Monday, November 3, 2014

Moving to Wordpress

I have moved my site: www.julesmpg.com is now the host of Just Jules blog. Please find me over there.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Change isn't swift and other random musings

Well, it's obvious my grand makeover is stalled. I am a tech idiot, that thought this was simple but apparently not. So you're reading this on my old non-revamped site.  C├ęst la vie....I will figure it out.

The issue is I bought this domain through Google years ago but it's really through GoDaddy. I bought hosting through GoDaddy, simple right? WRONG. I pointed my domain at the ip address GoDaddy suggested and my site looks the same. My head is literally spinning from allergies and sinuses, so brain fog is making it worse.

So why did I decide to do this during NaBloPoMo 14? because I am a glutton for self induced punishment. I just am tired of dealing with the Blogger platform which isn't user friendly anymore and my site is lacking...a lot.

Speaking of NaBloPoMo +Lizz Porter  mentioned on Twitter that NaBloPoMo may only be M-F? *cue screeching record* WHAT? 7 years of writing everyday and they are changing it to M-F? What's the challenge in that? This may just be speculation, still waiting for Blogher to answer us on Twitter. You mean I wrote two more blogs a week for nothing?

Allergies are bogging me down right now, affecting my inner ear and making me dizzy. I am all hopped up on allergy medicine. So I will cut this rant short. Is it me or is this NaBloPoMo starting off rough?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

NaBloPoMo 2014: Time to Face the Change

Tomorrow is time change but that's not the change I am talking about. This month begins the ninth year of Just Jules as well as my 7th year of NaBloPoMo. Each year, my thought process goes like this, ''Why do I do this blog challenge? There's no point, its really just for me to say I did it...again. I am not going to do it again.'' and then like a moth to the flame........here I am writing a blog.

So it begins, my 7th year of throwing my hat in the  NaBloPoMo ring. Let's see how this goes writing a blog everyday. My friend Melanie gave me a journal for my one year anniversary at work this week and it has some great prompts. Definitely will be using some of those this month.

Now for the ch ch changes ( singing that song in my head)

After years of pondering it and mulling over the switch, this will be my last day ( hopefully...barring me playing computer geek gone awry) on Blogger. Last year, I was editing my blog to add something and messed up my code. This has prevented my readers from reading a large portion of my archives. Archives that hold our story as a family, stories that help others facing trials. I asked on the Google help site for help and it fell on deaf ears.

So I migrated my site to Wordpress, created a cute theme and re-directed my domain to that site....or so I thought. Apparently, I really did a doozy redirecting my domain. So right now you can still see Just Jules in its former glory. Hopefully tomorrow you will see it in its new fashion....I hope and pray. I backed up my site in two places, so I have my blogs but this change was scary enough before I decided to play computer tech.

''It's so easy" I thought to myself and the hosting site made it seem. I have done this for others before...right? WRONG.

So the first day of NaBloPoMo starts with a bang...let's see how this goes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Product Review: Younique Mascara

My friend Christy has been posting all over Facebook for the last several months about this ''wonder'' mascara. I was curious about this mascara that she was raving about and sharing videos of on her timeline.

Truth be told, I am not a big makeup user or wearer. My nickname isn't Messy Moose for nothing, I am not a makeup wonder more like a makeup nightmare. I have little to no eyelashes not even an eyelash curler can help me. For the last couple of years, I have been using ''They're Real'' by Benefit for mascara. I have been pretty happy with it until I saw this product online. Now some are into using false eyelashes, for me I would end up with something that could rival  an episode ''I Love Lucy''

A few weeks ago, Christy sent me a message on Facebook asking if I would write a blog for her and review the product. I jumped at the chance!! I could finally try this mascara for myself and see what its all about. Christy's mom Janeen is one of my special friends, our family's connected in so many ways and part of a circle of amazing women.

Funny enough, Christy's mom and I met through our mutual love of the Bachelor during Travis Stork, M.D.'s season. Yesterday on his show the Doctor's they did a review of the product: http://www.thedoctorstv.com/videos/magic-mascara



Needless to say, I love Christy's family so much that I would do anything for them, including sharing my Messy makeup ways in a product review.....the product is amazing, the operator not so much.

Christy sent me: Mood Struck Minerals Pigment Powder in Sexy  and Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes



Admittedly, I was hesitant about the product. I worried how would I get it off? The mascara washes off with warm water and facial cleanser. So that fear was allievated before I even put it on.

