Monday, December 31, 2012

Monday Meditation: Keep Stretching 2012 a Year in Review

"One of my aims in life is to constantly feel the S T R E T C H. Not to get too comfortable. To feel a little uneasy, not as punishment, but as growth. It is the dedication to learning, the dedication to growth and the dedication to living slightly uncomfortably that brings the magic in life. This is how it is for anyone who achieves at the highest level. Keep stretching!" -Mastin Kipp

I posted this awesome quote on my Facebook last week, and I feel like it sums up my 2012 pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good! I started off 2012 comfortably without a clue how things would shake up or shake out in the 12 months to come. To be honest, I didn't really have ANY of these changes planned--but this year has surely been an adventure! Here's how the big changes stacked up:
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Hold on tight! It's going to be an adventure!!!
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  • 25 years I celebrated life (I can now say I am a quarter century old, how fancy)
  • 3 homes/moves (life throws you curveballs, but I am happy to be a West Sider again!)
  • 2 trips to the West Coast (San Fran and Seattle)
  • 1 trip to the East Coast (DC with Marie!)
  • 1 year of blogging! (oh the friends and adventures I've had along the way!)
  • 1 major career move (looooove my new job!)
  • 1 new car (finally laid Percy to rest! And purchased my first car)

Whew those are some major big girl changes! When I look back and reflect on the year, I can't believe how many unexpected events and experiences cropped up--but that's exactly it, someone with a Greater Plan decided to shake things up for me. Did I have to step outside of my comfort zone in ways I never imagined? You bet! Did I grow and become a better and stronger woman for it? ABSOLUTELY! I stretched, and overcame, and put myself out there. and created a more beautiful life by choosing to focus on the positives!
Your journey is unfoulding exactly as it should be!

Professional S T R E T C H
I left my first job I had from right out of college, only to be greeted by a tremendous team of supportive, hard-working, women who have grown to be an extension of family. Making a career move is certainly new, uneasy, and different--but it's often in that stretch that we grow exponentially! I am grateful for the opportunities I had during my first 3 years as a working professional and the lovely people who helped me along the way. In my new position, I have met so many wonderful people while networking and have such awesome mentors and encouraging women who want me to succeed in my career. 2013 I will begin my SEO training (*marketing nerd out moment*) and could just squeal I am so excited to take on that challenge! I am one lucky lady to have landed with my company and team of great people!

My office all decked out by my co-workers on my 25th birthday :)
Travel S T R E T C H
I was extremely fortunate to be able to travel so much this year. I ventured out to the West Coast twice to visit my favorite cousins, once in San Fran (read my recap here) and once in Seattle (I am halfway through the recap post, I got distracted during the holidays, but stay posted it IS coming!)
Gnarly shot I took of the Golden Gate Bridge!
from "CLE Kids in San Franny" Post

Both trips were amazing, for different reasons, but I certainly dig the Northern Cal and Pacific Northwest relaxed vibe--smart people, fresh organic food, good wine and brew pubs, gorgeous natural beauty, and progressive thinking.

Marie and I in DC!
from "10 Things I Learned in DC" Post
Marie's niece, Stella, giving me a big DC welcome!!! What a cutie pie!!!
I also hit up DC over Labor Day weekend for a reunion with my college gal pal, Marie. She showed me her new city (always a CLE girl at heart though!) and the sites and her family welcomed me with open arms. We had a blast and Marie ALWAYS knows how to make a girl laugh :)

My 2013 travel plans? ABROAD! It's my New Year's Resolution, and my thoughtful sister gave me a  jump start with my Christmas gift and gave me the passport application and adorable passport cover booklet to remind me of my goals. Turkey here I come!

Creative S T R E T C H
my favorite e.e.cummings quote, "It takes courage to grow up, and become who you really are."
from "Screw Factory Artist Open House in Lakewood" Post
I really came into my own this year through my blogging efforts. I got back into the habit of writing and my mind and creativity are swirling with juices--NO MORE BRAIN DRAIN! Through this commitment to writing, and sharing my stories and experiences, and positive outlook on CLE, my entire world has opened up. Was it scary to put myself out there? At times, certainly! Was it a little uncomfortable at first to go to events by myself? Of course. But the experiences I had and people I have met through blogging have been incredible. By stretching and putting myself in new circumstances and going to events on my own, the rewards and happiness only sky-rocketed! I am eternally grateful to my CLE Believers who have stuck with me over the past year and taken the positive journey with me through my JAMinCLE blogging adventure! You guys ROCK!!!!

