Archive for the 'observations on life' Category

When life hands you lemons

by @ Saturday, December 6th, 2014. Filed under growing up, observations on life

Last winter I was cleaning toilets because the Austin job market was IN the toilet.    As a freelancer, I had reached the point where I had no money coming in and it pained me to take a job that paid minimum wage.  Cleaning toilets started at $15/hr and had a schedule flexible enough that I could continue to work with clients that were struggling to get by.

Life handed me lemons, I was making lemonade.  I moved up cleaning toilets.  I started making more money, I was given a false sense of security as I churned out gallons of lemonade. [ I also got a clearer picture of the economic situation in Austin.  I was thoroughly disgusted by the fact that dual income families had to have housemates.]  Last spring, I realized, if you are going to make lemonade, there should really be a lemonade stand to go with it.

Yes, when you are drowning, you seek out the first thing to keep your head above water, but eventually you have to check to make sure that the thing that you are holding onto isn’t going to get sucked under the current as well.

In May, I resigned from cleaning toilets. I had gone to Chicago for the weekend, and after several failed attempts to get back to Austin, I decided that maybe I was due for a change.  I started scavenging for the next thing.  I could hit the road with my housemate and go west.  Then what?  Stay there?  Go back to Austin?  Maybe Head east and watch my friends kids until I found a job?  Move to Dallas? I packed my things in storage and I went west.

The whole process of getting out of Texas and to California taught me a valuable lesson.  When life starts to look like the scene in the “B” horror movie where you are squirming in your chair telling the innocent teens not to go into the basement,  run back up the stairs and get the fuck out of the cabin in the woods.

I knew exactly how much stuff I had with me, I could call a friend to come and get me or my credit cards could get me a rental car and a hotel.  In the end, I was picked up and the credit card paid for lunch.  Now to figure out life.   I had planned to go back to Austin in August and meet with a bridal client and pick up my car.   But did I really want to drive back to California only to turn back around?  Meanwhile my Bay Area friends told me that I should look at jobs in the area.

I had too much with me to to just pack it all up and take in on a plane so I forged ahead with both plans,  I went back to Austin for the car and the bridal client.  I had job interviews scheduled for my return.   I spent the summer crashing with a friend.   I had given myself until August to figure out a plan to stay in California, or head back and set up camp in Dallas.  I was officially done with Austin.

After a month of freelancing, applying for jobs and going on interviews, I got a job offer.  After a month of commuting, I found an apartment.  Things were looking up. Even better, I am NOT settling. I have a job that is currently using all of my brain, I make more than minimum wage, and I have health insurance.

So lesson learned, when life hands you lemons, if you are only making lemonade, you best learn how to swim or you will drown.  Keep swimming until you can get yourself a lemonade stand.


I am at home with the me. I am rooted in the me who is on this adventure.

by @ Monday, September 9th, 2013. Filed under Men in Suits, observations on life, random musings

I’ve been on hiatus. I give you video footage of a man in a suit.

Since I last checked in, the world has kept turning, more babies have been made and I have been in the middle of a million projects.  So, if you weren’t directly involved in one of those projects, you may or may not know what the hell I have been doing with my life (I enjoy living a life of mystery).

  1. I made the Mockingjay dress for a client to wear to comicon.
  2. I’ve been teaching sewing classes. I love being back in the classroom.
  3. I revamped my job description. I am a project manager that happens to be good a bookkeeping.  I offer small business solutions in addition to general bookkeeping.
  4. I took a few jobs sample-making, prototyping, and doing piece work.  It’s nice when you can help your clients with both their bookkeeping and their merchandising.
  5. I moved on up to the East side like George and Weezy.  I don’t live in a deluxe apartment.  I live in a house. I have a roommate. There may or may not be a housewarming party.
  6. I skipped town.  It’s a pattern, I move, then I skip town. I headed east to get my fix of cooler weather, tall green trees, the woods, and old buildings.   Every time I go back to that, it’s harder to return.  Especially now that I have gotten really good at making my own jobs.
  7. I took my teaching gig on the road.  I heard some people were going to drive in to town for my class and I offered to come to them.

So yes,  I have been taking advantage of this self-employment thing.  I intend to do more of it. Is it scary?  Fuck yes.  Do I recommend it to everyone? No. The hustle is not for the faint of heart.  I have freak out moments on how to pay the bills in lean months, how to charge fair prices and still pay myself a fair wage. I am still working on that whole life/work balance since I work from home (I did have a pleasant distraction these last few weeks.)



