Happy Spring + A Personal Update

Hello friends! As you may have noticed, I’ve been out of commission for longer than originally anticipated when I signed off for the new year. Thank you so much for all the emails and messages on social media — it has really meant a lot. I’m OK. I’ve just been going through some physical and mental health issues and really needed to tend to them with the kind of love and compassion I usually only reserve for other people (I know, I know… I’m working on it!).

Near the end of 2017, I started having a lot of pain in my left arm that was exacerbated by being on my laptop for many hours at a time. I started seeing my chiropractor, then a sports medicine arm specialist, then a physical therapist. I had been trying to focus on getting the care and being diligent with my exercises to get my arm back to normal, but any relief has been temporary and the regimens and schedules have been exhausting. So frustrating.

After months of this work, I finally had an MRI of my neck. The MRI shows that I have two discs that are compressing the nerve that goes across my left shoulder blade and down my left arm. It was good to figure out what the issue has been, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared about what this finding means. I will most likely need spine surgery.

It took a while to be able to get in with a spine specialist since the doctor I had been seeing was an arm specialist. The neurosurgeon I finally met with recently says he thinks I will need ACDF surgery — which is definitely not the minimally invasive variety I was hoping it would be. I am seeing another specialist soon for a second opinion to weigh my options and plan the timing that works best for surgery and recovery. Fortunately, I was prescribed a medication that has helped soften some of the nerve pain I’ve been experiencing and the neurosurgeon says that I’m not in an emergency situation and should be able to plan to have surgery for whenever it works for my little family this year.

I’m so happy to be back to blogging. It has been a difficult time with lots of pain and dark days, but being here sure pulls me back up and I’m certainly not mad at this spring sunshine! Thank you all for sticking with me during this cuckoo time in my life — I cannot tell you how much it means to me. I’ve got a lot of posts in the works as I’m getting back into the swing of things. I probably won’t be back to blogging every single day until fall, but I’ll be here sharing as much and as often as possible. I hope you’re all doing well! xx Jen

P.S. If any of you out there has had spinal issues or has any advice because of what loved ones have gone through — I’d love to hear about it! Thank you! ♥

My 2017 Intentions


Happy New Year, friends. I’m back after taking a little time off to try to take care of my heart. We had to make the heartbreaking choice to put our dear dog, Zelda, to sleep before her increasingly complicated medical conditions pushed her into a painful and traumatic heart episode. She was there with me during the hardest times I’ve ever been through and she was the being that I spent the most time with over the past thirteen years. I knew it would be devastating, but I wasn’t prepared to face how much I truly needed her spirit, sweetness, and tactile, unconditional love. To be honest, I’m still feeling a bit lost in the woods right now.

This loss, combined with the rise of fascism and dementia in our country has created a perfect storm of sadness, anger, fear, love, and defiance in my belly. This makes my 2017 intentions based in digging my heels in, getting stronger physically and mentally, and trying to help hold up the people in this space, in my local community, and around me. It’s about building strength in mind, body, spirit, and character.

Please let me know what you think and I’d LOVE to hear your intentions, resolutions, and thoughts about 2017 and the current state of the world. You all inspire me so much. ♥


Continue supporting and promoting independent businesses. In this space and in my every day life. I’m not going to lie, I’ve struggled a lot with my sense of purpose here since the election and inauguration. With so much tumult and the blatant crimes against humanity and our country happening right before our eyes, it’s been hard to jump into the fray and talk about fashion and lifestyle. The reality is that I am proud to have a space that celebrates independently owned businesses that are primarily owned and operated by women. After a lot of thought, I’ve come to the understanding that what I do here is important and maybe even more so now with corporations and billionaires riding our backs and being given even more tax breaks. I’m in this and I don’t want to stop talking about design, art, home, and the talented people creating it all. That said, I’m going to add in more talk about feelings, the resistance, charitable dollars, community events, and ways to help.

Make sure to spend time on self-care. Mantra: “You can’t fight in the resistance if you don’t take care of yourself.” When I’m overwhelmed by the world around me, I suck at basic personal care. I’ve learned through counseling that growing up without emotional support, respect, or validation at home makes me inherently more likely than others to drop taking care of myself when things get tough. I’ve also learned that one of the biggest triggers for me is gaslighting and the fight or flight anxiety that comes with recognizing it from a mile away. Survivors of malignant narcissist parents out there know what I’m talking about.

