Bulk Buys, Spending Patterns & Awkward Jean

ImageMy name is Jean and I love Costco. I have loved Costco for so long I can’t remember when the trips first started. I don’t buy snacks for the soccer team, nor do I feed a bottomless pit of a teenager. I am a single woman, with a cat, and an unapologetic love of bulk purchases. Specifically at Costco — they have fabulous finds at excellent prices. I often think I’ll buy some landscaping there or perhaps upgrade the counters in my kitchen, maybe even new tires come winter…

In reality I buy five things:

  • Alcohol (Wine mostly. Apothic Red @ $7.99 a bottle I’m talking to you!)
  • Produce (Spinach, apples, brussel sprouts and beets — those four items are basically all you need to create just about anything worth having.)
  • Coffee (Random Jean Fact: I’ve loved coffee since I was a wee child. Six year old Jean would negotiate with my mom to have coffee for dessert instead of say, actual dessert. True story.)
  • Books (Who don’t love a deal on some books? Heathens, that’s who.)
  • Beauty Products (Namely contact solution, lotion and razors — we’ve previously established my need for hair removal, razors ain’t cheap. And some Oil of Olay is how I keep this youthful glow! Oh, and seriously solution is a huge cost savings there.)

On any given trip I will spend between $100-$125. It’s like Target, only fewer cart items that hold a longer-lasting yield (well, except maybe the wine…)

AND, Costco is a great company. One of the rare monster-conglomerates that I can actually feel good about giving my business to. If you don’t believe me check out this article (click on the word article — I’m getting very techy these days, before you know it my moniker will be Impressive Jean as opposed to Awkward Jean). 

All that said, I was at Costco last week picking up a few things (in this particular case: red wine, spinach, coffee, a book and a candle — sometimes I get adventurous) and I needed to renew my membership. Now… I feel like I always need to justify paying $55 a year to support my Costco addiction as I always feel a bit ridiculous about what I buy there — I realize the “big box retailers” weren’t created to cater to an audience of one (plus cat) but… I just love it so much I say to heck with the fee — I deserve some frivolous rewards just like anyone else and by god mine is COSTCO! Sooo… I renewed my membership. Easy, breezy — simple to do and I was off to shop!

Upon gathering my goods (after like 45 minutes of meandering and planning all the things I was totally gonna get someday when I finally focused on using my membership to its fullest), I went to the checkout lines. Everything was going pretty much according to routine until the young man checking me out said: 

I think I’ve checked you out before, and may have already asked you this…

Um. Okay. (He’s soooo judging my cart!)

I see you just renewed your membership, did anyone talk to you about upgrading to the Executive Membership? Do you mind if I scan your card to show you something?

Um. Okay. (Oh god. Is he adding up all the wine to convince me it’s cheaper to buy it by the case? Enabler.)

Just what I thought. You see (mumble, mumble, heart racing, kinda missed the details)Because you see, you spent over $1200 here in the last year and with your spending patterns you’d be actually SAVING money if you spent more on the upgraded membership. For another $45 I can do that for you right now?

Um. ($1200 on wine, books, spinach, coffee and grooming???? Yeah, I guess that probably sounds about right… I mean, I DO read a lot…) I’m good right now (how did spending more save me money again?), but I’ll definitely think about it.

So, it appears as though my “spending habits” have green-lighted me for the elite (more expensive-money saving) Executive Costco Membership… Take that Soccer Moms! **Dear Lord Baby Jesus, PLEASE let me join their ranks some day, Amen** And suddenly, upon learning I was using it to its fullest degree, my single lady Costco membership doesn’t seem so frivolous. Hmm, guess that means I can start looking for a new frivolous reward… 

XOXO — Awkward (Costco) Jean




Is that the (EXPLETIVE) anchor?

I’ve had a request for some Throwback Thursday posts… These are intended more for my challenge of writing some every day for a month, but… It’s Thursday, I feel like writing… seems like as good a time to start as any. So… here we go… 

Picture it, September of 2012. A pristine day high up in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, not a cloud in the sky and a refreshing summer crisp in the air — perfect for a little lake fishing during our annual girls’ weekend with my friends Kim and Melissa. Now, one thing you all need to know about Awkward Jean is that I’m VERY athletic (*fine print: only when drinking) and super outdoorsy (*fine print: only when drinking heavily) so I was pretty sure I was going to be awesome at the day’s events. 

Mistake #1: We rented a row boat. Melissa, who was hosting the girls’ weekend, had assured us that the power boats were not only overrated, but also way more spendy. (Dear Future Jean — Always question when people say something is too much money. In this case it was another $5. Not per person, total. Fail.) So we rented a row boat. 

Mistake #2: Everyone assumed Jean (who is a. awkward by nature and b. stone-cold sober, i.e. unathletic, at this time) knew how to get into a boat. Well… Picture a clumsy blonde girl in wedge flip flops stepping directly onto the seat of the boat with one leg and leaving the other leg on the dock as the sudden movement of this not-so-graceful leg-plunk forces the boat to drift (think Van Damme-esque splits).

Mistake #3: “WHAT ARE YOU DOING??!!!” “Get IN. THE. BOAT.” “Oh my god, she’s gonna fall in.” “SERIOUSLY!! GET IN!” “FALL!!” (why are they all yelling at me??) All I heard was “FALL”. So I did. I’m an excellent faller. Excellent! Lacking athleticism I went into self-preservation mode and flung myself into the bottom of that row boat. And like many good falls, there was a casualty. I sort of flung myself down on top of Melissa, who was already in the boat, bringing her down with me. Hard.

