ALL THE UPDATES! WHERE HAVE I BEEN? MOVING TO DALLAS AND BUYING A NEW HOME

I felt a little bit sick when I saw the last time I’d posted was in mid SEPTEMBER. EEEEK. It’s been over FOUR months since I’ve posted here! I feel a ton of guilt about it. Having a blog is a personal space where I write and share and in these four months, I’ve done almost no writing or sharing, here or otherwise. Even my social media accounts [Instagram and Facebook] took a major backseat.

I’ve been very much off the grid. It’s been a whirlwind of life changes. Family changes. House changes. Location changes. Just about everything that could shift in my life has. So many things have changed for the good, but change nonetheless is daunting. I’ve especially discovered how difficult change can be to my creative outlets.

These first few months of the new year I’m set on reworking my two websites [this one and my design business, A Simpler Design]. They’re my most satisfying outlet to work on, and I just haven’t given them the attention they deserve. I need to get back to taking beautiful photos, sharing what I cook, where I go, what I’m working on, all the things. I’ve started sharing little stories on my instagram account and as I do, I’m reminded that many of those short musings are essentially blog posts, only on a different platform. To ease myself back into blogging and writing life, I’ll start sharing my short daily somethings here.

In the meantime while I get that up and running, I thought I’d share photos of my beautiful home in Dallas, Texas and a [semi] brief update on how I got here. In October I sold my beloved home in Atlanta, Georgia [how I miss you Greenwood!], bought my new home [Edgefield is my new smaller, but just as beautiful gem!], drove from Atlanta to Dallas with my entire fur baby family in tow. In November, I did some renovations to the house straight away [mostly cosmetic, but still messy!], hosted my first Thanksgiving in said new home [literally the day after my countertops and sink were installed!], and completely decorated my new home [almost entirely with things I already owned, but still an endeavor because unpacking and organizing is a bitch!]. December brought the holidays, more organizing and decorating [so much holiday decorating on top of it all!], and my mom came and stayed for a couple weeks [she missed the fur babies and me too possibly hah]. January has been a struggle bus. I’ve been sick since just after Christmas, and have had ups and downs with relentless colds and coughs and fevers and bleh and I’m starting to wonder if I have pneumonia and AHH. But I’ve been trying to truck through and keep telling myself February will be my month of health since January was a complete bust in that department. #goals if I’ve ever needed them!

There’s so much I want and need to accomplish in these coming months, and I’m hopeful for the year ahead. Never-ending sickness aside, I’ve been so lucky in many ways, and so thankful to have such supportive family and friends, and I know there are only more good things to come this year.

Ok…now you can check out the photos of my house! [of course these are just the real estate ones and I haven’t gotten around to photographing it with all my things in and with the renovations I’ve made, but of course I will share all that in due time!].

Missed you and glad to be back and rambling :)

xx Jo

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PACKING MIX + 3 PODCASTS I'M LISTENING TO

It's Monday, it's a new week and I'm feeling a little bit underwater. We're in the process of getting our house ready to be put on the market, and the thing my mind compares it to right now is a tsunami. I've known it was going to hit for sometime, but now it's here and it's hit and that tsunami is literally taking all my things and rushing them down an unexpected river roaring through my home. What's currently left in the aftermath are random piles of clothes and junk drawers and work supplies and SO MUCH home decor and art [I'm a quiet hoarder if you didn't know]. My life has been turned upside down. It's like when I tip out my junk drawer and have to organize it all. Except that junk drawer is gigantic and filled with 10 years worth of stuff.  INSERT EXPLETIVES!

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Actually though, I'm writing this after things have calmed down.  There is an end in sight, it's just going to continue to be a struggle to get there.  Today I picked out just enough clothes to last me for the next few months, and right now I should be sorting and discarding bins of makeup and toiletries [yes I have stupid amount of both] but it's strangely exhausting.  I think it's more mentally taxing than anything else, but my saving grace in all this has been music and podcasts. I've switched between two music mixes over the past week or two, one being this one of newer songs and the other being a classics mix [to be shared on another day!]. Here's the link to the Spotify mix I started: MIX 2. When I feel like I need to be ingesting something new, I turn to podcasts. I listen to more podcasts than I'll ever have time for, but the three that I've been sticking to lately are:

Couples Therapy with Candice and Casey: I've been a big fan of Casey Neistat for years, mostly through Youtube.  He's based in New York, and I love his vlogs because they bring me back home. His wife Candice is the epitome of RBF and I sort of adore her. She's super salty and funny and I love the dynamic between her and Casey. The podcast 100% isn't geared for people in relationships. It's more of an outlet for the two of them to chat about anything, and though the focus is at times something from their relationship and their past, it's more light but still informative on how people interact when in a couple.  ANYWAY, watch Caseys videos a little to get some context, but for sure listen to this podcast.  

