2016 for Jenny

Well, it's been a few weeks! We ended the year with a last minute project that I'm super excited to share once it's done. And then Christmas was here and I looked back and realized I hadn't managed to blog for a minute. Oops. And now I'll make up for my lack of blogging with one super long post as I'm reflecting on the year and thinking forward to 2017.

January: Snowed in in Richmond on the M&RL tour. 

I just read my post of 2016 goals, I couldn't have been more right on when I wrote about how I thought the theme for 2016 was going to be making plans for one thing and then doing something else entirely. That pretty much sums up the year. I never would have guessed all that we managed to pack into this year and how many things happened spur of the moment. And as I go into another year where I'm not entirely sure what it holds for us, I need to continue to trust that when one thing doesn't work out, it wasn't meant to be and that's ok.

February: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I heart sunshine. This was a work trip, to shoot a beautiful beach wedding, but thankfully there was a day or two of relaxing in there as well. 

One way to put it, thanks to my continual watching of The Sound of Music as a child, "When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window."  Thanks Julie Andrews. 

One big project fell through for the spring and I was super bummed about it for approximately 10 minutes, then  I realized it meant I was free for my sister's birthday and a week later I was on a plane to surprise her in Korea. It couldn't have been more perfect.

March: Jeju Island, Korea for Stephanie's Birthday! 

At the beginning of 2016, we didn't have a ton of things planned, but somehow we've done more than I ever could have imagined being packed into 1 year. I went to Korea, India, Nepal and Ireland, New York, Hawaii, North Carolina, spent a month on a tour bus roaming around the U.S. Worked on a variety of commercial projects and music videos and so many other random things. I'm tired just thinking back on it all. Because, the reality of it is, it sounds super exciting when I write it now, but most of it was exhausting and super stressful. I can't even count the number of hours and sleepless nights I put in on projects that never came to fruition.

April: India, and then we went to Nepal in a whirlwind two weeks. 

May: Shower for T & Baby Fiona! 

As we move more and more into the world of commercials, music video and film, I'm continually reminded NOTHING is a sure thing until it's happening and even then things still might not go the way you want. I'm getting used do disappointment, and realizing, most of the time things don't work out, something better comes along anyway and then I'm thankful that first thing didn't happen, because if it had, we wouldn't have been available for the second thing! I refer you back to the afore mentioned quote from The Sound of Music. Really, I'm writing all of this down so I can reread this post half way through 2017 when I'm panicked that things aren't going the way I expected and remember this very valuable lesson.

June: The type of picture I usually don't share...here I am posing for Jason for photos for a pitch deck for a commercial job we didn't end up getting. So many hours went into this!!! Arg. 

July: I could post a cute photo from our 10 year anniversary shoot, but this one is more real. Here we are in a small town in Ireland after being awake for 24 hours getting there. We'd just rented a car and had spent the last couple of hours being passed by giant trucks on tiny country roads, arguing over which of us sucked less at driving on the other side of the road. Because this is my blog, I get to say that I was the best. HA! 

August: Music Video shoot in Hawaii. Super fun, super stressful, no sleep. 

I did pretty well with my actual list of goals, minus the flossing. Looking back on what I wrote, it was almost prophetic in the parts about self-care. I guess even back then, I knew I needed to make changes, I had no idea it would actually take being diagnosed w/food allergies and having a doctor tell me my stress level was through the roof and I needed to make changes for my own health.  But I'm thankful all of that happened and forced me to actually get serious and start to see the benefits of regularly getting enough sleep, going to yoga and eating healthy.  It's insane how much better I feel when I'm doing those things. But it's crazy how hard it is to keep up good habits in the chaos that is my normal life.

September: Malibu, Canada with friends! FINALLY taking a weekend away from work and craziness. The best and totally needed. Days earlier I was half way up Mt. Rainier producing this. 

My other goals included writing more, which I have been doing more of on projects we've been working on, even on the ones that nothing comes of them, if nothing else, I'm getting better and faster at writing up ideas and treatments for music videos and commercials and I JUST started working on a new project which I'm really excited about!!!

October: Like so much of the rest of the year, we were in LA. But this is the point in the year in which I actually started carving out time for fun things instead of just constantly working. This was Disneyland with Gracie, who was too busy admiring the carousel to pose in my selfie. 