Help others spend time on self-care. Talking more about what I’m doing to create self-care rituals and routines might help others with their own personal care. Also, checking in with my friends to make sure they are remembering to do it too and seeing if I can help.

Take better care of my people. I want to participate even more in my community and stay more tuned in to the lives of my friends and family. Texting, calling, emailing, checking in, and making plans to hang out, meet, and march.

Get fit. Mantra: “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” I want to lose some weight, get much stronger physically, become more agile, and take some self-defense classes.

Feed my brain. Read more books and articles that help prepare for what’s happening now and the years to come. I also love listening to audiobooks when driving. I don’t particularly want to be listening to the Hitler: Ascent 1889-1939 audiobook right now, but I feel stronger when I’m more informed about history and what we’re up against, so I will. It has been widely reported for decades that our new president obsessively studies Hitler’s speeches and ascent (starting long before he ran for office) and the parallels are all there, unfortunately. I also just picked up A Train In Winter — An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance In Occupied France. I’m thinking about taking some language classes, too.

Learn about foster to adopt. I’d appreciate any advice. It’s an avenue to becoming a parent that I wasn’t open to in the past because of fear of more heartbreak, but I feel ready to pursue this and learn about the process. All help and insight in this matter is very welcome!

Get personal. I have some life experiences that could help other people not feel so alone and maybe help others understand where some feelings might come from. A few topics I’d like to talk about: Childlessness and feelings of alienation, surviving a narcissistic parent, gaslighting, fertility/infertility and the assumptions people make, what not to say to people who can’t have children, the intersectional feminist need for others to support and show up for people who can’t have children, friendship, and lots more.

Amplify and show up. I talked about this a bit after the election — read HERE. I want to help amplify the voices of people of color, women, LGBTQ people, and the fight against ableism. I want to continue to address my own ingrained privilege and show up to marches in my city to show support for the people who have struggles I don’t have to deal with because I am a white, middle class, heterosexual, cisgender lady. I will also continue to call out the subtle ingrained sexism of my well-meaning, liberal people around me. I feel like I can just do better at intersectional feminism.

Get my house in order. Enough with the nonsense. I want to purge, clean, and organize every corner of our home. I am an HSP that finds clutter, mess, unfinished projects, and excess chaotic and ultimately stifling for creativity, work, progress, and happiness. I want to be realistic and remove known obstacles to my own productivity. This includes some disaster supply preparedness, protecting important documents, and updating passports. Become a better planner!

Garden and go for long walks every day. These two things help me sort out my place in the world and provide so much relief and joy. Now I see that committing to doing them falls under self-care and self-love.

Make art. Picking up paints, pens, and pencils helps me light up parts of my brain that are clever and kind and spry.

Travel. We haven’t been on a trip in a really long time. Seeing new vistas helps recharge my spirit and strength. Go see friends near and far. And plan some romantic getaways.

Remember that I am loved by some truly wonderful people. Even if my mind tells me something different and even if it doesn’t include some of the people I wish it did. I’m working on it. ♥

PHOTO: Tallulah Bankhead. “Like her family, Bankhead was a Democrat, but broke with many Southerners by campaigning for Harry Truman’s reelection in 1948. She is credited with having helped Truman immeasurably by belittling his rival, New York’s Governor Thomas E. Dewey. After Truman was elected, Bankhead was invited to sit with the President during his inauguration. While viewing the inauguration parade, she booed the South Carolina float which carried then-Governor and segregationist Strom Thurmond, who had recently run against Truman on the Dixiecrat ticket. Tallulah hailed from the Brockman Bankheads, a prominent Alabama political family — her grandfather and uncle were U.S. Senators and her father served as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Tallulah’s support of liberal causes such as civil rights broke with the tendency of the Southern Democrats to support a more conservative agenda and she often openly opposed her own family publicly.”

Love and Amplification


I went to bed when North Carolina was called. I just couldn’t keep watching. I couldn’t keep seeing red. This can’t be happening. In the pit of my stomach, for whatever reason, that is when I knew. My husband kept watching, was still hopeful, and he didn’t understand why I quietly went upstairs to bed so early in the evening. Now I realize it is because I had already started mourning.

