what is it jess

Extending to Instagram!

My blog posts have been sparse lately, mostly because I'm scrambling around and working hard on things not worth blogging about. We're leading into the summer, which is definitely a time when I want to get out more because it's warm and I can be warm and do things and take pictures. I've been transitioning to wearing dresses without tights again and it feels really weird not to have that extra layer of protection on my legs and my legs are just one big goosebump. I have to bear through it because maybe soon spring will be over.

I've recently been thinking I want to add another dimension to the blog, something of a snapshot into what the day contains for me. I was inspired by finding a random girl on instagram who took beautiful pictures that were very understated and framed perfectly and I'd like to be able to do that. I want to challenge myself to a "one picture everyday" challenge, where I'm going to be posting on my instagram at least one picture everyday. I'm going to start fresh from my instagram account, I recently deleted all of my old photos (mostly bad selfies) and as of May 12, 2014 I have begun anew. It'll be nice to learn how to capture a proper picture, and Instagram is very forgiving even if your photos are terrible.

You can follow me on instagram if you want. You don't actually have to follow me to see the pictures, but I'll also be compiling a list at certain times throughout the month so you can easily look through my day to day right here on WIIJ.

As an example, here is today's photo of the day, hashtagged for the blog at #wiijphotochallenge.

My first sight every morning, especially beautiful when it's sunny. #wiijphotochallenge #potd #pictureofthedaychallenge

A photo posted by Jessica Shortt (@jessicaroseshortt) on

posted by Jessica Shortt

99+ Luftballons ft. Joey's Room

We've been playing with the idea of filling someone's room with balloons for a while, only mostly joking about it. Joey is Christian's favourite roommate to prank, and pranking has become something that's caught on like wildfire around here. Joey left for the weekend and with ample free time after the stress of exams, we decided to take on the endeavour of filling his entire room with balloons. Because, who hasn't wondered how many balloons it would take to fill an entire bedroom and how long and if it was possible? Not me, my dream became a reality two weeks ago. This picture shows the room at about halfway done, all of these have been blown up using our breath. I'm realizing now that we filled Joey's room with our collective breath and latex.

Joey's room full of balloons

A Wednesday not too long ago, we went forth into the cold, windy outdoors to take a trip to Dollarama and acquire 23 bags of balloons and for whatever reason, two bicycle pumps. 2300 grams worth of balloons, hoping it would be enough. I counted around 44 per bag, totalling 1012 potential balloons in the first round. That, of course wasn't enough to do it, and in the end, our total balloons added up to around 1400-1500 balloons. This is absolutely the most elaborate prank any of us had done, and we ended up putting five days worth of man power into blowing up the balloons. With breaks to avoid passing out, of course.

The boys taking a break

Joey didn't end up coming back until maybe a week after we did it. By that time we had managed to completely fill the room and you couldn't open the door without resistance from the amount of balloons pressing up against it. Unfortunately, because of the time Joey decided to come home (an hour before I got off work!), I couldn't be there to see his reaction in person. Luckily we got multiple videos of it and I watched it soon after it happened. Technology is so great.

Well, he was confused and not angry, which is the best reaction you can hope to have from someone you're pulling such a big prank on. He then, with a screwdriver in each hand, went to work and had all of them popped in minutes flat. All those days of work torn down in less than half an hour.

Joey having fun popping balloons

There's still balloon parts laying around the house, and even some in our bedroom. We're still finding them in crevices everywhere, so that's a lesson for next time. I can cross that off the bucket list officially. I wonder what it's like to play in a room filled entirely with balloons.

Joey in balloons
posted by Jessica Shortt

New Re-beginnings

It's been a while. A long while, but things are getting exciting again. The summer is coming along nicely. I can't believe all the ice on the sidewalks went away so fast. Christian and I have some exciting plans for the summer that mostly involve staying in Nova Scotia, but then again, we haven't explored our home province together all too much (might as well before we flee).

To say the least, I wasn't kidding when I said I crawled back to my old job at Pete's with the greatest resistance, after I had hit a big low. It was miserable, I was miserable and I was making customers miserable, apparently. I got a couple complaints, one guy yelled at me when I was exhausted after a long busy day and I wasn't friendly enough and I "didn't say thank you or you're welcome". I couldn't stop crying and they sent me home early.

It was just temporary, was what I was hoping. But I had been recently starting to feel hopeless about my situation. I was applying to every developer job I could, cold emailing companies hoping one would get back at me and offer me an interview. I had been so close to quitting at Pete's so many times, but the thought of all the bills I have to pay and going back to how I felt in January scared me a little. Acting like an adult sucks sometimes.

