Let’s Do This

Ok, so I haven’t written in several months. I’ll let you know why.

I felt confused about what I wanted this blog to be. Do I want it to be an online diary? Do I want to start shooting content? Do I want to review make up and clothes? Do I actually want this blog to be something that I treat as a part-time job or do I want it to purely be a creative outlet?

That fact of the matter is, I didn’t know. And life kind of got in the way and I decided not to document it. But here I am again, back on the blog. I have attempted to tart a blog numerous times in the past and part of me always wondered “but what’s the point?”

Every time I make a blog post though, I feel a sense of achievement. I love writing. I love expressing my thoughts and I love beautiful photography. So I’ve decided to actually have a go at it now. Actually plan and produce content. Actually make consistent blog posts. I love reading blogs – I have been reading blogs for about 10 years now. It’s about time I tried to do my own because I just love the medium.

So, a reintroduction. Hi, my name is Jessica. I’m 24 years old from Sydney. What do I do with my days? Lots of things. I’m a lawyer. I am Vice-President of an oesophageal cancer charity, OCAGI (visit ocagi.org) that I co-founded with other members in 2012. I am Business Manager for my husband’s company (I juggle OCAGI and my business requirements with my full-time law job). I also freelance as a florist (another creative pursuit) and I assist my husband with another business, a wedding videography business that we are passionate about.

I recognise that I do a lot. It’s actually more than I ever expected I’d do at this age. But I am so incredibly happy with each facet of my life, that I can’t drop any of it. But that also means I am entirely reflective of how I utilise each hour of each day. Because I have never-ending to do lists, and sometimes, it’s just nice to lay pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and just write away. Write down all my thoughts and connect with people all over the world, and learn.

So that’s a little bit about me. No doubt you’ll learn more about me as the blog posts roll out. I plan on writing a blog post each day. Most with beautiful photographical content. Who knows if this blog will take off. But I am going to treat it like my online diary and at least try.

Thanks for reading🙂

xoxo Jess

Shows I’m Hooked on Right Now

A couple days ago, we had a rare night where we literally did nothing. I mean, I still did some cleaning up, read some work things and did the laundry, but I did that all with tv in the background and in my pyjamas for once.

It enabled us to finally catch up on some tv and chill time. I thought it’d be fun to throw together a little post about the shows I’m currently hooked on:

1. House of Cards

I’m a little late on the uptake with House of Cards, despite many people telling me it’s a fantastic show. I think we’re up to episode 6 of season 1 at the moment and I am hooked. I love the style of the show. It’s a Netflix original that stars Kevin Spacey who is amazing in the show. There’s a lot of breaking the 4th wall while in character. It’s brutal and sharp. It is based in Washington where Kevin Spacey’s character is a Congressman trying to reach the top of the ladder. I love the dynamic between Kevin Spacey’s character and his wife, and can’t wait to catch up to the 4th season.

2. The Originals

I don’t see this show being hyped up too much by my particular circle of friends, but I know it has a huge cult following. It’s a CW show and is a spin-off from Vampire Diaries. To be honest, I prefer The Originals over VD (although VD has gotten incredibly interesting, more on that below). I love how it is a lot more mystical than VD, and that each set of beings; the vampires, witches and werewolves, are given more chances to progress through their fantastical elements than in VD. I also think the show is a lot more funnier than VD and the characters are better thought out. The pace is very quick and it keeps you on your toes.

3. Vampire Diaries

This is now in its 6th season, and I’ve got to say, when it first came out I watched the Pilot and completely dismissed it. The Pilot is honestly cringe-worthy and awful. Two months later I happened to catch it airing on TV and I was hooked at about episode 8. I went back and forced myself to watch the previous episodes, which were all quite awful util about episode 4 or 5. From there on, it grows and becomes so much better. I probably haven’t watched a show that progresses so quickly (other than maybe Breaking Bad) than Vampire Diaries. It blindsides you and you can’t believe that the next episode can possibly be better than the last, but then it is and you’re going what just happened?! I have to say, it does start to sour midway through season 4 and gets a bit repetitive. But give it a chance because due to many factors that would enable spoiler alerts so I’m not going to mention them here, it gets insanely better in season 6 and is totally worth watching.

