Author Archives: Janna
I’ve loved fall before the advent of pumpkin lattes, the tall-boot trend and the desire to add pumpkin to everything I stuff in my face.
These things have just deepened my love for fall.
In addition to these fall must-haves, I’ve discovered that I need a new fall wreath every year. Not want. NEED.
You may remember last year when I fell in love with this guy:
My heart still skips a beat when I see this. I love everything about it.
Problem was (and still is), is that it’s made out of cornstalk tops (yes, that’s the technical term). And lots of them. I don’t have access to cornstalk tops…so last year I settled for my second favorite wreath, the Nonna wreath from JDC:
I still love the Nonna, and she’s proudly hanging in our living room again. But I couldn’t get ‘ol cornstalk-top out of my head, so in an effort to deter myself from poaching a farmer’s field after midnight, I went back to Pinterest to find an alternative option.
I liked all of these options (especially the upper-right one)…but then I found this one:
And I knew it was The One. I mean, it was big, crazy, and disheveled…just like the cornstalk-top one. Plus, it’s made of raffia, which is easily-accessible. Unlike cornstalk-tops.
I’m not doing a tutorial here because the one at Stone Gable is great. I will say a couple of things though:
- I didn’t bother with hot glue. Mostly because I bought the full-size sticks instead of the mini-sticks and I was too annoyed to wait until I had time to exchange them.
- It’s a very messy project. Don’t do it on your couch while watching America’s Next Top Model. At least….I hear that you shouldn’t do that….it’s not like I watch that show.
- The tutorial only instructed you to do 1 row of raffia around the wreath. I did three. I like it big. But because of this, it took a little over 2 hours to do. Not exactly a speedy process.
- I can’t find those damn bleached oak leaves for the life of me (ok, I went to one store). So mine doesn’t have them. I wish it did though…
So…here she is in all her big, crazy glory:
(oh, and yes. I did paint my front door black. Thanks for asking!)
It’s surprising to me that I like this unruly thing….but oh how I do. The only thing that could make it better is the bleached oak leaves. I suppose I could check out more than one a few more stores. Or I could just strut around in my tall boots with a pumpkin latte eating pumpkin everything.
Yes. That sounds like a better idea.
What about you? Do you like clean-cut wreaths or crazy messy ones like this? Have you made any this fall that I need to see?
P.S. Did you know that if you subscribe to my blog, or “Like” twsst on Facebook, you’ll know there’s a new post up before everyone else? You can do either from the right hand column!
Oh hi! Me again for my monthly blog post.
I actually took pictures of all my “wood-working” projects (I’m using that term extremely lightly; it’s not like I’m building bridges or anything), but when I sat down to write it I realized I felt more like writing some randomness. Maybe because The Hubs has been in the woods for 7 days now and I’m feeling chatty.
So what does that mean for you? Well it means that you’ll probably get TWO posts from me this month. I’m on a roll baby.
I’m going to try a new format for this random rambling….short and to the point. And ya’ll know this will be hard for me cuz I’m quite wordy in the written form. So here goes…
- This song. I love it! It’s soooo my jam. Which begs the question: who am I? When did I turn into a tween?
- Oh, right. Oula. It keeps me young. (Coincidence? It’s my favorite Oula dance of the moment).
- I’m worried about Freckles Chick. She lives in Boulder, CO and hasn’t posted on her blog since the floods. I hope everything is ok with her and her family.
- These fish tacos are da bomb. Seriously. Make them now and thank me later.
- And I can’t stop eating this Thai Quinoa Salad. Make this too.
- Clearly I’m still stalking Ambitious Kitchen….
- I fell in love this summer. In love with mangoes. I was one crazy woman when I thought they were gross. I’m guessing I alone devoured half of Costco’s mango shipment to Missoula…and I still want more.
- Oh! Hey hey hey! The river trip! Yeah, it was great. I stopped taking pictures because someone else on the trip was taking them like a paparazzi…so as soon as he shares them I’ll do an update.
- I’m a fan of #hastags. I know not everyone is (*cough* #sisterinlaw). But I have to admit, this video with Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon is hilarious. I’m not that bad. #yet
- Confession: at 20 months, Abby still gets a bottle at bedtime (and in the morning). Ah. Gawd. There. It’s out there. Sorry Dr. Hall…I’m working on it, I promise.
