31 January 2017

27 Facts for My 27th Birthday

Hey y'all,

Today marks my 27th birthday! To celebrate my birthday I thought I would do a post of twenty-seven things you might not know about me! Thanks to the sweet, Traci for helping me to come up with random facts. Even after over eight years of friendship I know some of these surprised her.

one. I am the only one of my siblings, not named after another member of my family. My parent's just liked the name Jessica and went with it.

two. My favorite childhood book was Chrysanthemum. Hop on Pop, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and Angelina Ballerina are also in the top 5.

three. Crest wins against Colgate anyday.

four. I played the clarinet in middle and high school (even in the marching band).

five. Since learning about them in elementary school, I have loved narwhals and sloths.

six. I have never been to DisneyWorld but am a champion at Disney SceneIt. I have been to Disneyland multiple times including for the 50th anniversary!

seven, I have "transposed" teeth, meaning my teeth are switched. My canine and premolar are swapped. However, you would not know looking at me thanks to the orthodonist for shaving my tooth.

eight. I have seen 20 musicals (not counting seeing Wicked three different times) and I'm excited that Hamilton will make number 21 this summer.

nine. My favorite movie quote is from You've Got Mail "Kathleen Kelly: "Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies." Joe Fox: "I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms."

ten. I have a slight obsession of polka dots. I have a polka dot piggy bank and bedding from Kate Spade.

eleven. I eat weird food combinations like dorritos and cottage cheese or green beans with ketchup. I completely blame my mom for teaching me to eat these foods with strange condiments.

twelve. My very first blog was named Jane Austen Meets Southern Prepster.

thirteen. I am pretty sure the only reason I took French in High School is my love for Belle/Beauty in the Beast.

fourteen. If I could be on any tv show it would have to be something on the food network or a cooking segment on Hoda & KathyLee

fifteen. If I could have a celebrity dinner party I would invite, Chip & Joanna Gaines, Lin Manuel-Miranda, Kristen Bell, and Aiden Turner.

sixteen. I hate orange highlighters. They never seem to work out well.

seventeen. I have read Ella Enchanted at least ten times. I read it almost every year.

eightteen. My go-to order at Marble Slabs/Coldstone is chocolate ice cream with strawberries and gummi bears.

nineteen. When I was little, I thought I was going to be a teacher. Now, I know I could never teach more than my PreK Sunday School class.

twenty. Carolina was my number 3 school but I could not imagine going to another institution. I am a proud Tar Heel.

twenty-one. I get hiccups from eating bagels and they last for hours.

twenty-two.  I have been in a car going over 100 mph.

twenty-three. If I could only eat one food for a whole week it would probably be a cobb salad.

twenty-four. The next three places I want to travel to are: Scotland, Greece, and New Zealand.

twenty-five. I am a very picky eater. It all has to do with textural issues but cooked veggies and fish are no gos.

twenty-six. I don't dream. A few times a year I will remember a part of a dream for like 5 minutes after I wake up and then it's gone.

twenty-seven. I have a pet peeve of when people state that something is monogrammed when it is really embroidered with one initial and not the monogram.

Now in honor of my birthday I would love to learn more about you! Pleaase answer the following 7 questions in the comments so we can all get to know one another.
1. Favorite Disney movie?
2. Favorite recipe you have tried from Pinterest?
3. Least favorite food?
4. Favorite blog or instagram you follow?
5. Favorite store to shop at?
6. What was your first job?
7. Would you rather spend a long weekend at the beach or the mountains?


