Category Archives: the city

Happy New Year, Friends!

I keep thinking it’s something like 2004, but apparently it’s 2012. This is THE YEAR that the Mayans gave up on time. Anyone taking bets on that one?

I love the start of the new year. It’s a great opportunity to look back at a fixed amount of time (365 days) and consider whether or not they’ve been what you hoped them to be, as well as to reflect on what you hope your next 365 days will hold. For the last few years I’ve spent my New Year’s Eve nights/mornings in Nashville, attending parties in the city and taking advantage of rare time with some of my favorite people. This year we went to a ’90s-band party downtown, and my friend Mandy even made an awesome pinata for us to burst at the pregame. Betsy took a dowel rod to it and really got things going.

Mandy filled the pinata with all sorts of favors, including these 2012 glasses  (photo stolen from Betsy). It’s a true fact that the glasses were SO beautiful that members of the band kept stealing them from us.

While I normally might lamely attempt to make some resolutions, I’ve decided that I’ve got more than enough to handle with my 30-before-30 list. After talking with some friends, taking advice from you all (again—friends who read this), and reconsidering my original choices, the tentative list is now solid. And here it is:

The list is not radically different from the first draft, but I’m happy with it now. Notice that the highlighted one is the only one I’ve actually completed, so . . . yeah. I have a lot of work to do!

That’s not to say I’m not in the process of progress. I’ve completed 1/3 of the quilt. I’m editing a couple of articles that someone out there might be fool enough to publish. I sewed myself a very basic Halloween costume, which is giving me confidence that I can actually sew myself a dress before long. Though there’s a lot left to do here, I’m not discouraged.

I do have to give a shout-out to several of my amazing friends who have made conscious efforts to help me reach these goals:

  • Chloe, who gave me not one but TWO shades of red lipstick for Christmas
  • Benji, who loaned me Reservoir Dogs to watch (and who also gave me some really interesting written commentary!)
  • Laura, who gave me a book of sewing patterns
  • Betsy, photographer extraordinaire who took (and is now editing) what will hopefully be my professional “glamour photo”
  • Sebastian, who offered to read Infinite Jest with me
  • Chris, who offered to help with my bike
  • Blake, who said I could stay at his apartment in Austin
  • and many others who have offered encouragement, advice, and support (ya’ll are rad people!)

I feel pretty strongly that 2012 is going to be a good year, and that turning thirty will be downright okay. I also feel pretty grateful to have so many fantastic people in my life, so who can go wrong with that, eh?



PS—What are your goals for the year? How did you spend your NYE?


A Prayer for Our Beloved City

Most of you who have watched the news over the last few days may have heard that Nashville, our beloved music city, is flooded. The photos are horrendous. The stories are heroic, incredible, and devastating. And many people in Nashville are still figuring out what to do next.

The 2137, praise be, is fine. Our dear Hillsboro Village seems fine, for the most part. Atticus and MowMow are fine. Catherine and Trone arrived back in N-town today safely, and so far most of my friends and family are accounted for and incredibly lucky. But it still breaks my heart that I haven’t been there through it all, to see the damage inflicted on Nashville, the heart of my heart.

Over the next few days, weeks, and probably months, Nashville will need lots of love and care. If you’re inclined to lend a hand, please take a minute to register yourself as a volunteer through Hands On Nashville. Or, if you would like to give of your means to support one heckuva worthy cause, consider donating to The American Red Cross or the Community Foundation. I’ll be heading down there to see everything for myself in just a few days, and I may check in if there are any volunteer opportunities to report.

I have NO DOUBT that Nashville will rise to this occasion and take care of its people, and I know they will rise even higher than the waters plaguing their streets and homes. Even if every national news crew forgets this graceful southern city, the resourceful, kind, generous, and always creative people of Nashville will prove to themselves (and the world!) that they are one of a kind.

In grand Nashville style, someone made a beautiful video documenting this not-so-beautiful event. Pray for the cause, give to your neighbors, and Vive le Nashville! 