Personal S T R E T C H
I never came right out and wrote about it, but I am sure my dedicated readers and friends have put 2 and 2 together and figured out I had a lot of personal changes this year too. After 3 1/2 years of being with my boyfriend and 1 1/2 of living together, I decided to move back home with my parents in August. Living back at home with the roomies at 25 is certainly something I never anticipated after being on my own since 20. But, that's what family is for, to help you grow and stretch and love you through any change. Sure, everyone wants to give you their unsolicited 2 cents while going through a breakup--but thankfully my family and friends have supported all of my decisions and encouraged me along every step. I stretched, and grew, focused on myself, and took better care of myself rather than always trying to take care of someone else.
Work it out, girl!!!

Sara and I jammin out on Just Dance
 from "Surround Yourself With Those Who Lift You Higher" Post
I saved up money while living at home, and made my first car purchase too...wo0o0o0o0oho0o0o0! I said goodbye to my faithful Kia, Percy, and said helllllo to my new Nissan Rogue (name is still pending...)

The most important thing I learned from stepping into the uneasy and making these "big girl decisions"--was how incredibly resilient I am! That dedication to growth, and learning, and development is where the magic really happens!
Remember your roots, and keep on growing!!!
From "Monday Meditation: Remember Your Roots" Post

So my lovely CLE Believers, I look forward to kissing 2012 goodbye and stretching into 2013! May your year be productive, adventurous, positive, and happy! Embrace the change, and keep S T R E T C H I N G! Life is too short not to JAM! xoxo
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Happy 2013!!!!!
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

5 Simple Steps to Crafting a Wine Cork Wreath!

Christmas may be right around the corner, and you may be stressed ...but don't worry you can get a jump start by saving for your Christmas crafts... for next year :) That's what I did last Christmas!
I began saving all of my wine corks (we all know JAM has an affinity for the vino!) from special occasions, to girl's nights, birthdays, after long work days, I saved all the corks up by simply tossing them in a nice large glass hurricane for a pretty display. Even my Mom and Grandma began saving up for me too--family affair. I created a whole board on Pinterest of "Put a Cork In It" ideas, so follow me on Pinterest for crazy crafts and other ideas too!! And yes, you guessed it... I got the idea for a wine cork wreath on Pinterest last year, and finally had enough saved up to make this AWESOME wine cork wreath for the holidays this year...andddd I'm pretty jazzed about it. It was simple, easy to do, and a great unique collection of fun memories over 2012.

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Original Wine Cork Wreath idea via Pinterest
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Five simple steps is all it takes!!!!

1) Have fun with your family, friends and loved ones over a bottle of vino.

2) Save all the corks in a dry (and preferably pretty display) area.

3) Buy a small styrofoam wreath from your local craft store (Michael's, Pat Catan's, etc.)

4) Take a walk down memory lane when you pour out all of your collected corks and recount the lovely times you shared.

5) Take toothpicks and stab one end into the cork and the other end into the styrofoam. Arrange to your liking, hang and enjoy!!!

Wine Cork Wreath!
Since I love red wine, I chose to flip some of the red-stained corks over to add some extra holiday swag color. Love it!

My finished wine cork wreath! Happy and hung! Success!
Enjoy your festive libations this year, and start saving for your easy-to-do wine cork wreath for the holidays next year!


Saturday, December 15, 2012

A JAM Blog-a-versary!!!!

Last December 15, I started my blogging venture and, whew--I could have never imagined what a wonderful journey it would be!
Make the ride bright!
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My very first post, I promised to spread that CLE JAM love all over the interwebs!

Spread that JAM!

My love and curiosity for my homeland of Cleveland has grown and evolved tremendously over 95 posts and countless escapades and new friends along the way. I finally kicked the post-grad 'brain drain' I had been experiencing and picked up the keyboard, drawing me back to my two favorite loves--writing and Cleveland!

CLE LOVE! Skyline via Lakewood Park
Photo by JAMinCLE
It took me awhile to find my "voice" on my blog and I think once I began to get the rhythm (we are JAMmin here right?!) became more authentic and open...and you, my CLE Believers, stuck by me every step of the way!
Big or small, step by step! via Edgewater Park
Photo by JAMinCLE
The first time I had a single post of mine hit 100 "views" was back in August, 8 months of working on my craft to get a rewarding response. And that's what I've learned--that blogging is truly a craft, commitment, and calculated art. The more I opened up my world, view, heart and adventures in CLE, the more the world and my readers opened up to me.
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Monday Meditations have proven to be an important weekly post for both my own personal growth and for the CLE Believers. It became such a great opportunity to pause, reflect, and begin the week on a positive note. And that's just it--we can either focus on the negative or the positive. And my take is--life is too short not to be positive!
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Along the way I've heard all sorts of feedback, encouragement and criticism. Some of my favorite hater lines and questions over the past year were:

