Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Favorites

I had this long blog post all written out for a linky carnival (or whatev we're calling them this week), but then I started laughing on the way home from work while listening to my favorite XM station.

See, I have XM radio for the sole purpose of having real time traffic in my car. You know that I'm a commuter and real time traffic is CRITICAL to my sanity. Anywhoo, when I got the XM, I set it to one station that seemed "pop-y", but the songs were all too young and hip...but I left it there. Next thing I knew, I could sing all the words to all the songs - and boy are they hilarious.

So, in honor of my latest faves, here are a few songs you need to hear!

"Try to find the words to describe this girl, without bein' disrespectful. DAMN girl." Nuff said. (FYI - there's a lot of bikini bods in this video...I recommend that you just listen as the video is pretty shady.)

Dang it, but this song makes me want to stop in the middle of traffic, get out of my car and DANCE!

Unless you live under a rock, you've probably heard this song lately. E! is playing it as the lead in for award season...which is fine with me, cuz I LOVE it!

Okay, so thanks for indulging my crazy blog post today. I think the root of this post is that I need to go DANCING, ya baby!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

7 Things You Didn't Know About Moi

Angry Julie made ME angry last week. She tagged me in a post that asks people to share seven random facts. But, I'll be a good sport and include a few fun things about myself, but watch out, some of you are getting tagged at the end, too!

7 Things about JJ, the BLAH BLAH BLAHger

1. I TiVo General Hospital everyday. I remember watching Luke and Laura's wedding and I just never gave them up. Yes, I realize this makes me super cheesy. Yes, I realize it's lame and that soap operas are not great examples. But it's MY mind candy, so leave me alone already! : )

2. I studied abroad one summer in college and then did the whole EuroRail thing for a few weeks. I lost my wallet in a cab in Scotland...and we found it. I went canyoning in Switzerland and during the repel, fell and hit my head on a boulder, but was fine. I got major food poisoning in Ireland and puked on the flight back to England. And the three sorority sisters I traveling with fought with each other the whole time. But, I remember that trip as being AMAZING, in spite of everything!

3. I have a MA in Political Management and a pretty impressive resume (if I do say so myself), but I just want to be a stay at home mom. (Mr. Right, where are you???) By the way, before anyone freaks out, I would plan to work from home and beef up my photography business. Staying home with children is important to me, but don't worry, I won't watch General Hospital all day long!

4. I had a big black cat, named Sam. We also called him the Big Fat Bastard. He was over 20 pounds. I loved him, but he was a trial. He slept all day and played all night. He "punished" me by peeing all over the carpet and he wasn't very cuddly. When I moved to Sacramento, I gave him up...and recarpeted. Sometimes I miss him, but I love my new clean carpet, too. Someday, when I have a larger home and a yard, I'll have animals again.

5. I cling to my Swedish heritage, but I've never been to Sweden. JA SVERIGE!

6. I had my gallbladder removed a few years ago. It was the ONLY year I've ever been on an HMO. It took a long time to get a diagnosis and then the doctor didn't want to refer me to a surgeon. It was a mess. Once I saw the surgeon, he scheduled a surgery right away and cut that sucker out. I ended up in the ER a few days later because I had a severe reaction to the anesthetic...BUT, I lost a ton of weight, so I didn't mind. Incidentally, as I was being drugged and about to go under, I asked the doctor if I could keep my stones to make earrings out of them. He said that it was considered bio hazard, but that he'd take a picture. He did...and it's SO DISGUSTING, but I love it.

7. I began my photography business (Jen Johnson Photography) about a year ago and I've LOVED every minute of it. Through photography, I've made AMAZING friends, learned a ridiculous amount, booked far more clients than I expected to, and have pushed myself more than I have in years. It's been educational for more reasons than one and I'm so blessed by it every day!

NOW, I'm going to tag seven friends to do this, too! Ashley, Lindsay, Lindsey, Emily, Carlee, Melissa, and Domestic Chicky. TAG, YOU'RE IT!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Vintage Beauty

I went to a super fun photo shootout on Saturday. We were surrounded by vintage cars and models dressed to the nines. When I got home, I worked on some new editing vignettes and I think I'm in love! Don't you just want to jump back in time when you see this pic? I sure do!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Hey BlissDom attendees, want to win a Shootsac? If you own a SLR camera with a couple of lenses, DO NOT miss out on this amazing opportunity!

