The moment I accepted my life was a beautiful, chaotic, sometimes a little-messy-but-always-entertaining circus was the moment I felt a true release.

There's no sense in fighting the madness, but I've picked up a few tricks to keep the show going along the way.

I hope they work as well for you as they have [and still do] for me.

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maybe in a past life..

Do you believe in past lives? I believe in past lives.  I believe that while the heart of your soul goes on to an afterlife when you pass, a part of your soul carries on from life to life.

It’s my belief that there’s things we just can not explain here in this life, things we may not ever fully understand about ourselves, because they possibly could have been a part of a past life. Have you ever been drawn to certain things but aren’t sure why? Maybe have a deep connection to a certain city – even though you’ve never been there, or a secret fascination you can’t recall when it started, or possibly an innate habit not even your parents can tell you how it started?

I catch glimpses of what my past lives could have been almost every day in my writings, when day dreaming, in subtle actions. I can always ramble off a list of possible past lives and occupations. A circus performer …. a gypsy …. a daughter of the Gilded Age. All of these (and many others) I am drawn to in this life, for one reason or another, although none can I fully explain as to why. It’s a feeling – a whispered answer, that I can barely make out, to questions that I didn’t even know existed. Like when you go somewhere and realize you’ve already been there but can’t recall when. A true to the bone instance of déjà vu. Is it a meme from a past life or simply coincidence? My vote is a meme.

 Who knows, maybe in a past life I was a part of The Greatest Show On Earth or a band of gypsies or a New England summer-er. That could quite possibly explain a lot.

What about you? What do you think you could have been in a past life?

photo: pinterest

how i got to where i’m at [part 2]

.. the continuation of  part 1  ..

Have you ever had one of those nights where you just went out like a champ? I mean like you really thought you were a Rock Star. I was so tired of being worried and confused, all it took was a little “Come on J – it’ll be like old times – before all the grown up stuff got in the way.” and I was dressed, out the door & on my way to the Square.

Needless to say – that night I did forget all my worries. And a couple of other things while I was at it. And I ended up being taken home & put to bed by my dear friend, AJ, at 4:30 that morning. Now I tell you all of this because of the following: Two hours later, at approximately 6:30 a.m., I sat straight up in my bed, wide awake. My mind was [surprisingly] clear and there was only one thought – one word – on it.


That’s it. Nothing else. Just Charleston. Charleston, South Carolina. Charlestowne. CHAAAAAARLESTON. I sat in bed thinking:

  • A. How am I even functioning right now?
  • B. How had I not thought about Charleston before?
  • C. There’s a reason this is happening – one of those intuition / may not know why just yet but you better pay attention to it types of reasons.

I had been to Charleston when I was in the 2nd grade on a family visit. We went to Fort Sumter. I didn’t remembered anything about the area except for a picture taken of me here. I had pigtails and I was laughing. Minus the fact that the only person I knew who lived in Charleston was only nice to me because his parents made him be nice to me, I figured if push came to shove, I could call – even if we didn’t exactly get along. Those two things mixed with the intensity of concentrated feeling I had felt that morning all seemed like a pretty solid foundation to me. 

The process began again all over again. In May I flew out for interviews and to get reacquainted with the area. I was hell-bent on doing it by myself (just as I had in Miami) so I flew in, rented a car, and got a room in a hotel close to the airport. *I’m not even going to say what hotel I stayed at, but I will say – it was a miracle I wasn’t scared away by staying there. I had two interviews at a large resort in the area (which will remain nameless as well) that both went very well and two more that sounded quite hopeful. Overall,

It was an incredible trip for me. I had found it. I had found the place I was destined to move. There was a reason I woke up with Charleston on my mind that one fateful morning, and this was it!

About mid-July, the large resort where I had a prospective job stopped returning my calls and emails. The other two hopefuls had been filled as my moving date had been pushed back a month. So pretty much: I had no job prospect nor did I have a place to live. awesome. Regardless, I was going to make this happen. I just was. Thankfully I had money saved up from the wreck I told you about in part 1 — I guess things really do happen for a reason — so I sat down to have a talk with my Father about the most reasonable / least reckless way to make this situation work.

