Uptown Girl

Tomorrow’s to-do list: pack and more packing.

In four days I will be turning in my keys to apartment 403 (the actual apartment, not the blog—despite my absences, I haven’t given up!). Moving this time around feels a lot like the first day of school on when you are like a fourth grader (at least if you were like me). Though you were familiar with the school and knew teachers, and while you couldn’t wait to be reunited with friends, you still have that ball of nerves at the pit of your stomach because you can’t exactly know what to expect. It’s bittersweet. Sweet because I’ll be moving to, you guessed it, Uptown in Minneapolis with Maren, which should be grand! Plus, it’s always fun to decorate a new place and organize a new room (a room that will be just mine, no offense Maren!). But unfortunately, right now I am being bogged down by all the bitter…

First off, packing is not fun. It’s a chore! Especially when packing up a space you’ll continue to inhabit for a few days. I easily get caught up in the task of packing. For instance, when deciding how to proceed with my closet I stop myself, because I couldn’t possibly pack up that outfit, what if I need to wear it to work?–Even if I haven’t worn said outfit in about two years. And while boxing up my library collection I suddenly become hesitant because I can’t pack up that book, I may want to read it between now and Friday!–Yes, because I have so much time to read right now (though joke’s on me because I bought Tina Fey’s book Bossypants this on Friday and managed to finish it already, all for the sake of avoiding real work).  Oh and my favorite moment was while packing up my bathroom and hesitating to put my vitamins in the “pack up now because I won’t need it before the move” pile….I have taken approximately three of those vitamins since I purchased them…in February (what can I say, I’m a health nut!). Simply put, packing  just does not suit me.

Secondly, apt. 403 rocks. Seriously, it’s a pretty sweet set-up. It’s not only new and pretty, but this the view:

I should clarify though, this is some people’s view. Our windows look into the other part of the complex, which was great, until the third floor neighbors who stayed up all night to play halo, and watch Blue Clues and Family Guy moved away.

And I’m about a five minute walk/1 minute drive to THE BEST ONE of two BEST movie theatres in Minneapolis: St. Anthony Main.

And then there is the fact that Qdoba is also only a five minute drive. I don’t know if I’ve shared my (slightly extremely unhealthy) affinity for their burritos. Needless to say I find their authentic-americanized fare to be quite addicting.

Plus I can easily walk or quickly bus to and from work. I’ve been living the good life.

But mostly I’m terribly bitter because you may have noticed that I am only bringing along one of my current roommates to the new place. Allison, being the awesome person she is, has taken a promotion (woo-hoo) that requires relocation (boo!). Now you’d think that since Allison is my sister, and we’ve been roommates off and on for the last 22 and a half years, that I’d be ready to let go. I’m not. Not even close. Despite our skirmishes, most of which revolve around the fact that our definitions of clean live on two opposite sides of the spectrum (I should mention my definition is probably more closely related to messy than clean), Allison still resides on the top of the list of best roommates ever. I’ve had my fair share of roommates—some were awesome <insert shout out to Paige, my fabulous KU roomie> and some have been borderline dreadful <insert comment that roommates should not be allowed to stay up all night, every night, skyping with their friend in Japan>. But while the hard ones were difficult to bear and easy to move on from, it’s even harder finding the ones you enjoy living with, and therefore infinitely harder to part with.  Allison is the latter. Without her I probably wouldn’t be as addicted to Diet Coke as I am, and I certainly wouldn’t love Lifetime movies as much–I dare you to turn on a Lifetime movie and not feel the urge to continue watching simply because you have to see where the ridiculousness leads to–and I would never know the greatness of both Kraft’s three cheese Mac & Cheese or pepper in Prego. But seriously, the past 20 months in apt. 403 have been fabulous–and I’m sad to see the adventure end. Luckily, Allison promised me we would be “roomies for life” so I can’t wait to be reunited 🙂

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Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Tomorrow’s to-do list: Get organized!

