3 Secrets to Squashing Vacation-Envy

Image Credit: Melissa Godsey

Image Credit: Melissa Godsey

(I’m delighted to be guest-posting over on ShareSLO.com today! This is just an excerpt, so make sure you click over and get my 3 Secrets to Squashing Vacation-Envy.)

I can tell it’s really summer when celebrity vacation photos are splashed all over the covers of magazines at the grocery store. While waiting in the checkout line, you see pictures of Rachel Bilson skipping along a beach in Barbados, Heidi Klum in Hawaii, and Jessica Alba in St. Barts, each of them tan, smiling, and glowing with a radiance that only comes from a jaunt to a far-flung locale. But before you’re overcome with vacation-envy, I have a trick that just might put some glow back in those office-weary cheeks of yours. I call it “Vacation Living,” and it’s my number one weapon in combating the 9-to-5 blues.

The idea behind Vacation Living is pretty simple: put your tourist glasses on, and rediscover your hometown. Approach your free time with the same gusto you have when you’re on vacation.

For most of us, the simple act of being on vacation brings out our adventurous side. With some distance between yourself and your routine, you’re suddenly tasting new foods, seeking out new experiences, and sometimes even trying your hand at a new language. There’s something about being away from home that gives us fresh eyes for the world around us. How would your quality of life improve if you had the same adventurous spirit at home that you do when you’re away?

Routine is the enemy of Vacation Living, so to help you expand your horizons, I’ll share a few challenges I’ve given myself, to help push you out of your bubble, and into your new Vacation Life. Click on over to read the remainder!

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Interview With Ellie, The Nap-Skipper!

Being a sick mama is hard, especially when your kiddo basically skips their nap. In this case, rather than feel sorry for myself, I decided to interview my little nap-skipper. Enjoy!

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Let’s Get Real: I Probably Should Hire a Housekeeper

Probably the number one thing I’ve had to learn, since becoming a somewhat stay-at-home-mom, is to cut myself a break. And yet, even though I DO do some work outside the home, I’m having the hardest time admitting that I am not a super hero. That I just can’t keep all of these balls in the air without some outside help.

Do any of you have “help?” Some folks I know will pay some of the high school girls at their church to come over once a week and play with their kids, while they get some work done. Even that would help. But what about a housekeeper? I’m not going to lie: I want one. BADLY. What’s your experience? Can you recommend it?

Vacation Life: Nature, Animals and Antiques!

Happy Monday, friends! Secret: I don’t care for Mondays much. (Show of hands if you agree.) It’s just really hard to transition from having our family all together, to going back to the grind. Weekends are a little slice of heaven, I’ll tell you what, and Mondays are the pits. And as the weather would have it, this Monday is cold and blustery, but that didn’t keep us from meeting our friends at the park this morning, nosiree. Nope. We went to the park, and I forgot to pack an extra pair of pants for Ellie, so as soon as her little tushie got the slightest bit damp (wet clothes drive Ellie nuts), she demanded to be held for the rest of the park date. C’est la vie.

But onto happier things! This past weekend we did lots of vacation-lifeish stuff: we went to a high school football game (go Pirates!), spent Saturday morning at the Morro Bay Natural History Museum (see video below for dive-bombing pelicans and seals jumping outta the water), and on Sunday, I got to go to “Remnants of the Past” antique and vintage show. Here are my favorite pictures from the last three days:

Friday: Park day, and a football game!

Ellie hamming it up at the park on Friday.

Yellow Crustose Lichen on a tree

A yellow crustose lichen on a tree. So pretty!

Godsey Family at Football Game

Us at the Morro Bay High game. Go Pirates!

Saturday: Natural History Museum in Morro Bay

Inspector Ellie!

Ellie using a magnifying glass on Dada at the Natural History Museum

Ellie’s trying to learn to use binoculars.

Morro Rock from the Natural History Museum

A view of Morro Rock from the Natural History Museum.

Sunday: Remnants of the Past Antique and Vintage show in San Luis Obispo

A pano of the show entrance. Look at all those goodies!

Junk Girls Lamp Display at Remnants of the Past

Check out all these awesome lamps made by Junk Girls! I wanted to take all of them home. (Junk Girls are local, btw. Check ’em out on the Facebook.)

Bombshell Betty Shop at Remnants of the Past in San Luis Obispo

Bombshell Betty Shop‘s display was definitely the most fun looking. So colorful! And she had a necklace that matched the arrow in my blog header, so I bought it. 🙂

Bombshell Betty Shop Display

A close-up of Bombshell Betty Shop‘s display. It looks like a candy store, but for jewelry.

House Wren, from Austin Texas, had my favorite display at the show. So many gorgeous handmade pieces! And those hanging lamps were to die.