If you want to win, but aren't exactly sure what a Shootsac is (smiles), why don't we start with an explanation from their website:
The bag is made of the finest wetsuit grade neoprene available, providing the ultimate in comfort and protection for your lenses. The Shootsac is lightweight, weighing just 7oz., and built to conform to your body and move with you. Unlike traditional bulky camera bags which transport your gear and then end up on the ground in a corner, the slim Shootsac is designed to be worn while you shoot providing quick and easy access to 3-6 lenses, flashes and other shooting necessities.
But wait, there's more! (Do I sound like an infomercial, yet?)
The bag comes with an interchangeable neoprene cover, which does two things. For those fast paced lens changing shooters, the cover keeps the glass covered so you can work cap free. The cover also does a great job of camouflaging the tell-tale bumps and bulges of a bag full of camera gear.
I've had a Shootsac for just about a year now and I can remember how excited I was to receive the adorable damask box. It was like Christmas and I couldn't wait to use it. I'm a cheater and use it to hold more than just lenses. I always keep a mirror, hair clip, chapstick, and business cards in one of the pockets. In another pocket, I keep extra CF cards, my ExpoDisc, and cell. In the third back pocket, I carry my speedlite. In the front three pockets, I carry lenses, and SOMETIMES even jam my camera body in the center.

Having said all that, the Shootsac is meant to carry lenses during a shoot and is not designed to replace camera bags. When I'm shooting, I LOVE the convenience and ease of having my lenses ON my body. And, let's be honest, the fact that there are interchangeable covers makes the Shootsac a fashion statement, too. I have three covers: Baroque, Lively, and a fun one of a kind cover that I got at their holiday trunk show and party! Holla!

So, I've got you convinced that you need one now, don't I?! Are you ready for the rules on how to enter?

GIVEAWAY RULES (3 Ways to Win):
1. You must be attending BlissDom to enter.
2. Go to the Shootsac website and then come back here and leave a comment telling me which cover is your favorite!
3. Tweet about this giveaway, then come back here and leave another comment. (Example: Hey #BlissDom attendees, are you a photographer? If so, win a @Shootsac here:
4. Blog about this giveaway, then come back here and leave another comment.
5. Entries must be received by Thursday, February 4th.

I'll be selecting TWO WINNERS at BlissDom, so be sure to subscribe to the BLAH BLAH BLAHger and watch your feeds and twitter throughout the weekend!!! AND, come find me during the conference so we can meet in person and you can see my Shootsac in action! These premiere lens bags retail for $179 and covers run an additional $29-$59, so this giveaway is going to make someone VERY happy!!!

Oh, and as an extra special extra giveaway, the wonderful Keats Elliot and Jessica Claire, the inventors, designers, and rock stars of Shootsac, are donating Sprightly Gift Totes to the attendees of the i heart faces photo walk in Nashville on the 7th. Yep, if you signed up for this extra, you're coming home with something fun, too!

Disclosure: Products provided for giveaway. Opinions are based upon my own experience with a previously purchased product.

Peer Pressure and Presents Work Every Time

When I was waffling about BlissDom, a few bloggy friends on twitter started harassing me and peer pressuring me. I think I've mentioned before that Melissa is quite bossy. Ha! Take that, Lil Miss Inspired Room. : )

But then, she threw in the promise of a present...a custom necklace from The Rusted Chain. Beki is a doll and makes some gorgeous stuff. This I can attest to, because a few days ago, I received a package in the mail. It's a gorgeous custom necklace that reads BLAH BLAH BLAHger. Isn't that just perfect? If you're in the mood for a class gift for someone in your life, I highly recommend The Rusted Chain. Go there now!

As for Melissa and Beki, I can't wait to meet them at BlissDom in real life and start harassing THEM! : )

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Very 'B' Birthday

My fab cousin hosted a 1st birthday (and housewarming) party for her son yesterday. His name is Bodie and in his honor, all the food began with a "B" - bananas, berries, burritos, baby ruths, etc. It was a blast to spend the afternoon with family and for such a fun cause!

I brought my camera to grab some shots and ended up taking a ton of fun snaps during the cake demolition by the little guy. Then his darling cousins all wanted pics, too. His brother took a little persuasion, but his pic turned out adorably, too!

Carlee and Bryan, I hope you enjoy this sneak peak. And congrats on the new house and for throwing such a fun party!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dining Room Update: Now All I Need is a Table!

It's time for a new dining room. 1) Because my furniture is out of style and 2) because it's falling apart. See Exhibit A to the right. I have no idea how that chair broke, but I do know why the table is falling apart. Several years ago, my light fixture dropped straight out of the ceiling and was hanging by wires...while it was on. Naturally, I feared there would be an electrical fire, so I ran over, climbed up on the table and tried to keep things from falling even worse. Then I burned my hand and heard the table start to crack. Turns out the table wasn't made to hold my weight. Shocking, I know.

