Thing #22 – Juicy Memories

I don’t know if you heard, but the first day of spring happened.

Whenever the seasons shift, I get a feeling in my stomach I can only describe as “restless itchiness.” It’s the product of a long string of memories from that respective season.

I’ve long held a practice of reflecting on, “what was I doing last year at this time?” This practice is especially potent during changes in season. I’ve done this for so many years that I’ve formed a capsule inside me with layers of memories, each holding stories like a tree’s rings.

The most influential layers of spring memories began in high school – the first Cranberries album, rides in Trav’s Mustang with the windows down, and the smell of thawing fields. In college, I added layers of frisbee in James Madison Park, inventing stories about strangers on State Street, jacketless walks home from campus, and Women’s Studies projects. Into adulthood, the layers deepen – dance rehearsals, work events, concerts at First Avenue, and walking down city streets with men whose hands … Read the rest

Grab life by the dough balls

“You’re kind of a history buff, aren’t you?” Someone actually said that to me. Never in my life have I been called, nor identified with being, a history buff. I’m not sure I could name one thing I learned in my history classes, and rely heavily on “based on a true story” movies to bridge the wide gaps in the historical timeline in my brain. However, if you’ve only met me in the past six months, you’d think that I must be a huge history nerd given my schoolgirl crush on Lewis and Clark and incessant sharing of lessons I’m learning in my Missouri backyard.

Recently this blog has been more devoted to history and travel than to bakeries and travel. When I sit down to write, I struggle to find a seamless way to integrate the bakery element. And then I get frustrated and give up because it doesn’t fit nicely into the box I created for this blog over two years ago.

Guess what? My life is way different than it was two Read the rest

Urban Adventure Hike

Kauffman Garden

People love to retreat into nature to hike – crossing off “fourteeners” like they are part of a grocery list. I totally get it. Escaping into the grandeur of untouched nature is truly spectacular and transformative. But I’m also a pretty big fan of what I call “Urban Adventure Hikes.” This is exactly what it sounds like. Trade the cliffside switchbacks for questionable industrial neighborhoods, and breathtaking views for newly discovered breakfast joints.

You’re like, “Jenna, you’re basically just taking a walk, right?” My response to you is the real-life version of the straight-eyed, straight-mouthed emoji.

I was in NYC recently and set out early, meandering alone through neighborhoods, listening to podcasts, taking pictures, changing course on a whim to follow people, seek out a perfect lunch or Gossip Girl locations – it ended up being about 7 hours and 20 miles long. It’s like being on a trail all day, except with weirdos and street food instead of elk and granola bars. This is easily the most relaxing way I can imagine spending a … Read the rest

Sprinkles

Sprinkle cookie

I live in fear of my life becoming too simple. Uninspired. Average. A sugar cookie life with cookie cutter constraints. I’ve fought relentlessly against this kind of life, surrounding myself with people and hobbies that reveal secret passageways into my creativity. I’ve prioritized it because it’s always been my sure-fire ticket to happiness.

For the past few months I’ve been feeling very cookie cutter. Uninspired. Average. Demands are high. My favorite people and hobbies have been far away, and I haven’t allowed myself the time or space to seek new ones. This is why you haven’t heard from me in awhile. Each time I’ve tried to write, it seems silly and I quit. My creative spark is barely flickering.

Recently on my way to work, I stopped by McLain’s Bakery in the Waldo neighborhood of KC. This is a gorgeous, spacious bakery with lots of seating and way too many choices. In the morning, the pastry case is steamy and chock-full of pillowy danishes, rolls and croissants. They also have a case of cookies, and … Read the rest

Moving to the bread basket of America

Bread basket of AmericaI don’t know if you heard the news, but this gypsy is wandering. I was recently presented with an outstanding career opportunity in Kansas City, and being a girl who has a hard time passing up an adventure, I jumped on it. To be honest, Huzzbot is the one who gave me the kick in the pants to do it. Another reason why he is the best.

After people share their excitement with me, the number one question I get is, “What about Sissy?!” I get concerned looks from people asking about her emotions and if she’ll move along with us. You guys, don’t worry about Sissy. We’ll miss each other terribly, but will find ways to hang out. She is actually coming in December for our annual cookie-baking extravaganza, and I know we’ll still have adventures to share with you.Sistaaahs

The second comment I receive is, “What about the blog? Are you going to find bakeries down there? You’re not gonna start blogging about BBQ, right?” Yes, I will be exploring a new world … Read the rest