At this point Melissa and Kim are laughing so hard they are crying, the boat is shaking up waves and the peace of the once calm fishing lake is irrevocably disturbed.  And I’m barely able to get myself into a seated position. This is when they made a rule. I was allowed to sit in ONE SPOT and NOT MOVE the whole trip. Fine by me — I cracked open a beer. 

Mistake #4: My ONE SPOT that I could NOT MOVE from happened to be in a rather inopportune location.  After a rough start, and finally kicking off from the dock, we (they) rowed us out to the other side of this breathtaking lake (I ate my sandwich and drank beer). We found a good spot to claim as our fishing hole and it was time to throw the anchor and cast our lines. Which brings us back to Mistake #4: My ONE SPOT that I could NOT MOVE from happened to be where the anchor was located.

Not being allowed to get up or move it was slightly challenging for me to get the anchor thrown, but desperate to redeem myself I managed to grab hold of it and give it a rather skilled toss overboard (I was about a beer in, so Athletic Jean was beginning to take shape). 

“JEAN!! YOUR –” (scramble, scramble, Melissa at my feet grabbing some rope that was wrapped around my… Oh.) “The anchor line was wrapped around your ankle! Didn’t you check that? Oh my god Jean… that could have been really bad.”

I know. I could have spilled my beer — we didn’t have a ton out there, what if I ran out? And that’s when I realized I didn’t do something else. 

“Um, guys. I maybe didn’t tie off the anchor.” 

“Shit Jean! Is it there?”

(Turning cautiously) “No. No it’s definitely not there.” (Turns out Mistake #4 was like a three part mistake.)

This is probably when everyone decided to have a beer. Sure it’d been a rough start, but it was such a gorgeous day and the view was breathtaking. The fish weren’t biting, even though I had mad fishing skills, so eventually we decided to row to another spot. Now, I can only share what I witnessed here, but the rowing appeared to be extremely challenging. I mean, Melissa is super athletic (like for realsies) and Kim is really focused and determined and for like 45 minutes we were barely going anywhere. I would have helped but… not being allowed to move it was difficult. So I drank beer and advised on strategy. Things like “Row harder.” “Row faster.” “Make the boat go!” — Yeah, I was pretty helpful and I’m sure they appreciated the support. I especially think they appreciated me when suddenly Melissa leaped from her seat shouting: 

“What is that? WHAT. IS. THAT??!!!” (silence… Melissa leaning over me pointing at the back end of the boat…)

“Is that, the FUCKING ANCHOR??!!!” 

Yes. Yes it was. Hmm, guess I was wrong. Guess it was tied off all that time. Which totally explained why we weren’t going anywhere.

And that’s how, on a breathtakingly gorgeous, pristine day at a quiet fishing lake high in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, I was given a “talking time-out” and was dropped off at the shore… without my beer.

XOXO — Awkward (Throwback Thursday) Jean





The Makeover.


If Hollywood has taught me anything in my thirty-five years, it’s that all you need in order to change your life, is to change your look. True story. SO… I have the new hair… I’ve hung up my signature flip-flops for the cold season… all that seems to be left is the makeup makeover montage.

When my most fabulous stylist Nicole dyed my hair she warned me that I’d likely need to change up my makeup as well. I felt the timing for this was perfect because it was almost time to replace my signature items — bare minerals (light) powder foundation, MAC Expensive Pink eye shadow (my full-cover) and MAC Sketch (my crease-highlight) eye shadow.

Random Jean Fact — I didn’t start wearing makeup daily until I was 25… I’m a solid ten years in, but… I’m a creature of habit and really don’t branch out much when it comes to my routines, so the idea of trying NEW makeup is a bit daunting. It’s not as simple as it looks and makeup is kind of spendy. Luckily, I just received my annual birthday “Not A Smoker” check from my mom, soooo — no excuses, time to branch out.

SIDEBAR: My mom has some pretty nifty tricks up her sleeves — made more impressive by the fact that those tricks were figured out pre-interwebs and definitely pre-Pinterest. When I was about middle-school aged my mom made a deal with me — if I didn’t smoke and I didn’t drink by the time I turned 21 then she’d give me $500 FOR EACH on my 21st birthday. AND, every year following I’d get $100 EACH on my birthday for not drinking and smoking. Suffice it to say I’ve never seen a single cent of that no-drinking money, but I’ve successfully cashed in on being a non-smoker for the last 14 years! Seriously, parents — do this, it’s genius! Thank you mom!

Alas, I took this year’s “Not A Smoker” money up to my local Sephora this last Sunday night and decided to treat myself to a full-on makeover! I was picturing that scene from Miss Congeniality where a whole team of beauticians (or magicians, whatevs) take over and basically remove all the “rough” from the diamond that is Sandra Bullock… Um, yeah. It was probably more like when Julia Roberts hit Rodeo Drive (WITH Richard Gere) and they just kept throwing things at her saying it was all great…

Things I learned during my “makeover” —

1) If you want a makeup artist to actually spend time with you, teach you techniques, apply makeup, etc. then you REALLY need to respect their time and set up an appointment… not walk in 45 minutes before close on a Sunday night. FAIL.