So, the chair started the big push for new decor. I love to throw dinner parties and usually host 6 - 8 people. Now, you know that the condo isn't a castle. It's tiny, but my dining room really IS a good size. I liked the square shape of my table, but frankly, everything that is square now is either uber-mod (no, thanks) or pub height (not be deal). I've shopped with measuring tape and note books for a while now and have finally decided on a rectangle or oval shaped table.

And you know I found my scrumptious chairs. Yep, I bought 6 from Ballard and blogged about it here.

But did you know that I also bought two accent chairs this week? They'll live in another room, but be brought out for dinner parties. I think they're heaven!!! I've loved ghost chairs for some time now, but JUST found them on for a fraction of the price. Thanks to Monica for creating a polyvore that led me to them!

So now, all that is left is the table. Here are some of my options and favorite places to shop for furniture. Please note that I'm NOT including Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel. My goal is to not have the same dining room as my neighbor!!!

Pier 1 - Shockingly good prices and unique style. Sometimes I leave there scratching my head and sometimes I SCORE! Here's a table that is a strong contender. Especially as it's on clearance right now!
HomeGoods - ALWAYS a find. Sadly, I haven't found any tables there lately that fit the bill.

Living Spaces - GAWD, I hate their logo. Seriously, that font has got to go. BUT, dang, they've got good prices and they have SAME DAY DELIVERY. For those of us that love instant gratification, it's awesome. Quality might be questionable, though. Still, this table might be in the running!
Macy's Home - MAJA sale going on right now. If you're in the market for furniture or mattresses, don't miss this boat! I only wish this table weren't more than $8,000 bucks. SERIOUSLY - and that's the sale price! Don't be turned off by this price. They have some REALLY affordable options, but naturally, I fell in love with the ridiculously-priced one! And no, I wouldn't EVER spend that kind of money on a table.
Cost Plus - Did you know that in some places it's referred to as Cost Plus and in others it's known as World Market? Weird! Anywhooo, they have great prices...comparable to Pier 1, but maybe a little more funky.
Bassett - More pricey, but the quality is DIVINE. My couches are from Bassett and I've been exceedingly pleased with how they've held up!So, now you know the shopping that's on MY mind. What have you been shopping for lately? And, if you have any thoughts on the tables I suggested (other than the Macy's one!), I'd love to hear them!!!

I'm sharing this post with The Inspired Room and Kelly's Korner today. Please go check them out, because Melissa (at The Inspired Room) is a friend and her site is ALWAYS so inspirational and fun and Kelly's site is all about favorite places to shop! Woohoo!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

This Storm Ruined My Outdoor Curtains!

When I was coming home the other day from running an errand, I noticed something was off. Then I realized that I didn't see my curtains that grace the end of my balcony with their presence.

Remember how proud I was to reveal my outdoor room this summer? Not really? Okay, here's a reminder.
Well, one of my favorite parts of the deck remodel is the gauzy curtains. Anywhooooo, as I walked up the path toward my house the other day, I noticed that the curtains were gone. I looked all over the ground to see if they'd blown off and couldn't find them. Then I started stressing out.

But, then I looked up.
Good grief those suckers are gross and ugly now.

How the heck am I going to get those off the roof? Ha. Oh well, we'll find out pretty soon, I guess.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Your Butts Can Thank Me Later

I've been looking for the perfect dining room chairs for some time now and have felt like I was never going to find any. There were some that I liked, but that I had slight issues with. Ultimately, those slight issues would have sent me into crazy OCD overdrive, so I knew they wouldn't work.

Yesterday, in the rain, my mom and I drove to four different stores to look for a new dining room for me. I found one set that would have been lovely...but for $3,500 WITH a discount. I'm sorry, I know that's probably normal, but I can't imagine spending that much even with my tax return on it's way.

When I was about to drop off my mom, she mentioned that she had a 15% discount to Ballard Designs and so we took another look there...and that's where I fell in love.

In 8 LONG weeks, I'll have six delightful new chairs that will grow with me and are classic enough to blend in with all sorts of different looks should they need to - and I'm ecstatic - truly elated about my new chairs. It's just too bad that Ballard doesn't offer same day delivery. Ha!

Now, if I could just find the perfect table... {and yes, I can feel my mom rolling her eyes at me!}

Monday, January 18, 2010

The PERFECT Hard Boiled Egg

I love eggs. Scrambled egg whites. Poached eggs. But I REALLY love hard boiled eggs. They're easy to make ahead of time and have for breakfast on a fast moving morning!

However, I'm not the kind of person who likes to leave things to chance.

