August 28, 2014

Venting ~ Thinking Out Loud #13

Happy Thursday!
[more info here]
I'm fairly sure that every TOL post I've ever written has had something to do with school.
I would like to apologize - yes, I am a professional complainer (if only that was a paying occupation...) and over the years I have become somewhat of a pessimist. I am working on it, I really am, but sometimes - such as on this blog - I have to be honest and vent a bit. And when I say "a bit" I mean pour out all my heart and soul in a few paragraphs. 

I.  I have officially begun 10th grade. I'm still in my first week, so I'm not entirely sure whether to be excited or completely terrified... I have new teachers, the website has a new layout, and - while I don't have to suffer with Algebra II just yet - I have to power through Geometry. 
Personally, I didn't think Geometry was that hard when I was doing book work for pre-Alg, but this is not eighth grade. This is the real deal now. Jesus, take the wheel.
(This describes my educational life perfectly):
II.  Every day, I write down a to-do list for the day, with two categories entitled "school" and "not school." The "school" side, more often than not, has more tasks listed than my general tasks. When I was little, I was told "it'll get easier," by many people. I think by "it" they meant "what you're doing now" not "the gorilla you're gonna have to face in the next 10+ years" because this is not at all easier. No sir.

III.  I mentioned last week that I got moved up to advanced in both ballet and pointe. Still not sure if it's all a dream or reality... either way, classes begin early September. I'm so beyond ready.

IV.  As you may already know (and I really hope you do), October follows September, and autumn begins in October; therefore, I have a great many things to look forward to as well as new dance classes!
I poetically stated my love of autumn in a letter to a friend, but I can't remember my exact words. Something about the smells and the trees...basically, autumn is my favorite season and I'm almost as excited for it as I am for ballet. 

V.  Fun fact: it's Thursday and I'm only just now writing up this post. #procrastination at its finest. (sorry Amanda, I promise I'll remember someday!)

VI.  Our garden has become overrun with grass. Not weeds, but grass. So I decided on a whim to spend an hour and a half pulling up as much grass as I could and in return I received the thanks of my mother, and three nasty water blisters on the inside of one of my fingers.
Word of advice: never. pick. blisters. Take a needle and poke a small hole, just large enough to extract the fluid, and wrap it up with a nice bandage. Do NOT pick at it under ANY circumstances. Lesson learned.

VII.  My entire immediate family has caught the flu virus. We have all been sniffling and wheezing since sometime last week, but believe it or not, I'm not bothered because I held up for a good three and a half days before catching it myself.
That being said, I haven't been doing much in order to make myself feel better, so I may be the last person to recover completely. Such is what they call 'karma'. Another word of advice: don't gloat when you happen to be the only one in your family who is healthy. It'll come around and bite you in the butt. Hard.

VIII.  Speaking of bites in the butt, this guy is my all-time favorite YouTube storyteller/short film creator. I watch a lot of YouTube (especially considering I'm kind of under the weather), and let me tell you, this dude will brighten up your day no matter what kind of horrible you're feeling.
Also, if you like illustrated stories, read Hyperbole and a Half. It hasn't been updated since October of last year, but you can fish around and find some hilarious content! [My favorites are 'the god of cake' and 'wolves'].

IX.  I really enjoy writing more personal, heart-to-heart posts when the appropriate time arises. No schedule, no outline (let's be honest, I never have an outline), no tools or tricks, rules or regulations. Just me, the keyboard, my innermost thoughts and this blog. The kind of things that really need their own posts.
That being said, I have a semi-emotional post coming up that I'm gonna need some feedback on. Because I need advice.
Let's not forget, I am still a baby both in blogging and in heart. More the former than the latter because I like to think I'm a warrior goddess at heart but we'll touch on that some other time.

Thanks for reading! Join in on the fun! :)


August 21, 2014

New Discoveries ~ Thinking Out Loud #12

First and foremost, Amanda, I am so sorry for not linking up yet again. I promise I still love you. <3 ? 
I have a reason for going MIA! I was actually lying in bed at 11 o'clock last Thursday night, when I remembered "I never published my TOL post! Dang it dang it dang it dang it dang it dang it dang. it."
And that was that. I didn't get around to posting anything, and aside from sharing some of my favorites, I didn't post at all between then and now.
The Worst Ever Blogger Award goes to yours truly! :'''''D (*sobbing*)

[more info here!]
 Fun fact: it has taken me 3+ months to memorize the URL for the ToL page...I'm not quite sure why I have it memorized, but now I do. Hooray for me...?