Together we came upon the decision that I would drive out to Charleston, stay in an extended stay hotel (cheaper rates for longer stays) for two weeks. If I found a job, I could find a place to live. If not, I get back in my truck, drive back home to West Tennessee, regroup and go from there. That seemed like a logical idea to me. Still rather reckless but at least a bit conscious of my resources.

And so I packed up my beat up old SUV and hit the road. I didn’t have a GPS or smart phone or even MapQuest directions. I had a good ol’ Rand McNally Atlas and simply knew there were a few major cities I had to hit. I arrived in Charleston on July 31 and went straight to my extended stay hotel. It had been a long drive and I had to hit the streets hard starting early that next morning.

The first couple of days are all a blur. On day 2 I ended up in a place called Folly Beach when I was trying to get to an area called West Ashley. No bueno. The realization of moving to a place all alone was starting to set in around Day 4. Luckily the staff and most of the residents at the extended stay suites soon became my impromptu support system. When I would return in the evenings I would be asked by everyone how the day went and when I left in the mornings I was sent off by high fives and good lucks. They even helped on the job hunt, asking around for whatever was available in the area. It was amazing having that unexpected support.

In summary: I did find a job that first week I was there. On Day 5 I was offered a job with the company I still currently work for. (I started on Monday, Day 8.) And you know what that meant …. I could then find a place to live! So the second week was spent seeking out different rooms for rent (Craigslist = the for Roommates) until finally landing one on that Thursday. Score!

I took my time moving things out of my hotel that weekend. It was bittersweet. Those were two fairly pivotal weeks in my life, and even though I was incredibly excited for all that sat before me, I was a little sad to leave my new-found support system that helped me get to this point. I did it. I really really did it. I drove out here with only enough things to last me for two weeks, with no job, no place to live, no real friends, and somehow …. in some crazy mystical way …. it all worked out. There really was a reason I woke up at 6:30 that morning. And this was it. Right here. Right in this city by the sea.

This city by the sea that 4 years later ….. I still call home.



how i got to where i’m at [part 1]


This city by the sea wasn’t my first choice, ya know. It’s actually a little off beat how I landed here. Some people think the story is fun and exciting, others find it crazy / borderline irresponsible. At the time I was with the fun and exciting crowd, however looking back I understand the crazy / borderline irresponsible point of view. But alas- here is where I landed and here is where I still am today. Curious as to how I got here? Well, let me tell you a little story about that …..

It all started the summer before my 5th year of college [yes, it took me 5 years to graduate – back off]. Of course I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew one thing for sure: I wanted to live by the Ocean. I’d always wanted to live by the Ocean. I also wanted something different. Something pushing the limits of my comfort zone. Throw all of that into a hat and the only reasonable location presented itself: Hawaii. (North Shore, Oahu, to be exact.)

I started buying books about Hawaii – a place I’d never even been- and doing copious amounts of research online. My family knew my plan and I had began contacting resorts in the area to let them know Jennie B was on her way. Then I got the call from my Father. They had found the cancer in his body. Hawaii was no longer an option. There was no way I was going to put an entire Ocean and half the country between me and my Father. *and I’m so very grateful I made this decision.

The last half of 2006 went by in a blur. Hawaii was no more, my Father was going through chemotherapy, and I somehow ended up being the meat of a three car sandwich – which caused me to have surgery to have my nose put back in the middle of my face. I was exhausted and I was running out of time. I had no idea where the wind was going to take me, and so I researched a little here and there and as Winter started to arrive in the deep south, I began to settle on a new destination: MIAMI!!!!!!!! …. go ahead & say it with me now: ¡ Bienvenidos a Miami …. ay ay ayyy!

