That’s it. I quit. I’m movin’ on.

Quick Read

It has been 4 months since I last posted on this site. I’m not sure what really happened. Lauren went on an adventure that took her out of Seattle. Sophia got a new job and moved to the city. And me? Well nothing happened and I think that was the problem. I wasn’t growing, I wasn’t enjoying work, and I wasn’t really doing anything but getting caught up on my “read 1 book a week” goal.

Although I read some amazing books over the last 4 months, I had a looming date of July 10th, 2015 that was slowly creeping up. This date was the end date of my program for work. This date meant I would have to settle down in one job for the foreseeable future. This scared me.

I started working on my resume and portfolio just in case. I have always dreamed of living in NYC so I applied for a few jobs there. Then I decided for awhile that I would stay at my company, I didn’t want to make any hard decisions. Months went by and I was complacent. I began talking to old professors, old coworkers, new managers, and new coworkers. They all had a different idea of what I should do and I wasn’t excited about any of them. Some said to go travel, saying that this is the only time I would be able to live like that. Others said to not travel because it shows you aren’t serious about having a career. But, am I serious about having a career? Well apparently not, because…

Ladies and gentlemen, I have quit my job. Yes, this is true. I will no longer have my very well paid job in the tech industry after July 10th, 2015.

This means you will probably hear more from me. I am taking off the rest of the month of July, doing some traveling and spending time with family. I’ll talk more about the decision, my plan, and some other things I have up my sleeve in later posts.

— J

I’m going to leave you with this vintage video of Adele, singing my current theme song:

How to get a literary agent

Advice, Books, Writing

I haven’t written about this much on this blog, but you may have read on my bio that I am a writer. I write novels for young adults, and it has always been my dream to be traditionally published. This means getting my books published by an established publishing house, rather than self-publishing. (Oh boy, let’s see how many times can I use the word publish in this post!)

In most cases if you want to be traditionally published, first you need a literary agent. There are some exceptions — maybe you’re working with a very small press or you feel comfortable representing yourself. In general, getting an agent is the way to go. Even literary agents who are writers themselves often get an agent to help them get their books published.

That said, it’s hard to get an agent. Many a writer tries, fails, and gives up. There are rumors that you have to have an “in” in the publishing industry and you’ll never make it if you don’t schmooze and network and meet some people.

I am here to tell you it’s possible to get an agent the old-fashioned way, because I did it. No personal favors, no industry contacts, no help from anyone.

The Vegan Post

Fitness/Health, Food

Let me start by stating that I am not vegan. I feel compelled to write this post because of a documentary my family watched which caused my parents to go cold-turkey on all animal-based foods.

Before we watched the film, my parents loved fish, chicken, cheese, milk, ice cream… you get the idea. Now? They are doing their best to eat a “whole foods, plant-based diet” and trying to convince everyone they know to do the same. (As for me, I’m choosing vegan and vegetarian options more often, but I can’t bring myself to give up cheese or milk in my coffee quite yet.)

The movie is called Forks Over Knives and it’s currently available on Netflix. “Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. The major storyline in the film traces the personal journeys of a pair of pioneering yet under-appreciated researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.” (read more here)

Basically, these two doctors spent their careers experimenting (independently… they didn’t meet each other until later in life) and each came to the conclusion that people who eat a plant-based diet with no animal-based products have a significantly lower chance of getting cancer. The film even features some patients who were able to survive their cancer death sentences by changing their diet. And it’s not only about cancer. The film also interviews patients who got rid of diabetes, high cholesterol, and other health problems by switching to a vegan diet.

You’d think this would be all over the news, because we are always searching for a magical cure to cancer, right? Well, here’s the thing about this possibly magical cure. It’s easy, and it’s cheap. No one is getting rich off this breakthrough. There’s no fancy pharmaceutical drug that a company can charge millions for. It’s just a lifestyle change that anyone can make, with or without the help of a doctor. Frankly, it’s cheaper to eat a plant-based diet than an animal-based one.

“It is time to let food be our medicine.”

What do you think? Are you familiar with this film or with the claims it makes about a plant-based diet? Have you made the switch to veganism?

