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New Art in the BOLD By Janelle Etsy Shop!

April 27, 2015

Are your walls naked? Does your home or office need some color to liven things up a bit? Because there is finally, finally new art available in my BOLD By Janelle Etsy shop!

BoldByJanelle Etsy shop April 2015

I’m practically peeing my pants. It’s been a long time coming!

Most of these pieces you’ve seen before. One is a new digital download (print at home!) to celebrate a girls run or women’s run, specifically for a first 5k.

I also painted three new pieces recently, all in one I’m-feeling-creative evening.

new abstract canvas art for BoldByJanelle Etsy shop

I almost don’t want to send this neon piece off into the world but hopefully someone will love it as much as I do!

new canvas art for BoldByJanelle Etsy shop

After launching the FRESH START calendar in December, it took me four months to get more items into my Etsy shop. I finally did it and I’m super pumped to share these things with you.

If you see something you like but want to customize it to your favorite color or phrase, I can do that. Just for you :)

Thank you for supporting, encouraging, and cheering on the BOLD By Janelle Etsy shop, and of course, ME. You are awesome!

Web Wandering

April 24, 2015

web wandering

Woohoo! It’s Friday! Killing time at work till 5pm? Or want to read some fun things this weekend? Let’s wander the web together!

I am most excited to share this with you because it describes exactly what it’s like to be my friend or my partner: 12 Things to Expect When Dating a Strong Woman. Spot on.

And since we’re revealing things about me today, why don’t we discuss This One’s for the Control Freaks (Ahem, Me). I am the queen princess (oops – queen is my Mom!) of high expectations for people. I want the best out of myself and others!

On the other hand, Seth Godin tells us to Demand Higher Standards. I guess there’s a time and a place; the tricky part is learning where the bar should be set in different situations. And, it seems that “high” standards is all relative.

For the creatives out there, this is a super interesting read about how structure and routine can impact your creativity. There are a few things I disagree with but that’s because creativity and what works for you is so personal. Different for everyone.

I would totally freakin love a writing or creativity retreat. For some reason I find it hard to focus if I’m not alone with quiet surroundings. If you’re the same, here’s a great idea for a writing retreat of your own.

I’ve been to therapy on and off for the majority of my life. It’s been super helpful and I’d love to get back into it again. This article shares some tips because after all, Therapy is for Everyone, Even You. You’ll feel a million times better and more confident.

3 Questions Everyone on a Team Should Answer applies to your job, your resume, and hell, even your relationships. How nice would it be to clearly define roles, responsibilities, and strengths? And how often do we not do that in life?

And finally, as we head into the weekend and I’ve already got a mental to-do list a mile long, Jessica shares her wisdom on The Art of Doing Less. Yep, I have some growing to do on this topic.

Have you been wandering the web too? Got something to share? Link to it in the comments!

PS – A million Happy Birthday hugs and kisses to Hootie today! Wish we could be together. Happy Birthday, sister! :)

Janelle’s 2015 Concert Tour

April 23, 2015

This year is shaping up rather nicely when it comes to music.

I’m so lucky that some of my absolute favorite bands are on tour this year, will be playing near-ish me, and I have the kind of job where I can be online to purchase tickets the second they go on sale.

I’ve always loooooved live music. I’ve been to… many concerts. ha. I wish I had a count! Although then I’d think about how much money I’ve spent. When it comes to music though, I don’t have a problem shelling out the cash. It’s an experience and I can almost always recall concerts I’ve been to, how good they were, and who I was with. They’re some of my favorite memories.

One summer before we could drive, my best friend Lauren and I went to ten concerts. I don’t know how we got so fortunate to have our parents run us around so much. Want to see a slightly embarrassing throwback photo? This is from Warped Tour in Atlanta in summer of 2002.

Warped Tour 2002

That’s Lauren on the left, me in the middle, and the nephew of my Dad’s friend on the right. It was probably a bazillion degrees.

Circling back to this year’s concerts, I am just SO EXCITED! The year kicked off with Garth Brooks in Pittsburgh and I also have tickets to see him tomorrow (!!!) with my Mom. That’ll be my third Garth show since he came back to music and I’m already planning a fourth. What can I say? He’s a legend!