Now the first thing I did is watch a video sent by Christy to learn how to apply the product

*I am a real person with real flaws to my skin. I just decided to put myself out there flaws and all with the product standing for itself*

You can click on any product name in this review and be taken to Christy's webpage to buy the product

Before Eye Pigment Sexy only:



Step one: Use your regular mascara to create a base layer

After Step One:

Step Two: Apply Moodstruck Transplanting Gel  to lashes



Step Two Results: 



Step Three Result: 

Messy but amazing still! Remember I am non professional messy makeup girl. 

Final result after adding another layer:


I love this product. Even for a messy girl like me ( believe me, I am constantly having to re-do my under eye because I get it all over myself) it is easy to use and the end result is better than any mascara I have ever used. I love this amazing 3D mascara.


Are you ready to try the product yourself? Maybe make a better review than mine? I would love to see you try it yourself. So much better than regular mascara and false lashes. You can buy the product here in the special party for Just Jules readers

Christy's Webpage: www.lovelaughterlashes.com

They have a 14 day Love It Guarantee on their products. Even better! 



*disclaimer* This was not a paid review but Christy did provide the product for me to use and have. So thank you to Christy for the fun gift.





Happy Birthday Friend Series: Happy Birthday ''Hippie'' Melanie

As you all may know, my children have a penchant for giving my friends nicknames. Two of my friends have ''crazy'' in front of their names. My kids have taken to calling my newest sister of the heart ''hippie'' Melanie. I better take this story back to where it begins, Twitter of course....

When I was moving to Knoxville, I knew my friends Lee,Flavia and the Franklin/Burnett family. By way of one of the NKOTB fans on Twitter Lori, I was introduced to Abbie but she quickly informed me she lived on the other side of Tennessee. In one tweet she mentioned Melani and Sheree telling me they lived in Knoxville too. We quickly introduced and they shared some things about the area that I was moving to. We made plans to have lunch soon after I moved to town.

We had lunch discussing our mutual love of NKOTB, we were immediately friends from the get go. We would talk on Twitter and met for lunch a few times. One day last fall, while meeting for lunch we were discussing how we had an insurance snafu with Marty and how my schedule wasn't working out for my family. They told me that I should come apply at their employer, it would be a good fit for me and my schedule. I had heard all about the benefits of their job but didn't even know what they did! Two weeks later, I knew it was the perfect fit for me and a great career move.

Melani was there for me from day one, meeting me for lunch on my breaks and encouraging me along the way. For the past year in her corner office, we have had some great times, we have cried together, laughed together, worried together, talked about our dogs and talked about a lot of NKOTB. I think the people who work near her office wonder what we do in there?

Melani has helped me out this past year in so many ways. She has rescued me when my car broke down ( last week she drove me to work almost all week). Helped take Conner to Explorers when Marty and I were working.

Last summer when I went to a New Kids concert all by myself, Melani made sure to come check on me at every break. She and Sheree didn't want me to be alone at the show, they made sure I had company.

Melani is more than a friend, she is family to us in Tennessee. ( Sheree too)

Sometimes friendship is effortless and easy, you just click and that's the end of that. The best thing is that this summer she was able to meet some of my other SOH's in Vegas. I love that she met Lindsey, Gena and Andrea people from my life in California. How cool is that?

She and Sheree hung out with Lindsey one night in Vegas which was amazing. I love that my friends got to spend time together. Now they're friends too.



Melani has shown me selfless friendship this past year. She is a giving and loving person, I only hope to be half the friend she is to me in return. She has helped me learn the kind of friend I want to be and see selflessness in action. She has given me far more than I have given in return. Truly a blessing to our entire family.

Sometimes you move and you wonder why? I know why I ended up in Tennessee, I know why I am at the job I am at and I know my life wouldn't be the same without Melani. I thank God for her each and every day.

Happy birthday Melani, praying for a wonderful year filled with nothing but happiness. Maybe we will get to live our dream of seeing NKOTB together this year.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Book Review: Watch Out Hollywood, More Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child

Today I am back with author Maria Lennon discussing her new book ''Watch Out Hollywood, More Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child'' the follow up to her best selling ''Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child''



In the second book ( link here with title) Charlie tells a ''white lie'' that hurts her friend Marta. Charlie is torn between her own desires and wanting what is best for Marta. Hollywood dreams for Charlie and Olympic dreams for Marta are the center story line in this book.