- I officially made my first infomercial purchase. For years I’ve been able to pass-up knives that will cut my shoe in two, the magic screen, and sham-wow….but I couldn’t resist Wen anymore. In a month’s time I’ll look like Jennie Garth. Right? Just like I transformed my body after P90X.
- I have been getting my craft ON this fall. Creativity is flowing like summer mangoes. Follow me on Instagram to get sneak peaks.
- This article. Be. Happy. Now. You can be. Chose to be. #Illtrytoo
- I just bought these boots.
- It feels like The Hubs has been gone for a month. It’s only been a week but dang. This solo-parenting thing is exhausting (and apparently drives me to purchase things off TV. Come to think of it….I don’t think any of my knives could cut my shoes in half…)
- According to my FB timeline, it’s been 1 year and 3 days since I watched Season 4 of Dexter. Now that I can sleep again, I think I’m finally, finally, finally ready to talk about Season 5. Damn you Trinity Killer.
Let’s not talk about how I read all of the spoilers online about the Series Finale’ of Dexter that aired this past Sunday.
I can’t have another Season 4 ending awaiting me. I might be scared for life. I can’t even look at John Lithgow anymore.
So there goes. Short-and-sweet. I’m hoping to post a bit more this month since I’ve got some time on my hands. But if you don’t hear from me I’m likely glued to the couch, hiding halfway under a blanket watching Season 5.
I think the only way to recap the musings in my head these days is a random ramblings. There is no rhyme or reason to these thoughts…some are inconsequential and some are not. Such is life.
Let’s start with the most critical update: I’ve started curling my hair on a regular basis. Mostly because it hides the fact that I haven’t showered in a day or so. Whoops…secret is out. Curly-haired-Janna = unshowered-Janna.
I found though, that a wee bit ‘o dry shampoo and a curl almost looks better than my straight hair on shower day. Who knew?
So let’s talk dry shampoo. If you don’t use it I would beg you to tell me WHY. This shit is bananas! My favorite is the TIGI Rockaholic Dirty Secret that sometimes, if the stars align correctly on the random day that I actually go there, is available at TJ Maxx.
Seriously, I can pretty much pull a 3-day-no-shower thing when I’m using this.
Second….I’ve found that using a flat iron to curl my hair works WAY better than a curling iron. Ironic? Perhaps. Check out the tutorial here.
Lastly…am I the last to know that you curl AWAY from your face? For years, and I mean YEARS (since high school) I’ve been curling towards my face. Well, I started twisting the other way and my hair is simply stunning if I do say so myself. Try it. Or really, am I the last to know?
So this happened: I came to work, put my lunch in the fridge, and sat at my desk. Around noon I thought my frittata was sounding pretty good so I went to go heat it up.
I open the fridge and there is my frittata container sitting front-and-center on the middle shelf….with a tampon sitting on top of it.
Yep. The tampon I had thrown in my lunch bag last minute as I ran out the door.
Just chillin there. In the prime lunch-finding-location spot, in a fridge that roughly 50 people share.
Let’s just declare to the world that I’m menstruating. Or that I like my tampons chilled.
But Lord help the first person that cracks a PMS joke at me…
Speaking of, have I mentioned I’m back at work? I mean, permanently, not just temporarily? Yep.
I’m a permanent part-time employee back at my old job. Which has been super deja-vuish but also really good for me at the same time (well, most weeks anyways. If you asked me this week I would think it was good for me).
This is a whole post in itself that I’ll probably never write. So I’ll just leave it at that for now.
If you’ve been here awhile you know how I feel about birds. If you’re new, let’s just recap by telling you I am not a fan of birds. They creep me out….especially big ones.
So why, you ask, would I think it’s a good idea to feed ducks with Abby?
Well, I don’t know. But hindsight is 20/20 and my hindsight confirms it was an absolutely terrible idea.
It started out fine. We showed up to the duck pond with a mere two hot dog buns to keep it short. I was showing Abby how to rip up the bun and toss small pieces into the pond. There were probably 2-3 ducks at that time, but Abby didn’t really understand why SHE couldn’t eat the bun. And she really wasn’t as fascinated with the ducks as I thought she would be (maybe because they didn’t look like a rubber ducky?)
Anyways, the ducks at the duck pond must have sonar capabilities to know when a piece of bread hits the water, because I was seriously 5 throws in when I notice about 10 more ducks swimming our way. Now it’s a competition to get the bread crumb the fastest and they are fighting over each toss. And not a little polite “oh, that’s yours? Ok I’ll get the next one.” More like “DUDE, get the F away from that bread or I’ll peck your eyes out!”