Garth Brooks in Pittsburgh PA

I also have tickets to see:

  • Nickelback (this is for John but they’re actually pretty good live)
  • New Kids on the Block with TLC, Nelly, Salt-n-Pepa, Sugar Ray, and Vanilla Ice
  • Fall Out Boy
  • Lady Antebellum with Sam Hunt and Hunter Hayes
  • Dashboard Confessional with Third Eye Blind



I listed those in the approximate order that I purchased the tickets. I was feeling good about Garth, NKOTB, and Fall Out Boy. When news came out that Dashboard and 3EB were touring together, I about peed my pants. That took my summer from a nine to a 42.

And then my summer rocketed to a 2,871 when Rob Thomas announced he was touring AND I got a FRONT ROW SEAT! Seriously going to be the experience of a lifetime. Possibly tied with the time I got to shake his hand in Atlantic City.

Rob Thomas in Atlantic City January 2014

So basically, my summer is made. Already. I’m so pumped to have the opportunity to see all these great bands in one summer. No lie – this includes four out of my top five favorite bands ever. How freakin lucky am I that they’re all on tour around the same time?! The only band that could tour this summer to add to the excitement? Coldplay. Doesn’t seem likely but we’ll see what happens :)

Are you into live music? Do you have tickets to any big concerts this year? Anyone think I’m nuts for spending so much money on shows? Pretty sure my Mom does.

In My Dreams

April 22, 2015

We’ve talked a lot about dreams in the past few months, the kind that you pursue in life to feel joy, passion, and meaning. Today let’s chat about the sleepy kind of dreams.

Do you dream at nite? Do you remember them? I’ve met a few people who claim they don’t and then I feel sad for them. While some dreams are terrifying and you just want to wake up, some can be enjoyable! Or interesting…

I’ve had several dreams recently about my late grandfathers. (Read more about my maternal Grandpa and paternal Grandpa).

Ben, me, Grandpa - my 28th birthday

I appreciate being able to dream about them because it’s a way for them to live on. And you never know, maybe in some way their spirits are able to shape what happens in my mind while I’m sleeping.

Grandpa and me

The downside to dreaming about my grandfathers is waking up and immediately remembering that they’re no longer in the physical world with me. I can’t call them up to tell them about my dream, ask how they’re doing, or tell them what’s going on in my life. That is the absolute worst part.

I once asked my maternal Grandpa if he dreamt at nite and he said yes. I asked if he dreamt about or sensed the spirit of my grandmother (who I never met) and I was surprised to hear that the answer was yes. He shared a few stories but I wish I had asked him what that felt like. It never occurred to me that some day I’d be dreaming about him when he was gone.

Two of my close friends told me that when you lose a loved one, sometimes you just want to call up a friend and say “I miss them,” or tell a story, or just say their name. It can be big or small. After sharing something big yesterday (lessons learned from my Grandfather), today is one of those times that I just wanted to share something little about my beloved grandfathers.

Thank you for listening and please share your own stories in the comments!

Lessons Learned from My Grandfather

April 21, 2015

Today would’ve been my maternal Grandpa’s 91st birthday.

Grandpa's 90th birthday cake - April 2014

[Mom, get the tissues!]

He’s only been gone a little over three months and there are already so many things I wish I could talk to him about, things I wish I could tell him, things I wish I could ask him. Sometimes I can hear his response in my head. His life and our relationship have greatly influenced the person I am and I’m so very grateful for that.

Grandpa and me - March 2014

In honor of my Grandpa’s would-be 91st birthday today, here are 8 lessons I learned from my Grandfather:

Learn to adapt. One of my favorite things about my Grandpa is that he was pretty “hip to the times.” He wasn’t stuck in old ways of thinking, and in fact loved to discuss, debate, and learn new ways of thinking. He kept an open mind and that allowed him to adapt to our evolving culture of equality, acceptance of differences, relationship roles, technology, and so much more.

Stay physically and mentally active. Grandpa drove his cars and played tennis until he was 89. He watched Jeopardy until his last weeks of life. He knew that the key to staying healthy and enjoying life was to stay physically and mentally active. If you stop moving and thinking, everything falls apart.

Be generous. With your love, time, money, and everything you have. Grandpa was one of those people who would give you the shirt off his own back. He’d let you stay in his home, loan you a car, let you borrow money. Whatever he had, it was yours if you needed it. He was selfless. That’s the only way you can describe him.