If you’re into handmade, upcycled stuff, you need to check out House Wren’s website. And if you live in Austin, Texas, please go there and buy all of their lighting fixtures and mail them to me. Thanks! 🙂

How about you guys? Did any of you do any vacation-living over the weekend? Oh, and if you made it allll the way to the bottom of this post, here’s a video I made that has some awesome footage from the Morro Bay Natural History Museum. I’ve never seen so many seals breaching the water at once!

xoxo,

mj

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iPhone 5 “Scratch-Test” (Featuring My Toddler)

Curious to know how scuffed-up the iPhone 5 will get over time? Ever wanted to watch a toddler smash an iPhone with some keys? Today is your lucky day. Me and Ellie performed some highly scientific experiments on it today at iFixit, and at the very least, I think you all will get a kick out of it. Enjoy!

Is this not simultaneously adorable and terrifying thing you’ve ever seen? We had a lot of fun making it. 🙂

xoxo,

mj

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So What’s Inside the iPhone 5?

Happy Friday! Here’s what I spent the day working on yesterday. As some of you already know, I write and host a webshow for a iFixit, and part of what we do is a thing called a “teardown.” Basically, when a new gadget comes out, we get out grubby little hands on one as quickly as we can manage, and then we take it apart and reveal what it’s made of. So, if you’re at all curious about the iPhone 5, then I hope you enjoy the video we made!

So, whaddaya think? Did you learn something? If you want to see the complete teardown (it’s pretty fantastic), check it out on iFixit. Also, I have to admit this to you: the reason I look so tan is because I accidentally used my bronzer brush (instead of my powder brush) to apply my matte-powder, and I kept touching-up with it all day long, thereby applying more and more bronzer to my face. WHOOPS. By the end of this I have skin like Snooki. My Bad.

Hope you liked the video!

xoxo,

mj

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My Take on the iPhone 5 Announcement (And Lake Michigan!)

Hey y’all! I’ve been in Chicago all week for work, but I took some time today to film a short video about today’s iPhone 5 announcement. Whaddaya think? will you buy one? Also: got any good recommendations for things to do/places to go/places to eat at in Chicago? I’ll be here through Monday, so I’m excited to see as much of the city as I can. 🙂

xoxo,

mj

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It’s Glam-O’Clock

I’m sorry to be so touch-and-go recently, but I’ve been doing a lot of the above for the past few days, as I’ve been out of town for a girlfriend’s bachelorette weekend. I won’t be home until Monday evening, so I won’t have anything new for you around here, most likely until Wednesday. The only thing I’ve made any progress on is my tan, to be honest. But after all the stress from moving, a weekend away with the girls feels well-deserved. Hope you’re well!

Talk soon,

Melissa

 

Can Snark Be Useful?

We’re moving! I’ll be back with fresh words next week.

On Friday, we’re moving to a new house, so I don’t have any intent to post anything new this week. (Some of you know this already, so I’m sorry to be repeating myself.) I might (depends on how overwhelmed I’m feeling) feature a couple favorite posts on Wednesday and Friday, but otherwise, I won’t be around the Internet much.

That being said, I have an idea for a post that’s been niggling at me for a long time now, and I’m feeling like next week might be the time to write it, but I’d like to pick your brains about it first. Here’s a quick quote from Roger S. Gil in this article on lifehacker (which you should totally read), regarding snark/sarcasm/contempt:

Snark/sarcasm/contempt is always an indicator that something else is going on in a given situation. When it’s appropriate, it tells people that you’re not going to let others push you around. When it’s inappropriate it shows that you feel the need to make yourself “bigger” than others. That need to put one’s self above others can be a symptom of depression or some personality disorders (of course, there would have to be other symptoms present to justify a diagnosis). That being said, perpetually putting others down can be indicative of insecurity, narcissism, negative thought patterns, or jealousy. If those things are present, then you definitely want to address it because it’s likely to affect your relationships negatively.

Do you agree or disagree with the quote above? In what type of situations are snark/sarcasm/contempt your “instinct” reaction? Is it possible to have a productive dialogue when snark/sarcasm/contempt is being employed by the involved parties? Why is it sometimes difficult for us to speak sincerely? Do you think that, culturally, sincerity is perceived as weakness?

I appreciate your taking the time to help me out a little bit, and I really look forward to finally fleshing this thing out. The idea has been brewing for the better part of a year now, and I’m eager to hear what you guys have to say.

xoxo,

mj

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Makeup Fast: Days 17-23 (I’m Like a Hermit Crab?)

Fresh-Faced For 40 Days Icon

To read about the fast from the very beginning, just click on this picture.