2) Um, yeah… actually it was just that one thing I already mentioned. I don’t know what an actual makeover would have been like in order to learn more because all I ended up with was one of the makeup artists walking me around and trying to give me very broad pointers… OH, and she helped me with my foundation — turns out I’m not a “light”, I’m a “medium”… the “light” is too yellowy for my skin tone, which explains some rather jaundiced looks I’ve given myself in the past.

The makeup artist Loren (picture the cutest, sweetest person alive) focused on changing up my eye shadow routine and kept suggesting I purchase a combo pack palette thingy so that I’d have lots of colors to experiment with. I’ve used the exact same TWO colors, regardless of occasion, for the last three years and yet this fresh-faced, natural makeup-ed woman was trying to convince me that makeup is fun and I can pull off a lot of colors with my skin tone and I should be experimenting and trying different looks for different occasions… Um. Yeah. That’s sooo not my comfort zone Loren… But then, I suppose that’s the point — I’m trying to get out of my comfort zone. And, since I know they don’t work on commission and really thought that this eager-beaver-cheerleader-type REALLY was trying to be helpful and encouraging… I did it. I bought one of the palettes with like 73-colors to play with AND I splurged and bought new makeup brushes too.

(Hyperbole Alert: There were only ten colors… two of which were powder eyeliners, two of which were “highlight colors” -whatever that means- and one of which was the “base”… Sooooo, really there were like five colors… but STILL! That’s 2.5 times as many as I’m use to!)

So, yesterday was my first day with my new colors… I was tempted to do my normal thing (I still have a little left) but… No. I’m branching out. I’m Ally Sheedy, Julia Roberts, Audrey Hepburn… I’ve. Got. This. So, I tried a sort of shiny taupe base with a dark olive metallic crease thingy (sorry, I don’t know the words, I just Googled pictures of what to do) and guess what — nothing catastrophic happened. On the flip side… neither the captain of the wrestling team nor the captain of industry nor the captain of linguistics fell in love with me, but… nothing bad happened. Until today.

The muted success of yesterday’s eye adventure bolstered my confidence. Perhaps to an overly-inflated degree. Today I tried a WHOLE new look. Something Loren hadn’t even thought to suggest! (Dear Future Jean — PLEASE pay attention to things like that… there’s a reason Loren didn’t think to suggest it…) Today I tried the shiny white base with the silvery charcoal crease. Translation: I looked like a frigid snow queen… with glitter all over my face (thank you new makeup brushes I’m not use to yet). AND, to make matters worse, when I saw it was going bad fast, I didn’t stop. I didn’t remove the nightmare on Jean’s face… NO — I decided MY OUTFIT didn’t match my face. So I changed my outfit.

I was a wee embarrassed all day at work because I felt a bit like a soccer mom going through a mid-life crisis and trying something new **Dear Lord Baby Jesus, PLEASE let me join their ranks someday, Amen** but that the new thing just looked like someone trying to dress (my face in this case) younger than she actually is. All day I was worried that I’d run into Original Crush (OC) or that New Crush (NC) would FINALLY invite me to lunch or a drink after work… Heck no! I looked AWFUL! My face was so sparkly from my rogue makeup brush flinging sparkly white powder EVERYWHERE — I looked like a Cullen on a sunny day in Forks for god’s sake! Fortunately (or unfortunately really) I didn’t hear from either OC or NC all day… Until I ran into OC in the kitchen at work at the end of the day…

(Him staring at me; me feeling awkward…)

Yeah, I bought some new makeup this weekend, remember I was telling you about it, and anyway I tried something new today and it didn’t really work and now I have this awful makeup on and glitter everywhere and… 

Actually, I was looking at your roots. 

Oh. Um, right. Well, I guess I just thought you were looking at my makeup because the sparkly eye shadow got all over and… 

Yeah, your makeup is different. You look like a 14 year old girl with that glitter all over your face. Maybe we should get you some of those pants that say ‘JUICY’ on the ass. 

Sometimes I wonder if he hears himself and knows how he comes across, but more importantly… MY ROOTS? UGH! Great! Not only do I have 14 year old “glitter” makeup all over, but now my roots, which are blonde, are coming through and making me look like I have gray hair.


At least another coworker enjoyed my makeup attempts today… every time he needed to tell me something, his emails looked something like this:


Awesome. Well, as my girl Anne Shirley (from Anne of Green Gables) always says “Tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it.” And by “no mistakes”… I kind of mean the white sparkly eye shadow.

XOXO– Awkward (Glitter) Jean

Nothing, Something… Kismet?

It all started with a very bad day, backed up traffic, and a bar (as most good stories do). Those of you who frequent my Facebook page may recall seeing this post: Image

Yep, that’s the night the groundwork was laid for CRUSH to have competition. I work on the 9th floor of a nine-story building and my window has a rather glamorous view of the traffic on the highway headed toward my house. I know exactly what I’m getting into when I leave the office. Well, after a less-than stellar day all I wanted to do was go home, put on my lounging attire, pour a glass of wine (or rip out the bladder from a boxed wine and stab a straw in it Capri Sun style… whatevs) and RELAX. Alas, traffic was seriously backed up and I knew that if I went downstairs to the bar (yes, there’s a bar in my office building, freakin’ awesome) and had a drink then traffic would die down and I could avoid the frustration of sitting in it and still get home at about the same time (hashtag the justifications we tell ourselves)… So I did.