On to the good stuff:

I.  I have made a few new discoveries this week, including a couple of blogs that I didn't know existed until I went on a binge and was left wondering how in the world I didn't know they existed! These fantastic blogs include Minimalist Baker, Hyperbole and a Half, and an honorable mention that I follow on Instagram: Casey's Wholesome Kitchen
I found Minimalist Baker a couple of months ago whilst searching for a coconut cookie recipe. I later rediscovered it when I found a gorgeous tortilla soup recipe that I had to try, and a chocolate almond milk recipe that I definitely had to try. Both were splendid; including the cookies I made months ago. I've almost never been so lucky to find a blog where no recipe goes wrong! Granted, I've only tried three out of the bazillion [and counting] they have posted; now I am determined to made all the foods. 
I stumbled upon Hyperbole and a Half whilst reading an article on depression [random fact: I read articles about this and that when I feel the impulse]. The illustrations are hilarious (frankly, they're way better than I could ever do; especially with Microsoft paint. I never was good with that), and the stories themselves crack me up. Allie is a comical genius with the perfect words for every situation; the drawings are an extra treat. 
Casey's Wholesome Kitchen is the perfect solution for someone like me who is looking for a nice treat for one. She has some great recipes, and she takes gorgeous pictures! I love it when I can find healthy, single-serving recipes from someone who's not all that well-known, but knows what she's talking about. 

II.  I discovered that dancing means a lot to me. Not just dancing, but the fact that I have officially been moved up to the advanced level at my studio(*screaming*)!!!!!  My initial reaction:
Take note: at my studio, moving up into the advanced class doesn't make you a pro. I am by no means training to be a prima ballerina; this is Indiana, not NYC. We don't have that stuff here.
Nonetheless, I am still incredibly excited. This is what I've been looking forward to since I was four! 

III.  I discovered that I am not meant to be a professional baker. I tried making blueberry-banana bread sans recipe, and it went a little something like this:
Me: I'm going to be the greatest baker in the world; everyone will make my recipes and I'll have my own cooking show like Paula Deen but healthy!
*two days later, the entire loaf spoils for an unknown reason*
Me: Never again. 
I kid you not. The whole thing smelled rotten and I wanted to cry because it baked beautifully and the slice that I got the chance to try before it spoiled was actually pretty tasty.

IV.  I have also discovered that I don't like cabbage. I tried making a salad with it... Holy mother of nasty, that stuff was horrid!
Mom later informed me that you are supposed to remove the outer leaves and not consume them because that's the tough, bitter-tasting part. Whoops.

V.  I was looking at star signs (or sun signs?) - not because I believe in them, but just for fun - and I tell you, everything about Cancer is spot-on Janessa's personality traits. Dependable, caring, moody, self-pitying, loyal, over-sensitive, clingy... judging from this one source, I AM a Cancer.
It wasn't so accurate on my friends though. Don't be so quick to believe, young grasshopper. 

VI.  As if I didn't already know this, I discovered that I take a minimal amount of photographs throughout the week. I took one selfie...
...and that was it (yes, it was on a Sunday).

VII.  I have discovered that garage sales are a colossal waste of time. True, we only sold three days of the week for seven hours each day, but still; it was the most boring event of August. We ended up taking 3/4 of the supplies to Goodwill; in short, we sold about 1/4 of the stuff we spent hours setting out.
On the bright side, I made $10!

VIII.  This isn't really a new discovery per-say, because I discovered it in early April, but it is a discovery nonetheless.
I discovered that there's something magical about seeing someone in person whom you've never seen before. For example: I went to a Bastille concert in April (I wrote a blog post about it too) and it was light a light bulb went off in my head.
These guys actually exist. They're real people, they're really here, and I'm really seeing them with my eyes. They aren't just voices on an album! They're real!!!
It was in that moment that I was utterly sold, and have been a true fan ever since. Before the concert I was one of those "yeah, I've heard their songs" people, but now I'm one of those "HAVE YOU HEARD THEIR SONGS?!?!" people. See the difference?

IX.  Looking back on that concert recap post that I wrote up on Weebly, I discovered that I'm a little nostalgic for when Simply Janessa was a Weebly blog as well...
I feel so much better having just one blog to manage, but I worked so hard on the other one, I almost feel bad for neglecting it.  Of course, I'm not deleting it anytime soon - there is quality content as well as precious memories tucked away in there! 