So as many of you know, today is Father’s Day, and in honor of the holiday I would take some time to say a huge THANK YOU to my Dad!

Allison, Katie, me, and Dad

 

I am often the culprit of taking all the good things in my life for granted. It’s easy to get caught up in the little stresses (which often seem like big things) rather than focus on how fortunate I am to have so much good  greatness in my life–for example, a loving and supporting family. Especially, loving and supporting parents.

I owe a lot to my parents, they have always been a source of encouragement, celebrated in my success, and most importantly been there when I’ve failed or when things haven’t gone perfectly. It’s a comfort and huge blessing to know that my dad is there for me 100%–100% of the time. So thank you, Dad, for being there for me. And for being an great example of a what a human being should be! (Wish I could have celebrated with you today). Also, a big “Happy Father’s Day” to my wonderful grandfather!

Let’s all take some time to recognize those people in our lives, who have our backs, whether it’s our fathers, mothers, siblings, grandparents, or friends. We wouldn’t be the people we are, or achieve the things we do, without our support systems. And let’s try to remember to celebrate these important people…and not just on their designated holidays 🙂

Dear Weekend, could you please hurry up and get here?

Tomorrow’s to-do list: papier-mâché like it’s nobody’s business.

Well let’s just say I am quite glad tomorrow’s Friday! Don’t get me wrong, it’s been an awesome week—Taylor Swift concert was awesome! I’m just not feeling the whole working thing while simultaneously feeling sleep deprived. But it’s shaping up to be another busy weekend so it’s time to get motivated. And in the spirit of being motivated and inspired I’ve decided to share a wonderful quote I found on a Caribou Coffee gift card as part of their “Stay Awake” campaign…

“You are as awesome as your dog thinks you are”

Now, for those of you out there who own dogs, you know exactly what they are talking about. For those of you loyal cat lovers, you’ll catch on. I am a fan of cats—and understand their expectations that humans should earn their adoration. Is that really asking too much? 🙂 But there is something admirable about  a dog’s ability to love unconditionally and unselfishly. Dogs will love you without hesitation, whether you want it or not. Every time you return home it’s as if it’s Christmas—how many people in your life run to you in excitement every day when you get off of work? Yep, that’s what I thought. This world would probably be a whole lot better if everyone loved like a dog does.

How could you resist such a face--she's so not photogenic, it's adorable!

Toby's a lover not a fighter...

Or even better, if we all strived to be as awesome as our furry canine friends . It’s often times easier to be our toughest obstacle, rather than our own biggest cheerleader. If I had a dollar for every time I stood in the way of my own success, I would certainly have way too many dollars. It’s scary to completely believe in ourselves—part of the joy that is success comes from recognizing the threat of failure. But I certainly don’t want to go through life being afraid of failure and missing out on success. For those of you who readily step out of your own ways, I commend you! For those of you like me, who at times let fear take over, I dare you be your own number one fan. This week let’s all try to be our own (man’s person’s) best friend!

I’m back!

Tomorrow’s to-do list: T-Swifting it up with my sister!!

I’m back, not just to blogging but also a weekend of fun at home! I meant to write this post yesterday but Allison and I made an unexpected pit stop in Jackson, Minnesota instead. Luckily Allison, Maggie, and I had fountain pops, puffcorn, peanut butter M&Ms, and Harry Potter to keep us entertained  until my parents saved the day!Since I’ve been gone I’ve completed the test (thank goodness), got my Sasha Fierce on and attempted to learn the Single Ladies’ dance with Maren, became a seamstress, crashed a wedding, and had a FABULOUS time at my sister Katie’s bridal shower! So much excitement.