29 January 2017

Sunday Sayings {Psalm 112:7}

Hey y'all,

 I hope that you have had a restful weekend. I have been enjoying seeing my parents and being off of most of my social media accounts (I didn't bring home my laptop). One of my goals this year is to rely on the Lord. We all go through seasons of dependence on him  but even in the small things like caring for my body with good nutrition and movement as a sign of respect of God's creation is hard. I want to be like the man described in Psalm 112 one who trusts in the Lord confidently for he will care for me like a father cares for his daughter.
❁ / /:
What has been on your heart lately?

  photo signature_zpsh3oyednc.jpg

27 January 2017

Five on Friday {January 27th}

Hey y'all,

It has been a long week considering I only had Sunday off (I had work events until 9pm Friday and then worked 8 hours on Saturday) and I am headed home to see my parents tonight/this weekend. I am ready for a weekend of wonderful food, seeing Hidden Figures, celebrating my birthday, and watching Outlander. Let's dive right in to five things I am loving this week.

one. Happy Mail. In the mail this week I received a birthday card from my parents, a wedding invitation, a brunch invitation, and a bridal shower invitation! I love

two. Kate Spade knot earrings. Monday night I met up with a friend for dinner at Jason's Deli. It seems like every time we meet up in this shopping center we always check out the Bath and Body Works as well as the Home Goods. I wanted to specifically look for a new placemat for my cat's water and food bowls and didn't have any luck. Then we stopped into T.J. Maxx and found the placemat as well as these gorgeous Kate Spade New York "Sailors Knot" mini stud earrings in rose gold for only $19.99. They are currently $48 on Nordstrom's website.

three. Dessert Apples. My birthday treat this weekend will be a stop at my favorite little deli in my hometown for one of their famous dessert apples. They take granny smith apples, dip them in caramel, then chocolate and a topping of your choice. I love the apple pie apple dipped in white chocolate and rolled in an apple pie topping as well as the Oreo apple dipped in white chocolate and then crushed Oreos.
four. National Green Juice Day. Yesterday was national green juice day so I of course had to swing by Whole Foods before babysitting to grab one. They didn't have my favorite Tropi-Kale at the juice bar so I grabbed a Suja and Evolution Fresh juice to try.

five. Ephesians. My bible study has decided to walk through Ephesians together taking a chapter a week. I grabbed a write the word/verse listing from His Mercy Is New and have been using that to break down the chapter. We have a group me message running and it is great to connect and hear how everyone is connecting to the passage. The words I connected to from Ephesians 1:1-6 were blessed, chosen and adopted.

 Image may contain: text
Also linking up with Tif and Katie.
And Erika
What are your plans for the weekend?

  photo signature_zpsh3oyednc.jpg

26 January 2017

Currently {January 26th}

Hey y'all,

This year I want to incorporate more lifestyle posts since I love reading and connecting over more than fashion or little kids. I hope to post a few currently posts a month and here are a few things that are currently going on in my life.
Image result for currently
 I have been bouncing around in a few books since I started listening to audiobooks. Currently, the physical book I am reading is The Sin Eater's Daughter. It's a young adult fantasy novel about a sixteen year old girl who is engaged to the prince but is also the executioner of the court. As the goddess embodied, Twylla kills with a single touch.
The audio book I am listening to is Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I am only on disk two but I like the take so far with Lizzie the magazine writer, Jane the yoga instructor, Bingley and Darcy as doctors in Cincinnati.
The February book club selection is The Sympathizer. A Pulitzer prize winner about a communist double agent building a life in Los Angeles with other Vietnamese refugees.

Listening to
 I have been really into audio books on my commute but I have also been loving the playlist Top Christian Hits on Spotify. It might be due to the fact that What a Beautiful Name from Hillsong Worship starts the playlist off.

Working out
I have been loving walking a few miles with Leslie Sansone's Miracle Miles DVDs and adding in a Tone It Up arm video and this ab workout. I also have gone to two Cyclebar classes over the last week.

Victoria on PBS. If you are a fan of historical fiction I would recommend this show. Only two episodes have aired so far. You can catch up here.
Lots of salads. I have been on a major salad kick for lunches. I made an Italian salad this week with salami, tomatoes, and balsamic dressing. I have also been on an orange/tangerine kick.