Be grateful. There wasn’t a single visit we had with him when he didn’t thank us profusely for coming to see him. He appreciated everything that was done for him and with him, and was so thankful for everything he had.

Grandpa and Janelle as a babyMy favorite photo of Grandpa and me

Take good care of your car. Grandpa owned 67 cars in his life, often two or three at a time. He just loved driving. He wasn’t mechanically inclined when it came to cars but he knew to take them in for proper maintenance and the car in turn would usually treat you right.

Never stop learning. My Grandpa was hands down the most intelligent person I’ve ever known. He had this way of speaking and asking questions that was analytical, introspective, and brilliant. I think he just loved to learn. Even after 90 years, he was still learning every day.

Always be prepared. While Grandpa would visit us and often forget his medicine or hearing aids, somehow he managed to otherwise always be prepared. His cars were stocked with umbrellas and change, his pockets stuffed full of cough drops, and his drawers were crammed with every paperclip, rubberband, and napkin he’d acquired over many years. You never know what you’ll need! Maybe he was secretly a writer for the TV show MacGyver.

Love unconditionally. There are no words to describe this man’s love for his family. We were everything to him. It’s my greatest hope that I can love in the manner that he did.

family photo with Grandpa - April 2014

Of course my grandfather taught me other lessons, like: if you’re not fast on the tennis court, know where to place the ball so you don’t have to be! (Yep, Grandpa could beat people a third his age on the tennis court!) And: salt your food silently so your family doesn’t notice. And: when you leave your Grandpa’s house, call him when you get home so he knows you’re safe. And lastly: always smile, attempt to make others laugh, and be genuinely happy to see people.

We can’t get my Grandpa back but he can live on through our family. We think of and speak about him all the time and miss him dearly. Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandpa!

What lessons have you learned from your grandparents? They’re so wise, aren’t they? Irreplaceable, for sure.

PS – Want to know more about the amazing man I called Grandpa? Here are my favorite things, a peek into his sense of humor, and a post honoring Grandpa after his passing. And if any of your grandparents are still with you and you haven’t told them how you feel about them, here are some tips for writing a letter to your grandparent.

Hiking Date

April 20, 2015

We woke up Saturday morning with plans to “hike somewhere with a waterfall,” since that is a goal on my 30 Before 30 list. The day didn’t exactly go as planned but it was still great!

J-slice got a text from a friend in the morning who asked him to come over for the day. What was supposed to be a family day turned into a just-John-and-me date. Score!

When we got to the state park though, the entrance was closed. Full. Did you know this was possible? Because we didn’t. We were directed to a difference entrance about 20 minutes away which was fine except that it meant we couldn’t access the trails we wanted to hike. Let me translate that for you: no waterfalls. That was the point of our hike!

Instead we were surprised and delighted by some beautiful rapids. I’d say that’s an excellent consolation prize.

hiking and rapids - Patapsco Valley State Park - Janelle

hiking Patapsco Valley State Park - John

The rapids settled down into a calming pool which was a beautiful green color. There was a small sandy beach but swimming wasn’t allowed. The park offered tons of picnic areas, including a few near this part of the water. John and I both packed a sandwich but I wish we had thought to do a legit picnic lunch.

hiking Patapsco Valley State Park - Janelle

The water seemed pretty low in some areas of whitewater so you could walk out on the rocks if you were feeling adventurous.

hiking Patapsco Valley State Park

John, bad ankles and all, did more rock exploration than I did.

hiking Patapsco Valley State Park - Janelle and John

At one point we climbed a giant rock face together and took in this beautiful view. I know it’s nothing like being there in the Fall, or even late Spring after everything has bloomed, but the lack of vegetation allowed you to see so much more.

hiking Patapsco Valley State Park

We may not have gotten in my waterfall but I’m counting this hike with the rapids as a check on my 30 Before 30 list. Plus a few friends recommended a legit hiking area to me and I’m told it has around 20 waterfalls. It’s 2-3 hours away so now that I don’t feel obligated to go, it’s on my “would be nice” list and I feel more relaxed about fitting it in. If it does, awesome. If it doesn’t, that’s okay too.

hiking Patapsco Valley State Park - John and Janelle

This was such a fantastic day together. We had perfect weather, got in exercise, had sushi for dinner, and got ice cream. Never enough sprinkles.

ice cream date

Then we watched a super cute movie from the comfort of our couch called Take Me Home. Written, directed, produced, and acted in by Sam Jaeger who played Joel in NBC’s Parenthood. That guy is hottt. Too bad his wife was also in the movie. ha. But it was cute and funny and free to watch if you have Amazon Prime. I laughed out loud so many times!