…and we’re back

by @ Sunday, June 2nd, 2013. Filed under employment, Men in Suits, observations on life

I have once again taken life into my own hands, shaken it like a snow globe, and I am waiting for the bits to settle.  Since I last checked in:

  1. I resigned from my nanny job and sent my tiny baby to school.
  2. I took a job as a personal assistant/bookkeeper.
  3. I sold my small business (Clothing Hospital)
  4. I decided I was going to write a book on a topic I don’t know much about, but it involves spending time with my awesome mom and working with some other creative badasses.
  5. I resigned from my personal assistant job (I determined that working for a dude is not my thing.  And I mean dude in the most literal sense, not like the way that M and I refer to most people).

So yes, there is very little time for Men in Suits, or anything for that matter, as I work on Me 3.0

If you are curious about what this version of me is up to.  I would check out my other blog at

So now, let’s talk about Men in Suits.  Recent discovery  Ryan Lewis.  His partner in crime Mackelmore distracted me from his hotness.   I dream of men in suits who happen to be DJ/producer types.





A day late, a dollar short

by @ Wednesday, January 16th, 2013. Filed under employment, observations on life

For those of you who noticed, No, you didn’t miss my 2012 end of year recap. I blame the Mayans, and maybe self-employment, or maybe I was just trying to be a little more like Jodie Foster in what I share.

This was my first full year of self-employment. It afforded me the luxury of living out life as a paid stay-at-home-mom (to a kid that technically is not mine). For all you who doubted me, I kick ass at being a mom. I may write a book about it.

And now for the other hats. In no particular order.

The Seamstress thing: was going well until I got furlowed from the in-store gig. I think that is the best term for it. Didn’t really talk about it much. I was too busy staring a new business in 2 days. As of February, I will have been at a store front for a whole year. A whole year of constantly reminding people that I am only open 2 days a week, and that appointments must be booked in advanced (advanced > 2 days). A whole lot of vintage clothes, hem jobs, and minor fixes. An epic restoration. Some easy brides, some hard ones. Some tech work for indie designers. Some teaching. If it were up to me, I would only work on the cool projects. Museum-worthy restorations and maybe couture bridal for other talented artists.

The SXSW thing: I did my time as as volunteer and then I spend the majority of my free time in the movie theaters. Yes, as I get older, have less tolerance for crowds.

The Bookkeeper thing: This is more of a recent thing. I was doing books for my own business and a non-profit and other people started asking if they could pay me to do theirs. What more could an OCD introvert want? A mostly work-from-home gig with minimal interaction with people. BOOM!

I spent a lot of time hustling in 2012, but I made it. Unlike many other self-employed, female creatives in town, I have no second income to rely on for food and lodging. It’s all on me to keep the lights on in my place. So yes, there were times where I didn’t go out to a show, or to some group dinner. But, at the same time, I managed to stay out of debt, contribute to my Roth, pay for health insurance, and keep the lights on at my place.

As far as my to-do list is concerned, still working on it. I think I will day dream about it and make something happen after tax season.


Into the woods

by @ Wednesday, September 12th, 2012. Filed under books, observations on life, random musings, vacation

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler." Henry David Thoreau

Lot’s of things going on but I took time out to unplug and recharge in the woods of Massachusetts. Rather than roam Boston, I spent time in Southborough (a friend of mine teaches at a Hogwart’s style boarding school there).  Don’t get me wrong, the city is great, but the woods are home.  I spent 17 years of my life in the Hudson Valley, most of outdoors, the rest of it inside, immersed in a book.

I arrived on Wednesday and headed to the Science Museum.  Apparently my friend grew up inside that museum. This is definitely a more kid oriented space.  Luckily school was in session. Then we ate an early dinner at Life Alive.

Thursday I toured Southborough and Framingham by foot.  I went on an EPIC walk.  Round-trip, about 17 miles.  I stopped at the Whole Foods after figuring out how far I strayed from Hogwarts, then headed back.  I was wearing good shoes, but my legs/knees were NOT happy with me when I got back to the house.  I came home, showered and got ready to head out dancing.  Not so much for the dancing, more for the socializing with peeps in Boston.

Friday, I slept in, and headed out to the Museum of Fine Art via commuter rail.    The museum wasn’t that big so I was able to see the whole thing in about 2 hrs.  I spent extra time in the Ori Gersht Exhibit.  The installation is genius.  My knees didn’t like me very much but I was bound and determined to see this.  I had dinner plans at Eastern Standard.  I had hoped to roam the Fenway before heading over, but the sky opened up and it started pouring.  Lucky for me, there was an event at the museum and there were cabs dropping people off.  I hopped a cab to the restaurant and was greeted by the masses of Sox fans waiting out the storm  Dinner was a blast.  Not so much the food (the menu is pretty meaty), but the company.  It had been a year or so since the group had assembled last.