I don’t know if I’ve always realized how fortunate I am to have such an amazing family! Don’t get me wrong, I always knew they were awesome. I mean, you don’t create a Bangles cover band (we also sang “Hey Mickey”, and a little Ace of Base and Shania) with your sister and two cousins called Four Points to a Star without being awesome, that’s just science. But I have taken for granted the fact that growing up I always was surrounded by family and cousins. There is not a holiday that I can recall that didn’t consist of a large family gathering, and several other weekends too. It’s a lucky thing to have these memories to look back on (and countless left to make) and such memories are something I will never take for granted.

Original members of "Four Points to a Star". We could have been big.

They'll probably appreciate this photo more 🙂

And while a few of us were missing this weekend (an Uncle and two cousins), it was so great to all be together. As we get older, it becomes harder and harder to have everyone together in one place. But no matter the number, it’s always a guarantee that a Lamb family gathering will include three things: food, laughter, and lots of love.

The beautiful spread at the shower

And by food, I mean ridiculously delicious food. I think I gained a minimum of three pounds between Friday and Sunday. Though it probably doesn’t help that I’ve managed to eat almost a half a pan of Rice Krispie bars this evening 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is never a shortage of humor around this crowd, which I love! And even better, the laughter itself. As my brother so aptly told me this weekend, “I love when someones laugh is funnier than the joke”. So very true. Plus, laughing is a great way to burn off the calories from all the irresistible home-cooked goodness!

Most of the cousins--we missed you Joel and Sam!

Me with the beautiful bride-to-be.

So here’s to families that you just can’t get enough of!

Hopefully I’ll be back for a quick post tomorrow, otherwise I’ll see you all Wednesday after I recover from concert-going fun!

It’s all a mental game…

Tomorrow’s to-do list: stay positive and kick butt.

A few summers ago I started to really get into biking. Sioux Falls has a wonderful bike trail (which, tragically, is currently being torn to pieces due to construction) that Maren and I would frequent at least once a week. The actual trail is probably only fifteen miles but by the time we actually biked to the trail and then back to our houses we were able to rack up over twenty miles.  That was just the easy part, we also embarked on a 100 mile ride, along with Maren’s brother/my cousin Brian, to our grandparents’ farm and then participated in the Jesse James Bike Tour in Northfield, Minnesota. That summer I fully realized how true the statement of “10% physical and 90% mental” truly is. It’s amazing what our bodies are physically capable of doing, but then how often we mentally stop ourselves.

Now, I don’t think this is always a bad thing. It’s important to be aware of our own limitations, but it’s one thing to know our limits and another to limit ourselves. How often do we get into our own heads and stop ourselves from reaching our own potential? Personally, I know too often I psych myself out. For example, I took up running recently. This is a big thing because up until very recently, running was against my moral code. I mean, it’s kind of a crazy concept to entertain one’s self by running. But, honestly I don’t know how many times I have found myself half way through a route wanting to stop and take a break just because I don’t want to keep going. In the end, though, it’s a terrible feeling. By resting I end up slowing myself down, but when I make myself push through it I always feel better.

Well the big test day is fast approaching—it’s tomorrow! And yesterday I started freaking out—a lot rides on the outcome of the test. As I was doing my last few sets of practice questions I found myself focusing on what would happen if I did poorly rather than what the questions were actually asking. As you may have guessed, I wasn’t doing too well on answering the problems. Now this test is a little different, it’s 100% mental. But much like those long bike rides, it’s something I can do as long as I let myself. So here’s to a positive attitude and confident thoughts!

After the big test I promise to be regularly blogging about my cool roommates, the great city of Minneapolis and all the fun that can be/is being had!

Summer

Tomorrow’s to do list: study!