The night Christian and I spent two hours on a cover letter I think was when things turned around. It lead into an interview and I learned a lot about the company and their standards and that interview lasted two and a half hours of just chatting. My longest interview to date. Then another company reached out to me and we made plans for an interview for last Friday. I did the interview and got the job offer in under an hour!

It's a really exciting opportunity. They're dealing with big data, lots of design work (they only have programmers and apparently programmers hate to design). They sell a service that analyzes potential risk for shootings, depression, suicide, etc through social media by looking for risk words. It's an interesting opportunity and it means I don't have to be a cashier anymore. On my way home from that interview I wrote a pros list for if I ever get a little weary about being a web developer. I want to keep in mind that no matter how terrible web development can be or how terrible I feel about my job some days, it will never be as terrible as being a cashier and dealing with the kind of people that come into that kind of grocery store. Some of my pros are superficial, but they matter a lot to me.

  • I won't have to stand in the cold anymore and not be able to do anything about it. I can put on as many layers as I want of whatever clothing I want. I can even snuggle up under a blanket if I so choose.
  • I can be connected to who I need to be connected to - through email or messaging through my phone.
  • I can drink tea and coffee whenever I want to.
  • I will be respected as a peer and not as a pawn.
  • I won't be jumped around like my feelings/opinions won't matter, treated like a child.
  • I won't have little things picked out about my appearance – like wearing toms, and not wearing socks that cover my entire and ankle. Or having an opaque water bottle
  • I won't have to deal with dumb old rich and mean people looking down at me and/or treating me like I'm nothing.
  • I won't have to stand for eight hours straight and have my bathroom breaks questioned.
  • I won't have to wear a uniform that is ill-fitting and a stupid half-apron that rides up.
  • I won't have to wear all black - I can finally wear colours and pretty clothes again!
  • I'll get to be in my element, in an office, with flexible hours, flexibility with life events.
  • I'll be coding and designing again, doing what I love.
  • I'll get to work a normal 9-5, no more eight/eight thirty nights every night.
  • I can go to the gym with Christian again.

Today was my first day at my new job. It's all a little overwhelming so far, as first days tend to be, the platform is enormous and there's a lot of stuff for me to do as the designer/front end developer and before I even start that, there's so much to learn. It's exciting and a little scary. I'm freaking out a little bit about it, but who isn't? It's going to be challenging, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't like to be challenged.

Things are looking way, way up.

posted by Jessica Shortt

Snowball 2015

Christian and Jess at the Snowball
posted by Jessica Shortt

Luck is a favorable thing out of an uncertainty

If you have this idea of who you should be and who you want to be, get there by whatever means you can.

I read an article where someone said something along those lines. It really stuck with me. The guy was talking about achieving his dreams and getting to be a great developer, but that meant working two jobs to get through school and if you really wanted it that badly, you would have to do it however you had to, and that included taking a menial job or two.

I went crawling back to Pete's begging for my job back. Well, I walked in and we greeted each other with smiles. My old manager was really happy to see me and everything and it turns out I can work full time because I can't currently go to school. I resisted the urge to get a cup of Davids Tea on the way home because I have a plethora of it in the cupboard and I just made myself some of the Organic Blueberry Jam and researched black pants and chukkas.

I am once again a wage slave. Except this time 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. It's not terrible, but I'm not going to complain. A job is a job right now. Cashiering came back really easily, and I slipped into my routine before I even realized what was happening. The only things I know are going to bug me is that I have to stand in one place constantly and I can't get up and go to a coffee shop and get a latte and I can't even drink tea (which is essentially hot flavoured water, right?!) and I can't look at my phone. Desk jobs are awesome. My back also kind of hurts.

I've been an awful person the last couple of months. My ambition to be a freelance developer in Halifax fizzled out quickly and dried up and prospective jobs I had coming out of that job were non-existent. I've been down in an incredible slump that has caused me to be incredibly and unprecedentedly stressed alongside being apathetic and angry and mean and unable to bring myself to work on personal projects and it's been hard to have the energy to do anything. I've been short tempered and tired and I really don't want to be this way ever again.

Christian has been telling me repeatedly and reassuringly that I'm going to look back on these days someday after getting out of it and think about how it made me a stronger person and how glad I am to not be in this struggle anymore. He may be right, I just couldn't see it even a couple days ago.

The weird thing is, when I went in to Pete's to talk about getting my job back, I got a lot of other stuff coming in that day, like a contract front end dev opportunity and working on a slide deck again and things might finally be looking up.