Saturday, I slept in while my friend was teaching (yes, they have Saturday classes).  Then we headed out to Waltham to hang out with friends before they headed back out of town.  I ended up making curry when we got home (from the ingredients I procured on my epic hike).  Project Runway then bed.

Sunday was super low key.  We stayed in town and hit the thrift store and collected a few more things for my friend’s new space.  After dinner I roamed the school grounds and had flashbacks of summer camp.   I came home and spent the evening chilling out and watching DNC highlights.

Monday I headed to Concord after breakfast since I had the car.  I was looking for an art museum that wasn’t in Boston and stumbled upon the Concord Museum. Apparently the new Annie Leibovitz exhibit was there.  It was a departure from her other work, but I enjoyed taking a trek through some of her favorite places.  After I left the museum I roamed around Sleepy Hollow and Walden Pond. I snapped a few photos which I hope to edit and frame sometime in the near future.  I came home and started reading “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”.  Then we skipped dinner in the dining hall and foraged in the pantry.

Tuesday was my last day.  I spent the morning reading and packing.  I decided to save my knee for dashing through the airport. When you connect in Houston, there is always a dash through the airport.

Overall, the trip was a success.  I got to chill out, roam the woods, devour books and art.  I helped my friend move into her new space and get settled.  I spent just under $200 while I was there.



upwardly mobile hipster socialite

by @ Thursday, July 19th, 2012. Filed under observations on life, random musings

No, that is not the title of an Alanis Morisette album. My friend Claire coined that term last year when I told her about my “I like you just as a friend” situation.   I inquired what could a guy my age be looking for.  She said it rather matter of factly.  Well, that is not me.  I have no desire for fame.  I won’t be creating a fashion line or turning this blog into a book.

I write because it’s cheaper than therapy (and sometimes it gets me free stuff).  I chose the path of an apparel surgeon rather than fashion designer because I am all for sustainable fashion and I would prefer to see less waste created by fleeting fashion trends.  I want to give the people what they want, not tell them what they want.

My goal for the rest of the year is to hang out on the plateau of emotional and financial stability.  If we make it past December 2012 (only the Mayans have the answer to that), my plan is to reward myself with some much needed travel/adventure at the end of bridal season.



It’s all a matter of perception

by @ Tuesday, July 17th, 2012. Filed under confessional, observations on life

“You think you know … but you have no idea.” – MTV Diary

It’s time to play the artist card.  As an artist I am allowed to be broken. Right? Seriously,  artists are supposed to be all broken and tortured. It’s part of that whole suffering for art thing.

The fact that I have to ask permission is absurd, but sadly a necessary evil in the world of snap judgments.

A friend shared the following after I mentioned getting a B-12 shot to help with depression.  She was unaware that I was depressed and couldn’t really understand why.

“you are the most generous, hard-working, loyal, understanding people I’ve ever met, not to mention creative! and very pretty!… and f’ing smart!”

Yes, I may be all of those things, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have problems.  I’ve never been to a therapist, but years of writing and reflecting on life have revealed that I have abandonment issues.  At the end of the day it is much easier for me to be an emotionally-unavailable hermit, than invest time with people that will eventually leave.

There, I said it.  You may now re-evaluate your current picture of me in your head.

How long has this been going on?  Good question.  I’ve known that I was different since I was four.  In elementary school, I pretty much kept to myself and spent most of my time in the library in lieu of trying to fit in.  Yes, I had friends but only a  handful.  In Junior High I latched on to a group of social outcasts. We were all in band together.  In High School, there was band, drama, choir, and all honors classes that kept me with my clan of outcasts.  Only to left behind as the group became incestuous, sometime around sophomore year, and I became the odd one out.

After Junior year I moved to Texas.  I fell deeper into hermitude (Yes, hermitude. If I put it on the internet it is a real word).  It became harder to keep up with the old gang via letters and I didn’t see much of a point in making new friends when everyone was going to leave for college soon.  I spent a lot of time with my AP bio classmates.

I was still shell-shocked when I started college.  I didn’t move out of my parents’ house and I rarely spent time on campus outside of class.  I spent most of my downtime working at a daycare and babysitting.  It was easy to keep to myself.  I was a bio major taking prerequisites. Most of my classes had 200 people.  I did a complete 180 sophomore year.  I changed my major and moved into a co-op.  It was a bit of a social experiment. I took up dance. I even taught for awhile.  I joined study groups.  After two years passed, I learned that I can exist in a larger group of people and still feel utterly alone.

