Dear Denver…

Ah jeez. Just when I had my heart set on moving to Montana, I had to go and venture to Colorado. Another beautiful state with an abundance of snow-capped mountains. 😍

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Sure, folks come here for the good ol’ cannabis…in fact, one of my hostel roommates who introduced himself as “Ty Ty” said:

“I just travel to the weed states. I’m going to Seattle next.”

God, I love hostels.

Anyways, I’ll pass on the pot. Not my thing. Luckily, Denver is so much more than dispensaries…though Hostel Fish is conveniently located NEXT DOOR to one if that’s your thing. No smoking IN the rooms though unless you feel like handing over $150. Think of all the edibles you could buy with that! I actually have no idea. Anyways…

I decided to jet to Denver because it’s a hella cheap flight from Detroit.

Like, just 50 smackaroonies. Wooooooo!

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If you’re traveling solo, you should ABSOLUTELY stay at Hostel Fish.
Weird name, right? Denver’s not known for fish…wait, what about rocky mountain oysters?

NO, THOSE ARE TESTICLES. DON’T LET THEM TRICK YOU.

Okay, okay, the owner’s last name is Fish. The hostel is NOT fish-themed or anything. Nothing fishy about it.

If you’re looking to come to the Mile High City (named for its elevation not the pot stuff jeeeez you guys!), you may come across the 11th Avenue Hostel. DO NOT STAY THERE. I’ve heard that it allegedly smells and there may or may not have been a thrash of bed bugs. I can’t say for sure, but, like, why take a chance?!

I’ve stayed at tons of hostels both in the states and in Europe– Hostel Fish has BY FAR the friendliest staff I’ve ever encountered. Like, they actually hang out with the guests and every single one of ’em has an interesting tale to tell. Plus, the rooms are themed, clean, and – holy heck! – the beds are legitimately COMFY.

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There’s a fun bar area (guests get a free drink each night!) and a kitchen too. Every Thursday, the hostel hosts a pub crawl – all the main bars are literally around the corner from Hostel Fish. I went on the pub crawl and tbh the highlight was spotting this WOLF at one of the bars:

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Her name was Aspen and she was SUCH a mush and I spent a solid 25 minutes sitting on the floor petting her.

The hostel is also located above a super cool restaurant/bar/dance joint called Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox. Even the locals recommend this spot, so you know it’s good. We actually ended our pub crawl at Ophelia’s and had a super fun time on the dance floor.

Much more to say about Denver but this gal needs to get her butt up for an early flight to CA tomorrow! 

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

The Mystique of Missed Connections

Ever locked eyes with a handsome stranger in aisle 1,467 of Walmart as you reached for those Slipper Genie Dusting Slippers that you saw an infomercial for that one time as you sipped your rosé and laughed to your cat named Smittens, thinking, those are SO silly! but then you awoke to cold feet and a lackluster floor and, well, here you are. Wait, where are we? Ah, yes, the handsome stranger! Unbeknownst to you, mystery Joe over there is making a mental note of not only your velvet scrunchie and neon Skechers but also your seemingly pathological indecisiveness when it comes to choosing a color! He laughs to himself as you muse aloud, “Ooh, lavender might be nice. Calming, even. But I do LOVE green.”

Green it is. You grab the box, smile politely at Joe, – whoa, are his eyes BLUEGREEN?!?!? – and make your way back down the 1,467 aisles, among all the people of Walmart, to fork over the $10 that you were going to spend on another three bottles of wine but the slippers just seem more important right now. Your floor IS dirty.

And then there’s Joe. Ah, Joe. He’s moved on to aisle 837 (socks) and is now kicking himself that he didn’t say anything to the brunette in the cat-hair-covered sweats in aisle 1,467. In the 6.43 minutes you spent choosing slippers, Joe was cooking up one-liners as he mindlessly picked up and put down various items in the As Seen On TV aisle (aisle 1,467, to be exact).

