Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Random thoughts

Friday favorites, volume 8

This has been an odd week. I haven’t done much posting because I spent most of the week in New York at my parents’ house. And for some reason, nothing gets done when I’m at their house. I’m too busy visiting and spending time with the fam and this time, I even went to the movies (saw The Fault In Our Stars. All the cries) and took my daughter into NYC for the first time. The highlight was eating at Ellen’s Stardust Diner and if you even find yourself in Manhattan, GO THERE. Not only is food kick ass but also, the waitstaff sings. Like, really, actually, sings. It’s apparently a really famous place and a breeding ground for Broadway performers. 

Definitely my favorite part of the week. But I have other favorite stuff, too, and I’m linking up with Amanda to share them with you.

Favorite song

This week’s song is a two for one deal because it also features one of my favorite singers, Brent Smith. He’s the singer for Shinedown and I would listen to him sing the alphabet. Or even Losing My Religion, which is my least favorite song of all time. I genuinely love all of Shinedown’s music but Amaryllis is probably my favorite song of theirs. It’s a beautiful, beautiful song with some seriously powerful lyrics. I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to share it. 

And even though it’s live, Brent’s voice is so amazing it doesn’t matter. 

Favorite frugal find

So many this week. The $1 ticket on the LIRR for my daughter. Dyeing my roots myself for a $3 box of hair dye and having it look the same as if I’d gone to my hairdresser. But my absolute favorite is learning I can take a creative writing class–for free–at the college where my husband teaches part time. You can’t beat that.

Favorite internet thing

I thought it was the Brian Williams version of “Baby Got Back”. It’s not. It’s this post, 30 Signs Made By People Who Don’t Know How To Use Quotation Marks. It’s hilarious and filled my grammar nerd humor for the week. We need to stop punctuation abuse. It’s time. (Side note: we once drove behind a truck that said the contractor was “licensed” and “insured”. Yup. That inspires confidence). Here’s a sample from the post:

Favorite thing someone else did

Again, this is a twofer. First, I love Kelli’s new blog. She did a fantastic job! Second, I posted this on Instagram but it’s worth sharing again. Because when you go to lunch and one of the servers sings “Cool Rider” from Grease 2, you share that shit. I should mention that for some reason, the video is uploading sideways and because it’s a video and I’m moderately inept, I can’t fix it so just listen while you read the rest of the post. Also, it’s short because I’m running out of memory on my phone and I’m scared of the cloud and to delete things.


Favorite funnies

Or a spoonful of Nutella

I totally throw things out when she’s not looking.

I’m old and my brain is at maximum capacity.

Math is the worst.

This weekend I’ll be working on merging my two blogs. I’m crazy excited for you guys to see everything!

Enjoy your weekend!


Linking up with Amanda

Friday Favorites


10 steps to your own pioneer project: part 1

pioneer project
I’ve been planning this series for awhile but wasn’t really sure what to say or how to say it or when would be the appropriate time to put it up. After last week’s post, Reshaping My Pioneer Project, I thought now would be as good a time as any. So here we go with part 1.

Have you ever been enamored with the concept of pioneer living? If you have, this is the right place for you. 

For the last few months, I’ve been working on my version of a pioneer project. I’ve been practicing and learning all the classic pioneer skills: making my own butter, growing my own food, learning (and failing miserably) to crochet. But, as I talked about, my project is shifting focus to also include internalizing pioneer values, slowing down, and practicing contentment yet also working hard and setting goals to improve certain areas of my life.

In other words, I’m pioneering my own life. And my project is so much better because of it. Because being a pioneer is really about doing something new, that hasn’t been done before, and charting new territory. It doesn’t have to be on a global scale. It can just be for you.

That said.

Maybe you’ve been following along with my little project and have thought that you’d like to start your own. But maybe you don’t know how. You’re in luck because in this three part series, I’ll be sharing just how you can start your own pioneer project. There’s just one concept that you need to remember: whatever you decide to do, it’s your project. You’re pioneering your own life and, as a result, your project can look however you want it to. It can be similar to mine or maybe you have no interest in developing self-sufficiency skills and instead, you want to take the pioneer work ethic and apply it to marathon training or writing a novel. The what isn’t really as important as the how. 

And the how is what we’re talking about. So let’s do that now. 

10 Steps to Your Own Pioneer Project, part 1

1. Decide what your project looks like. This is the first, and probably the most important, step because it’s setting the focus of your project. In this step, you’ll figure out what part of your life you’re going to pioneer. It’s your end goal and everything you do going forward will be to achieve it. And, so you don’t forget, write it down somewhere. Put it where you can see it. Make your intention known.

2. Do some research. This is most likely the nerd in me talking but I think it’s important to have some background information on your goal. Knowing what exactly you’re diving into, what’s worked for others (and what didn’t), and having a resource bank for tutorials, data, and general knowledge will keep you focused and, at times of frustration, give you a place to go to figure out how get through that moment.