Strawberry infused water. I love putting fruit in my water during the summer but I have recently been adding a few strawberries to my water and have even added in a splash of lemon or lime water.

A weekend away at my parents house. We are celebrating my birthday a few days early and then I am visiting the dentist. Yes, I do drive two hours to see my dentist. I mean, my dental hygienist, Ms. Kay, has been cleaning my teeth for over 15 years.

A trip to Chicago. This May I am headed up to the windy city to celebrate a friend's wedding, watch Hamilton, and visit a college friend. It's going to be a fun five day trip.

Cat snuggles. Really y'all, it's only been two months since I adopted my parent's cat but I can't image not having Max in my life. Yes it has been an adjustment but when you come home from a long day at work and are greeted with this guy who just wants snuggles, can you really say no?
The 70 degree weather here. Yep, it's been in the upper sixties and low seventies a lot here in NC this month and I am not mad about it. After a rough long weekend of ice early this month, the mild winter has been great.


25 January 2017

What I'm Reading Wedensday {The Magnolia Story}

Hey y'all,

One thing I really hope to get back to this year is sharing the books I read. I love reading and I do get asked for recommendations a lot in my personal life (it might be due to being in a book club or the fact that I spent four years of college reading in order to complete a BA in English Literature). My goal this year is to read at least 50 books and post at least two book reviews a month here to share the books I loved and the ones I think you could skip. So, lets start with my latest read:

Image result for magnolia story
The premise:
Are you ready to see your fixer upper?

These famous words are now synonymous with the dynamic husband-and-wife team Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. As this question fills the airwaves with anticipation, their legions of fans continue to multiply and ask a different series of questions, like—Who are these people?What’s the secret to their success? And is Chip actually that funny in real life? By renovating homes in Waco, Texas, and changing lives in such a winsome and engaging way, Chip and Joanna have become more than just the stars of Fixer Upper, they have become America’s new best friends.

The Magnolia Story is the first book from Chip and Joanna, offering their fans a detailed look at their life together. From the very first renovation project they ever tackled together, to the project that nearly cost them everything; from the childhood memories that shaped them, to the twists and turns that led them to the life they share on the farm today.

They both attended Baylor University in Waco. However, their paths did not cross until Chip checked his car into the local Firestone tire shop where Joanna worked behind the counter. Even back then Chip was a serial entrepreneur who, among other things, ran a lawn care company, sold fireworks, and flipped houses. Soon they were married and living in their first fixer upper. Four children and countless renovations later, Joanna garners the attention of a television producer who notices her work on a blog one day.

My Thoughts:
I actually didn't read this book but instead enjoyed the audio book on my work commute (about 25 minutes each way). I really recommend getting the audio book version from your local library or Audible since Chip and Joanna read the book and it feels like you are sitting with them as they share their story. I loved hearing the meaning behind Magnolia, the first homes they renovated, how they met at the Firestone shop, and their background before the cameras came around. I thought it was a fun and mostly lighthearted book that put me in a great mood. Yes, Chip and Jo have struggled but they have such a wonderful attitude and reliance on the Lords provision. It was a quick read at only 5 hours so I would say enjoy this book at the beach or driving to and from work!

Have you read The Magnolia Story?
Are you a fan of Fixer Upper?
What book should I pick up next at the library?


24 January 2017

Birthday Wishlist

Hi y'all,

We are officially one week away from my birthday! I am excited that I will get to spend the weekend celebrating with my parents and then I am having friends over the following weekend for a birthday brunch. It will be a fun casual get together filled with pancakes, mimosas, and pj attire is encouraged!

My big present from my parents this year is money towards new tires for my car, glamorous I know and I don't really need anything so creating a wishlist was rather difficult. I am trying to focus more on experiences then material goods so here are just a handful of things that I would love to receive.
Birthday Wishlist

Birthday Wishlist by postgradprep featuring It Luggage

This year I know I will be making at least two if not four trips outside of NC and while I love my Vera Bradley duffel bags (I have 3) and they are carry on size, I think I should invest in a few pieces of luggage. 