I'm looking forward to being rid of this particular kind of stress, which is a hard kind of stress because I know I could be making a lot of money and I could just walk down the street and catch a web developer job if I weren't living in Halifax. There's no wonder that all the developers are leaving here. It's also good to be out of this slump because apparently extreme stress can cause your hormones to go wonky and make you crave sugars and retain fat, which is exactly the opposite of what I want right now.

posted by Jessica Shortt

Updates & General Life Things

It's been a little slow. Nothing has been happening, except I got a call from Build-a-Bear to work part-time. 3-8 hours a week, and it would be a group interview. Uh, no thanks. It would be 80 minutes on on the bus total to work 3 hours so that doesn't sound very fun at all. It does give me a little hope though that I may actually find a job.

We've been going steady at the gym three days a week, not missing any days or anything! Christian and I have also started going to yoga on Thursdays, which is a lot of fun and free with the Dalplex membership!! I got us two yoga mats and crocheted some straps so we can carry them to class and the mats are really thick and beautiful. It's so great despite having to trek through all the miserable snow.

Last Friday I set a personal record on my squat. Something I've been hoping for for a while, and I knew it would happen that day. I got form and breathing down and I was ready for it, I even woke up every day that week wondering if it was squat day yet.

I squatted a plate on each side, which totals up to a 135 pound squat! Maybe, hopefully, in a few weeks I'll be squatting myself!

I also managed to stand up holding the same amount in my deadlift, not a personal record but still, I'm getting back up there. :)

The gym has been a big part of what I do and I look forward to it a lot. It's kind of the only place where I feel like I'm making any sort of headway. Christian and I even went during that blizzard on Monday, trekking through a wall of snow. It was interesting.

Another thing I'm growing increaingly proud of is mine and Christian's tea shelf. It's getting really nice and I'm loving drinking tea without sugar or milk. I never knew tea could be so flavourful as someone coming from a strictly orange pekoe background. I've even got a slight grasp on making tea lattes the easy way so I've been making myself soy milk chai tea lattes!

My favourite right now is a white tea called Mango Madness from Davids Tea and it is amazing. I can't get enough of it, so much that I had to go back and get a tin.

I also love how colourful the leaves are in a lot of them! This is Pink Flamingo

Friday night, Christian and I went to the hill nearby and went sledding. The hill was almost empty except for a Dad and his kid. We wiped out a lot, went over some jumps we're almost too old for and Christian got new rubber boots (finally, he wore shoes on a flooded sidewalk walking to yoga Thursday). Afterwards we went and got hot chocolate with whipped cream at our favourite local coffee shop and it was to die for. If you're ever in Halifax, Uncommon Grounds is the place to go.

On Saturday we went to look at yet another house for next September. It's crazy to think that we're already looking for places for seven months from now. It's also frustrating. This one was gorgeous, but had some serious downsides that could become a problem later on (like paying for heating. They said that the people next door in the duplex paid $700 for heat last month!)

Other than that, things may be looking up. I've got some leads on potential jobs and some great friends helping me out with the job search. I don't want to get ahead of myself, because it could be a huge disappointment, but it seems I'm at the lowest I've ever been in terms of life and getting myself through it.

posted by Jessica Shortt

Welcome to 2015

2014 is gone. I had a really fantastic Christmas break (it went by waaay too fast) and we're into a new year. Lots of good movies come out this year, which is pretty exciting. I have plans for a good year, like going to California and getting back into school, which is also something to look forward to, if I can stop stressing about everything.

Also, in a couple days it'll be mine and Christian's two year anniversary. Crazy how time flies. <3

And, as everyone does, I've made a couple resolutions — hopefully ones I can keep up. Basically some things that I've been wanting to do, but since it's the new year and these are things that mean a lot to me, I figured it might be a nice fresh start for the year. They're mostly resolutions that everyone makes at the end of the year and give up over the span of a couple weeks, but they're ones I want to keep doing for longer than 2015.

  • I had given little thought to my calorie intake as of late, because my thoughts were on other things. I've been drinking lattes, sometimes two or three a day, eating way more than I should, taking in a lot of sugar from my marathon teas, enjoying lots of burgers and pizza and cookies and I'm very not happy with how I look currently. I'm starting back on eating healthier to feel better. I also got a perfect tea mug from Davids Tea for Christmas, so I'm expanding my tea tastes! Ones without milk or sugar.
  • I'd stopped going to the gym before our road trip this summer, which I think also spawned the eating thing. I want to go back, and be consistent about it. I loved how I felt while I was going and almost getting up to my body weight in lifting things. I'm starting Monday!
  • I want to start writing again. I feel it's an integral part fo me, something I've been doing for a lot of years sometimes as a coping mechanism and also as a form of funneling my creativity into something. I've been wanting to get back into it for a while, I just needed to understand that it doesn't even have to be good writing, I just have to write every day. Which I am trying to do.