X.  As you may have noticed, I finally discovered how to take a screenshot with my laptop! I feel so accomplished, it's almost pathetic. 

That is all for this week. I swear it, someday I will remember to link up every week!
Join in on the fun!


August 19, 2014


There is a bandwagon which has been going on for ages that I am just now jumping onto.
Time for a "favorites" post. Because it's a Monday evening and what else do you do on a Monday evening?

Favorite color(s): 
Turquoise, pale/pastel shades (lavender, baby blue, etc.), and white.

Favorite fruit: 

Favorite candy:
I'm torn between Reese's and Kit Kat.

Favorite chocolate:
Chocolate-covered coffee beans. Does that count?...

Favorite cold drink:
Smoothies and water.

Favorite hot drink:

Favorite ice cream:
Vanilla with peanut butter stirred in. <3

Favorite chips:
Vegetable chips from Terra.

Favorite soup:
Cream of broccoli (specifically, homemade by my mom).

Favorite car:
I don't really have a favorite, but I'll just say Volkswagen beetle because who doesn't like those? Also, hippie vans are pretty cool.

Favorite TV show:
Regular Show and Sherlock. Two very different programs, both with their own very addictive qualities.

Favorite movie:
aw jeeze this is like asking me to choose my favorite child... I'm gonna say "the Emperor's New Groove" because that's the last movie I saw.
[source: Pinterest]

Favorite book:
Once again, you cannot ask me this kind of question. Hmmmmm... I'll stick to The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien. It's the only book I've read more than once that I have yet to grow tired of.

Favorite sport:
Gymnastics. I still wish I could have taken classes when I was younger.

Favorite perfume:
Viva La Juicy because it's the only perfume I've smelled that I can remember the scent of.

Favorite meat:
I'm not a huge fan, but I can tolerate anything that's not red meat if I have to.

Favorite vegetable:

Favorite music genre:

Favorite city:
Chicago is really the only big city I've visited before. I've been to Minneapolis (and the Mall of America) but I was about 10 then and I remember very little.

Favorite celebrity:
Miley Cyrus Nick Cannon because he is the best AGT host there has ever been. I know nothing about him otherwise...

Favorite sport's team:
Did I mention I don't watch a lot of sports? No? Okay; I don't watch a lot of sports.

Favorite pet:
Wait, am I supposed to pick which one of my pets is my favorite?... my dog Rosie (don't tell my cat), because I've had her since I was six.
If I'm supposed to answer what type of pet I prefer, it's a close tie between dog and horse. Both are pretty great, I think, although I've never personally owned the latter.

Favorite flower:
Convallaria (lily of the valley)

Favorite dessert:
Holy cannoli, this is harder than any question yet. Uh, anything with frosting, chocolate, and/or loads of sugar!

Favorite smell: 
Freshly baking goodies. (example: cookies, brownies, banana bread, etc.)

Favorite game:
I used to be pretty good at hide-and-seek...
But really, I like ninja and four-square. Anything I have a slight chance of winning at.

Favorite piece of jewelry:
Earrings; plain and simple. Although I hardly ever wear them.

Favorite electronic:
I have only ever owned a Nintendo DS, a Wii, and an iPod. out of all those, the iPod takes the cake.

Favorite hair product:
Hair ties, I suppose...

Favorite sandwich:
I'm not a huge sandwich fan, but my go-to is peanut butter & banana with cinnamon & honey. Delish.

Favorite condiment:
does hummus count? No; then spicy brown mustard. Mmmm-mmm.

Favorite time of day:
It depends on the day. I really like Saturday mornings, but other than that if school is involved, I'm bitter about all the times of all the days.

Favorite day of the week:
Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Certain times of each, as well.

Favorite actor(s):
Another hard one. At random...
Tom Hiddleston,

Dick Van Dyke,

Hugh Jackman,
[source: Popsugar]

Sir Ian McKellen,

and Asa Butterfield.

Favorite actress(es):
I have much fewer favorite female actresses. Top four are:
Cate Blanchett,

Anne Hathaway,
[source: Popsugar]
Audrey Hepburn,

and Evangeline Lilly.
[source: Popsugar]

Favorite season:
Autumn <3

Favorite comfort food:
Pizza and cookies. Maybe even a cookie pizza...(Google it. It exists!)