Shalom, ya’ll —


Top Chef Dorks – a “tag-team blog experiment”

Jennifer and I are tag-teaming this one. It will probably be a disaster, but it didn’t seem fair for just one of us to monopolize the beautiful experience that we’re about to chronicle for you.

So here goes.

Joce: If we haven’t made it clear already, Catherine, Jennifer, and I live in what we believe to be the rocking-est neighborhood in Nashville. Hillsboro Village is cute, quirky, trendy, convenient, and oh-so-appealing to the emo kids who don’t live anywhere nearby. Sometimes I feel too uncool for my own hood when faced with the flocks of legginged fauxhawks and tea-drinking all-season scarf-wearers. To them, we have this to say: TIGHTS ARE NOT PANTS

But the alienation I feel is beside the point. On Friday we were reminded of how truly precious and picturesque our living situation can be . . . when the BravoTV Top Chef tour bus rolled into the Belcourt parking lot.

Jen: Oh but I love our neighborhood. I love that when they tore down the house next door, hipsters came from far and wide to drape themselves over the rubble and take dramatic MySpace pictures. Dee-lightful.

So we wandered over to the Belcourt, Jocelyn with her I ❤ Jim mug (The Office) in hand, and signed up for a seat. The man let us in b/c he liked Jocelyn’s mug. GO FIGURE. Then some Top Chefs, Antonia and that guy (I forgot his name) popped out of the side of the Top Chef trailor. They had them crammed in there like little clowns.

And as soon as they opened their mouths, the product placement commenced! The show itself is rife w/ product placement, but these people are pros. And clearly fans of Whole Foods.

Was it Ryan? Ryan was in charge of this demo, and he elected to make some meatless crustini for our enjoyment.

Joce: Yes, it was Ryan. Ryan Scott. I barely remembered him from the show. But it doesn’t matter, because he gave me two HUGE smooches after the cooking demo, and I happened to like it very much. Here are Ryan and Antonia in action:


antonia and ryan

They had an awesome, large tilting mirror adjusted above the cooking area so we could see what was going on there.

cool cooking mirror

But I’ll be honest . . . the chefs talked so much about stuff that had nothing to do with the recipe, that I don’t even remember what was in the brushcetta-thingy they demonstrated for us. Especially Ryan. He kissed every woman within the square mile, and managed to talk a mile-a-minute while doing so. Impressive! Seriously, Jennifer only caught ONE picture of Ryan actually letting Antonia talk.

antonia speaks, for once

In true Jocelyn-fashion, I forgot to take a picture of the food because I scarfed it down like a shark, and had to take this picture of our neighbors’ samples instead:

bruschetta thangs

For your benefit, I cropped the boobs off the girl in the forefront. I promise you. They were distracting.

While Ryan and Antonia promised that the recipe would be available online, I can’t seem to find it anywhere. But here are some of the other dishes that the Top Chefs cooked while on tour: Top Chef Tour Recipes

Jen: The Q&A was pretty good, but both of us were too chicken to ask the burning question….”What do you guys think of Padma’s skanky Hardee’s commercial”? I mean really. Who licks ketchup off their own leg after they’ve been prancing around New York City all day? *Gag reflex*

Here we are in the autograph line, dorkish glee barely contained:

geeking out

Joce: Wow! That girl on the right has really big boobs too!

Jen: Here is Joce post-smooch on the side of the face (Ryan really did take a shine to her):

fugly jocelyn in line at top chef

Here is the worst of all possible pictures. This is the magical effect I have on cameras:

cross-eyed ryan

Joce: Whatever, Jen. Ryan’s the one who looks a little like Bugs Bunny right here.

Our priceless keepsakes:

  • autographed glamour shots of Antonia and Ryan
  • a not-priceless “Top Chef” logo kitchen mitt (cost me fifteen bones, plus some Tennessee sales tax)
  • heartburn
  • two hours of geeking-out well spent

Jen: And this is what the cat was doing while we were gone:



Joce: We’re not “Top Chefs” yet, but maybe one day. 😉

Ciao, amigos!

Joce & Jennifer