4. Gossip Girl

This is not a new show. It ended a few years ago and the last season was a half season attempt to try and end the show with the minimal viewers it had left. BUT, gosh the first few seasons are amazing. I watched Gossip Girl when I was in high school, and even now being in the workforce for a few years, it still captures me. I have forgotten every single storyline, and the clothes are still amazing. I started watching from season 1 a month ago and I watch it every single time I do a workout or when I have some time alone. It is amazing and worth a re-watch. I am halfway through season 2 at the moment and the fashion just keeps getting better.

5. Whose Line Is It Anyway?

The new version is great. I laugh in every single episode and it’s just good comedy to watch. It’s a good, 20 minute piece of humour that comes out every week that Cejay and I like to watch with dinner. It’s probably one of the only shows I consistently laugh out loud at (which is very loud, my Latina side means I have a very loud laugh and it cannot be hidden). But all the contestants are great and basically exactly the same as they were in the old version, and Aisha Tyler is a great host.

There is a whole bunch of other shows that is on my Netflix list to watch, which I will get around to slowly. I’m glad that I’ve at least started House of Cards now and will slowly transgress to other shows that I haven’t yet watched, like Better Call Saul, Orange is the New Black (I know, I know), and give The Walking Dead another crack (the Pilot is possibly the best Pilot I have ever seen, but it annoyed me for many reasons which I will probably explain in another post).

What are you guys hooked on?🙂

Jess xoxo

Weekend: 12-13 March 2016

  • Went to K-Mart after work and bought myself a bag, shoes and a scarf. Treat yo’self🙂
  • Bought a dozen canolis in celebration of my father-in-law’s birthday
  • Visited my mother-in-law for tea and canolis
  • Receiving hilarious showbags from a country show in our area. We got those horse head masks in ours which was hilarious
  • Picking up our friends on the way back home.
  • Watching The Lobster. I loved it – definitely an acquired taste and very strange, but I loved the style of the movie.
  • Watching some episodes of American Ninja Warrier with our friends
  • Saying goodbye to our friends after midnight and deciding to do a  impromptu gym session in our new home gym
  • Going to bed tired and happy
  • Sleeping in on Saturday and relishing the light streaming in through the bedroom window
  • Complaining about the heat – it may be Autumn now but Summer seems to want to stay
  • Cancelling our gym memberships and buying groceries
  • Eating a big lunch of my mum’s traditional food – black beans with rice, cheese and sugar bananas. Yummm
  • Picking up our friends and heading over to the country show
  • Sweating in the heat while watching pig races, lumberjacks competing in wood chopping, whipcrack demonstrations, and classically, a guy playing a guitar while seated on a cow wearing a hat.
  • Sitting at the main arena waiting for the monster trucks
  • Amazed at the defeaning sound of the monster trucks as they entered the arena
  • Watching a few normal jumps, before one did a jump a little too fast and ALMOST FLIPPED OVER. It didn’t but landed with a crunch on its front steering rod which snapped cleanly in two. Cut the show short, but it was very exciting.
  • Watching a hilarious comedy exchange between a guy and his horse.
  • Going on a few rides as night fell and enjoying the speed and being flipped upside down
  • Heading to dinner at one of our favourite Italian restaurants
  • Ordering a red wine and tucking into a delicious pasta
  • Catching the end of the fireworks from the restaurant
  • Ordering a creme brĂ»lĂ©e. Yum
  • Heading home sleepy but happy
  • Waking up early on Sunday morning to get ready for a big day. It was our family’s annual picnic day to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday. We always go to Thirroul beach which has a nice park for the young kids to play in as well.
  • However before going to the beach, Cejay had his first trial soccer game of the season at 9am.
  • Hanging out with a friend while watching the soccer and relishing being outside in the beautiful weather with a coffee.
  • Enjoying the game and Cejay’s team winning
  • Getting a little concerned when things turned a bit hostile on the field.
  • Heading to the beach!
  • Chatting with friends and family and playing some ball games
  • Having a bbq lunch
  • Heading to the beach and diving in to the freeeeeezing cold water
  • Battling against the very rough waves and enjoying the sand, salt and water
  • Getting out after a while and heading to the sea salt pool
  • Chatting with friends while relaxing in the pool
  • Getting out after more than an hour, getting changed and enjoying some cheesecake that my friend made
  • Feeling tired and helping to pack up as we headed home
  • Did some quick laundry and housework before settling in to watch Spectre. A decent Bond movie.
  • Heading to bed to get ready for another week.