I have a mixed metals watch from Anne Klein I purchased in Fall 2012 and I think it might be time to upgrade since the metal is wearing away. This Kate Spade one with the scalloped detail is gorgeous and I wouldn't mind adding it to an arm party soon.

I also love my Kendra Scott pieces and during your birthday month you receive 50% off an item in store! I am debating grabbing the Elle earrings in black and gold (I sold my Danielles since I thought they were a bit large for my tastes) or the Elisa necklace in white and gold. I have an Elisa in silver and iridescent druzy and wear it constantly since I received it as a Christmas present in 2015.

 Also, Nickel and Suede earrings could appear and I would not be opposed. I am obsessed with the pair I received for Christmas.

I have a pair of Minnetonka slippers that I purchased from Marshall's over two years ago and wear them constantly. This pair is on sale at Nordstrom Rack so I am tempted to just snatch them up. 

I love fun art prints and I am starting to build a small gallery wall over one of my desks. There are so many great prints on Etsy and other artists sites like Evelyn Henson.

Tea Set
I have a few polish pottery personal tea sets and I would love to add to my collection. I found this store in South Carolina that has a lots of prints so I might just have to convince my mom to take a road trip with me to pick out a few. At about $40 per set they are perfect for decor in the kitchen but still functional. I even made tea in one of my sets during the snow storm.

Gummy Bears
I have never tried the Sugarfina Champagne Bears gummy bears but I love Haribo gummy bears and rose so what's not to like about this decadent treat fit for a birthday celebration.

What's on your current wishlist?


21 January 2017


Hi y'all,

I know I went radio silent over here with the holidays. I have had 3 major work events over the last two weeks including working 12 hours yesterday and working today as well. I plan to get back on the blogging train but until then I hope you enjoy your Saturday and have a weekend filled with fun and rest! I love this image from Rose Hill Designs and wish I was in bed cuddling my cat and finishing the Magnolia Story but I have had a lot of fun planning these events and the stress will be gone at 8:30pm tonight!
No automatic alt text available.What are your Saturday plans?
Favorite book of the moment?


09 January 2017

Miscellany Monday {Goals for 2017}

Hey y'all,

I love creating goals and you can read my goals from last year here. Looking back I am proud to say I completed some of my goals including running a 5K every month, going dairy free for a month since I became diagnosed as lactose intolerant in March. I even paid off two of my four student loans so I would say it was a successful year. 2016 was a year of transitions as I swithed jobs, helped lead my small group for half the year, worked on connecting with more of my friends and building community.

I'm excited for 2017 and I am thinking my word of the year will be well. Filling my well, serving well, feeling well, and loving well. Here are my goals for the year.

Be Financially well.
I am still working on paying off student loans and my car so I want to use the Envelope budget for one month. I am also using the Every Dollar budget app from Dave Ramsey so I know where all of my money is going. I am set to pay off one of my student loans in October and my car will be paid off in early 2018 on my current budget. 
Capsule Wardrobe.
I love the idea of a capsule wardrobe, I know that I rock a black dress everyweek and have favorite tops so it's time to trim down my closet to only those things I actually love and wear.
Travel to Charleston.
This has been on my 30 by 30 list for a while and I think I need to plan a fun weekend trip with friends and why not pick the gorgeous city that is a quick drive away. 
Celebrate Friends.
I will be attending a few weddings this year and I want to continue cultivating my community. I love celebrating others but I think we often forget to celebrate the little things. One of my goals is to send happy mail or a card to one of my friends every month to celebrate them. New jobs, new homes, new babies, there is always something to celebrate so it's time to make small gestures and bring smiles.
Read 50 books. 
Last year with lots of changes with my job and then different activities with my church I wasn't reading as much. This year I want to get back to reading even if it is just audio books on my commute. 