(Friday, July 6 – Thursday, July 19)

Let’s get one thing straight: if you have the bar set high for this post, go ahead and take it down a notch or two (or several). Nothing earth-shattering happened this past week in the realm of the fast, or rather, the most noticeable things that happened during this week of the fast are the things that didn’t happen. (Is that what people mean when they say something is Zen?) Let me explain.

This week is the third week of the fast, and, as habits are formed or broken around the 21 day mark, I do not think it is a coincidence that day 21 was a turning-point for me. Day 21 actually turned out to be a “cheater day,” because I was filming for work, and had to put my makeup on. Hold on. I should back up a bit.

I’ve been keeping pretty busy, you know, with the mothering, and the wife-ing, and the working and the writing and the and the and the… You get my point. I really haven’t thought much about the makeup fast at all. I’ve been so delightfully consumed with life, that not only am I no longer afraid to go outside without makeup on, but I’m actually liking my naked face better than my made-up face. How rad is that!? I might make myself a hot-chocolate to celebrate.

Okay, back to day 21: the cheater day. I had to put makeup on that day, for work, and after I finished applying it, I did not like what I saw. I mean, it was whatever. It was pretty, I guess, but who cares? This “who cares” mentality is completely new territory for me. I’ve been feeling validated so much more in my real life stuff, that I couldn’t care much less about whether or not my pores are visible from outer space (they are, I think). I don’t mean to say that I am becoming sloppy or anything. I still have excellent hygiene. 🙂 What I mean is that I’m not seeing the value in looking superficially pretty the way that I used to. I’m too much in love with my family, and too excited to be hearing from so many people that my writing has touched their lives in some way, and too blessed with God’s renewal and acceptance and peace to care much about how my face compares to the faces I see in magazines. I don’t think God cares all that much about it, either. And I think God loves me, regardless of my giant pores. I think he gave me giant pores on purpose, and he’s probably glad that after 28 years of life, I’m beginning to accept and be grateful for what I’ve been given.

Before you all think I’ve gone off the deep-end: yes, I still appreciate prettiness. Yes, I still see makeup tutorials on Pinterest and think “oh, I should try that someday!” BUT I don’t care much how my face compares to other faces, and that is huge for me. And honestly, I feel like I could carry on like this forever. I mean, technically the fast is over on day 43 (40 days, plus 3 “bonus days” to make up for when I’ve had to cheat), but I don’t want to go back to wearing makeup the way I did before I started this fast. I feel like a hermit crab* that’s outgrown its shell. I just can’t fit back inside that old-me anymore. At the point where fasting ceases to feel sacrificial, does it also cease to be a fast? I’m not completely there yet, but it’s fast-approaching. And then what? Where do I go from there?

Progress Report, and Looking Forward

What I was looking for, in beginning this fast, was to trade my ridiculous reliance on makeup (and all of the negative emotions and beliefs that come with it), for an honest-to-goodness identity in God, and while that will always be a work-in-progress, I feel as if I’ve cleared the biggest hurdle. And God has been so ridiculously faithful. I don’t know why I’m so surprised that God is showing up…I guess it’s just humbling to think that he cares this much about our relationship. That he doesn’t think I’m silly, or petty, or too needy or whatever. My tiny brain just doesn’t get it. How does he love me this much?

All that being said, I am really looking forward to the next 20 days of the fast. What an awesome journey these past 3 weeks have been! On a related note: are you at all interested in trying out the Fresh-Faced for 40 Days Makeup Fast? If so, JOIN US in our Facebook group! There are just less than 60 of us doing this together, and it is such a blessing to hear the other ladies’ stories and encouragement along the way.

And now, for photographic evidence that I’ve been adhering to the fast:

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On a purely administrative note, we are moving next week (to Morro Bay, which is only 30 minutes north of Shell Beach, where we live presently), and unless I’m struck with some crazy compulsion to write something, I’m taking next week off from writing. We move a week from tomorrow, and I have packed exactly 2 boxes. YIKES. I’ll still try and remember to take naked-face photos, and I’ll still try and keep up with the social networks, but with the move, and Ellie’s 2nd birthday on the 28th, I’m not going to be around much. That’s all to say: Don’t worry, I haven’t died. (Unless I have died, which would be creepy and tragic.)

xoxo,

mj

*Comparing myself to a hermit crab is unfortunate, but I couldn’t come up with a better comparison. Well, I could have compared myself to a butterfly, emerging from its cocoon, never to return to it again, but COME ON. A butterfly? Puh-leeze. I’ll call myself a hermit crab, thankyouverymuch.

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For details on the “Fresh-Faced for 40 Days” makeup fast, check out this post.