My Father-In-Law

Today is 11 March. It is the birthday of my father-in-law. He passed away 4 years ago now. Wow. 4 years.

He didn’t get to see us married. Or even engaged. He didn’t see it when we bought and built our house. When we got our full-time jobs. When we started our business.

But the thing is, rather than let this be a sad post, it’s a realistic post. At least, in the way I have learnt to deal with grief.

I haven’t actually experienced a death before my father-in-law. The closest is probably meeting my paternal grandmother when I was 5. I still remember her. But I was 5. And she didn’t speak English. I did. We spoke in gestures and smiles and I truly loved her. If I close my eyes I can still smell her scent. She passed away several years afterwards, but that was when she had already gone back to her homeland of Bangladesh, and I hadn’t seen her in years. I had grown up to be around 9 years old. I didn’t understand grief. I knew it was sad. I saw what it did to my dad. But I didn’t understand it.

The first time I saw a dead body was when I saw one of my friend’s parents pass away from lung cancer. I was about 10 at the time. I saw this chubby man disinitegrate to a thin one. A scarily thin one. And when I saw him after he passed, I hardly recognised him. I was a little afraid, but mostly, I didn’t understand.

I don’t think I fully understood the circumstances when my father-in-law died. I was 20 at the time. I knew the mechanics. I knew he had oesophageal cancer. I knew it was the worst stage. I knew it had spread to his lungs. I knew that chemotherapy and radiotherapy were the only hope, a small hope. And I understood when, approximately 6 weeks after diagnosis, the news that it had spread to his brain was bad. I knew after he had a stroke, that it was the end. What I didn’t know though, was that the end didn’t necessarily need to come immediately. He stayed for another week. In a coma, but he was there. He knew when we were there.

I’m not trying to make this a sad post. I’m … reflective. I haven’t been able to write words like this yet. It’s all been in my head. It’s been raw. But this is probably the first time I can write about it without sobbing. That hasn’t stopped my eyes welling up though.

I’m not sure what the point of this post is, but I suppose if I had to give a reason, it is that life goes on. So much has happened in the last 4 years. But at the same time, that grief stays with you. It always will. But the hurt that has happened whenever I think of him, has slowly began to be replaced by happiness. The happiness caused by celebrating a life. A beautiful life, a beautiful soul. My father-in-law was amazing. I wish he was here. I really do. I miss him. But avoiding to think about him is wrong. I don’t want to lose his memory.

I am so happy that I knew him. I am so happy that he was a part of my life for several years. I love him and I know that he looks over us. So, today, for his birthday, I am going to be happy. In previous years it has hurt. But this year I am going to be happy. Because, it is his birthday.