I was screwing around in Crate and Barrel a while back and ran across this fabulous little gadget. And it's something I can trust to make the PERFECT hard boiled egg. If you're antsy about making runny eggs, too, you MUST try this out!!!
It's red when you start boiling eggs.
And by the time it's done, the egg timer turns black, letting you know it's PERFECT!
By the way, the whole time I've worked on this post, I keep singing "the incredible, edible egg" over and over again in my head. Eek!

I'm sharing this at Works for Me Wednesday, because guess what?! I'm making more!

Friday, January 15, 2010

I Want a Fireplace!

I told myself that my kitchen would be the last big investment in my condo...I'm not going to live there forever, you know. BUT, lately, I've been dreaming about doing a couple of other projects. I mean, now with the economy the way it is, I won't be moving any time soon. My dad is going to read this and roll his eyes and call me crazy because:

I want a fireplace.

I know that my living room is teeny, but I keep thinking that I could build a false wall, install a fireplace and also wire for my flatscreen tv! How smart is that???

And just look at all of these beauties. Wouldn't YOU want one, too???

{all images are Candice Olson designs}

And don't worry, Dad. I won't scare you with talk of the new shower I want...YET.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Sister Wife and Her Utensils

Last week, my cousin and her family packed up and moved to a house nearby. When I asked her what she needed the most help with, she said her kitchen, so I went to be an extra set of hands. For the last few years, they've been living in her step-grandfather's house which is SOOOO groovy. He had been an interior designer in the 60s and 70s, and that house hasn't been updated since then. Carlee and Bryan had done a few things to make the house more livable, but knowing that they weren't owners, they pretty much made do...and the house was GREAT!

But, it was time for the family to sell the house...which meant packing up all of their stuff, then sorting through a lifetime of memories.

So, being that my job was the kitchen, I helped pack up dishes, pots and pans and china. But then I started coming across some of the step-grandfather's items and they were CRAZY! So crazy that we didn't know what they were.

Join me on a little tour, won't you?

This ladle would be SO AWESOME if it still worked. Why do you ask? Because it has a thermometer built right in. Great for making sure your soups won't burn the taste buds off your tongue!
This one stumped me. It was a metal spatula-type thingamabob with a lever. When pulled it fans open. We believe it may have been a pancake turner.
Lastly, we were CLUELESS on this one. In my opinion, it's some sort of walnut cracker. Why does it have a little catch basin on it? We'll never know!
So, you may be wondering why I labeled this post "The Sister Wife and Her Utensils." Well, we also found the amazing long apron (that I'm wearing above while making my crazy face). It was so hideous and long that all we could do was laugh. Also, I'm holding a fish shaped copper mold. Isn't THAT just the shape that you want to make jello out of???

I hoped you enjoyed this little tour of the 60s and 70s as much as we did!!! Maybe if we start saving some of our favorite appliances and utensils now, OUR grandchildren will say the same thing!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Lovely Lil' Dinner for One

Raise your hand if you ever have a delectable dinner for one that is a freezer/microwave combo. Oh c'mon, you know you've done it, too. Well, there are times when that piping sucker comes right out of the micro and I stand in the kitchen scarfing it down. And frankly, those times were coming too frequently lately.

That's when I made a pact with myself. If it needs to come out of the microwave, it can still be enjoyed slowly and beautifully. Don't be afraid to use your good dishes or to pour your diet coke into a pretty glass!

Treat yourself to a nice evening at home, girl. I promise you, it will be worth doing the dishes because you'll have had a nice relaxing meal!

Or, if you totally disagree, you can call me white trash. I assure you, you won't be the first to say it. Ha!

Monday, January 11, 2010

I Bet I Could Do That!

Do you ever see something in real life or on TV and say to yourself, "I bet I could do that"? No? Really? Is it really just me?!

For example, I love watching medical dramas and have ever since I caught my first episode of China Beach as a youngster. Then I was obsessed with ER, and now I watch me a little Grey's Anatomy. Anywhoo, based on my years of extensive medical drama watching, I'm pretty sure I could give someone a tracheotomy by using a ball point pen if I had to.

But I digress.

I live in a beautiful utopia here in Orange County. The first weekend I lived in the teeny condo seven years ago, I remember exiting my complex to head to the Depot when I saw oodles of moms walking their babies, kids walking dogs, and cycling groups all over the place (10 points if ya run one down!). Sometimes I like to use the bike lanes and go for a quick ride, too. And my master planned community made it easy to find fun places to ride all over the place. It really is utopia. : ) (Well, except for the fact that all the homes are cookie cutter and have no land. I can't find a home with character to save my life, either.)