Yesterday morning I woke up sobbing. For everyone in the country and outside it. That deep pain coming out with guttural cries of disbelief. Awake in a nightmare. In a haze. Work? No. Blog something? No. No words. All the words at once. I love everyone so much. I love this country and this amazing woman who has devoted her entire life to its people. He has never changed a diaper. He has never in his life not had millions of dollars. He has never held a public office. He has never been selfless. He is not qualified for the job. Hundreds of thousands more people in this country voted for her and millions more around the globe supported her, but she didn’t win. Gutted. More tears. Devastated.

As I was getting ready to meet my friend for a breakfast date that we’d planned long in advance, I had to walk myself through each routine motion and I had quiet realizations that felt validating and empowering. Put on my shirt. This was made by a woman. Put on my pants. These were designed by a woman. Put on my fragrance. Made by a woman. Put on my earrings. Made by a woman. Necklace. Woman. Put on my coat. Made by a woman. Put on my scarf. Designed by two women. Put on my sunglasses. Designed by a woman. Grab my handbag. Made by a woman. Slip on my shoes. Designed by a woman. Moisturizer. Made by women. Swollen eyes — add a little makeup. Made by women. Dab on lip tint. Made by a woman. Women. I need to keep talking about amazing women. Remember that, self. Don’t disregard this thing you have been passionate about doing. HOLD THEM UP HIGH.

When I got to the restaurant, I still felt in a fog. It’s good to be out and about. Maybe. Early to meet Katy. Everyone looks so uncomfortable. Still feel like this is a bad dream. Looking into the eyes of everyone I walk past as the waitress takes me to an empty table. We all feel the same disbelief and heartbreak. It’s palpable. I sit down. The waitress awkwardly pours some water and looks at me and says, “Hi. How are you today?” I just look at her and tears start pouring out uncontrollably and I whisper, so I don’t scream, “Not OK.” Then she starts crying hard too, so I stand up to hug her for a few minutes. “This isn’t OK. This isn’t OK.” A stranger, but not a stranger. A reflection. A woman who, with her whole heart, wanted better for everyone and still does.

As I talked with and cried with my friend over breakfast, I told her that it was hard to know where to start picking up the pieces after being shattered. Which piece of the puzzle do you even start with? For me, it’s a corner. What I keep coming back to is AMPLIFICATION. Remember that article about Barack Obama’s women White House staffers who use a simple, powerful strategy called “amplification” to make sure their individual voices are heard, repeated, validated, and underscored during important staff meetings and important decisions? If not, read it here.

“When a woman made a key point, other women would repeat it, giving credit to its author. This forced the men in the room to recognize the contribution — and denied them the chance to claim the idea as their own.”

I’d like to see Amplification adopted in a bigger way to not only empower women and keep us at the table on all the issues that we’re going to need to fight for, but to really amplify the voices of people of color, the LGBTQ community, non-binary folks, immigrants, Muslims, the disabled, and children. We have to hold each other up. Especially those of us who sit at the table (or have a seat closer to the table) because we are heterosexual and white. As a person with second tier white privilege in this country, I need to be holding the door open, literally and figuratively, for all a lot of people. Hetero white men who wanted a different election outcome especially need to check themselves and their privilege when they wake up every morning. Then they need to make it a priority every day to amplify and credit these voices too. I don’t mean speaking FOR other people (unless you’re expressly asked to) — I mean validating the words and feelings of our most marginalized people and helping to make sure they get a platform and a firm seat at the table. And EVERYONE needs to be talking about the misogyny and racism blatantly and subtly woven into the very fabric of this country.

I don’t know the best way to implement Amplification in a more broad sense, but I do think that the power of us committing to doing it in our own way each day is a good starting point. At your office (I work from home now, but can think of SO MANY situations where I could have spoken up and helped empower my co-workers in the past!), at your dinner table, at your church, in your circle of friends, in the classroom… there are endless situations where the White House staffers’ Amplification method could be implemented. Just think about how it can work for you.