Jess xo

Weekend: 5-6 March 2016

  • Coming home from a busy week of work. I was absolutely exhausted on Friday. I was up since 6am and was going, going, going all day.
  • Making one of my mum’s signature dishes of mince, carrots, tomato sauce and rice for dinner, which Cejay specifically requested.
  • Cooking a very nice dinner, but it’s never the same as Mum’s.
  • Sending Cejay out for some red wine while the food was cooking.
  • Having a glass of wine and relaxing with dinner.
  • Knowing that friends would be coming over at some point.
  • Remembering that I had agreed to cut my brothers’ hair at 10pm on Friday night as that was the only time that fit all three of our schedules (Yes, I cut their hair. No, I am not a qualified hairdresser. No, I do not force them. Yes, they actually ask me to do it. Yes, they somehow prefer my haircuts to ones that actual hairdressers give them. And yes, I think I do a pretty damn good job!)
  • Hanging out with friends.
  • Setting up the hairdressing area.
  • Complaining about my current clippers and suggesting they buy me a really good set as payment.
  • Laughing at how picky my brothers can get in regard to their haircuts. They could never be this picky with actual hairdressers. Maybe that’s why they get me to cut their hair.
  • Watching funny youtube videos in the middle of cutting hair.
  • Feeling tired and happy when they both finally declared their haircuts perfect (dude, they’re both really picky – they’re lucky I even do this for them).
  • Smiling as they cleaned up for me.
  • Saying goodbye to our friends.
  • Having a good old chat with my brothers and Cejay which somehow took us to 2am.
  • Saying goodbye to my brothers and retreating to bed.
  • Sleeping in on Saturday morning, only to hurriedly get dressed in order to make a morning meeting.
  • Putting on a dress and doing make up in record time.
  • Relishing the warm Summer weather and spending time with my mother in law after the meeting for a few hours.
  • Coming home and having a nap for at least an hour – we lost track of time.
  • Waking up to a message from someone on Gumtree – we have been looking for gym equipment for a few days, and hit the jackpot with someone selling a treadmill, squat rack, full weights, bars, lat pull machine, dip machine and exercise bike for an insane price. We were delighted when we found out the equipment was still up for sale.
  • Agreeing to a price and being super excited about having a home gym finally!
  • Deciding to be spontaneous and pick up the gym equipment that very evening.
  • Asking my mother-in-law if we could borrow the van.
  • Picking up the van and driving an hour away to pick up the equipment.
  • Playing tetris as we loaded the gym equipment into the van.
  • Finally coming home after a long escapade of picking up an entire gym.
  • Having a sneaky KFC dinner as celebration – we will work off the calories in our home gym haha!
  • Heading over to friend’s house and watching the EPL game. Arsenal and Tottenham tied (we’re Arsenal fans).
  • Coming home at 2am, exhausted.
  • Collapsing into bed.
  • Enjoying a sleep in.
  • Deciding against our original plans to go to the beach to set up the new gym. We would need to return the van for Monday.
  • Deciding to swap out the current guest room for the home gym, and make the 4th bedroom the guest bedroom.
  • Taking apart the bed and cleaning up the room.
  • Loading the room with the gym equipment.
  • Enlisting my brother and his friend to assist in taking out the heavy treadmill and awkward shaped lat pull machine.
  • Feeling totally proud of ourselves when everything fit in the room perfectly. PHEW!
  • Heading out to buy mats for the gym, groceries and a roast chicken for dinner.
  • Coming home to slightly messy house – the mattress for the guest bed was in the hallway from the move.
  • Having a nice roast dinner, doing some laundry, and then deciding to tackle the bedroom because we knew that if we left it, the house would stay messy till the next weekend.
  • Going through the 4th bedroom which has become our ‘store room’ and finally chucking out a whole bunch of stuff.
  • Moving the bed back in and feeling the satisfaction of seeing two totally clean and organised rooms (the study is next – the floor is currently hidden by piles and piles of books. We have ordered a bookcase which should be available any day now).
  • Going to bed way too late for a Sunday, but feeling happy.

Exhausted – the life of a busy 20-something

I don’t know where the days are going guys. It feels like ever since we have come back from Asia, we have dove straight into work and being young 20-somethings just living their lives. We have spent nights with family, with friends, at games, at the movies, cleaning the house, working. We have tried to plan multiple beach trips but there’s always been something else taking us away from that (a party, being lazy, shopping, work). And suddenly I’ve been back in Sydney for longer than my holiday in Asia, which tbh, did feel quite long and I definitely experienced a bit of homesickness at some point (because, you know, I missed my bed and home cooking a lot).

I don’t think we have had one night of quiet since we have come back. We decided to build a home gym in our house, on a whim, over the last few days. That’s the sort of shit that we do. We get big ideas then we go out and do them. We get super excited about our ideas and dive into them 200% and we usually achieve what we set out to do which is always super exhilarating, but then on the other end I find myself saying:

“Why am I so bloody tired?”

And then I kind of realise it’s because I keep staying up till 2am browsing Pinterest for home gym decor, or I am watching another show, or I am working, or I’ve overstayed my welcome at mum’s house because I keep eating her food, or we have friends over on a Saturday night. The list is endless.

I feel like before I know it, I’m going to be 30, and the womb will be calling and suddenly I will be like, what the fuck? When did I become 30 and where did my 20’s go?