I bellied up to the bar to gossip with the bartender (my girl Shonda) and I ordered a deliciously dirty martini — up. That’s about when I glanced down and noticed him. One of those good ‘ol boys with the sweet eyes and big grin and the kind of arms you just want to curl up into… Especially after a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. 

“Psst! PSSSTTT!! Shonda — who is that guy?” 

“Ooo, I don’t know. I’ll find out.” — And that’s one of the reasons you’ve got to love Shonda.

She then proceeded to make typical bartender small-talk — You in for the livestock show? No? Oh, okay. Meeting people? Yes. Alright. Yeah… closed book, not very talky. Fail. 

Enter 1/2 martini-in Awkward Jean. The guy had just returned from a trip to the restroom, having left his mostly full beer on the bar, and I say, loudly from the opposite end of the bar,

“Hey — you’re pretty brave.” 

“Why’s that?” (Melt a little… so cute… mmm vodka)

“Because you left your beer sitting here in front of strangers. I could have ruffied you you know?”

“Let’s hope so.” (MELT)

So I scooch my way down toward his end of the bar to make small talk — he was meeting some co-workers for a happy hour if any of them ever showed up. No, they don’t typically come here but he’s been before and liked it, soo… here he was… About this time his co-worker (a blonde, bigger girl) walks in and it’s pretty clear we are done talking. UGH. I make my way back down the bar, but occasionally glance down, hoping to maybe make eye contact or get invited into the conversation… No such luck. I order another martini, I can’t leave. I’ve got to talk to this guy more. I try to see if he has a ring — negative. I see she does — sweet, just a co-worker, not a romantic… Wait, they’re leaving… together… Sad. “Water please Shonda.”

But wait! He came back. And we got to talking and we ended up staying for quite a while just joking around, getting to know each other… I tell him I’m normally blonde… about 17 times just in case he was interested in the other girl and liked blondes. I mean, come on… he needs to know. Eventually it was time to go, he asked for my number, walked me to my car, kissed me… Ahhh… suddenly I couldn’t even remember why it’d been such a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. It seemed like a pretty good one to me. He wanted me to text him when I got home, to make sure I made it okay. How sweet. And yet… sour.

What about CRUSH? What was I doing? I’m an idiot. But… this guy was soo… UGH. What about CRUSH? I called CRUSH when I got home, he was sweet and I was remembering why I like him so much… but then the guy from the bar was texting too…

Bar guy and I texted a little that night. And a lot the next day. He told me he Facebook stalked me. I liked that. And, I obviously asked if he liked the blonde hair better than the brown. The answer… 



And that’s the moment when the guy from the bar became NEW CRUSH. I now have ORIGINAL CRUSH (OC) and NEW CRUSH (NC)… What’s a girl to do? 

Well, obviously I had to Facebook/LinkedIn/Google-stalk NC. I already know OC, but this NC is too good to be true… time to get my Magnum PI on! Well, actually… my friends did it for me, but… Well, yeah, that’s actually EXACTLY what Magnum PI would do — I guess I had my very own Rick, TC and Higgins on the case! And, even without his last name and the few tidbits I knew about him they were successful. Well, I guess. The success was bittersweet, because we found his Facebook and on it… We found this:



Kismet Crush Is Married! Kismet Crush Is Married! ABORT! ABORT! ABORT!!

I KNEW it was too good to be true. And here I was rethinking the whole ORIGINAL CRUSH and oh my gosh… Homewrecker! And he seemed so nice and… Wait. How come there are zero pictures on his FB indicating he’s married… or posts for that matter… Maybe, well, maybe it’s complicated? What’s a girl to do?? Crazy cyber-stalk mode. THAT’S what a girl’s to do. 

So we did. My crew and I dug up ALL sorts of things… most of which ended up being the wrong person and some of which were unclear at best… Finally I had to go to Defcon 5 of Detective Mode — I had to just ask him.

Yes, he’s married but separated, divorce is imminent (still not really sure what that means) and he understands if I don’t want to talk anymore. So… he was honest. And thoughtful. And understanding. He tells me I’m beautiful and sexy and fun. He says he’s quite taken with me and can’t stop thinking about me. He says he wants to see me again. And he texts all day, every day since we met. And he knew the word kismet… and used it. Damn.

So, that’s the story of how Awkward Jean ended up with two CRUSHES, both of whom appear to be equally unavailable. Seems to be my lot in life. I guess this is one of those stories that is destined TO BE CONTINUED… I think NC reads the blog, I know OC doesn’t. I don’t know if I’m supposed to pursue either one or neither or tell them anything about the other or what, but then… I’m Awkward Jean. If I knew how best to handle these situations, I suppose there wouldn’t be a blog, now would there? Currently accepting advice. And hoping if either of them are reading… I didn’t just ruin a whole lot of maybe. 

XOXO — Awkward (Oversharing) Jean

Sticky Rice, Raw Fish, and Awkward Jean


My second officially sanctioned adventure was to attend a cooking class. I chose a sushi course to take as opposed to a more traditional offering because, let’s face it — who wants to be the one to taste self-taught sushi??? See, I told you the brown hair is making me really smart!

After searching online I signed up for a class at the Culinary Center of Kansas City (which is actually located in Overland Park, but whatevs). The class was scheduled from 6:30-9pm on a Monday night — Challenge #1. It was also the Monday following the turning back of the clocks… and it getting uber-dark, uber-early — Challenge #2. For a hermit like me the combo of a Monday + Winter-Chill-Early-Dark = Home in Bed Reading! To be perfectly honest, I felt like a rockstar just walking through the door!