Jules: Maria, it is so good to have you back. I cannot tell you how honored I was that you remembered our interview from last year and wanted to come back. I loved the first book so I was thrilled to hear there was a follow-up. Charlie is back in all of her tween glory learning some tough life lessons. How has life changed since the last time we spoke? What's new?

Maria: Hi Jules, I’m so happy to be back. You are one of my all-time favorite bloggers. You totally got Charlie and shared my weird fascination with 70’s Olympic Gymnasts, which is pretty random. The big bummer of the year was I broke my wrist on the way to volunteering in my son’s kindergarten class and had surgery so that meant making sandwiches for four kids with one hand. That was a major bummer. Then I met a woman in physical therapy who broke both wrists at the same time and I felt kind of lucky.



Jules: Growing up what were your favorite books? This book reminds me a lot of Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. I see a lot of Harriet in Charlie. She is off beat, has her own style and thought processes different than most girls her age. Harriet was one of my favorite heroines in my youth.  

Maria: Again you nailed it—Harriet the Spy was a huge inspiration. I loved, loved, loved watching her get mad, make mistakes, get it wrong and then discover her own path. I try to do that with Charlie—show how mistakes become opportunities for growth.



Jules: Okay Maria.....seriously....you're killing me with the Romanian gymnast stuff.  I spent from 1984 to 1988 pretending I was Nadia Comenanci or Teadora Ungreano daily with my friend Christena. Then I had a Romanian best friend in high school. My friend Flavia ( who is Romanian) tells me that I am Romanian by osmosis. Where did you get this Romanian story line?

Maria:
It’s just one of those moments in time that is burned in my memory. My father calling me into his room and telling me I had to see this gymnast who was unlike anything he’d ever seen before. So we all gathered to watch the tiny, determined little Nadia on the beam, the floor, the rings doing things that looked impossibly perfect. The only other time that happened was when he said the same thing about a little kid by the name of Michael Jackson.

Jules: Speaking of my friend Christena, she was my partner in crime. I am going to send her this book because it is SO us. Alternative dressing girls who told white lies all the time. We both just wanted to be liked and be cool sometimes to our own detriment. Would you agree white lies are rampant in junior high? Did you ever tell a white lie to be liked? Charlie just wants to be liked but she also wants to do the right thing.

Maria:
See, Jules, here’s the thing: White lies are the fabric of life.  Most adults tell them all the time about everything. Someone says: Do I look fat in this? No, of course you don’t. Was the meal good? Wonderful. And kids pick up on this faster than a sponge picks up bacteria. Seriously. And then we spend a lot of time covering our tracks. This is what Charlie does. She tells a lie she doesn’t think is a big deal, she convinces herself it’s not a big deal and when she learns that it is, well, she goes nuts trying to make it go away.
I’m sure I lied when I was a kid, what kid doesn’t? But I was always horrible at it. Got caught before the lie left my mouth. I’d rather rip the Band-Aid off fast by telling the ugly truth then slowly with the white lie. Plus it’s way to hard to remember the lie.

Jules: I love these books because you heavily feature the Laurel Canyon area where you live. I just think it is awesome to see a young girl growing up in So.Cal in writing. Everyone knows ''someone'' on television and wants to be in the industry growing up. I had a few friends growing up that had headshots and were always going to auditions. Does this come from your own youth or from experiences with your daughters?

Maria: Thank you. What I love about Laurel Canyon is that it is very old school LA—you’ve got the rockers, the hippies, the actors but they’re not the flashy actors like Ton Cruise. People like Joachim Phoenix live up here. Trent Reznor, and James Gandolfini had a house here. He used to walk his dog in his boxer shorts. Most of the people here are into their art and not their fame. Their houses are falling apart like the rest of ours, their kids go to the local public school and they do their best to maintain their privacy and be a part of the community. Until pretty recently flashy cars, fake boobs and lips weren’t to be seen. But things are changing. Developers are coming. I’m a third generation LA girl so I stay clear of Hollywood J But a lot of kids go out on auditions, there are casting calls all the time at the local public school (Happy Canyon) and most of the middle and high schools offer cinematic arts. We have a lot of friends who are actors and my children see how hard it is on the soul to be rejected so consistently. They have no interest in perusing it.


Jules: I noticed the ending was a bit of a cliffhanger? Can we expect more from Charlie and Marta? 

Maria: Oh yeah and the canyon and Bobby….