So how to relationships work for the emotionally unavailable?  Um, they don’t (at least not romantic relationships).  My longest relationship lasted 2.5 years.  After a year or so we were just going through the motions and no one was man enough to rip the band aid off.  After that, I rarely made it past a month or so.  A year ago, I thought I had beat the system.  I made it to 5 months before he disappeared without a trace.  But to be honest, we were only dating because we were too tired to date anyone else at the time (yes, those exact words were said).

I told you I was broken.

So why hide it? It’s my problem not yours.  If anyone asks, I don’t lie about it. I frequently tell people that I am broken. They laugh like I am joking and I may or may not choose to elaborate (now that I have written this down, I can just send them a tiny url to the post).  I just choose not to wear my depression like a sweater in the Abilify commercials (it’s more like underwear).  And sharing has never been my strong point.

It’s time to wrap up this internet confession. I leave you with one of my favorite scenes from “The Breakfast Club”. A reminder that somewhere, underneath it all, every one of us is a basket case.



Sometimes you need a little FUN

by @ Friday, June 15th, 2012. Filed under concerts, fun^3 fest, observations on life, vacation

So, life has been a little on the heavy side lately.  But, when you are in charge of a tiny cave man  half the week you are bound to shake off that rain cloud.

Ms. Crankypants is no longer that cranky.  Still teething (one day she will wake up with a mouthful of teeth).  But added mobility and coordination has lead to her tiny caveman phase.  She’s loud and grunts a lot (think Monica Seles’ early days of tennis).  She enjoys smashing things.  Everything is hers, and she will maul anyone in her way.

She has put things in perspective.  If you want something…  Go get it.  If it isn’t yours… Go for it anyway (hopefully there is a Yo Gabba Gabba  episode about stealing things or asking before you take someone else’s stuff).  Persistence  got her from being a complete turtle to standing up in a few weeks.

So that is my plan.  Get things done, do what I want.  As I mentioned in a previous post.  It’s not about the money. My goal is to do well enough as a small business owner to take time off when I feel like it.  This month MN, July is up in the air, August I head back to Dallas, maybe NYC in September, October Dallas again.

Today I bought my tickets to Fun^3 Fest.  There’s no line up, but they have never disappointed.  I was on the fence about PIP but at the end of the day, I don’t think that I will be drinking $185 worth of beer.  Yes, you do get special seating.  I prefer to be up the front of the stage vs. on the side.   If someone were to gift me PIP tickets I wouldn’t say no.  I’d even be willing to write up my experience in an article in exchange for said tickets.







Fueled by Anger

by @ Sunday, June 3rd, 2012. Filed under observations on life, random musings


Even though I have been bitter and full of range and angst.  I’ve been getting a ton of stuff done.  May was chock full of wedding dresses and clothing rescues.  I’ve managed to stay afloat.  I wasn’t a complete hermit. I made it out to support some of my friends and clients.

A few months ago someone posted the following on FB…

“Rage is best buried, then compressed like coal into a shiny ANGER DIAMOND!” -TEM

The key is doing what you can to end up with the diamond and not an ulcer.     I have managed to mix enough creative work in with the mundane stuff to avoid the ulcer.

If you are looking for a creative outlet.  Join me in celebrating 30 Days of Creativity.   You don’t need to be a “creative”.  Whether it’s a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich, a bookshelf, or a pair of jorts.  MAKE STUFF.



by @ Thursday, May 31st, 2012. Filed under observations on life, rants

For the life of me I cannot fathom why someone had the audacity to inquire about my financial health when theirs is on serious life support.

Seriously.  This happened.

Them: Are you making what you made at your old job?

Me: Fuck no.I was making $50k when I left.

Them: are you making, like $35?

Me:  umm, no. Much less than that.

Them: Enough to make rent.

Me: Yes

Them: We need to make you more money.

Me: Why?  I have no debts.  My car is paid for.  What do I need more cash for?

I think the conversation stopped there.  If it didn’t I blocked it out.  The inner dialogue in my head took over.  This person must live in an alternate reality of unicorns and rainbows or something.  I am a nanny and a small business owner. These are not the jobs that yield swimming pools full of cash.   I used to be gainfully employed in a job that I didn’t like very much (nor did I have a Scrooge McDuck style swimming pool of money).

What I should have done is brought up their salary, the mountain of debt they have, and the fact that they are a long way from digging themselves out.  But that’s not my style.  I went for the parable style lesson.  Since they thought I was “poor” they were offered water instead of tea and brownies.





Share is powered by WordPress.

Contact us:

  • Jen: jen at projectjen dot com
  • Emily: limorama at gmail dot com

Recent Posts


Jen's Links

M's Links

A group of women who decided that it was important to live their lives any way they wanted vs living up to certain cookie cutter standards. Lucky for you they decided to share their adventure.


Flickr Feed