3. Figure out your methodology. You need to decide exactly how you’re going to do your project. To do that, you need to ask yourself some questions including: when will I work on this? What materials do I need? What do I need to learn? How often will I need to practice? Will I need to involve anyone else? Basically any logistical question (except budget. We’ll talk about that next week, in part 2) that will get you going, and keep you going, throughout your project.

These three steps will provide the map, the foundation if you will, for the rest of your project. It’s important to put in the time and energy to get them as clear as possible. Make sure you write them down, too. 

Do you think you’ll start your own project? What will you be pioneering in your own life?



Friday favorites, volume 7

Seven weeks in a row of favorites! I have never, EVER done anything blog related for seven weeks in a row. Except, you know, post.

Friday Favorites
Before I get started with my weekly favorites, I just wanted to thank everyone for their input on my blogging identity crisis. I’ve decided to move all content from this site to my dormant one simply because there’s less posts to move (55 as opposed to 400) and the header on the other one is simply lovely. A friend is going to revamp it a bit for me with some fresh categories, and I’m hoping to have it all done by next week. I’ll keep this site up for a bit and just redirect everything to the new/old one. I’ll have an official announcement when the time comes. 

Also, I need to get sappy for a minute. I started blogging in the personal finance niche and while I still have a soft spot for it, I never really felt like I fit in. Then I switched to whatever this is and it’s been such a different experience. I liken it to changing schools and, instead of feeling like an outsider, you finally feel like you have a group of friends you can relate to. So I just want to thank everyone who comments, shares, and follows along here. It means more to me than I can say. 

Now, having said all that, it’s time for favorites, and linking up as always with Amanda.

Favorite songs

Nadine’s post about summer songs got me thinking about my own summer song memories. Most of mine are from sleepaway camp but occasionally, a summer song memory will slip in that has nothing to do with camp. One of those songs is Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer”. Except I love, LOVE The Ataris version as well, and when I think of that song, I think of that version. Which is odd but that’s okay. I also think of Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue” when I think of a summer song and it’s hard for me to pick which one I want to share. So I’m sharing both.
The Boys of Summer by The Ataris on Grooveshark               

Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard on Grooveshark            

Favorite frugal find

Now that I’ve made it through all of season 2 of Orange is the New Black (anyone else? Because I need to discuss!), I can resume watching TV like a normal person. Which means watching Redbox movies on the weekends, too. Well, as long as there good movies we haven’t seen yet. But I’ve gotten to the point where I cannot rent a movie if I do not have a coupon code. I love getting them in my inbox or in a message on the app or as a text. It’s a little money saving present just for me. And this weekend, I got a code for a free rental! Completely free! Since we’re spending the day at the beach on Saturday as an early Father’s Day celebration for my husband, it’ll be nice to relax at night with a free movie.

Favorite internet thing

A total soapbox issue for me is how fathers are portrayed on modern sitcoms. I am so tired of seeing them as either stoic emotionless dicks or bumbling douchebag buffoons. Sure, we’ve got the Eric Taylors peppered in there but they’re few and far between. Which is why I loved this post from Buzzfeed so much. It shows that dads are willing, and completely capable, of taking care of their kids. Without help. Because they love their kids, too. And I know this firsthand, both as being raised by a dad like that and being married to one. In fact, after our daughter was born, my husband took 2 months off work when I went back so that he could spend time with her and so we could put off daycare for a bit. And he did fine. 

You probably wouldn’t see that on TV, either.

Favorite pet moment

So I have 2 dogs, Barkley and Dobie. Barkley is a Bichon Frise and Dobie is a mix of Bichon, poodle, and something else we can’t figure out. While Barkley is our smart dog, Dobie is our lovable meatball. He’s sweet and harmless and has a penchant for eating everything he sees (except olives. He hates olives) and also a small foot fetish and he’s too lazy to lift his leg when he pees and he’s also our problem child (heart murmur, arthritis, allergies, aforementioned eating issues). But we love him anyway and he’s totally MY dog. He’s also a weirdo and the other day, I was finally able to get him on video doing his digging thing and then at the end, he just looks totally startled and I didn’t even call his name. It’s like he knew what I was doing. 

That video wouldn’t upload properly so instead, here’s a picture of my second favorite Dobie moment of the week where he’s staring at me from the floor while I’m on the bed because even now, at 8, he still can’t figure out how to jump on the bed. You can see in his eyes how he’s pleading for help.

photo (20)

Favorite funnies

Mila Kunis on Jimmy Kimmel. It’s all so true.

The Oatmeal’s pie chart on dieting


When I’m not speaking, be very, very careful


How I usually make plans


Have a wonderful weekend!






Blogging thoughts and other stuff

Thursday brain dump. Let’s get to it.