Yesterday, I was out and about running errands and I saw a man riding uphill on a recumbent bike and I quickly thought to myself, "I bet I could do that." I don't know why I didn't figure it would be harder than riding a standard's not like I'm super athletic, I just had confidence that I could do it. So now, it's going to be a goal for this year. I've got to try one of those crazy bikes (and obviously have someone come and film it for my blog's posterity's sake. So, if you know someone in the OC who has one, please ask them if I can try it! : )

So, today's question for the class is, have you ever had total confidence in your DIY abilities, but then have totally destroyed it? I once tiled a floor without reading anything about leveling the sub floor once and that sucker was CROOKED as a politician!

Friday, January 08, 2010

BlissDom Anticipation!

See that new button over there on the right? --->

Well, there's a good story for it.

When I first heard about BlissDom, I was totally going to go. I even told Lindsay that I'd be her roommate. Then a day later, I decided not to go. Why? I'm not quite sure. Perhaps it was about saving money, or perhaps it was all about saving my vacation days. I'm not sure, but regardless, I was pretty set in my thinking.

Then I started seeing tweets and blog posts from other gals about how excited they were to be going. And they were all people who I'd been dying to meet in real life.

I was bummed.

Then earlier this week, I started getting tweets from other gals fondly peer-pressuring me to go. {Mostly that bossy Melissa.} And you know what??? It worked.

I used a free plane ticket, I'm sharing a room with Emily, I'm going to meet "friends" in person, and I'm even going to visit some family and friends who live in Nashville.

I read a post today about making the most of your time at the conference. It was all about strategery. Based on the post, I'm going to connect with other bloggers who I want to meet up with and kinda have a plan! It will make the anticipation even more fun!

I'm also excited about the fact that I've already been asked to shoot some profile pics for another FAB blogger, who has been featured here before! If anyone else is interested in having new profile/avatar pics taken, please let me know! I'd love to shoot you! Well, errr, you know what I mean. Click here for more details!

So, if you're going to BlissDom, too, please email me at Let's exchange phone numbers and make a plan to meet up! I'd love to make your acquaintance!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Catalog Inspirations Can Become Reality!

Just before NYE, I was at home flipping through the latest Ballard Designs catalog. I used to think they were over-priced and snooty falooty, but then I really took a second look at price in regards to quality...and I fell in love. Santa brought me the GREATEST cocktail cart/tray table that now sits as extra serving space in my teeny dining room. So trust me when I say that I'm now a Ballard Designs TB...true believer!

As I was flipping through the pages and dreaming that I lived in one of the beautiful rooms on each and every page, I decided to start and inspiration file. Then I decided to really dig down deep and determine what it was about those photos that really stood out to me to see if I could replicate that feeling and not just copy the room piece by piece.


The home office in this photo was the first place that I decided to start. It is similar to MY home office...just a wall in a multi-purpose room. Yes, some of us are not living in their castle just quite yet.

I liked that it was functional (see the computer), but still decorative. I think, however, that my favorite part about the desk is that it is devoid of clutter...on top AND underneath.


I need to start by confessing that I've had a clutter the max! In 2009, I began a photography business in my home and with that comes lots of cords, USB drives, and multiple hard drives. PLUS, I had a huge printer/scanner combo all shoved under my desk. Sometimes, I can't even scootch my chair all the way in. YIKES! It's not pretty or elegant or classy or stately...all words that I'd LIKE to use to describe my office area.


I began by realizing that I rarely used the printer, so it could be stored away easily and only brought out when needed. Then I thought about how the desk drawer was only holding scraps of paper and could easily hold excess cords, etc. Then I noticed that there was ample room under my desk for a new shelf that could hold my laptop and hard drives. I measured the space, then headed to the Depot, purchased some MDF and L brackets, then headed home. My little project took NO TIME and it provided excellent results. Lastly, I decided to take a little inspiration from the photo and make a literal change by stacking a couple of beautiful hardbound books on the floor next to the desk...and I LOVE my results!

Wordless Wednesday

Laguna Beach in the winter. JEALOUS?!?!?! Check out my photoblog for more fun snaps! And check out AngryJulie for more Wordless Wednesday fun!

Monday, January 04, 2010


In 2010, I am resolved to not let THIS lil problem get out of control anymore. The greys can remain in 2009.
Other than that, I don't really plan to make resolutions, because let's face it...if it's important enough to make a change in your life, it should happen immediately. (Also, I ate a bag of chips today, so the whole eating healthy thing lasted less than a week.)

What were YOUR resolutions??? Share with the class and we'll all help each other out!!!