Sorry for the extended absence, I promise to keep these gaps to an absolute minimum. Things were quite quiet here in apartment 403 this weekend. One roommate was out of the town and the other spent most of her time being a stellar Clinique counter manager. You would think this would mean I took full advantage of the peace and quiet and hit the books hard for last minute studying (LSAT is in 6 days!). Unfortunately, I was stuck with Maggie who is not a proponent of productivity. Her idea of being productive means taking several naps at different locations throughout the day and cuddling. Needless to say I spent the weekend alternating between studying, watching terrible terribly awesome Lifetime movies, and the Casey Anthony trial. Today I went back to work which helped break the laze a little bit, but the firm I work with took a bit of a field trip and on the way home I drove past Lake Harriet. The sight was beautiful. Families were finishing up their evening walks. The sun was just barely starting to set and boats were picturesquely sitting upon the water. It was beautiful and mesmerizing. The sight led me to this conclusion: summer is a mindset.

Despite the fact that I have not had a job-free summer since 2004, I still equate the season with sleeping in and swimming pools. When I was young I would literally spend Monday through Friday at the local swimming pool with my siblings, cousins, or friends. The rest of my time was spent sleeping, watching tv, and enjoying the outdoors. This summer, however, is a little different. It’s starting to hit me that no longer is summer simply a time to enjoy myself, it is more simply an extension of the preceding seasons. Looking out on the water tonight I almost felt oddly lonesome—the kind of lonesomeness that I associate with leaving the familiar or the enjoyable for something unknown. So I’ve decided this summer I need to bring back some of the familiar, with a healthy dose of new adventure. This means that the posts to follow will be exponentially more exciting (and longer, I promise)—I just wanted to prove to you that I was indeed alive and still blogging 🙂

Love: Literature

Tomorrow Today’s to do list: Make headway on Joseph Ellis’ Founding Father

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved reading. Whether it was my mom reading Love You Forever to me when I was younger, or those nights I didn’t sleep because ten more pages turned into eight more chapters, books have always been an important part of my life. I mean, if I could be any Disney princess, I would pick Belle just so I could have access to her awesome library. I know, #nerdalert.

But seriously, books are awesome. They can make you want to laugh, cry, or scream out loud—and sometimes all in one sitting. Books can change the world. President Lincoln is said to have told Harriet Beecher Stowe, in response to her book Uncle Tom’s Cabin, “so you’re the little lady who started this big war”. To me, it’s absolutely incredible that in a world dictated by technology we still turn to books, albeit on fancy e-readers, but we’re reading nonetheless.

Anyway, I thought I would use this post to share with you some of my favorite reads, so here it goes!

Five favorites reads of 2011(thus far):

  1. Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen) I read this book with the intentions of seeing the movie, which actually never happened, but I’m really glad I read the book. If you are looking for a quick read, this is a great option!
  1. Ruined (Lynn Nottage). This play received the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, so no doubt it is worth of your time. It’s a very interesting portrayal of gender roles during the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Due to the nature of the setting the play features violent and graphic scenes.
  1. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden).
  1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Steig Larsson). The start was a bit slow for me, but the rest of the book more than made up for this shortcoming.
  1. “Bullet in the Brain” (Tobias Wolff).

Four favorite authors:

  1. Toni Morrison. I first read Morrison my sophomore year of high school and I haven’t stopped since. I have yet to read something of hers (novel/short story/non-fiction) that I haven’t liked.
  2. Jodi Picoult. 
  3. J.K. Rowling. Need I say more?
  4. Stephanie Vaughn.

Three must-reads this summer:

  1. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen). I know, I also think it’s a travesty that I’ve never read this classic but I have purchased it and it’s patiently awaiting my attention.
  2. 100 Years of Solitude (Gabriel García Márquez).
  3. The Help (Kathryn Stockett).

If you have recommendations, please pass them along!

Happy reading.

Day Two

Tomorrow’s to-do list: become a genius.

Well the hardest part is over. I’ve created the blog, published my first post, and people have actually checked out the site! Though my guess is that the majority of viewers share my last name, it’s significant nonetheless. Just call me Perez Hilton Jenna—blogging enthusiast!

