in my piece, the one in the mirror, happened a year ago when my oldest had just turned three. Outside of rehearsing with me in the weeks leading up to my performance, princess hair as something that either of my daughters lacked was (is) old news.

Did they change?Maybe. I know I changed. After that mirror moment, I became authentic and more intentional in talking about hair, my hair and theirs. I became more intentional in broadening their understanding of “princess hair” (innocent parental propaganda) and curly hair. And perhaps that’s what made a difference. Perhaps.

6. My reading of “Princess Hair” has been featured on Curly Nikki!

7. In case you’re wondering, and I’m sure you’re not wondering, the pants I wore in my reading were from J. Crew. Everything else, barring the jewelry, was from Banana Republic.

8. I almost cried towards the end of my performance. That line, “what the girl with the long ponytail never heard to be true. You are beautiful.” Yep, that one gets me every.single.time because it’s sad that any girl should ever think she is anything but the most beautiful girl in the world. That’s tragic. I inflected my voice to a mousey pitch on “okay” to prevent myself from breaking down on stage. Seriously. I’m one of those criers. I go from 1-10, with 10 being hysterical sobs, body quivers, and snorts, really fast. So that inflection? That was me preventing level 10 breakdown, okay?

9. My children didn’t get to see my performance live, but thanks to Youtube they can watch it over and over and over again.

10. I want to be onstage, again. I loved Listen To Your Mother and treasure the experience for pushing me out of my comfort zone and connecting me with amazing women in my area!

p.s. Did you watch my reading? If so, what did you think?

July 4th, 2014

Some Favorite Pins


I was slow to “take” to Pinterest. I was slow because I think I never really understood it’s value beyond its uses as a social media tool for anyone ordinary or super-ordinary person hoping to attract more attention to the things they find interesting. It can be that, I’ve realized, but it is for me (and I’m sure for many others bloggers, professionals, creative people, human beings) a really valuable personal tool.

For me, Pinterest is my personal tool to catalog, visually, the things that capture my present interests and life. I do, at times, pin things I think others can agree are worth a second look. But, mostly, as in 99% of the time, I am a decidedly selfish pinner. I pin what I want to look at again, use again. I pin patterns and words and foods that I like and want to make an online “space” for in my life. I find that keeping these things, these digital pins, around reminds me of who I want to be, at times, where I want to go, and, mostly, who I am, authentically, right now.

p.s. If you’re interested in seeing more of my recent pins, go here. Happy Fourth to my American readers! And Ramadan Mubarak to my Muslim readers! And to everyone, have a wonderful weekend! xo. -Jessica

July 1st, 2014

Being happy is more important than being right

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

Choosing happiness over being right is hard, especially when you know that you are right! But… sometimes being right and focusing on just how right we are blinds us to what exists beyond that. Sometimes, we lose sight of how our preoccupation with our right side makes us under-occupied with the subjectivity of all truths, that everything we know is a product of what we choose to believe of it. So, choose happiness, your happiness, in your relationships, in your life and see where that gets you.   — Jessica