-Why would anyone read a blog about Cleveland?
-What if nobody reads or cares what you have to say?
-Where does your blog live? (one of my personal favorites)
-Cleveland sucks
-Oh, you're a blogger (eye roll)

All valid questions and concerns I've faced and struggled with. So what did I do? I kept on writing! Yes, yes, I  AM a blogger! People may not always agree with my outlook, or love my positive take on life, or heck, they may not love Cleveland...but I do. And I just keep on writing. One post at a time. The positive experiences, people, stories, and  encouragement have far outweighed any of the criticisms! I've had the pleasure of making new friends who follow my blog and meet in real life, bringing talented young people and their products and films to the community, and stepping outside my comfort zone by attending events by myself, trying new places and having fun along the way. It's been real.
LOVE my city! Wo0o0
I choose to build and focus on the POSITIVE--events, restaurants, people, entrepreneurs, and hidden gems in life and in CLEVELAND. So thank you, thank you my CLE Believers...for venturing with me over the course of the year and for many posts to come. And remember, keep JAMmin!!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: A Christmas Party For a Cause!

Christmas Ales
Photo by JAMinCLE

Christmas cookies
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Your best ugly Christmas sweater, seriously, does this come in my size???
Prize will be awarded for "best" dressed!! So bring your game!
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A Christmas Party for a cause!

Join myself and other Cleveland Foodbank: YP Pantry members to indulge in some holiday  festivities, meet other young professionals, learn about the YP Pantry mission & support a great cause!
Monday, December 17
6pm-9pm at Bier Markt
15% of your bill will be donated back to the Cleveland Foodbank
Register now for the event by clicking here and get all the event details
 Hope to see you there and share in the holiday cheer!
**Full disclosure, I am a Council Member of the YP Pantry, all opinions expressed are 100% my own**

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Meditation: Never Stop Wondering. Never Stop Wandering

Why hello der! I've been on hiatus from blogging this past week while I ventured out to Seattle for an awesome trip!

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An epic recap of Seattle will be coming at you later this week. And in the meantime... chew on this Monday Meditation quote:

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Isn't it strange how it often takes a trip away from home to reframe your perspective? When we open ourselves up to new adventures, travels, experiences, cities and ways of life we begin to ask new questions and find answers to old ones. The incite of wonder provokes us to wander into new territory...reflective soul territory. I like to call my inner JAM. "Dwell in possibility," as my homegirl Emily Dickinson says.

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So, I encourage you to reflect on the combined power of wonder/wander. Go out and explore, see the world with fresh eyes, create new beginnings and make new endings. Whether you wander down your street, an unexplored neighborhood, a different state, another coast, or a foreign country--open yourself to new wonders. Get lost in the everyday magic of your life and adventure!
Make a wish, let the wind blow, and never stop wondering and wandering!
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Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Meditation: Resistance

"What you resist persists." -Carl Jung

This quote has really resonated with me recently. As a young adult, we sometimes get caught up in a sense of image or deny our authentic self. However, the more we deny/ignore/resist a certain aspect of ourselves because it is uncomfortable/scary/deep--the more it persists and manifests in other aspects of our life. It's kind of like that smashing game you played as a kid, as soon as you think you bopped that creature on the head and pushed him back in...sure enough, he sneaks back out and pops up in another place!

90s kids game shoutout...cmon you know you and all your friends played it at Chuck E Cheese! I sure did!
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I see this happening so often amongst my friends, young people, Clevelanders, Americans, and society in general. I've even found myself in the place at times too. The trick to the ego-game is to not let your flaws define you, and to simply acknowledge it, embrace it, and accept it. We are so focused on resisting a facet of ourselves we do not accept, that in "ignoring" it, it actually persists, permeates, and pepetuates into many seeping aspects of our lives...
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Yes, Jess, yes--BTW I LOVVVVVE "New Girl" another awesomely quirky Jess to add to the list!
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 So my Monday Meditation is to EMBRACE IT!

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Give yourself a big ole hug!!!
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Love your flaws, quirks. neuroses, immune health, diagnoses, fat belly, empty pockets, low scores, loud voice, high emotion, off-key notes, and whatever else you are afraid to admit to yourself. Accept it in order to finally let it go, because the more you resist, the more it persists. It's just one small aspect of yourself--that you are allowing to take over by ignoring it. Ever try to go to sleep with a mosquito in your room? That lil guy can turn into a huge problem-- try to ignore it, and those itchy bloodsucking bites will be there when you wake up, letting its presence be known!

So my CLE Believers, how can you let go today? What areas of your life are persistently challenging? How can you love all aspects of yourself--flaws and all? How are you overcoming your obstacles and hang-ups in order to thrive?

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Don't resist it, let it all out!!!