We had assigned seating and I pretty much got the best table. The other tables were full of your stereotypical suburban housewives out for an exotic girls’ night **Dear Lord Baby Jesus, PLEASE let me join their ranks some day, Amen**, but for a swingin’ single like myself I had WAY better cookmates. (Rawmates? Rollmates?) Not sure they felt the same way, especially after Awkward Jean took over, but… I really enjoyed them.

One couple, Ed & Jane, were recent empty-nesters who had been having adventures of their own. Now you see, Ed & Jane’s last child just went off to college and the first adventure they had Jane got to pick — a cake decorating class! (Or as Ed put it “SIX Monday nights in a row at the Joann’s…”) Suffice it to say the second adventure was of Ed’s choosing — sushi class. Ed was very excited because he loves sushi and was certain that if Jane just gave it a try she would love it too. Jane was not so certain, but… after dragging him to SIX cake decorating classes at the Joann’s, she really kind of owed it to him to try. (Though she privately told me that’s what business lunches were for — things like sushi. Um, okay.)

The other two people at our table were Cheryl and Diane (they were more of an ‘and’ than an ‘&’). Now, Diane had driven in from west of Manhattan, KS (about three hours away she was quick to let everyone know) and she and Cheryl were good friends seeking some adventures as well. This were their second class at the Culinary Center, the first being one called “Asian Flair”, and they loved it so much they decided to kick it up a notch with sushi since neither of them had tried it before. Well, correction… Diane, in her early-60s as opposed to Cheryl’s mid-50s, was a bit more experienced than Cheryl and had admitted to trying a California Roll once, but never the actual raw fish. But she was ready tonight.

(Personal Sidebar — I loved the adventurous spirit of all my tablemates, but um… seriously? You’re gonna try RAW FISH for the very first time and your thought is “I should do that in the middle of the Midwest after having prepared it myself!” Wow. Now THAT is impressively daring!)

So, the class was set up where we sat at our tables and watched the chef demonstrate, then we went to the back where there were counter-height work stations with all the prep work more or less done already (hashtag-awesome). I was pretty positive I would be amazing because I was taking really detailed notes during the demonstration — complete with diagrams… Unfortunately, it turns out I missed some very important instruction during my rather focused note-taking…

First off. I can’t roll. Like at all. As in, oh-dear-god-what is that thing? I guess I didn’t pay as much attention on that part as I thought. And on top of that, the sticky rice is SO STICKY! I mean, it was on my face, in my hair, on my left elbow (which frankly was no where near any rice)… I had rice EVERYWHERE! Thank goodness there was a big bowl of water on the counter for us to wash off in! But, I was the only one who kept dunking my arms in and rubbing off rice… how were they not getting sticky rice EVERYWHERE? I was clearly at a table full of wizards.

Round two — We snack on our freshly prepared sushi while the chef shows us another technique. This time I bypassed the note-taking in order to pay better attention. F.M.L. This is when I learned a very key lesson in sushi making — That wasn’t a dunk bowl for cleansing. It was a dip bowl to lightly dip our fingers in before touching the sticky rice each time. It was a blend of rice vinegar, sugar and water and used as an ingredient as well as to keep the rice from sticking to our fingers (our faces, hair, elbows, etc.). It was for BEFORE handling the rice, not AFTER. Like I was doing. With my whole arm. As a wash bowl. Great, 30 minutes in and I’ was already “That Girl”.

Other than that highly awkward situation the night went pretty well. Jane didn’t love sushi, but she didn’t hate it. Cheryl and Diane liked the tempura versions and Ed and I were like damn Hoover vacuums swooping in behind everyone grubbing down on what was turning into “All-You-Can-Eat” night at the self-made sushi buffet. The best part was after we learned our different kinds (sticky rice on the inside, sticky rice on the outside, tempura fried, hand roll and sashimi) we were allowed to use whatever was left at our tables to practice on and take home with us. Ed and I went to town! I clearly needed practice with my light dip and tight roll procedures and Ed was basically just trying to get as much sushi as humanly possible to make up for his SIX nights decorating cakes at the Joann’s. When everything was said and done, it was a very fun and successful evening.

The next day I brought my leftover sushi in to the office for CRUSH to try. Chef said we could eat our leftovers for a midnight snack, breakfast or lunch… but not to wait any later than lunch, oddly enough it wasn’t because of the fish — she said the nori (seaweed paper stuff) would begin to go stale and the rice would un-stick. Anyway, I have to give CRUSH credit that he willingly tried a few pieces… even though it was loosely rolled, falling apart and filled with random leftover tidbits that weren’t exactly what one might call delicious… But, he tried it. That was sweet. (Sucker — Turns out I’m an AWFUL sushi chef!)

Would I do it again? In a second. I can HIGHLY recommend taking a sushi class — go with some friends, go alone, just go for it. It was the best $60 I’ve spent in a while. Oh, and I got a free glass of wine with the meal, so there is that.