Today I am still in mourning. Today I am going to spend the day with my 7 year old niece. I am going to talk to her about why Hillary is so important and special. I am going to talk to her about how her job right now is to keep learning in and out of the classroom. Today I’m going to talk to her about how important her voice is and how important her vote will be. I’m going to talk to her about some ways she can support the voices of other kids and respectfully use her voice when she feels like her thoughts, opinions, and feelings aren’t being heard. I’m going to talk to her about how her body is hers and hers alone. Today we are going to be making thank you cards to send to Hillary. Today we are eating pink donuts for breakfast and practicing self-care. Tomorrow I will introduce her to more of my friends who are amazing women who own their own small businesses. Today I commit to healing and finding ways to make a difference in my own way. Today I think about all of you and how much I love you and your big hearts. And I think about hugging more strangers. ♥

Hi. How are you today?


P.S. Please sign this petition for the Electors to do what is right and please support the ACLU.



I had some wonderful design posts planned for this week, but I just couldn’t do it — not right now. Not while we’re waking up each day to more innocent people losing their lives. It’s heartbreaking, it’s infuriating, it’s chaotic, it’s disorienting, it’s terrifying, and it needs to stop. We already lost so many brave men and women who fought this fight for us. Why are we still here? Why are we going backwards? ENOUGH. BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Yes, it feels ridiculous to even have to say it, because OF COURSE THEY DO, but we have to keep saying it. Loud and on repeat. Especially those of us who are white and living with an abundance of privileges we often take for granted while we’re comparing ourselves to people who have even more. Because of the color of our skin, we are born with some “privileges” that should be basic human rights for everyone. Hearing people chime in with “all lives matter” is repugnant, moronic, and disrespectful. Don’t dilute the issues at hand with your need to seem wholly inclusive. Of course all lives matter, but that’s not where we’re at when black men are losing their lives while being stopped by police for a broken headlight. Being privileged, we are also more likely to have the ear, or be closer to the ears, of the people who need to hear it most. Prejudice is learned and taught by example — babies aren’t born with it. Fear is learned and taught by example — babies aren’t born with it. Hate is learned and taught by example — babies aren’t born with it. BLACK LIVES MATTER.

The system is broken and there are broken people holding guns. People who have been taught prejudice, fear, and hate. If the police officers who shot Philando Castile and Alton Sterling felt justified in killing these two innocent black men, you can be certain that they aren’t the only broken people in their department and precinct and state who need to be educated and, most likely, shouldn’t be in law enforcement in the first place. If every single police station in every single city and small town in our country isn’t working on retraining, rethinking, and showing a no tolerance solidarity towards racism and all prejudice — we’re still going to have these senseless deaths of beautiful men and women just trying to live their lives. Those officers need to be held accountable and so do their chiefs. How are the Minneapolis police going to justify what they did to the faces of the 500+ children that loved Philando Castile at the school where he worked?? Their actions have a ripple effect and these little babes are victims of their actions. BLACK LIVES MATTER.

In the wake of the shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, the police officers and civilians in Dallas, the primarily LGBTQ and hispanic deaths in Orlando, and all the rest of lives lost to prejudice, hate, and fear, it can be difficult to know what to do. How to help. Where to look. How to make it stop. I honestly don’t know the answers to these questions and would love to hear from black community leaders and families affected by these horrific murders about how they think we can all come together and what role they would like people to take. Until then, we have to keep talking about it, keep questioning, keep pushing, keep watching, and keep holding people accountable. We also need to look out for our neighbors and show courtesy, kindness, and heart. We need to say NO to politicians who want to build walls and ride a wave of racism, hate and intolerance while moving our country backwards. They want to teach ANOTHER generation of young people to be filled with prejudice, fear, hate and intolerance — and they want to give them easy access to assault rifles. We have the privilege of saying NO to this right now. BLACK LIVES MATTER.

I love design and I love being able to offer a calm in the storm here for you and for myself. I’ll be back to posting regular content next week, but there is more I want to talk about with everything that is going on in our country and the world right now. I’d love to hear your thoughts. We all need each other to keep sane in a world that seems anything but. It’s so overwhelming and exhausting, but I know more good people than bad. It’s a time to stand up for what you believe in — even if it’s in the face of your own family where you might find the prejudice, fear and intolerance. It’s time to teach by example and loud voices. It’s time to take care of each other. BLACK LIVES MATTER.

♥ With So Much Love,

IMAGE: Coretta Scott King and daughter, Yolanda, in a car headed to the funeral for activist and civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in Atlanta, Georgia on April 9, 1968. Photo by Santi Visalli.