Jules: Have you ever thought about writing a book from Marta's point of view? I would be just as interested to see a more human side to Marta.

Maria: Yes! Yes! Yes! I love Marta and in this book I love the way she deals with being manipulated, with being hurt and ditched. I’d like her to go to the Olympics in Beijing and free some political prisoners like I Wei- Wei. She’s so funny and of course has zero tact. Not that Charlie has much tact either.

Jules: I cannot thank you enough for coming back to chat with me and for the lovely inscription in the book.  I can't wait to see what you come up with next. Thanks for speaking with me today, keep me posted on the future adventures of Charlie Cooper.


Maria: Thank you for having me and loving the characters and all that you do for kids and books!

You can buy the book on:





About Maria Lennon:



Maria T. Lennon is a graduate of the London School of Economics, 
a novelist, and an established screenwriter. She has lived in New York, 
Genova, Paris, and London and currently resides with her family in Los 
Angeles, California. You can visit her online at www.mariatlennon.com



*disclaimer: This isn't a paid review, I just really like Maria and she likes me enough to send me a copy of her book. She didn't ask me to review the book, she just wanted me to have a copy.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

MTTMB Series: The House That Built Me

The Music that Takes Me Back Series started as a way to work through my PTSD surrounding my birthday. This year, I found myself not needing to write as many of these and actually finally at peace about my birthday. For the first time since 9/11/01, I looked forward to my birthday once again.

Today is the day, I choose to affirm life, embrace life and celebrate life. As a person who lives to serve others, this is the day that my tank gets filled back up with love from others. Spurs me on to give what I receive.

The last blog in the series has been brewing for awhile but haven't had time to post it.

The House that Built Me
By Miranda Lambert




Today is the day, I wish that I could walk in this door, call out to Grandma and Gramps, walk around the corner to see them sitting at their little table in the kitchen. Then we could move to the big table so more people could come sit and chat.


A house built around love, friends and family. A tiny 3 bedroom track home that had one bathroom shared at times by over twenty people! A house that raised five children, fourteen grandchildren and three great grandchildren before it was sold.



A house that on Friday nights ten little girls laid on the floor watching TGIF eating Little Ceasar's pizza, falling asleep on pallets made of afghans while listening to the ticking of the Regulator clock. Waking up on Saturday morning, where Grandma would let us walk to the store to buy breakfast and we could buy junk, which she indulged us in. 






A house that held wedding parties, anniversary parties, bridal showers, baby showers,holidays and countless birthday parties all around a large oval table in the dining room. '' Around the table memories are made'' is a sign hanging in my house. It is so I can remember all the memories made around this table.









A house with a big pool in the backyard where little girls and boys played Mc Donald's drive thru in the spa. Where friends came and gathered around the patio while we opened birthday presents at summer birthday parties.

A bed were all the babies took naps surrounded by pillows in Grandma's room or where we went to lay with her as she watched tv in the afternoons. A bed that I now sleep in every night.

Two large custom built picnic tables that seated
the entire family during summer dinners, Thanksgivings and for parents to sit and watch the kids in the pool. It was a house teeming with life,family and love. Friends were always welcome, just walk in the door and say hello.







A house that we said goodbye to Grandma and Grandpa eight weeks apart and later that year said goodbye to the house itself. Can an inanimate object be grieved, absolutely it can. We all drive by and wish we could go in and sit for a spell. The House that Built Me








A block down, a house with the same layout, that raised a small family of three kids. The house I stayed in Monday thru Friday. Where I ate breakfast at a small table in the kitchen in naugahyde bucket chairs. Where I slept curled up in my Gramie's back after my Kankad died, running my feet across cool sheets. The house I spent sick days from school in and learned to roller skate in the front driveway. A sidewalk I rode my bike up and down endlessly. A house that I can still call home, that I can still walk into and see my little brass soldier and ballerina sitting in the window above the sink.

A house that saw much grief and sadness, death and turmoil. A house where on the front porch one of the worst moments of my life happened.




A house with a beautiful, prize rose garden lined the front walk overflowing in the summer months. The back yard with its large orange tree with oranges falling to the ground. The first address and phone number I knew by heart.


The home I still can go to and walk into the past. Another house that built me.

If you come to stay with us, you will experience the effects of those homes. How I keep house, How I host guests, the welcoming nature of opening your doors to friends.

 Thankful for the homes the built me.