November: The first month of 2016 in which I did not get on an airplane! But then we all voted and realized the country wasn't the place we thought it was. Overall, it was a good month to stay home and be cozy. 

I'm thankful that for me,  despite the usual ups and downs, 2016 was a good year. I know it hasn't been for a lot of people. I feel like I'm leaving this year very aware of my privilege. I come out of 2016 inspired to do more, to love others better, to help more people, to learn more about the world and what's really going on. And you can read all about that later this week in my goals for 2017 post.

December: Christmas on Hood Canal. I feel like an entirely different person than January 2016 Jenny, and I kind of like that thanks to changing up my hair, I look like an entirely different version of me too :) 

Friday Roundup

Happy Friday! This has been a long and exhausting but very exciting week for me. My baby niece, Luna, was born yesterday a month early! She is small but healthy and will spend some time in the NICU. I'll post some pictures next week. :) We are so excited she's here.

Tomorrow is Patrick's birthday and the holidays are upon us so it's going to be a busy and festive weekend. What are you up to?

Here are some links to get us started:

What do you think of the new Pantone color of the year? I dig it (but green is my second favorite color and spring is my favorite season so there's that...)

These gifs made me smile.

Why some people get burned out and others don't.

Meaningful holiday gifts and guide to book gifting.

What a great idea.  

Loved this interview (Spokane represent.)

Table dressing rules and why to follow them.

Jenny sent me this and it's perfect.

(Image & Dried Citrus DIY)

Our Favorite Christmas Album

My all time favorite Christmas album is TEN years old. Wow. Over the past 10 years, Jason and I have spent Christmas in airports, at our house, my parents, his parents, driving between places, with friends, etc. Some years we've had trees, some years we haven't, yet this album has been the soundtrack of all of our Christmases. In fact, Sufjan might be the only contestant Christmas tradition we've had since we got married.

It's one of the last CDs I purchased, and even though I no longer own a CD player I keep the little box of five CDs that came with with posters and stickers with my Christmas decorations and every year take it out none the less. If nothing else, it serves as a reminder that it's time to turn on the Christmas music :)

It's also Teresa's favorite Christmas album, her favorite song, hands down is "Sister Winter", that's definitely one of my favorites, but I love so many others as well! I feel like it changes depending on my mood.

It's already proving to be a Christmas classic, Rolling Stone includes it on it's all time best Christmas Album list. 

Here's a ranking of all 100 songs from both of Sufjan's Christmas albums (which I don't entirely agree with, but nonetheless appreciate)

Pitchfork's original review says it best, explaining that the orchestration "may be sufficient for the box to sneak into the parents' Christmas music rotation, allowing Stevens to give the greatest gift of all: momentary relief from Mannheim Steamroller."

Allergen Free Eating

So, it's been over a month now since I found out I have a bunch of food allergies and for the time being decided to cut gluten, dairy, soy, eggs and cane sugar from my diet. In the beginning, that list was daunting. I mean, what doesn't include at least ONE of those things!

People keep asking me what I'm eating. So here are a few things that have really helped me and actually made me excited about how many wonderful things out there that I can still eat.

I signed up for Sun Basket, a meal delivery service uses all organic foods with a farm to table model. Sun Basket didn't pay me to write this, but if you click here and use my referral code, you get three free meals and I get $25 :) I feel like enough bloggers have posted about meal delivery services, so I'll spare you the details about how great it is in general and say that Sun Basket specifically has been awesome for me because many of their meals are paleo and/or gluten, dairy, soy free. So for someone who's been overwhelmed with the idea of what to eat, it's been great to see a large variety of meals that not only fit with my diet, but are fairly healthy and amazing regardless of how you eat. Also, since I'm cooking it myself, if there's a recipe that almost works within my diet, it's worked for me to switch out a small amount of butter for olive oil, etc.

Heather Christo has also been a great source of amazing meal ideas as well. I made this salad for a party and had everyone asking for the recipe! And that's what really makes me happy, when I can make healthier options that are still amazing to feed to other people and not have anyone be sad that it's lacking cheese or sugar or, well you get the idea. A few other recipes of hers that I've loved...