Favorite piece of clothing:
Sweaters, leggings, fuzzy socks...sweater-weather clothing. :)

Disclaimer: none of the images used are mine. I failed to find sources for some (a lot were in foreign languages...) but I claim no ownership whatsoever to any of them.


August 10, 2014

The Me I'll Never Be

When I was little, I thought of the 16-year-old Janessa as someone extravagant; some flawless, cover model quality Barbie with long, thick hair, a slim waist, incredibly long legs, and a perfect smile. I imagined myself confident, popular, and burdened with having far too many boys my age practically drooling over me.

Now I'm at that age, and I can attest to the unrealistic fantasy that was my under-ten-year-old mind. I have neither a mob of guys falling at my feet, nor incredibly long legs. If anything, I am average-sized and totally single. Both of which I have learned to accept.

But that says something about Little Janessa. I had an unattainable image of myself already set at such a young age, and for what? I can't exactly pick out the thoughts and emotions from ten years ago, but if I could, would I find the same insecurity that led me to an unhealthy lifestyle later on in life?

Because I have only one little sister (praise Jesus), I have made it my number one goal in big-sisterly life ensure that she doesn't go down the same path that I did. I know that, as a human and especially as a female, it's almost inevitable that you're going to suffer some form of inadequacy in your own eyes; however, by no means does that guarantee that every girl in the world will develop some form of an eating disorder.

The me I'll never be is the flawless, ultra-popular, model-status young woman with an hourglass figure and multiple boyfriends.
The me I'll never be is the sad, starving, lonely teenager who tries too hard to meet everyone's standards.

The me I'll always be is the person who does her best in all that she does, but won't alter herself in the hopes of making "friends."
The me I'll always be is the semi-athletic, overwhelmingly ambitious, introverted daydreamer who accepts the fully-functioning body she has been blessed with.
The me I'll always be is the girl with a future that is brighter than the sun and an inferno of passion for the One who made her who she is.

I may not always be happy with how I look, but I know that I have been created with the heighth and width I have. My fine hair that has zero volume; my light skin that refuses to tan; my eyes that change color; my long, skinny, hag-like fingers; all of those things are blessings that make me who I am. I could be bald, blind, have skin cancer and no fingers, but I was created with what I have and I will use those things for the glory of my Creator.

The me I'll always be is thankful; because I could be homeless, friendless, and/or dead. I'm way better off than I let myself think sometimes, and there's nothing in this world that I would trade for that. 


August 07, 2014

Epic Food Survey Part II

I forgot to write up a Thinking out Loud post this week... Sad day. 
Buuuuut thanks to Amanda's food survey, I don't have to miss out on all the fun! This will be a little 'replacement' in the meantime. Next week I'll be back on my regular schedule for sure.
Maybe. o.O

{PART 2}


I.  Do you prefer white or chocolate milk? 
I'm not much of a milk fan, but I can tolerate it if it's in cocoa form. Chocolate, all the way.

II.  What's your favorite brand of yogurt?
I don't eat yogurt all that often either, but my mom buys the huge containers of low-fat vanilla Yoplait, and if I'm feelin' it, that's what I go for.

III.  Do you think you get enough calcium?
Probably not. Which is bad because I have low tolerance for pain so if my bones decide to break on me, I will probably die shortly after from shock alone. O.O

IV.  Where do you get most of your calcium from?
Cottage cheese.

V.  What's your favorite type of cheese?

VI.  What's your favorite way to eat cheese?
Low-fat, small curd, cottage form.

VII.  What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Vanilla with peanut butter stirred in, and chocolate chip cookie dough.

VIII.  When you make oatmeal, do you make it with milk or water?

IX.  What kind of milk do you drink?
Vanilla soy, and vanilla almond if I'm lucky enough to find it on sale!

X.  What's your favorite thing to do with cottage cheese?
Eat it; literally, I don't need to put anything in it. Alternatively, I can put it on top of or in anything - my list is long.


I.  Are you vegetarian or vegan?
In this stage of life, I am neither.

II.  If you aren't vegetarian or vegan, could you ever be?
Absolutely. I wrote up a long post ages ago about veganism and how I support it but I'm not about the animal rights movement. 
[if you decide to follow the link, be forewarned there is one photo near the end that is extremely graphic and cannot be unseen].

III.  What's your favorite type of meat?
I'm not a fan of red meat, and I've eaten enough chicken and turkey to last three lifetimes, but I suppose, depending on its form, if chicken is the only option I will take it.