Decoding Westworld: This really only applies if you watch Westworld, or if you've tried to watch it and couldn't get into it and gave up. Don't give up! It's so complex and fascinating. I should just write a post on Westworld in its entirety, but I make no proimses! I'm a total TV and movie nerd, and the pair who do this podcast do a number of podcasts I listen to. Dave Chen and Joanna Robinson are fantastic at breaking down some of my favorite shows and movies. But this podcast in particular completely changed how I viewed Westworld. I find a really good TV/film podcast helps you understand the show on a deeper and sometimes more intellectual level. I know this sounds so silly, but I seriously appreciate these podcasts for this reason!

Song Exploder: I love music, I listen to it constantly, and I love it infinitely more when I get to know the stories behind the songs I love. I don't know how I stumbled upon Song Exploder, but it literally does just that. Each week it takes a different song by artists from all sorts of genres, and has the artist[s] explain the development of the song, from the sound to the story behind the lyrics to how the song affected the artist. I love hearing the songs build bit by bit. Of course I get extra excited when a song I know and like pops up here, but I actually enjoy hearing the process behind music I'm unfamiliar with.

Okay, back to sorting through my life's objects. Sigh. I've had the mix [below] on while I wrote this, but now I think I'll switch back to the podcast [currently on the Song Exploder episode on one of my favorite new Arcade Fire songs]. 

MIX 2:

A HIATUS, A LACUNA AND LIFE ADVICE FROM MEINEKE CAR CARE

hi·a·tus

hīˈādəs/

noun

  1. a pause or gap in a sequence, series, or process.

    "there was a brief hiatus in the war with France"

    synonyms:pause, break, gap, lacuna, interval, intermission, interlude, interruption, respite, suspension, lull, time out, time off, recess

A lacuna...I like the sound of a lacuna. Sounds like a laguna, which reminds me of a lagoon and deep blue-green waters and all things tropical and beautiful. Have the past few months of my blog simply been lost in a tropical lacuna? Actually wait, lacuna also means a cavity or depression, and I’ve thankfully been neither cavity ridden or depressed, so let's maybe scrap lacuna…So I guess I’ve been on a hiatus, and not a very intentional one at that. 

I'm in simultaneous awe and fear of how quickly time passes the older I get. I've always been fascinated by movies and tv shows about time and space. They're eternally confounding and fascinating. But I’m not talking about movies today. Today my mind is on why I haven’t been writing here. 

My life has changed considerably over the rapidly passing months of 2018. I’m talking huge, gigantic, life altering things. I have been writing all this time, but all of it is incredibly personal and though I’ve made leaps and bounds when it comes to sharing my writing in a public space, some parts of life are meant to remain private. The good news is all these secretive things I allude to are almost entirely positive ones, so my absence isn’t a sign of tough times or anything worrisome.  It’s just my life and the complete and happy unpredictability of it. 

Even though I can’t divulge all the deepest inner workings of my mind, it doesn’t mean I can’t continue to write and share some parts of myself on this blog. So I’m here to start up my writing again as I sip an impossibly green smoothie [a recipe I have to share because it’s so STUPID tasty I feel like crying [!!!].  Disgusting smoothies are the worst. I mean really, they quite literally put a bad taste in your mouth and who wants that? This one however tastes like magic in a mason jar. Sigh. 

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I feel like I’ve been trying to jump-start my blog for some time now, and in the midst of my blissful smoothie sipping morning, I am beginning to write again, if in a slightly odd fashion. I’ve now gone down an entirely new rabbit hole of how to jump-start a car battery…

According to meineke.com, [note: this is their abridged version- do read the more extensive copy if you've somehow stumbled upon this blog post with actual hopes of learning how to jump-start a car!]

  1. Start the working vehicle

  2. Wait a minute or so.  Depending on the age of the battery and how long since it died, you may need to let the car run for a minute or two to get the jump to work.

  3. Try starting the dead car. If the car doesn't start, allow the working vehicle to charge the battery for an additional minute or two before attempting again.  In some instances, slightly revving the engine of the working car while charging the dead battery may help.

  4. Once the dead car is running, you may disconnect the jumper cables, starting with the black, negative cable clamps. Do not let the clamps touch each other while any part of the cables is still attached to a car.

  5. Now, take a short drive. This will allow the battery to build up a charge. This driving allows the vehicle’s alternator to charge the battery and ensures that your vehicle does not die again once you turn it off.

Huh. I can’t help but relate. Funny how that happens. Sometimes the strangest things resonate, like that Apple commercial about a red balloon that made me cry, though let's be real it was probably more the beautiful song than the red balloon finding it's yellow balloon soulmate. Anyway back to car care. As I attempt to apply Meineke's unwitting words of wisdom to my blog, it seems like an oddly straightforward solution. I simply need to start the working blog [yes despite it’s obvious stagnancy, it's still working!]. Wait a minute or so and give myself time to write. Then try starting the blog up again [actually post something, ANYTHING!], and once the blog is up and running, I can start to disconnect any of the negative anxiety I have about posting things that aren’t perfect. A functioning car is better than a dead car sitting idly by right? Or blog. 

I also can’t help but find the Meineke slogan equally fitting: 

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YES Meineke, YES! On with life. On with the blog :)