 Be Spiritually well.
I think working on your relationship with the Lord is a continuous goal and as a relationship it takes work every year. I didn't complete my goal to read the whole Bible last year but my church is reading through the word again beginning today. I am going to utilize the audio bible option on You Version more since I loved listening to the bible in the morning as I got ready for work. This means being in the word daily and I hope to utilize my Write the Word journals more as I love the time and structure of reflection on set verses.
Devtional/Spiritual Based Books
Part of the 50 books I want to read, I want to read 15 books that are spiritually based like Present over Perfect or Uninvited. I really enjoy this type of book and they are a great supplement to my small group meetings and church time. 
Serve well.
I recently became a team leader of my church's pre-school team. I have been serving in the preschool team for almost four years and I am excited to be helping to lead the team. We have some of the sweetest families and I love watching my students learn to love the Lord. Seriously, little kid prayers melt my heart.

Feeling Well
Since becoming aware that I am lactose intolerant I have been hyperaware of how my body feels with different food options. I did go back up to my heighest weight in 2016 by allowing stress eating when I was looking for a job and then just allowed a lot of treats when I know they weren't great for me. This year is about making a game plan of what works for me and what feels well. 
I am kicking off the year with completing a Whole30 again since it is a dietary reset and will be a great jumping off point of feeling well nutritionally. I am on my second week and had the best sleep last night. My gut feels great and I am enjoing being in the kitchen each day.
Track foods in myfitnesspal daily.
My nutritionist has me write out what I am eating and I have tried in the past on myfitnesspal since it is so enlightening to see what you are eating and you can note how you are feeling. So far I have tracked everyday and it's been great during the Whole30 so I am making sure to eat enough food or if I need to add in something like a roasted sweet potato.
Cook two new recipes a month.
Going through pinterest and my cookbooks in prep for the Whole30 I am reminded how many recipes I have marked in my cookbooks to try but I have never attempted them. I think 2 recipes a month is plenty since as a single gal I only make a few recipes each week and eat the leftovers to extend the meal. 
Run half marathon #3.
I didn't think I would be thinking of another half again but a few of my friends are running a half in Raleigh this October and I decided to join in on the fun. I am excited to see what my time will be and to get to training this summer (after all this cold disappears).
Become consistent with workouts again. 
Even if it is just walking 2 miles a day or doing a quick 20 min video by Tone It Up I need to have consistent workouts because I feel better when I feel strong. Plus, endorphins make everyone happy, right? I am excited that Cyclebar is opening a new location that is not far from my apartment in West Cary. I tried out Cyclebar in Brier Creek last month and enjoyed the fun workouts. The new Alston Town Center at route 55 and I-540 as part of its grand opening, the studio is inviting the community to try a CycleBar class for free from January 19th through the 29th (a total of 2,500 FREE rides). The free rides are now open for registration at http://www.alston.cyclebar.com/schedule. I think adding in some cycling with the fun rides like brunch and Wine not Wedenesday will be great to include in my workout calendar. 

What is your word of the year?
What are some of your goals this year?


08 January 2017

Sunday Sayings {January 8th}

Hey y'all,

I am stuck inside thanks to this winter storm event here in NC so I have been spending a lot of time resting after a very busy four days post 10 day vacation. It was nice to take a break to spend the holidays with my family and some time prepping and organizing before the new year. This week I really want to focus on the small changes I have made over the last week.
I am going to be sharing my goals for the year tomorrow but I wanted to keep reminding you, even if you have already fallen off the wagon of your resolution to choose progress and not perfection. Little by little progress adds up especially if you have a purpose and meaning behind your goals. This is something that has been hard to learn in my life but I am committing to a year of small steps to have the best year yet. So far I have not kept all my goals but I have made small progress on a lot of them. 


Just Jessica. Design by Berenica Designs.