This is when I notice at least (and I promise, I’m not exaggerating), at least 30 more ducks swimming towards us.
At this point I pick up Abby, who is still just wanting to eat the dang bun, while I keep throwing pieces to keep the freaking ducks from coming on shore towards us. I don’t know how I could have ripped bread any faster.
It’s when the 30 ducks started that “flying across the water” thing that ducks do, that I threw the last of the bun (a giant piece) into the water and backed away slowly. Ok, not really. I pretty much ran while I heard the ducks fighting over that last huge piece.
Is this normal??! It’s terrifying. We will not be going back. Probably ever.
So we left and went to a park where Abby got to eat the stale roll like she wanted to in the first place.
Oh oh oh!
I finished the Half Marathon and got a PR! So excited about this. Really. Ya’ll know I’ve had long love/hate relationship with running that has been lingering on the hate side for a bit too long. So to complete this race and do so well….it really feels good!
I was shooting to break 2 hours and crossed the line in 1:52:10.
Now I just need to keep running….but it’s hard when Oula is just so dang fun.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about renaming my blog and giving it a facelift. You know, just a small task that I’m sure I can handle since I manage to post so much these days. Where’s the sarcasm font when you need it??
Anyhoo, any suggestions for a name? And don’t say Janna’s Journal, Hubs.
So, we’re getting ready to leave on a 7 day river trip. Without Abby. I’m 98% nervous about this, 2% excited.
Some days vice versa.
Mostly I just feel guilty for leaving her, which probably explains why I’m writing a blog post when there is a shit ton to do right now. Do you know how much work goes into floating down a river for 7 days? A lot. I mean, imagine trying to fit everything you could possibly need in a space the size of a couple of couches pushed together. That’s going to get super hot and potentially soaking wet. Yeah, it takes a lot of planning which you think would be my bag (baby), being a Project Manager and all, but it mostly just stresses me out. What if I forget something and neeeeeeeed it? What if I don’t feel like eating an apple and want a chip? What if there are no chips?!?
At any rate…my hope is that the guilt subsides after a day or two and I can enjoy myself. I’m sure it will.
I have some serious DIY updating for ya’ll. I’ve been building things….things with wood. And I am STOKED about it. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen some pictures already. So follow me, and you’ll get the inside scoop. Otherwise you’ll have to wait for a post because they truly deserve a post of their own.
Speaking of Instagram – I just have to say I love it. Probably even more than Facebook (which, I would never say I loved). In a way it feels like a mini blog post. I mean, who needs to write about something when you can post a fun picture about it? Right?
Follow me and I promise it won’t feel like eons between postings.
So, this girl?
I am so in love with her.
Can I just be a gushing mom for a minute? Because my daughter is so fun. She is happy and she let’s you know it. She screams at the top of her lungs for no reason other than she thinks it’s funny. She’s sassy and independent – which honestly drives me crazy but I know is a good thing. No one is ever going to walk all over my girl. And she’s smart. Ok I know every mom says that but she is! I’m amazed every day at the things she’ll do and I think….who is teaching her this stuff?? hahaha.
And man, how is she growing up so fast? I mean pig tails? Really?
We obviously still have our moments…but this age? 18 months? This is it. This is my favorite.
And I promise I haven’t been one of those parents who says that about every age. This is the first time I’ve said it because I mean it. I love it. I love watching her learn and grow and I’m learning to be ok with messes and chaos. Because well, you have to be.
Yeah, so this girl? She’s pretty special and I’m pretty lucky to be her momma.
Ahhhh. Ok I feel better. Nothing like a little writing to relieve the stress of packing.
So, I’m off to manhandle six pounds of chicken. Wish me luck.
Man…I’m a wee bit rusty at this blogging thing. It took me almost a day to think of a title for this post, to which I’m sure you’re thinking, “and that’s what you came up with?”
Yeah, I know. But trust me, this was the best option. Let’s just say that one of the options referenced Justin Bieber.
So yeah, bear with me as I work the kinks out.
Way back in the day I told ya’ll the story about how my husband tricked me into going on my first backcountry skiing experience. It was touch-and-go at best. But I kept at it and something magical happened: I liked it. I liked it a lot. So I took an Avalanche Certification class. I got all the fancy gear and spent some time getting my pack together and organized just-so. We started getting out often and going on weekend trips to backcountry ski, like here and here.