XOXO — Awkward (Sticky) Jean

Words of Wisdom from the Night: “You live in the Midwest. There is no such thing as fresh sushi-grade fish. Buy frozen. Trust me.” — Chef Can’t-Remember-Her-Name

Bi-Curious Hair and an Addiction to Clorox Wipes

So, one of the adventures submitted for consideration was for me to dye my hair brown. HA! I scoffed at that one immediately. Not gonna happen. I’m blonde. I’ve always been blonde. I’ll always be blonde (except someday we may call it silver). It’s pretty much the only committed relationship I’ve maintained throughout my life. It’s part of who I am. Dye my hair brown? Riiiiiiigggghhhht. Nice try. And then, about an hour before my hair appointment, I started thinking “Why Not?” Isn’t this year about getting out of my comfort zone? Maybe Kris was right…

In truth I’ve always kind of wondered what it would be like to have beautifully rich mahogany hair. A full brown with warm red highlights that shine when the sun catches them… Ahh, gorgeous. In fact… I once tried to achieve the look myself.

Sometime during my senior year of college I bought a box of hair dye — the much fantasized mahogany. Based on the picture on the box it was the dramatic change I was seeking… but, I just couldn’t find the nerve to ever try it. Fast forward to winter break my first year teaching…

Break was almost over and I was getting a bit stir-crazy. So, one night a couple days before school was to start back up, I found the old box (key word here: OLD) of hair dye I’d never quite been brave enough to use and I just went for it. No test strand, just full on makeover mode — ain’t skir’d.

Until I rinsed it out. Then I was horrified. I burst into tears. What was I going to do? School started up in two days and here I was with not just pink hair, but every shade of pink from fuchsia to magenta to burgundy… OH. MY. GOD. And, to make matters worse, the middle school I taught at was pretty strict about the students not being allowed to dye their hair “unnatural colors”. Shit.

Fortunately, early 20’s Jean was nothing if not resourceful. Still in tears, at 9 o’clock at night, I called up the mother of a student from my homeroom whom I remembered was a hair dresser. She was so sweet and offered to see me the very next morning.

The next day I walked into her salon, took my baseball cap off and, after a surprised gasp, she said “Oh wow, it REALLY is pink. And all kinds of pinks at that. How in the world did you manage this?” Talent I guess.

After stripping my hair of color twice (think really bad chemicals) it still appeared to be pale pink all over. I had to keep it that way for two weeks before she’d put more blonde in afraid my hair would all fall out. Suffice it to say my one attempt to explore my interest in being a brunette was not a successful endeavor.

Fourteen years later I tried again. And by “I” I really mean my most amazing hair stylist Nicole Davis (seriously, she’s amazing — like I’m 87% certain she has wizard blood coursing through her veins because what she can do with color is nothing short of magical).  I have to say, this time was a smashing success.


I still need to get a makeover and play with colors in my wardrobe (I totally think I can pull off citrine now — holla!), but overall I am LOVING it! It’s fun to make a drastic change. The reactions are priceless — from excited to stunned to disappointed to unnerved, it’s amazing how something like one’s hair color can have such an affect on people.

For me the biggest challenge has been seeing the hair in the sink. I’ve always been quite the hairy beast (we’ve already established my nose is like staring up into a gorilla pen) but the abundance of shedding hair has always been blonde. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not used to it yet and keep thinking it’s someone else’s hair, or if it really is just that much more visible, but a sink full of dark hair is kinda gross. I never noticed how much there really was before now. In fact, I’m turning a wee bit OCD with cleaning the bathroom sink every morning… about three times. At this rate I’m going to have to add a line item in my budget for Clorox wipes, but… I suppose it’s a small price to pay for adventure.

I’ve wondered what I’d look like with dark hair for a good 25 years. It feels good to know. If there’s something you’ve always wondered about, big or small, find out. Stop wondering. Go for it. I’m glad I did. Plus, I’m like WAY smarter now that I have brown hair. True Story.

XOXO Awkward (Hairy) Jean

The Fool, The Lovers and Happily Ever After


Little known Jean fact — I read Tarot cards. I have for almost 20 years. I’m not psychic, I don’t have any secret knock that gets me into the hereafter party, but I’ve always been interested in many facets of spirituality, mysticism and the paranormal. However, when it comes to tarot cards, I think of them as a tool, a hands-on workbook of sorts that helps us work through our issues. When people are open to the tarot they “read” things into the card as truth, not because of some great all-knowing seer flipping the cards over, but rather because we allow the cards to act as a conduit to our innermost thoughts granting them a shape and outlet. In short, the cards just help us figure out how we’re feeling. 

That said, I’m self-taught and those are my personal beliefs from years of practice. I occasionally use the cards on myself as I find they help give shape to the feelings, hurts, hopes, etc. that are too often buried, hidden and ignored, but I’ve never actually had my cards read professionally. Sure I’ve read cards for friends over the years who’ve then tried to reciprocate, but… I always wanted to get it done by a practitioner of the art. 

SO, my very first, planned and official, Misadventure of Awkward Jean was to go see Gypsy Joan at the River Market Antique Mall and have my tarot cards read on a lovely fall afternoon.

Honestly I didn’t know what to expect, but I was pretty skeptical. Especially when I saw the draped wool cape, big beaded earrings and au naturel look… mostly because it all seemed to conflict with the very sparkly, trendy, princess cut platinum engagement ring she was sporting… Hmm… 

I sat down and she made small talk while she shuffled the cards. She asked me if I had been read before, to which I replied no, then she asked if I knew much about the tarot or had any expectations for our reading… I nervously giggled and told her no. I was not about to make this easy for her. Plus, let’s face it, every ounce of my being oozes with the word “GULLIBLE” so I kind of wanted to see where she’d go with that. 