Cejay is turning 25 this year. Smack bang, mid 20’s. And it’s both excited and terrified me.  It’s a quarter of a century and we have achieved so much for our age. It reminds me that we have come so far yet have so much to live for. It reminds me that we are still so young, there is so much left to explore. And it also means that I will have known this man for a decade, a man I have watched grow from the teenager forever locked away in my memories.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy. I’m happier than ever. Life is truly amazing at the moment and maybe that’s why I’ve been able to go at full speed for almost 3 weeks now with literally – and I mean LITERALLY no rest. Like, here I am craving a night where I can just sit on the couch as soon as I come home from work. We have not had a night like that at all. We have spent less time in our house than I would like. I don’t think I’ve had a sleep that has lasted longer than 7 hours. My shortest so far has been 2. Yeah, I’m serious.

And that was last night. I had a total of 2 hours sleep. Then I woke up and went to work early. I didn’t end up taking a lunch break and will continue to be working tonight, which I will fit in with going over to my mother-in-law’s house for dinner. I think if I didn’t love my work, I would not be able to do this (which was the case for me last year when I was in a different field). But now, gosh I love it. So I don’t mind now.

Of course, that sort of thing isn’t sustainable. I can’t keep going the way I have for the last 3 weeks. The thing is, I like seeing our families. I like seeing our friends. I like going to the movies and we have made a pact to spring clean the entire house and tbh, I really like organising. I’m someone that loves to tick things off a list.

I spent a majority of last year, when I was in a job I disliked, being so dispassionate about life. I procrastinated and I felt incredibly lazy. Now I am feeling a lot more like myself, and I am someone who just loves to get things done FAST.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll have some rest this weekend. But for now, I have a meeting at 7pm tomorrow and I am probably seeing my friends on Friday and Saturday, and there is a big family event day at the beach (yay the beach finally!) on Sunday (after one of Cejay’s soccer games at 9 in the morning) so um, Sunday night might be relaxing?

Jess xo

It’s the little things that make you happy

Over the years, I’ve been trying to figure out what makes me truly happy. A lot of it are the little things. Like a cup of tea, flowers, candles, food, strawberries, a glass of red wine. It doesn’t have to be big things all the time. I don’t need to be going on big trips or planning holiday after holiday.

After Cejay and I got married, I was a little worried about what life would be like after the wedding. For over two years, we were thinking and planning about the wedding. It was a process I mostly enjoyed. I think a big part of it was that big expectation of something big happening – the fact that there was something to look forward to.

Something I know about myself is that if I don’t have something to look forward to, I tend to spiral into a bit of a depression. I have been depressed a few times in my life at different stages, and it’s always difficult to get myself out of it. It’s something that’s taken me years and lots of trial and error to try and understand myself and the triggers, and what actually helps me in feeling better. Depression and anxiety are hand in hand for me. When the anxiety gets too much, the depression tends to set in. The fact is, anxiety, for me, is a normal fact of life. I have started to learn ways to control it, but I know that if I let it rule my life, it starts getting harder to face my day each morning, and I become an extreme pessimist.

So, over the years, I’ve learnt that usually I:

  1. Need something to look forward to; and
  2. Need to fill my days with little happy things.

1 and 2 above don’t necessarily need to be extravagant things. I am happy enough looking forward to going to my parent’s house for dinner. I am happy enough looking forward to reading a new book. Or watching a new show. Or eating a particular meal.

The little happy things are what I have already mentioned. They don’t need to be expensive. I don’t need to be going to Europe every year to make me feel happy.

It’s those things, that when done each day, contribute to my overall happiness and a feeling of peace in my life. This is not something I learnt overnight, but probably over a course of 10-15 years.

If you find that you’re struggling with anxiety and depression, find those happy little things. It could be something as small as walking your dog each afternoon, or enjoying a small block of chocolate each day. Those small things can’t be underestimated, and I feel like in today’s world full of Instagram photos of people with their Chanel bags and holidays to Ibiza, those materialistic goods and wants can really get in the way of just being happy with those little things that don’t cost that much, but provide you with a huge source of happiness.

Jess xo