-L

Period Problems

Advice, Awkward Girl, Feminism

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(Click picture for link to article)

With this BBC article, I was inspired to write about the period.  Don’t run away yet!  I promise this will not be a gorey post.  Menstruation and the taboos surrounding it have been common topics recently among my friends and I.  The subject was most recently broached when discussing having our period at work, and the embarrassing feeling that comes along with having to walk to the bathroom with a tampon in our hand.  God forbid people might know we are on our period!  How did this generation of women become this way?

In a broader sense, women’s menstruation in India is stigmatized heavily.  So much so that they do not have access to proper sanitation.  Women’s rights in India are altogether a huge issue, however just this one basic need is not met partly due to the taboos surrounding it and a lack of education.  If we expect to be able to make a change on the other side of the world, it is important that those who are able around the world leads by example.

I’m glad to see women like Rupi Kaur, starting a conversation about the topic.  Women have had a period since the beginning of time, you’d think it would be a comfortable topic at this point.  I think a lack of education and communication, both in and outside of school, has lead societies around the world to create this awkward bubble around periods.  So I say to girlfriends, talk to your boyfriends about your period, to mothers, talk to your sons about periods, sisters, talk to your brothers.  Open communication is key.  On my part, I refuse to hide my tampon in my sleeve on my way to the bathroom.

-S

What to read: what we’re reading now

Books

Book nerds, gather ’round. It is time for another installment of “what we’re reading now.”

 What Sophia’s reading now:

A TALE FOR THE TIME BEING by Ruth Ozeki

In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying, but before she ends it all, Nao plans to document the life of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in a way she can scarcely imagine.

Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.  (via Goodreads)

 What Lauren’s reading now:

THE SWEETHEART by Angelina Mirabella

It’s 1953 and seventeen-year-old Leonie Putzkammer is cartoonishly tall and curvaceous, destined to spend the rest of her life waiting tables and living with her widowed father, Franz, in their Philadelphia row house. Until the day legendary wrestling promoter Salvatore Costantini walks into the local diner and offers her the chance of a lifetime.

A debut, coming-of-age novel in which a teenage girl from Philadelphia leaves her old life behind to become The Sweetheart, one of America’s most infamous female wrestlers. (via Goodreads)

 What Jenna’s reading now:

PARIS IN LOVE by Eloisa James

In 2009, New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James took a leap that many people dream about: she sold her house, took a sabbatical from her job as a Shakespeare professor, and moved her family to Paris. Paris in Love: A Memoir chronicles her joyful year in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. (via Goodreads)

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If you want more recommendations, have questions, or have suggestions for us, leave a comment!
-L

The Year Winter Didn’t Come to Seattle

Quick Read

Every person I know, who doesn’t live on the West Coast, is flooding social media with pictures showing off their winter. Week after week of freezing temperatures, feet of snow, and no end in sight. I posted about the West Coast’s winter, too.

winter5

November: Dusting of snow

That was it. That was all of our winter. One morning, Nov 29th, barely a trace of snow. Since then, it has barely rained, there is no snow in the mountains, and I don’t remember the last time it was below freezing. Oh wait, maybe Nov 29th. We’ve been privy to a different type of winter. One of bright sunshine, low 60 degree weather, and most importantly– we get to enjoy it on the weekends. This weather isn’t odd for any city in California, but we’re in Seattle. The city that everyone thinks it just rains all the time. That is entirely untrue and I have proof.

winter

March: Discovery Park in Seattle

winter3

February: Lake Union from my apartment

winter4

January: View of Mt Rainier and downtown Seattle from the Space Needle

We basically missed winter entirely. The trees and flowers are blooming, people are already experiencing allergies, and we can hike trails without the fear of snow. The old adage we have in Seattle is: Bad Winter, Good Summer. I don’t think we’ve ever had this nice of a winter in my lifetime, so I’m interested to see if the opposite is true. Until then, find me standing outside in the sun! — J

Spring Fashion Must Haves

Fashion

Now that we’re approaching Spring, it’s time to update the wardrobe!  Although, with this weird weather who knows what season it is.  But the sun is out today, so flowy, light, floral pieces are on my mind.

Since my stint at Anthropologie, I have been obsessed with jackets!  They have such special, bold, artistic, prints that make an outfit pop with little effort.  These are a few I found on Pinterest that I’ve been inspired by.

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Moving on down, boyfriend jeans are perfect for Seattle’s mild weather.  They pair well with a simple, uncomplicated, outfit, and can be dressed up with a heel for a sexy look or go full tomboy with sneakers and a baggy t-shirt.  Madewell and Urban Outfitters would be great places to start looking for this style.  I still haven’t found the perfect pair so I’m on the hunt.  Here’s what I have in mind.