She began by telling me that she was a third generation reader and had no psychic or clairvoyant ability. Then she went on to tell me her beliefs on tarot cards, which more or less mirrored mine. Hmm. Maybe this was going to be better than I thought, but she was still shuffling the cards… For those of you who don’t know a key with tarot is to have the person being read do the shuffling while concentrating and trying to imbue the cards with some of herself, how could this woman not know that most basic premise? When Gypsy Joan was done explaining her views and what I should expect she handed me the deck and told me basically what I just explained. That’s when I remembered she has to “clear the deck” from the person before, that’s why she was shuffling… It’s also when I realized I was being quite closed to this experience, fully expecting it to be a money grubbing stunt. Wow, 16 Year Old Jean would have been horrified at my prejudgments. 

So, I took the cards, closed my eyes and really tried to open up to the reading. 

Gypsy Joan reads a classic Celtic Cross spread, the same as me, so it was pretty familiar which was nice. The humor of it all would clearly be in the first two cards flipped: The Fool and The Lovers.


The first describes where I, as the questioner, am currently at in life with the latter being placed over that card to indicate the most consuming challenge I face.

The Fool is one of the most controversial in the deck and its meaning is very tied to its placement. In the first position, describing the questioner, it is the most powerful card in the tarot stating that the questioner’s free will can almost literally move mountains; that nothing is beyond reach if one is to simply seize the day. Google this and you will often find it associated to the Latin phrase “Carpe Diem”… yep, the same one I had tattooed on my left wrist earlier this year. Given the placement and surrounding cards, Gypsy Joan interpreted this to mean I am currently in a position of setting out on a journey of self-enlightenment and personal growth. That combined with the other cards this is a very exciting time in my life where the meaning I seek is within reach. (And suddenly 35 is looking up!)

In the second position, crossing over The Fool, was The Lovers, which symbolizes one’s soulmate. This was interpreted by Gypsy Joan as having two possible meanings — either I’d found my soulmate, but he was holding me back from fulfilling my growth potential… OR (and this one maybe stung a little) that it’s possible I’m so focused on finding this person, that I’m losing myself in the process. 

(SIDEBAR — Two cards. That’s how long it took me before I started looking around thinking I was being punk’d.)

The other part of my reading that really struck me and stayed with me after we’d finished was the card in the seventh position. This is the position that represents how others view the questioner. For me that card was Strength, and while I can’t recall what cards were in the positions above and below it, Gypsy Joan interpreted the placement and surrounding cards to mean that I seek validation from others, that I desperately want to have their approval, but what I don’t see is that I already do and the real validation I need is from myself. She said if there was one gift she hoped my journey would find, it was to see myself the way others do and once I can do that it would be all the validation I would need. 

The rest of the reading was really quite positive. I was pretty thrown by how some of the cards hit so close to home. I found myself a bit overwhelmed and couldn’t remember as many specifics as I’d like, but I do recall her telling me multiple times that overall the cards reflected a lot of light, positivity and happiness. It made me think of the words I have hanging in my bedroom, opposite my bed as the first thing I see every morning, “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”

Suffice it to say… Gypsy Joan can wear whatever the hell she wants, I was impressed. If you ever get the chance, or if you ever want me to do it for you, I highly recommend opening yourself up to a tarot card reading… After so many years of reading other people, and finally experiencing it myself, I think the best surprise of all is that none of it was really all that surprising.

And with that, my first official challenge is in the books AND I’ve written about it. Whew! Alas, I still have soo many adventures to catch you all up on… Stay patient my friends, we’ll get there. 

XOXO — Awkward Jean

Birthdays, Fake Dates, Private Clubs, and Criminal Behavior



10.22.13 – Shower Dance Party Birthday

10.23.13 – Fake Date

10.24.13 – Pendergast Club and Stolen Goods

10.25-26.13 – Recovery Time

10.27.13 – Gypsy Joan

10.28.13 – Bonefish Birthday & Crazy Cat Lady Certified

10.29.13 – Bi-Curious Hair

10.30.13 – Dinner Date

10.31.13 – Real Date

11.01.13 – Impromptu Fall Party

11.02-04.13 – Recovery Time

11.05.13 – Sushi Sensation!

So, it’s been two weeks since my inaugural post… The goal was to post every couple of days, eh… minor fail. Partially because I REALLY need to figure out how to adjust the ginormous font and various layout issues that are driving me nuts. My apologies on the technicalities… still a work in progress. Now, to catch you up on the happenings of Awkward Jean, I’ve detailed (if we’re using the term “detail” loosely) the past fourteen adventures below… because let’s face it, when you’re the Jean, the question isn’t “Will today be an adventure?” but rather “How big of an adventure will today be?”

10.22.13 – The Official Birthday.

My actual, official, birthday celebration is best described in the following text I sent to some girlfriends:

Birthday night winning! Made a quick “Empowered Ladies” playlist*, lit Erica’s fancy incense, cracked open CRUSH’S <name changed to protect any chance I possibly have… let’s remember the lessons from the dating blog> all-time favorite beer (that I tracked down and bought for him when I invited him over for football this weekend but he didn’t come), put it in my special birthday coozie from Kim and Rhonda, then drank it while dancing in a hot shower and singing at the top of my lungs. Callie may be traumatized, but I’m having a great single lady night! Cheers!!

10.23.13 – The Fake Date.