Simple things. Ones that will make a big difference in my general well-being and feel goods and longevity. Also I'm excited to share pictures when I finally get visible abs.

I rang in the new year with my bestest friends. I dressed up and was a pretty girl. We played beer pong, with random-made teams (we also made signs for them), talked about our year and favourite memories and resolutions and even had a snack counter. We went and saw the fireworks at parade square to ring in 2015.

To 2015! May it be a better year than last for everyone.

posted by Jessica Shortt

December Again

It's that time of year again, the apparently most wonderful time of the year. Christmas has always been a weird holiday for me.

The past month has been interesting, for lack of a better word. The job I was excited about going into, being the designer and web developer started spiralling downwards. I found out I wasn't the only unhappy one at my work and it ended with the entire development team giving their two weeks on one phone call. One and a half days into my two weeks she dismissed me. I've been looking for freelance work and keep being told I'm not "experienced enough" or "given my education...", I keep losing jobs. I'm also trying to get back to school and pay off my summer semester because student loans won't help me out and my computer died and it would cost more than the computer was worth to fix it and I had to get a new one it's just been a stressful month where I'm eating more than I should because I just want something to do with my hands and face. I've also been marathon drinking tea again where I had stopped for a while. Not even good tea, orange pekoe with a lot of brown sugar and milk. I'm talking like, six cups a day mostly for the sugar.

I picked up crocheting again after a really long hiatus, making a couple of cute little dolls (called amigurumis), including an octopus and a duck (which I've yet to finish). I made myself a hat, a scarf and some other odd things including a hat for Christian, trying to get good at it. It's very comforting in its monotony.


I had started making myself a blanket when Faren asked me to make a couple more amigurumis. Ironman, Batman, Superman and Spiderman for her cousin for Christmas. They turned out okay and I marathoned Pretty Little Liars while I did, but ended up staying up the entire night before I left Halifax finishing it. By 9AM, nothing felt like reality anymore and I was dizzy. Three of my fingers are still actually pretty numb and dry and peeling and I have no urge to crochet again anytime soon. I made the crocheted things including the bodies and arms and legs and capes/ears for Batman and let Faren go nuts with constructing them, mostly because I ran out of time, but also so she could say she made them! It was a lot of trial and error, and some are different shapes (see silly looking Ironman), but I learned a lot and did all of them without a pattern!

amigurumi dolls

But this Christmas, I wasn't really looking forward to anything, in fact, I was vehemently against getting into the holiday spirit because I was a little scared of what trying to enjoy it may bring, but Christian and his family invited me home with them and these days have been some of the most relaxing and stress-free days I've had in a really long time, it feels really fantastic. I can't believe Christmas came so quickly though. But I don't have to spend three weeks away from Christian!

Today Christian and I went for a walk in his hometown to a cafe and had breakfast and special eggnog lattes that looked like this:

eggnog latte

Tonight we started a puzzle and watched a movie and had ice cream in our jammies with Christian's family and it was really awesome. So I guess I can wish you all happy holidays!

posted by Jessica Shortt

Happy Birthday WIIJ!

One year ago today, I purchased the domain for whatisitjess.com, not knowing exactly what I wanted. After writing down possible names for a blog, I decided to purchase this one "just in case someone else bought it before me" and now I'm stuck with it. I've even thought about rebranding, coming up with a cooler name, to no avail. Christian says the name is fine and I guess at this point, it is. What is it, Jess? I still don't know if I know.

The last year has been full of firsts and fun and flying and all that good stuff. From Toronto back to Halifax and down to California. I picked up crocheting, forgot about it and picked it back up again, went to an IKEA for the first time, experienced the coldest winter Toronto has had in years, saw two different red pandas, didn't get a job at Apple after lots of interviewing, couldn't go back to school for a semester, worked, had a lot of stress but also a lot of happiness, I also went on an epic roadtrip and saw so many things on my bucket list. It's been something, one of the best years of my life and I can't imagine it any other way. I like having this blog because (hi mom) I get to look back on it and read through it and remember, I'm excited for what the next year will bring and I'm going to continue documenting it and having fun. Wait and see what is going to happen next. :)

I also know I haven't been posting much lately, but that's because nothing's reeeally been happening. And my computer died and I had to get a new one, and I lost all the files for this blog. And actually nothing's been happening. But I'm working on it, stick around pls.


posted by Jessica Shortt

A Spooky LazyTown Halloween Post

As many of you know, Halloween happens to be my favorite holiday. Well, I'm not actually sure if it's a holiday, but it's my favorite event of the year, even better than my birthday or Christmas. The past couple of years I've been trying to have the most fun with it I can by making my own costumes, which is a blast.