I don’t like my blog header anymore. The designer did a great job and it was exactly what I wanted at the time he did it but the blog is going in a completely different direction than I originally planned and now I need a header to match. But my design skills suck and I don’t have the money to pay for a new one. But I did find out you can upload your own fonts into PicMonkey now so maybe that’ll help me create something decent until I have the money. Or I keep this one. Not sure.

While we’re on the subject of blogging, when I shut down my personal finance blog, Daily Money Shot, I transferred the content over to another site where I blogged until I started this one. I can’t manage two blogs so the other one is dormant. But it has some really good content and I love the design. I don’t know if I should merge the two and then do my pioneer stuff as a series on that site. Everything I have is branded for that blog and it gets confusing. I’m having a blogging identity crisis. Any thoughts?

I want to do some guest posting. If you are going on vacation or need a day off from blogging, let me know. I’ll be happy to help you out if you’d like.

Last blogging thing. I think I want to do a one-off link up. Something along the lines of “describe your perfect day” or “what would you do if money didn’t matter” but with a catchier name. Bloggers, would you participate in that? Non-bloggers, would you like to read something like that?

/blogging thoughts.

Moving on.

At one point last year, I tried to force myself to wake up early in an attempt to be more productive. I’m thinking about doing that again but it’s summer and I don’t know that I care for that nonsense. It’s a tough call.

I like hard boiled eggs but for the life of me, I cannot peel them. I think I do it well 1 out of every 198 times I try. I usually lose part of the egg along with the shell and it ends up looking like this:

Appetizing. I know.

I have Essie Mojito Madness on my fingernails and OPI Cajun Shrimp in my toes. It’s like wearing a summer barbecue. I don’t know why I’m attracted to polish named for food. Maybe if they had Cellulite White or Fat Ass Blue, I’d wear that and instead of wanting to eat myself I’d have more motivation to lose weight.

Speaking of losing weight, you guys know I’ve been working on a couch to 5k program. I thought I’d hate it but I don’t. I mean, I don’t love running but it’s easier on my feet and ankles than my beloved Zumba and now, when I run, I’m all

fat amy
That’s all folks. Thanks for listening.
Linking up with Kristin


Humpday confessions: Social media sins

I love Wednesday confession posts. They're a chance to air some grievances and get some stuff off my chest without sounding like a huge bitch. Well, maybe I do sound like a huge bitch but I don't care because it feels good to let this stuff out. And sometimes, you have to let it out.

And, unlike Facebook, this is an appropriate place to air your dirty laundry. Which brings me to today's confessions topic: social media. Or, stuff on social media that makes me seethe with rage and/or want to punch a kitten. And, in the spirit of being all confession-y, I confess that I might have done one or two of these at times which makes it totally fine to hate others that do it now.

So what social media sins infuriate me? How about these:

Blog comments that show the commenter clearly has not read the post. Or they just get preachy and obnoxious and rude and attacking. There's no need for that. I love comments but if you're just going to be an asshole, kindly move along. I will not engage with you and also, if you're a total dickhead, I will prevent you from commenting ever again.

10 Hilarious Donna Meagle Reaction GIFs From Parks And Recreation

People on Twitter who follow you, then unfollow when you don't follow back, and then do it all again. For weeks. Guess what? If I didn't follow you the first time, there's a reason, and if you do that to me, it is a guarantee that I will never follow you back. Plus, you look desperate and kind of like a schmuck.

People on Facebook who overshare their kids' lives. Seriously. It's horrible when you talk about your 6 year old's bed wetting problem or share pictures of their temper tantrums or mock them openly. It's one thing to be funny and self-deprecating about your parenting or share silly moments. But the mean spirited stuff? Knock it the hell off. When you do that, I totally judge you.


Crowdfunding EVERYTHING. Not a day goes by that I don't see someone asking for money for something. Some I'm okay with but others are so unreasonable, I question that person's ethics. Like the woman who put up a GoFundMe asking her friends to pay for her to go to college. What. The. Fuck. Can't afford it? Take fewer classes or take out loans. But fuck you if you think there's any chance I'm helping your sorry ass pay for college.

Twitter “gangs”. Don't know what these are? Oh, they're just a group of people who get together and decide they're going to tweet each other's posts to drive traffic. Not necessarily a problem in theory, but these assholes all tweet the same post at the same time, cluttering my feed and guaranteeing I will not read that post. Schedule that shit out over the course of the day. You'll piss off less people AND get more traffic. So give it a shot.

Definitely this:

I could go on, particularly about Facebook and people with attention seeking cryptic statuses or fighting with their significant other or humble bragging or sharing inappropriate information for the group they're posting to or a whole host of other offenses that would take way too long to list, but I'm going to stop here. Because I want to hear what enrages you on social media. Or, you can tell me what you do that might piss some people off. It's okay. I'll only judge you silently.

Linking up with Kathy as usual.

Vodka and Soda