This was such a perfect, stress-free day. This is the second weekend in a row that John and I had the day to ourselves which neverrr happens anymore. I can’t tell you how nice it is to have adult time and not worry about anything kid-related. So freeing! I totally forgot what it was like to be just the two of us. Weird.

So, let’s chat about your favorite hiking spot. I wouldn’t mind adding hiking into my travels instead of just touristy stuff. Where was your favorite hike? Have you seen any killer waterfalls, rapids, cliffs, rock formations, or other natural wonders? I don’t want to hear about snakes though. You can leave that part out ;)

30 Before 30 Timeline

April 17, 2015

Any big goal can feel insanely overwhelming if you only look at the big picture.

That’s why breaking down your goals is so important. After that step, you’ve got manageable action steps and you’re pretty much ready to take on the world. I mean… tackle your goal.

The big, overwhelming goal breathing down my neck is my 30 Before 30. I guess technically that’s 30 big, overwhelming goals breathing down my neck! Although to be fair, some of them are pretty straightforward.

30 Before 30

I already broke down each goal into verby steps like Schedule, Plan, Research, Choose. Those smaller goals are great except I still felt like “how do I get everything done?!?” The next thing I needed to do was timeline everything.

breaking down big goals

Some things on my list are pretty flexible, like making grilled pizza. As long as it’s “grilling season,” I can squeeze that in at the last minute. Trying yoga and a relaxing activity are one-time things that I can put in my schedule wherever they fit. Those are pretty simple but I still have to figure out when they fit into my life.

Other goals like reading and doing a pull-up require regular progress, meaning I need to schedule those items in weekly. I also have bigger goals on my 30 Before 30 list that will require weeks of work. Those are things I need to schedule in pieces as well.

I knew timelining my goals was the way to go because it worked for me when I created the FRESH START calendar. Plus, I’m often juggling so many things that if I don’t schedule something, it doesn’t happen. That’s my way of committing time and energy.

You’ll notice in the photo above that I started penciling in months beside each goal. I chose months because I’m setting monthly goals this year plus I really couldn’t get any more specific at that time… nor did I want to because that would get overwhelming!

My Mom and I sat down together and took one goal at a time. The key here is to write in pencil and have a big eraser on hand. ha! True though. You need to be able to move things around and not feel stuck.

timelining big goals

I turn 30 in September so we mapped out each month until then. As we went through each of my 30 goals, I said to my Mom, “This is what I need to do. This is when I think I can do it.” And we just filled that all in. Then later we went back and shuffled things around if one month had too many activities and another month had too few (yes, that definitely happened… several times).

By the end, we had a smaller set of goals for each month.

timelining big goals

It’s still overwhelming! I’m not gonna lie. Every month feels busy as hell, yet I know it’ll also feel productive.

The final step in timelining goals is to sit down with a calendar and actually plan out your month. What needs to be a weekend and what can be done before/after work? Which weekends have more time and which only allow for a few smaller items?

For the FRESH START calendar, I was timelining all of my action steps across 2-3 weeks. That meant every single day had at least two things I wanted to get done. For something like a 30 Before 30 list, that’s way too intense. But if you have a more focused goal, and especially if you have a deadline for it, setting daily goals can be a really great idea. It gets you into “work mode” easily and the momentum of progress will continue to propel you forward each day.

It’s quite incredible what goals you can accomplish when you strategically plan and prioritize them into your life.

I’m pretty confident that I won’t get everything done on my 30 Before 30 list. I’m just being realistic. I’m not going to beat myself up over the fact that I started late, then procrastinated, then didn’t even plan things out until half way through the year. Because you know what? I started. And I planned. And I’m working on it. Progress is progress, as they say. And as my stepdad Mike says, we’re all a work in progress.

What big goals are you working on? Do you have a different approach than breaking down your goals and then timelining them? Please share! I’d love to hear!


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