I may be compensating for when it really mattered as a kid to dress up. I kind of copped out. When I started going trick or treating with my high school friends, I just was way toooooo cool to spend time on a costume (they most likely would have made fun of me for actually trying on a costume anyway). One year I went out as Captain Underpants by wearing pyjama shorts and a red cape. It was sad, and I really don't care to look back on it.

I mean, I don't even care about the candy. It's all about dressing up and having fun. Two years ago I made a Harley Quinn costume completely from scratch, buying the material and sewing it together. By hand. Maybe soon I'll get a sewing machine and I can do better because I know I could have done better with that one if it wasn't all hand sewing labour.

Last year was kind of disappointing because I dressed up as Kim Possible and missed the fun and no one seemed interested in doing Halloween. Christian and I tried going to the Halloween geek beer but showed up late and couldn't get in, so we just went to get gelato and went home and I took off my costume and cried a little.

This year for whatever reason I got it in my head that I wanted to be the girl from lazy town after becoming obsessed with this song.

I'm not even sure why. I usually go for redheaded characters like Poison Ivy or Anna. I was still excited this year because everyone was in the house and also excited about dressing up. But I was a real adult and working this year, I was a little scared of my day being ruined. I was thinking I got off at maybe five or six, got home and dressed up way too late for my liking because it seems everyone at my work hates Halloween. Not fun. Who hates Halloween?

The company I work for is launching in Toronto soon and half of our office is gone there, we had to finish a page starting a couple Fridays ago and if it was perfect by the following Monday, we were promised Halloween off. We managed to finish it, I stayed until seven working on it and we managed to pull it off by Saturday. Halloween off!! I was so excited that I just get to be in my costume all day and loving life and sitting around and sleeping in and being ready for the party to follow.

When I woke up at noon on Friday with Christian, he asked if I wanted to go get breakfast at our new favourite breakfast place. It's on Hollis street and it's called PG Cafe. They do all day breakfast and it's so cheap and so good and it's local!! Would suggest for anyone wanting to try new restaurant options because the owners are really nice and everything.

The previous evening, Halloween eve, Christian and I went to find a pumpkin to carve, because it's one of our favourite parts of the Halloween holiday season. It seems we waited too long to find something to carve and the three stores we tried to get a pumpkin from had sold out. People get crazy about pumpkins.

I had a meeting to go to late afternoon on Halloween day, so I wasn't able to get dressed up until around six. But when I did, boy did I ever. Faren so graciously did my makeup for me, and we even tried to put fake eyelashes on me. That didn't work out. But my makeup looked pretty rad anyway.

So, my costume was a while in the making. I wanted to start with a base white dress and dye and then paint it to my liking. I ordered a cheap dress off the forever 21 website, because finding anything in the store is a nightmare. Then I ended up sending it to the wrong address and by the time they opened so I could call them, they said they were already printing off shipping labels so I couldn't change the address. I don't see how it would be so hard to do something like that. So I had to cancel that order. I ended up making my own dress out of fabric I had bought last year for making my own duvet and then was chosen for curtains. Ah well, I got to be creative. It then took forever to paint and glue and cut out extra fabric and make it look like an actual dress and also like the girl from Lazytown's dress. By the time Thursday night rolled around, I was so tired of looking at it that I just wanted Halloween to be there already so I could stop looking at it and other people had to instead of me.

We had a dance party with fun Halloween songs and all the current popular songs about butts and stuffed our faces with fun-sized candy bars and chips and pizza. We got 4 whole kids to our door in one group, so a lot of candy was left for us to eat. I was hoping for more kids. We got more last year when we weren't prepared and we didn't decorate the outside of our house. This year we covered the front step and outside bush with spider webs and caution tape. Maybe it looked too much like an abandoned house.

No one anywhere we went seemed to recognize Christian's costume, which was unfortunate because I think it was good. Can you guess what he was?

We went to the Halloween geek beer held at the CS building at Dal to show our costumes off, and most people were dressed up there. My favourite costume of the people I didn't know was a girl dressed up as a pineapple. We stayed long enough to hear the results of the costume contest, which unfortunately none of us won. I don't see how, because we all had pretty rad costumes. I think it was rigged. A guy who had a beer box on his head and called himself Captain Nova Scotia won first place. So we left and returned home to play sociables and drink Halloween punch.

I already have my costume for next year picked out. It's going to take a bit of work, so I'm starting on it now. I'm really excited and I can't believe that it's so far away right now. We need a Summerween or something.

posted by Jessica Shortt
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