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Be Inspired

8 Jun


Most who know me know that my career is—at this point in time, at least—my primary focus. It’s also my primary source of joy, which I think  can be attributed to working with such talented, stimulating and straight-up on-the-ball people. I mention this because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about inspiration, and about how it can come from obvious places—coworkers, literature, art—and from people and things that are more enigmatic.

I was constantly inspired this weekend: from laughter with good friends who I haven’t seen in ages; from wandering around Downtown Columbus during the Arts Festival; from incredible drinks and conversation with a handful of people I had never met; and from even a quick tour of a pal’s new(ish) home, which she’s decorated, naturally, fantastically.

Tonight’s inspiration, I suppose, falls somewhere in between the obvious and the ambiguous. I was checking out recent posts on 99U, the educational arm of creativity-showcase site Behance, and I came across a post about poet-artist-professional-slash-haver Austin Kleon. I’ve come across posts about (and by) Kleon before, but had never paid much attention to his work. Tonight I did, though, and I’m just totally enamored with his Newspaper Blackout work.

Kleon created a collection of poems by redacting newspaper text with a permanent marker. It’s so ingenious, and I love how he’s created both totally witty and incredibly poignant works from articles about otherwise pedestrian, everyday stuff (i.e. “The News”).

Of course, he’s done a great deal more than just publish this book and the corresponding website. And I’m looking forward to following his work with more awareness now.

Here’s to wine-fueled Sunday-night inspiration finding.



26 May


And a year later, I’m back.

Hello (five or six) followers out there: major apologies for my extreme absence. A lot’s happened in the last year, and though it may not make sense to anyone but me, posting to HJR just couldn’t (or wouldn’t, I suppose) be a priority.

I visited Chicago this long weekend to spend time with a friend. This morning, before packing up and hitting the road, I wandered around Lake Shore Drive and up and down Division Street, snapping some shots in an attempt to regain what was, years ago, the potential for a mediocre-slash-decent photography hobby. The shot above is the one I’m most happy with from my morning excursion. The sky was just a bit too hazy today.

In any case, shortly after I took that photo I sat down at a bench—with a croissant and a cup of black coffee, because who needs a diet, amirite?—and an older gentleman and his little pup came over and plopped down beside me. We talked for nearly 40 minutes about his dog, his career (menswear designer, Chicago via Providence, Rhode Island), my career (within a dying industry … his words, not mine), regret, living life to its fullest, trying new things, traveling. Oh, and the best route back to Columbus. It was one of the more unusual and pleasant conversations I’ve had in some time, and when I eventually got up to leave I did so feeling a little lighter, a little happier and definitely inspired.

I mention this now, I guess, because it seemed like such a classic “everyone comes into your life for a reason” scenario. I almost went to Starbucks like a lazy slob, but instead walked the few additional blocks to check out the corner bakery. Then, I contemplated eating there, indoors, but decided to have a seat in the park instead. Maybe I’m looking for drama—for serendipity—where there isn’t any. But regardless, it was an encounter that, later in the day, felt totally necessary. I’m happy I bumped into that old man and his little dog Gracie. I’m happy he happened to be one of those “talk to anyone” open-book types that seemed genuinely interested in both sharing his story and hearing mine.

It’s been a wonderful yet difficult, almost surreal, year. And lately has been the most difficult. And while this blog isn’t intended to be personal—but instead an away-from-work creativity outlet—it seems important to share this, if for no other reason than simple context. My lesson these past couple weeks has been that each of us, especially those of us who feel a need to create and to share, should do our best not to lose that sense of self. It’s astonishingly easy to do, it seems. But hold on to your opinions and your ideas and your dreams for dear life. Because what else is there, really?

Ultimately, like the gentleman (whose name I didn’t even catch, incredibly) said to me this morning: There’s no point in regrets, and no point in thinking you’ll ever have it all figured out. So here’s to moving forward—for all of you reading, because god knows we’re all dealing with something. And here’s to some consistent HJR posting. Because while most of you probably don’t need it, I certainly do!

Thanks for your patience, pals. I’ll have so much more for you very soon.

Testing, Testing…

8 Sep

Hello, world.

Apologies for a 6-month absence just seem silly. And I don’t have much of an excuse, save for the fact that I’m once again writing for a living, and that’s been the priority. So no, I’m not here with an apology, just a promise to continue to post again soon. Look for an HJR relaunch of sorts in the coming weeks.

(Things Are) Looking Up

30 Jan

Don’t forget to look up, too. DSC_0080








Photos by Jenny Rogers.


6 Jan

The first week of the new year has come and gone, and I’ve failed to follow my schedule, once again. But while this post is reaching all of you a bit late, I still wanted to share some of my favorite 2012 memories — 2012 was a great year for a number of reasons (most of those reasons being the many wonderful people in my life), and full of great experiences. 2013 is already off to a fab start, so let’s cheers to more memory-making in the new year!