And then we had a baby and my fancy skis and perfectly-packed pack sat in the corner collecting dust.
This past week the Hubs and I carved out some time to reconnect and spend time together doing something fun and reminiscent of our pre-baby days. We (correction, “I”….let’s not kid ourselves, the Hubs pack has never collected any dust) dusted off my pack and headed in search of spring snow.
We found it at Trapper Peak.
Trapper is the highest peak in the Bitterroot mountain range just south of Missoula. It’s about an hour and-a-half drive to the trailhead from our doorstep. I’m still trying to figure out if it was necessary to pick the highest peak around because (a) it’s spring and snow is hard to find, or (b) The Hubs go-big-or-go-home philosophy.
To be honest I think it was a little of both…and I was skeeeered. I mean, this thing is over 10,000 ft, ragged and gnarly looking!
The Hubs planned our ascent which took us from the trailhead to the peak in 4.2 miles (basically the lower red line to the purple line in the topo map below). If all went well we would only need to hike for a mile or so until we hit the snow line and could skin up (fancy words for “hike with our skis on).
Only 4.2 miles! No big whoop. I crush more than 4.2 miles in a lunch run these days.
So we make arrangements for Abby and head out bright-and-early. We arrive at the trailhead by 10:00 and hope to be at the peak by noon…a fairly conservative estimate, we thought. When we arrive at the trailhead I notice how lush and green everything is and take a moment to marvel at the pretty yellow daises that seem to welcome us to the trail. There are bees buzzing and birds chirping, insects flying by. The air smells of morning dew and spring thaw. The weather wasn’t quite what we hoped for…the peaks are hanging in clouds and the sun is hiding behind a dense layer of fog. But I tell myself that it’s still early and it could burn off by the time we reach the peak.
I load up my pack and grimace a little as I heave it on to my back. It’s heavy. I still hike in my alpine boots (the same boots I would use to ski at a resort), not willing to make the investment in the lightweight backcountry boots that weigh half as much. Although at this moment I’m wishing I had them (as I catch a glimpse of the Hubs practically floating around with his light-weight gear).
After the obligatory “we’re off!” photo, we start hiking. It’s steep. Really steep. And constant. There doesn’t seem to be any break from the steepness.
And then I remember…a “mere” 4.2 miles. Well duh. No wonder it’s such a short hike; it’s steep as hell!
But I keep going…I keep trudging along…trying not to think about what torture lie ahead. At this point I’m not really loving it but not really hating it. I find myself doing Oula dances in my head to take the focus off my burning calves…
I’m bulletproof….nothing to lose….fire away, fire away’
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium!
Seriously. I think that song got me up half of that damn mountain. That and Justin Bieber….All around the woooooooorld….people want to be loved. Do doo doo dooo….do do do dooooo….
Have I lost ya? Sorry Dad.
Anyways….of course the Hubs is rocking it. He runs up a GD mountain on his lunch break so this is nothing. PLUS his gear is so much lighter than mine that obviously gave him the advantage…right?
An hour in and we’re just finally hitting snow. I have no idea how far we’ve come but it feels like a long ways. The GPS says 8,000 feet…so we’ve climbed 2,000 and have 2,000 more to go. I kind of want to die.
I’m bulletproof….nothing to lose …..
Fire away, fire away…
Instead I scarf down a clif bar, get my ski boots on, skin up and head back up the mountain. We seem to be entering the cloud covered area and everything is dense and foggy. I could really let myself get creeped out about the eeriness of it all but the Biebs was keeping me going (Baby what you doing? where you at? where you at?).
We climbed for what seemed like forever. And then we climbed some more. Another hour later we were almost to tree line. I was still in good spirits but starting to wear down. Afterall, we thought we’d be to the top by now (it was noon) and we still had 1.3 miles and 1300 feet to go. I think the Hubs was trying to be helpful when he said “Sweet, just 1300 feet….like climbing up Mt. Sentinel!” I secretly gave him the side eye and said, “yep, just like Mt. Sentinel!”
This is Mt. Sentinel:
I’m not sure any amount of Bieber could motivate me up that. (After reading this you probably think I’m a total Bieber fan….but this is actually the first time I’ve probably ever typed or even said his name…hahaha.).