IV.  What's your favorite type of fish or seafood?
I haven't had a lot of experience with sushi (read: one experience) but the one time I tried it, I was hooked. If it's good, quality sushi, it holds the key to my heart taste pallet. 
Tuna is another good one.

V.  Hamburgers or hotdogs?
Hamburgers. As I said before, I'm not a huge fan, but I cannot eat hotdogs. They make me feel icky. 

VI.  If you have a barbecue [grill] is it propane-powered or charcoal?
I don't have one, but my dad is on his second propane after the charcoal and the first propane stopped working. Funny story: dad doesn't get ties and shoes for Father's Day, he gets tool chests and recliners and grills. We spoil him well. ;)

VII.  What is your least favorite type of meat?
Pig meat; ham, bacon [so sorry, America!], pork, etc. I can't take it. I can't.

VIII.  Is there a type of meat you haven't tried yet but would like to?
I would really like to try lobster, crab, and more exotic meats like alligator and *I'm drawing a blank here*...think of the craziest animal on the planet...platypus! I wonder if anyone's ever tried that. 

IX.  What's the most exotic meat you've ever eaten?
I had calamari at Olive Garden once... 

X.  When you eat meat, is the portion bigger than a deck of cards?
Not usually, no. 


I.  What do you put in your coffee?
Jeeze, I put a lot of different things in. Sometimes, if I'm feeling basic, I'll put a little creamer and some sweetener in, but if I'm feeling more "adventurous" I'll put in some cocoa mix, some cappuccino (go figure), or maybe some protein powder. I like to experiment sometimes. Don't knock it til you've tried it.

II.  What do you put in your tea?
If I have to drink tea: lots of sweetener. I used to be obsessed with tea, but now I can hardly stand it, in any form. 

III.  Do you like the taste of water? 
Yes yes yes. Water is my favorite (besides coffee, obviously).

IV.  Do you drink water every day?
Probably way more than I should. I carry around a 24 oz. water bottle and refill it 3-4 times a day; and that's not counting the sparkling water I drink on occasion!

V.  What's your favorite flavor of diet soda?
The kind I don't drink

VI.  Do you think you drink too much diet soda?
If never is too much, then yeah. 

VII.  Do you prefer to eat or drink your calories?
I dunno, cappuccino is really good...but so is peanut butter so you've kind of caught me in a tough spot here. I like both a lot!

VIII.  Do you drink energy drinks?
Not unless coffee counts. ;)

IX.  What's your favorite smoothie recipe?
I'm not very adventurous with smoothies (partly because my little single-serving blender broke *sad face*), but I like peanut butter, banana, almond milk, and chocolate smoothies a lot. I think that might actually count as a milkshake w/o ice cream, actually.

X.  Do you flavor your water?
Sometimes, if I have flavoring packets on hand. I've tried infusing it but my favorite is the ready-flavored Sparkling Ice bottles. Lemonade is my fave. <3


I.  How often do you eat something unhealthy?
If by "unhealthy" you mean "gloriously balanced between sweet and somewhat healthy, because food is food and as long as you don't go overboard it's all good" the answer is: every day, sometimes more than once! 

II.  Do you prefer a sweet or salty treat?
Sweet. Unless of course I'm craving something salty; in which case, chocolate does not do.

III.  What's your favorite salty treat?
It honestly depends on what I'm craving. Sometimes pretzels, sometimes peanuts, sometimes popcorn.

IV.  What's your favorite sweet treat?
See above answer.^^

V.  What's your favorite brand of chocolate bar?
I don't usually buy chocolate in bar form, so I'm gonna go with what I know from experience and say Hershey's.

VI.  When was the last time you went out to eat?
Tuesday, but...

VII.  What did you order?
...I didn't order anything because I wasn't feeling 100% so I had a bottle of water and a Larabar I had stashed in my bad for who knows how long.

VIII.  Do you tend to binge on unhealthy foods around your house?
Again with the "unhealthy" wording...
Yes. I do. When I say binge I mean eat without really thinking about it because the food is tasty. I'm getting better though! 

IX.  Chips or popcorn?
Popcorn, always popcorn!

X.  What's your favorite flavor/brand of chips?
I don't hardly ever eat chips, so I really don't have a favorite. I used to love sour cream & onion and barbecue Pringles.

There you have it: the second and final part of the food survey!
Thanks to Amanda for writing it up. Join in if you're feelin' it! :)