So recently I’ve fallen behind on my subscription to The New Yorker, but over lunch today I was able to play a little catch up and spent most of my time reading Malcolm Gladwell’s “Creation Myth: Xerox PARC, Apple, and the truth about innovation”. Gladwell focused primarily on Xerox PARC’s role in the development of the personal computer, and their somewhat plateaued efforts in making a name for themselves in today’s computer world. For someone who is happy just to create a functional Excel spreadsheet, most of the discussion was over my head, but the article also dedicated some time to a profile of Steve Jobs and the early innovations at Apple. Now for all of you PC lovers: I am not here to endorse Apple products (honestly, the products don’t need any help from me to prove their awesomeness).  I am, however, here to endorse the passion behind such creations. At one point in the article Gladwell interviews Dean Hovey, a consultant hired by Jobs to create a more user-friendly/marketable mouse—for thirty five dollars an hour, no less. Hovey describes going to Walgreens and picking up deodorant to use the rolling ball inside, along with a butter dish, to create the first prototypes of what we now regard as a computer mouse. As I sit here typing on my beaten up clearly loved Macbook, I can’t help but be mind-blown by the creativity and dedication it took to create this machine. Even more so by the passion and enthusiasm behind the product.

In 1997 Apple launched their “Think Different” marketing campaign:

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Apple Inc.

I’ve yet to join the ranks of Albert Einstein, John Lennon, MLK Jr., Gandhi, Picasso, and several other greats featured in the campaign. And I’m definitely no Steve Jobs, though I did help to create the firework launcher that is still used every Fourth of July celebration at my grandparents’ farm. But, I can connect to their passionate pursuits. And though I suffer from a mild bout of Peter Pan syndrome, I like to think it’s simply because I am terrified by the thought of being tied down to a singular occupation. I am propelled in my journey by the excitement of discovering and cultivating all of my passions in this life. We all have the opportunity to change the world, whether for six billion people or ten. The question is, will we take advantage of it? Though I may fear choosing the wrong path, I would rather start over than never start at all. I am inspired. Inspired to recognize what I am passionate about, to pursue it, and start the process all over again. I dare you to join me.

Hello, blog world!

My name is Jenna—recent recipient of a B.A. in Political Science and English from the University of Minnesota, Qdoba vegetarian burrito addict, Harry Potter fanatic, and office assistant extraordinaire.  I currently reside in apartment 403 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where I have the privilege of living with three lovely ladies: my beautiful and marvelous sister (Allison), my fabulous and brilliant best friend (Maren), and the cutest Yorkshire Terrier/biggest diva in existence (Maggie).

You know you're in love already!

I’m also lucky to be surrounded by other great people, including my two wonderful parents, my other sister, Katie, who can’t be my roommate because she’s a real adult in South Dakota, and my little brother, Michael, who actually happens to be much taller than me and a soon-to-be high school freshman!

Up until very recently I spent most of my time on schoolwork (a.k.a. Facebook and stumbleupon.com). But now I’ve walked across the stage, switched my tassel, and received a leather-bound booklet that will house my diploma…once it arrives in the mail. I’ve spent the past 17 years in school preparing for where I am now—adulthood. Yet, I seem no closer now than I was in Kindergarten to knowing what I want to do with the rest of my life. Some days it’s working in children’s literature, others an attorney, and sometimes, when I’ve feeling really ambitious, a ballerina. For now, I’ve come to the conclusion that what I need is more school. But for the time being I have decided to take the next year off and blog. Well, not just blog. I also intend to take the office world by storm with my copying and scanning skills, read, watch so many movies it’s ridiculous, plan and execute unbelievable adventures in apartment 403 (and beyond), all while blogging along the way.

I’ve wanted to join the elusive blog-o-sphere for a while now, but where does one start? As luck would have it, my roommate Maren offered me just the beginning I needed. A title for my blog: Apartment 403. So I’ve unashamedly decided to use her suggestion (it’s justified considering it was most likely offered to give her a reprieve J). Also, did I mention she’s brilliant? So there you have it folks. Welcome to apartment 403, the chronicles of my new beginning!