This was the actual view of Trapper from that point:
We obviously misjudged the time it would take for us to climb up 4,000 ft carrying all of our gear. And I certainly didn’t account for the altitude. I definitely noticed a difference skinning the higher up we got…but I wasn’t sure if it I was just getting tired (over two hours of constant climbing) or the fact that we were now around 9,000 feet.
We decided to climb for another hour and see where we got. The Hubs took off like a bat out of hell towards the peak which we could see intermittently between fog banks. Per usual I trudged a long behind muttering something about pacing myself. The higher we got the more fog started to blow off and patches of sun came through. It was really beautiful watching the peaks come in-and-out of it, but it also made it hard to judge how far we had to go. Plus, I’m pretty sure I was missing out on what was an amazingly majestic view.
It didn’t take too long to get above tree line which I have to say was pretty cool. Gone were the snow-covered trees and winding white bark pine. Instead we had wide open spaces that lead to the rocky peaks above us.
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
As we approached the peak I started to wonder how exactly we were going to get to the tippy top. It was surrounded by a boulder field (rocks as big as a car) that weren’t completely covered in snow. There wasn’t a direct path but there looked to be a few ways you could snake through them to get to the top. To be honest, I wasn’t convinced the effort was worth it. Part of me thought “you HAVE to get to the peak…you’ve come this far! You’re so close!” and the other part thought “who the hell cares, I’m tired.” In the end, the devil on my shoulder won. When we got to the saddle about 300 feet below the peak I called it….”Are we done?” I yelled to The Hubs. “What?? You’re done???” he replies.
Yes. Yes I’m done. And I could care less that I didn’t make it to the tippy top. This counts damn it.
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
I made my way to a small rock pile to rest, get my skins off and eat my lunch. The Hubs wanted to climb just a little bit futher so he took off up the mountain. Show off.
As I sat on the rock (at nearly 10,000 ft) eating my PB&J I couldn’t help but notice how SILENT it was. There was no wind. No birds. No bees. No crunch of snow as I skinned. No heavy breathing. No songs running through my head. It was literally complete and utter silence that I can’t even describe. That I’m not even sure I’ve ever truly HEARD before, because when I thought about it, it’s a fantastically rare occurrence in life. Just me, sitting alone at the top of this giant mountain as the fog rolled in and out between the peaks. It was almost surreal and at the same time extremely beautiful.
Not much later I finally heard something – the familiar “whaaaa hoooo!” from the Hubs which usually indicates he’s either skiing powder, drunk, or running a rapid. He met up with me at the rock and we took some more photos while getting ready to descend. I think we were both waiting around to see if it was going to clear up at all so we could take what had to be amazing views. But it never did and we gave in to the excitement of skiing after working so hard to get there.
15 minutes later we were back to dirt and putting on our hiking boots. Funny how that works. Such is the life of a backcountry skier and earning your turns.
The decent was soooo much better than the trip up (well, not if you asked my knees). And it was really cool to leave the cold, foggy snow and transition to the budding trees, blooming flowers and sounds of the forrest. I was tired but I was still riding the high of actually accomplishing such an awesome feat.
That’s the thing about doing stuff like this. I don’t really consider myself extreme, although some of my friends may think I’m a wacko to carry my skis on my back up a mountain. I know not everyone would entertain the idea and I’m not sure that I would seek something like this out if it weren’t for The Hubs. But I like it, I really do. Sometimes I just need to remind myself of that when I think I don’t have the time or ability to do it anymore. Once I get past the mental side of it (this is going to be hard, I may not like all of it, it could be dangerous) and just let myself enjoy it (because I have the knowledge, skill and ability to do it)….I’ve never regretted it. There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get after accomplishing something that you’re a little scared or is outside your comfort zone.
Basically you feel like a bad ass. Or something like that….hahaha.
We stopped to take a few pictures on the way down because of course the fog started to lift and the views were incredible. I will definitely be returning to see this from the top when there’s no fog around.
And of course we had some victory beers (and dry clothes) in the car to celebrate our outing. Nothing ever tasted so good.
10,000 ft (4,000 climbed)
30 lb pack
4.2 of the longest miles I’ve ever crossed
3.5 hours up
1.5 hours down
1 giant gnarly peak
Yep. I am titanium.
Not sure what song I’m talking about? Watch this. The video is a little strange, but you’ll get the idea.