I never know if I’m on a real date or a fake date with my crush. It starts with drinks after work, then suddenly we’re having dinner. Sometimes we split the bill, sometimes he picks it up, sometimes I do. There are no clear social cues and lord knows if there were I’d miss them. That said… I can pretty confidently call this one a fake date based on the following transaction:


CRUSH: Do you pluck your nose hair.

AWKWARD JEAN: Um… <STORY BREAK – When I was 19 years old, and a summer camp counselor, Collin, a precocious six year old, looked up at me one day during lunch and, with the bewildered voice of an innocent babe, said “Miss Jean, you have more hair in your nose than my dad.” Seeing as a compliment I graciously replied “Thank you Collin.” Suffice it to say some trimming has been a solid part of the Jean Routine over the past 16 years. Again I say… Thank you Collin.> Yeah. Well, I mean, I don’t actually pluck, that hurts. But um, I use my cuticle scissors, but well, I don’t use those for my cuticles, I have a different pair that are more like clippers, but the ones that are like scissors are small and I do some trimming, and maybe the occasional… I mean, er, uh… Why do you ask? (This is about the point of self-conscious horror thinking I’ve got some Willie Nelson style parading out my schnoz and down my face…)

CRUSH: Well, the way your nose sits on your face you’d almost have to.

AWKWARD JEAN: Check please.

And that’s how I spent the night of The Fake Date staring at myself in the mirror, looking at my nose (well-trimmed I’d like to point out) from every angle and finally crying because I’ve always liked my nose and how dare him for making me feel self-conscious about it. And then I sent him a mean text.

And that my friends, is how you know it’s a fake date. When your crush is more awkward than you, and you end the night crying about a non-existent problem (I really do have a great nose – even when my nostrils flare when I’m mad, it’s STILL a great nose), it’s definitely not a real date, at least not a real good one.

10.24.13 – KC’s Elite… Meets Jean.

There is a private club located above a well-known steakhouse in Kansas City. The steakhouse is called The Majestic, and has a rich history of its own. The club is called the Pendergast Club and is so named for an infamous historical Kansas City politician. In polite circles Tom Pendergast is renowned as a key patron to Harry Truman, but the reality of his infamy stems from his reputation in the 1920’s-30’s as an unapologetically corrupt politician (read: mob-related violence, extortion, tax evasion, all the KC greats). The Majestic is in the building Pendergast’s offices had been located and the rooms he once did business from have now been turned into a private club for, here’s the kicker, Kansas City’s political elite. Judges, lawyers, federales… You name the power player and chances are he (sorry ladies) is a member of this club.

If not for the brass lock on the otherwise white wall, you wouldn’t even realize there was a door behind the host stand at The Majestic, but tell the host you are there as a guest of the Pendergast Club (and yes, you have to give a name) and the door swings open, granting access to the various stairwells that lead to the Good Ol’ Boys club upstairs. Think scotch, cigars, leather couches, exposed brick and men in suits. Lots of suits. And that’s pretty much the Pendergast Club. It is a very cool space, and while I didn’t know anyone there other than the people I came with, it just exuded power and influence… Which is why I basically bellied up to the bar, ordered some Buffalo Trace whisky on ice, and made friends with the owner/bartender Scott. In unrelated news… guess who was invited to come back to the Pendergast anytime as a guest of the owner. This girl. Guess who drinks a lot of scotch as he pours it and will likely never remember this girl? Yeah, Scott. But… it was a cool adventure… and, given the mixture of men, stairs and whisky… it’s basically an Awkward Jean miracle that nothing actually awkward happened. WIN!

(And, for those of you who were present… I guess I should probably go ahead and self-incriminate now… we MAYBE went somewhere after the Pendergast Club… And by maybe, I mean we did… At the second bar we met up with some co-workers for dinner… And, well, the fries came in these cute little mini pot things that were all adorable and one of my colleagues really wanted to take one home, but c’mon, we’re grown-ups, we don’t steal shit from restaurants… that was sooo last decade… That said… I DID have a big purse, and in the morning may have noticed one of the cute pot things had fallen in it… If that’s the worse 20’s Jean is gonna do when she rears her ugly head, I say we take it! And, in my defense, I DID gift the ‘found’ item to the colleague who showed interest. You’re welcome colleague. Gosh.)

10.25.13 – Recovery Jean

Even Jean needs to rest… And I’m sure this had nothing to do with the fact that the last stop of the previous evening was newly discovered treasure with the mystery beer vending machine – I tried one that tasted a bit like someone regurgitated some Jägermeister into a stale beer left at a frat party… which, in hindsight, explains the next one too…

10.26.13 – Recovery Jean Part 2

And… at 35, sometimes that resting takes a few days…

10.27.13 – The Fool, the Lovers, and Gypsy Joan

FINALLY – My first officially sanctioned Misadventure – getting my tarot cards professionally read.

And… whew… Sleepy Jean strikes again…


*FOOTNOTE: In case you’re interested here’s the “Empowered Ladies” playlist from my shower party. All songs are best sung loudly, with reckless abandon, while dancing. If a shower is unavailable, a car (windows up or down — performer’s preference) will suffice simply adjust your dance moves accordingly.

Roar – Katy Perry

Brave – Sara Bareilles

Girl on Fire – Alicia Keys

F**kin’ Perfect – P!nk

Shine – Anna Nalick

I Was Here – Beyonce