One Pot Pumpkin Pasta 

Lamb Chickpea and Apricot Stew

Gingerbread Sweet Potato Doughnuts 

The best part about all of this is that it's really pushed me in the direction of making my lifestyle healthier all around (and yes, I realize this sentence is somewhat ironically located just after a link to a doughnut recipe). I'm back into a routine of going to yoga and am actively trying out other things, taking vitamins, meditation, etc. to continue to make things better and I can feel the difference. I have more energy, this is helping me deal with my stress and am feeling less seasonally depressed.

Image above is one of my favorite meals from Sun Basket

Karama Favorite Things

My Karama Collection EParty is still on through Tuesday so today I thought I'd share a few of the things that I have my eye on. So check it out and head over to KaramaCollection.com and use the code JKPARTY16 to get 15% off!

Loving their beautiful leather goods, like the wristlet, and the backpack! All are made with luxurious Ethiopian leather by artisans in Addis Ababa.

If you're looking for an adorable gift for a kid, check out these owls! I think they are especially fun to give to a child and tell them that it had come all the way from Tanzania and share with them a little about fair trade.

I actually got to see how the owls were made in Tanzania in 2013! Most of the artisans who make them are deaf or disabled. Usually people with a disability in Africa are left to beg because they aren't able to find work. It was amazing to see how through having work they were given dignity and a sense of community. I'd met a deaf man in another part of Africa a few years before who was so isolated, no one else in his village knew sign language and he was thrilled that I knew enough sign language to tell him my name. Remembering that experience it was even more amazing to see an entire community of people who could communicate with each other!

I bought a few pairs of these brass circle earrings for Christmas gifts this year. These are made by artisans in Kibera, Kenya, the largest urban slum in Africa. They also make beautiful necklaces, bracelets, etc. 

Fiona Maeve: Five and Six Months

Can you believe this little baby is already six months old?!? I think I'm in denial about her growing up. The pediatrician gave me a little lecture about how I need to stop swaddling her and start feeding her solid foods. Nooooo. She's too little for that. ;)

Fiona is a sweet, easy going baby girl. She doesn't have a lot of routine in her life but she is great at rolling with the punches. She loves to giggle at all her big brother's antics, splash in the bath, go on walks in the Ergo or stroller, put everything in her mouth, and be in the middle of the action. She smiles at everyone and likes to meet new people. We are working on her rolling over more and getting the strength to sit up on her own. Love this girl!

Friday Roundup

I still haven't gotten around to getting a Christmas tree, so I'm just going to enjoy looking at this pretty ornament photo for now. You may have seen on the blog this week or my facebook page that I'm hosting an EParty for Karama Collection, it's going on until Tuesday the 6th!  The ornament above is handmade by Masai women in Tanzania. I'm buying a bunch to put on the top of presents this year, because cute ornaments make up for the fact that I suck at tying bows :) and also, it's fun to share the story behind the ornaments when I'm giving a gift.

Check out Karama Collection and use the code JKPARTY16 for 15% off your order.

Here's one thing I'll be buying for myself from Karama.

And here are other fun things on the web this week...

Drunk History does Julia Child and it is awesome.

Cat yoga!

I really want to see this movie. 

This article hits on a lot of the things I was thinking while watching the new Gilmore Girls.

America Ferrera is awesome, Teresa sent me this and I relate to it so much.

Beautiful holiday decor. 

The Full House house will always be!

Teresa also sent me this Patton Oswald tearjerker. 

World AIDS Day 2016

Hi everyone! Part of the reason that I'm so behind on blogging right now is that I'm trying to find balance between working part time and juggling all the chaos of having a pre-schooler and a baby. I find myself with an abundance of great things in my life that are edging out other great things (like the blog!).

I feel very lucky to be able to spend my working hours directing the 30/30 Project. It's an incredible opportunity for me to do something I love, work with my family, and make a difference in the world.

Today is World AIDS Day. Since I can remember this has always been a big day in my family. We spend time remembering those we have lost, reflecting on how far we have come, and strategizing about how to make in impact in the fight to end AIDS. Last year was an especially memorable World AIDS Day when my mom received the Nelson Mandela Changemaker Award in LA.

This year she wrote some reflections on the 2016 theme, "HIV Prevention" on our 30/30 Project blog. If you're interested, I'd encourage you to read them. She has a way of personalizing the efforts we are all making to end AIDS that comes from years living with the disease and losing countless friends along the way.