If you’re interested in participating, join the Facebook group where we can keep each other updated on our progress, post links to our blog posts, and generally hold each other accountable. Obviously, we’ll all be starting on different days, so it’ll be fun to cheer each other on through the different stages.

Also, feel free to use the button I’ve made (in the left sidebar, on the top) to link-back to the original post, so you don’t have to do all of the ‘splaining to your friends if you don’t want to.

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Sacrificing Sustainability on the Altar of 18-Month Product Cycles

Hey folks!

I’ve been at iFixit a little more than usual this week, and have had gadgets and repair on the brain. I know that sustainability in tech design isn’t the sexiest subject (but honestly, if you’re looking for sexy, you’re at the wrong blog), but you need to be aware of this kind of stuff. Just watch the video, and if your interest is piqued, look into the issue a bit more. Agreed? So here is a small sliver of what’s been on my brain this past week regarding the latest updated Apple computers.

Quick and easy, right? Like ripping off a bandaid. If you want to read a bit more about why sustainability in design is important, and how unsustainable design is hurting the world, read this article my boss just wrote. (Fair warning: if injustice makes you angry, prepare to get a little pissed-off.)

Is Sleep-Shopping a Thing? (Why I Removed The Amazon App From My iPhone.)

Last night my Mister spent some time with his friends watching baseball, so I plunked myself down and recorded my first vlog in about a month. Topics include: I sleep-shopped (it’s like sleepwalking, but with internet shopping) and ended up buying a semi-embarassing item off the Amazon app for iPhone, and more “Summer of 7” talk, for my YouTube crowd because they only ever hear what I put on my YouTube channel.

Re-reading “To Kill a Mockingbird”

“Somehow it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer’s day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.”
Is that not one of the most perfect description of anything that you’ve ever read?

 

It’s nearly summertime, and I’m re-reading “To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee.
A woman I greatly respect once told me that she reads To Kill a Mockingbird every summer, and while for some people that is just the type of affectation that drives me batty, with her it was different. She was being sincere, rather than passive-agressively trying to convince me that we’re kindred spirits because we both enjoy the same types of books, and her sincerity is a quality that I love. And because I’m impressionable, and have many self-important affectations myself, I decided I’d do the same. (Re-read To Kill a Mockingbird, that is.)

 

I haven’t read it in several years (maybe a decade?), and I’m humbled by how well it still reads. How much better it reads, actually. Or maybe I’m just better suited for reading it now? Anyway, that line about ladies becoming like “soft teacakes with frosting of sweat and sweet talcum” struck me way back when, and still hits the spot for me now. Harper Lee is a genius, and her Scout is a gem.

 

Have you read To Kill a Mockingbird? Do you have a favorite line from a book? I intend on posting regarding a summer-project I’ll be involved in, but for now, I want to hear how much you love To Kill a Mockingbird. 🙂

On Vacation- Be Back Soon!

On Vacation- Be Back Soon!

You can take the girl out of San Clemente…

On Grammar, Etiquette and Rules

Trust me, I know this is not the sexiest of topics, but if I’ve ever claimed to be anything, it hasn’t been “sexy,” no-sir-ee.

Here’s what I have to say, in a nutshell, if you don’t feel like watching the video below:

  • Grammar, etiquette, and rules in general, exist to make our lives easier and run more smoothly, avoid social awkwardness, and maximize our safety (traffic laws, for example).
  • Knowing the difference between good and bad grammar enables oneself to recognize the nuances in the voices of writers and speakers. For example, if a typically well-spoken person says “you done real good, boy,” one can assume that stylistically, the speaker is choosing to sound “folksy.” By contrast, if one has no understanding of good and bad grammar, all nuance is lost on them. Jokes are missed. The same can be said for people who have no understanding of good/bad etiquette.
  • Good grammar implies legitimacy. Simple enough. My feeling is that if you believe that what you have to say is important enough that you want strangers to read it on the Internet, then it’s your duty to write it in the most accessible fashion possible. This is my major complaint with bloggers who refuse to use capital letters. Refusing to use good grammar not only makes one’s content difficult to understand, but it carries an air of arrogance.
  • Exceptions: When using the right grammar/etiquette would be more inappropriate than using the wrong grammar/etiquette. For example: seven guys are on a fishing trip for a week; none of them are shaving, and each of them only brought one change of clothes. Though the “proper” thing to do is wear clean clothes, it would be bizarre and somewhat jerkish if one guy shaved every day and wore spotless clothes, on principle, to make the others look oafish. In that case, the dude doing the “right” thing is totally in the wrong. Etiquette exists to make things less awkward, not more awkward.
And if you have seven minutes, here is the expanded version, in video format:
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