 A new plan of attack was launched. I spent the first few months of 2007 filling out countless job applications, sending resumes, contacting hotels, resorts (I was focusing on high-end Customer Relations / Spa management.) and pretty much anything else that sounded remotely interesting. By the time March arrived, I had 7 interviews lined up at various resorts, and a few other places, for the week of my Spring Break. *Yes, I spent my last official Spring Break job hunting – in Miami – but job hunting, none the less. To say I was nervous is a gross understatement. These were legitimate “big girl” jobs in a huge city, and here I was a small-town country girl, so far beyond out of my league at that moment in time, trying to take that next step. I needed to make something big happen. I really really needed it. And well, something(s) happened all right …..

  • I had a serious panic attack when I got off the plane in Miami. (In my rental car, I quickly popped in my Carly Simon’s Greatest Hits cd I’d brought for back up and turned it to the ultimate Working Girl song: Let the River Run. *If Tess McGill could pull it off – I could too!)
  • My interviews ranged all across the board from good to bad.
  • I got lost more times than I can count.
  • I was reminded countless times that I don’t speak proper Spanish. (That was a big black mark on my applications.)
  • I was offered 2 different jobs.
  • I was told to contact 2 more when I moved there.
  • I fell even more in love with the city in my time spent wandering around.
  • I was able to spend time with my Uncle and Aunt who lived in Ft. Lauderdale at the time.
  • I didn’t get upset in any interviews – not even the worst one (which was the last one) when the guy basically insinuated I was a moron because I grew up in a small, country town, and that high end guests wouldn’t appreciate such a strong, distinctive accent. (RUDE.)
  • But then came the icing on the cake: after my last (and worst) interview, I got lost for 1 1/2 hours in the not so great part of Little Havanna.

By the time I got back to my hotel, I was done. The city I loved had officially kicked my ass and I had learned whatever lesson it had set out to teach me. I wasn’t ready. It was too big of a leap for me to go from where I was, straight to Miami. As much as I loved the city – the vibe – the culture – everything – I just wasn’t ready for that big of a move.

I returned from my Spring Break with a wealth of knowledge under my belt. I had survived not only the city, the reality check, but also my first round of  “grown up” interviews. I was proud of myself for all of that. But at the same time, I was more lost, confused, and under time-sensitive pressure than before I’d left. This time I really had NO clue what to do, where I was going to live, nothing. I’d already put so much into my first two choices that had completely bombed ….. I was nervous to even pick a new destination.

After a month of sheer confusion, worry, and doubt of my future, one fateful night in late April I did the only thing which seemed practical at the time. I caved at the request of friends, threw all worries to the wind, and I went out …… and I went out like a champ …….

{ to be continued }

[source, source, source]

sassy starter : road trip check list

Posted in gypsy, Sassy Starter

I think I’ve found the best Road Trip Check List I’ve ever seen.

*Even better than some of mine.


Summer’s not over yet, you know. There’s still plenty of time to hit the road.

And come on …. who doesn’t love a good Road Trip?!

What would your check list look like?


When you need a little more than a smile or a cup of tea to get your week in motion, the Sassy Starter will be here every Monday to get your wheels turnin’ in a classy – sassy – fabulous sort of way

{ bon anniversaire }

my beat up, old suv was packed with enough clothes for 2 weeks.
i didn't know if i was running away from something or towards something.
then i crossed the double diamond bridge, close to where the two rivers meet.
that's when it all started.
four years later .... the fire & passion are still thriving.
and even though we argue sometimes, and i worry if the love is gone,
this city by the sea still captivates me.

photo: etsy
and i'm reminded that some love affairs are just worth it.
{ bon anniversaire to this city by the sea & me }
thank you for 4 amazing years.
cheers to many many more.

Persian Poetry.

I could spend hours pouring through the various translations of Omar Khayyam’s poems. Originally written in Persian, the most famous translation is by Edward FitzGerald titled The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.

Omar wrote about 1,000 poems and FitzGerald translated (and re-translated) hundreds of them in his 5 edition collection, in the 19th century. Various other translations have been derived throughout the years – each offering a glimpse of varying interpretations for both the reader and the translators.