Music Memory Musings

11 Oct

I’ve been working on a new mix tonight – for Deb, whose birthday is tomorrow and who was recently certified to teach yoga (go Deb!) Anyway, I’m attempting to make an appropriate mix for her to play during her classes, and it dawned on me that it’s always these moments – when I inadvertently double-click on a song that hasn’t been double-clicked on in months, or even years, as in the case of this evening – that I’m struck by just how much music can really impact your emotional, mental and physical states.

Side note: I saw Jack White in Columbus on Monday, and man-oh-man was that show just phenomenal. It made me miss listening to The White Stripes, which I haven’t really done in some time, and which I started doing again almost immediately after returning home on Monday evening. I had a silly-serious chat with a coworker about how seeing an artist live can really impact your perspective of them (obvs), and in my case, whether the show is good or bad, I always leave loving the musician(s) just that much more. I guess it’s one part charisma, one part “Jenny quirk.” OK, end of the side note…

Anyway, back to my mix-making, and where this led my thoughts… I played a Death Cab for Cutie song (Summer Skin) that I haven’t listened to in years. I actually haven’t listened to much Death Cab at all since ohhh maybe 2007, so this fact isn’t that surprising… but the song immediately made me think of a wonderful, almost surreal, moment in my life:

I was sitting in the front passenger seat of a car cruising down the left side of some English freeway, on my way from London to Brighton. It was the spring (probably May) of 2006, and I was simultaneously the exact same person I am today and someone that I cannot, via memory, even recognize. I was en route with someone who, at the time, meant very much to me, and he was telling me all about the town where he went to university. Then he asked me to swap his iPod for mine (he was likely playing the Stone Roses), and I chose to play the album Plans, which had recently been released. I was really into it when I left for London, but as studying abroad tends to do, I had become quite “worldly” in the last few weeks, and was immediately aware how silly the songs sounded. Especially Crooked Teeth, which at the time was my favorite. My copilot was kind, and gave me a sort of “oh that’s not really my type of music” response, and while I didn’t feel insecure, per se, I did, for a fleeting moment, feel so, so American. I quickly changed playlists.

Aside from my coolness mishap on the ride down, that day in Brighton was such a happy experience. The town was charming, and we ate at a restaurant that sat us out back under an umbrella, despite that fact that it was so obviously going to rain. I remember my peas literally flying off of my plate as we scurried inside when the inevitable downpour came.

We sat on the Brighton beach for what seemed like hours that day, and took this absurd picture of our feet that I’m sure I’ve lost by now. We left town around 9 p.m. (I was fast asleep when we pulled up outside of my flat near midnight), but not before I gathered some of the polished smooth stones that take the place of sand on the beach. They still sit on my windowsill in my office.

I saw this friend again in the fall of 2010, when I was in an entirely different place (figuratively and literally), and he bought me a drink for my 25th, which put me over the edge. Soon after, Stef, Jean, Mar and I ended up in a late-night London grocery store, purchasing huge bottles of water and talking about the Buckeyes with some British dude who “knew about Ohio.”

There’s really no point to this post except for that fact that, wow, memories are really something, aren’t’ they? My life as it stands right now is divided into kind of a “pre” and “post,” and this memory from Brighton is one of my favorites from the “pre” era. And isn’t it just so odd that one night in April 2006, after my pals and I snuck into a club that so obviously didn’t want us there, I met someone that I would spend 30 minutes thinking about on a Thursday night in the fall of 2012? Life is just weird, basically. A weird mix of weird people doing weird things and sometimes meeting one another. Ah, the universe.

I think I’ve come across more melancholy than I would have liked, but I also don’t think I’ll edit this down… this is what listening to “Summer Skin” made me think about tonight, so this is what you get.

Comfy, Not Chic.

11 Sep

The Gap — a store that I love, so don’t get me wrong — recently sent out one of those “Free shipping off a purchase of way too much money!” emails. And that email was about a “trend they love,” otherwise known as sweatshirt chic.

So, I am fully prepared to be 100 percent wrong here, but… I just do not get “sweatshirt chic.” There were these pants in that email… you guys, these pants. They were like an old pair of your high school ex-boyfriend’s PJ pants, but with a big-ass tie at the waist and paired with pumps. Yes, pumps.

Clearly I’ve drank the haterade, and “to each his own”, etc. etc. I certainly wear outfits (like right now… OMG, right now) that I would never want to be seen in. But I can say, with some certainty, that no one (the email model included) looks good in tie-waist sweats with a pair of high heels.

And now that this is off my chest, I can talk about what’s really important… a season-appropriate piece of sweat-wear that, while I do not need, I want very terribly. And the cherry on top? Our Bobkitties actually aren’t that bad this year. Available, of course, at Homage.