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Finally, let’s get some shoes.  On my list are sneakers not meant for working out in and mules.

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What’s on your shopping list this Spring?

-S

Operation Tidying Up: Part 1, Admitting the Problem

Organization

I am in the middle of a transformation. I’ve created a little cocoon of inspiration and I am about ready to break free and become a tidy butterfly! If you aren’t following, here is the rundown: I am not the tidiest person. That isn’t the easiest thing to admit on the internet, but the first step to getting help is to admit you have a problem. I generally keep common areas clutter-free, but my own room looks like it has been hit by a hurricane at all times. There are more clothes on my floor than in my closet. I have three dirty clothes baskets full of clean clothes that I’m too lazy to put away. My current shopping addiction-kick and the fact that I am currently living in a bedroom that barely fits my queen sized bed and a small dresser has led me to frustration and a deep desire to get my life together. This weekend I stopped into Barnes & Noble to browse and came across a book that caught my eye, “the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing” by Marie Kondo. Now that I have finished the 206 pages, I am now ready to get started on my quest to a tidy life! I’m going to document my journey and hopefully it will help inspire you to do the same!

Kondo’s KonMari method has you go through everything you own in a special order and you ask yourself “Does this bring me joy?”. If it doesn’t, get rid of it. If it does, you will continue to cherish it. After this practice, people have been known to quit their jobs, get divorced, or even come across great luck! I’m not sure if any of that will happen to me, but I will make sure to document myself having to go through all my books and the tears that will most likely ensue when I have to get rid of my Harry Potter memorabilia.

If you like Downton Abbey…

Quick Read, TV

I don’t know about you, but I loved this season of Downton Abbey. Somehow it was even better than last season. But after watching Sunday’s finale, I am already feeling a sense of loss. What am I supposed to watch now?

So I figured, with the end of this season of Downton, other people might have the same question. Lucky for you, I have some suggestions.

Mr. Selfridge

Another PBS Masterpiece series, Mr. Selfridge has 2 seasons out, with season 3 scheduled to start March 29th. This show takes place in London in 1919, the same period as Downton. It begins with American Harry Selfridge opening his first department store in London. The story follows the drama of Harry’s wealthy social circle as well as the lives of his shop employees. (Available on Amazon Prime.)

Call the Midwife

Also on PBS, Call the Midwife is quite possibly my favorite show of the last couple years. It’s had three seasons so far, with season 4 beginning March 29th. The show follows Nurse Jenny Lee, a young woman from a well-to-do family who moves to London’s impoverished East End to become a midwife in 1950. If you like heartwarming (and heartbreaking) stories about women, try this one. (Available on Netflix.)

Bomb Girls

I had never heard of this show when I stumbled upon it on Netflix. Once I got into it I was heartbroken that it only has 3 short seasons because it is so good. It takes place in Canada during WWII and tells the story of the women, from all walks of life, who work in a bomb factory. (Available on Netflix.)

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Sadly, this list doesn’t help me because I have already watched (and loved) these shows. Now what suggestions do you have for me?

-L

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

Advice, Friendship, Gender, Quick Read

After spending the weekend with some old friends, it got me thinking about the fluctuation of friendships.  I grew up singing this folk song at Girl Scout camp and it has always stuck with me.

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old
One is Silver and the Other is Gold

With my quarter life crisis in full swing, my friendships old and new carry a lot of weight these days because we lean on each other for support.  Having just moved to the city, I’ve been spending time with lots of new people and old friends I didn’t see as often when I lived across the water.  It got me thinking how friendships, bonds and connections with people are constantly changing throughout a lifetime.  When we’re young we think friendship is a concrete, forever thing.

I love the portrayal of female friendship on the HBO show Girls.  My friends and I are most definitely their target audience, and they hit the nail on the head with the weird quirks that come with female friendships in their 20’s.  The BBC article below reflects on the importance of female friendships and how they’ve been portrayed in TV and movies of the recent century.

Girls - 2014
(click on picture to read article)

For women, being social is part of our make up.  We feed off of the people around us and are changed and affected by those relationships.

My point being, people come and go, cherish them all the same for what they contribute to your life!

-S