On this lovely little Thursday, I thought I’d share a few of Omar’s poems with you.  Enjoy!

Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring 
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling: 
The Bird of Time has but a little way 
To flutter–and the Bird is on the Wing.


With them the seed of Wisdom did I sow, 
And with mine own hand wrought to make it grow; 
And this was all the Harvest that I reap’d– 
“I came like Water, and like Wind I go.”


Then to the lip of this poor earthen Urn
I lean’d, the Secret of my Life to learn:
And Lip to Lip it murmur’d–“While you live
Drink!–for, once dead, you never shall return.”


We are no other than a moving row 
Of Magic Shadow-shapes that come and go 
Round with the Sun-illumined Lantern held 
In Midnight by the Master of the Show.


All of the above are translations from FitzGerald, with the following interpretation from Len Bracken’s Persian Love. (It’s one of my top 3 favorites!)

Drink wine, it’s what remains of the harvest of youth—the season of roses and wine and drunken friends. Be happy for a moment, that moment’s your life.

Now isn’t that quite the thought to send you off for the weekend? I think so, too. To read more of Omar’s poetry you can pick up a copy on Amazon, scroll through FitzGerald’s translations here, or take a look at Bracken’s interpretations here.

:: love & magic ~ jennie b ::

*Fun fact: If you have seen the movie Unfaithful, the Len Bracken verse above is the one Connie reads from the book Paul directed her to pick up, read, and take with her.

photos: bing

21st Century Scheherazade

Scheherazade. The story of the Storyteller. The tale of a Persian Queen. The saga of 1,001 nights. Have you heard the famed tale of the woman by the name of Scheherazade? Here’s a brief summary..

Legend goes that the Persian King, Shahryar, would wed a new virgin every day, while every morning having the previous day’s wife beheaded. (He was doing this in spite of his first wife who was caught cheating on him.) One day the vizier’s daughter, Scheherazade, volunteered to be the King’s next wife. Unbeknownst to the King, Scheherazade had studied the books in the libraries and was well versed in many different subjects and stories left by Kings passed. On the first night they were together, Scheherazade began telling the King one such story, yet did not finish it due to dawn’s arrival. Because the King was so interested and wanted to hear the end of her story he spared her life. The next night Scheherazade completed her first story and began a second one. Again she did not finish, leaving the King curious, and her life to be sparred for one more day. This went on for 1,001 nights. On the last night Scheherazade told the King she had no more stories to tell him. The King, having fallen in love and trust with Scheherazade by this time, did not send her to be beheaded and instead lived out the rest of his life with his new Queen. Queen Scheherazade.

[photo: wiki-commons]

Interesting, no? The story of how a woman saved her life day by day simply by telling her stories. By using her allure – her wit – her knowledge – her creativity – her feminine wiles.

I love the story of Scheherazade – for many different reasons – but mainly because I, too, am a storyteller. Always have been …. and the chances are pretty solid I always will be. Doesn’t really matter what type of story –  Fictional – Factual – Fable – you name it – I have told and do tell them all when prompted. Granted, I’ve never had to tell my stories to save my life, but it must be said they’ve gotten me out of a pickle or two along the way.

There’s just something about stories, any kind of stories, that reaches out and pulls me in. It’s all so absolutely, fanatically fascinating. I often catch myself saying “Tell me a story.” when there seems to be nothing left to say in conversation.

I simply believe every thing has a story (or two) to share, accompanied by the desire to share it. It’s a part of nature. And so you see, we’re all a fashion of Scheherazade in some form. We’re all linked by some thread – even if tiny – to the Persian Queen. She’s a part of us… most storytellers often are.


For more information visit Wikipedia entries: Scheherazade & One Thousand and One Nights

sassy starter : much more fun

Posted in gypsy, Sassy Starter


When you need a little more than a smile or a cup of tea to get your week in motion, the Sassy Starter will be here every Monday to get your wheels turnin’ in a classy – sassy – fabulous sort of way

photo credit: IMDb