Hmm, maybe a Bacon Wave would be nice, he ponders. Then, you make your lavender comment and Joe stifles a laugh. He’s thinking of something to say, something like, You know what’s a foot long and slippery? A slipper! Good God, Joe, could you BE any creepier?! He keeps his mouth shut, puts down the Bacon Wave, picks up a Quick Taco Baking Rack because why the hell not and, well, here we are.

Two people and a silly shared moment. Two people noticeably noticing one another, yet not sharing a word. In the olden days, perhaps a mail carrying pigeon would be sent by one in hopes of finding the other. But, alas, we live in the modern era – oh, joy! Oh, JOE. He can’t get the scrunchie-sweatpants gal out of his head.

THANK GOODNESS FOR CRAIGLIST MISSED CONNECTIONS.

Joe, 28, scurries home to let out grandpa – his dog, not his relative – and then sits down for a nice mindless scroll on the ol’ Insta, @yoitsjoe747. He has a new follower, @itsmefromcraigslist. (Oh, wait that’s ME. #shamelessplug) Huh, people still do this? Maybe I should…nah, that’d be WEIRD. Ah, what the hell. *chugs another beer* 

Joe types:

Subject: Walmart, Aisle 1,467, Anywheresville, USA

“To the brunette with the scrunchie – was that velvet?? – and neon Skechers picking out those silly “As Seen On TV” dusting slippers this afternoon. I didn’t need a TV to SEE you. I think I might be in love with you. I’ll give you a mess to clean up!

GOOD GOD, JOE, GET IT TOGETHER. 

I think you’re lovely and I was amused by your delight in picking out those slippers! I ended up buying some ridiculous taco shell maker thing myself. Perhaps we can have an As Seen On TV date! Fish tacos, anyone? Let’s taco bout it soon! Oh, by the way, I’m Joe!”

*uploads…aaaand it’s live. 

And wouldn’t you know it, our mystery brunette, Daria, 26, is a fellow weirdo who LOVES a good missed connection. In fact, it’s a bit of a nightly ritual for her to read through the posts from Anywheresville, USA. She’s just finished dancing/dusting around her studio apartment – Smittens looking on in HORROR – and she curls up with her laptop. And that’s when she sees it:

Walmart, Aisle 1,467, Anywheresville, USA” 

Daria is SHOOK, as they say. She reads the post, immediately recognizing herself in it. She laughs, it’s silly, but oh, good God, what the f–

Fish tacos, seriously?? Does this ass think he’s being FUNNY? 

RE: Subject: Walmart, Aisle 1,467, Anywheresville, USA

Are you serious, Joe? Fish tacos? Are you some kind of pervert who hangs out in aisle 1,467 just for funsies? I bet you’re the type who would make some sick joke like, “You know what’s a foot long and slippery? A slipper!” But you wouldn’t be talking about a SLIPPER, would you, Joe? I AM SO GLAD I MISSED OUT ON YOU. 

Well, we showed him Smittens.

A reply? Already? *clicks* oh my God, oh my God, I am an IDIOT. Fish tacos, I literally meant FISH like– oh BLOODY HELL. I do wish I were British so I could say that more often. UGH BUT WHY DIDN’T I JUST SAY CHICKEN. JEEEEZUSSSS. I KNEW I SHOULD’VE WENT WITH THE BACON WAVE. 


Or, Joe could’ve just said something in-person?! Gah, I’m endlessly amused and fascinated by the Missed Connection section on Craigslist. In fact, yes, I recently made an Instagram dedicated to these poetic posts. It’s as sad as it is heartwarming– all of these lost souls, exchanging sweet smiles and small talk at gas stations, bodegas, and dog parks around the world (JK, we’re all just looking at the doggos and puppers there). I’m a weirdo; equal parts cynic, equal parts romantic. I mean, I married my first fucking boyfriend because HOW ROMANTIC but in retrospect, so silly omg (it didn’t work out, most marriages don’t – THE CYNIC IS BACK YAY). ANYWAY… I used to dream of the person who’d finally fall madly in love with me and how it could literally be anyone and I’d walk around thinking, could it be him? That guy stocking shelves in Trader Joe’s! He was humming…a JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE song?!?!? Señorita?!!?! And he smiled at me! And omg I’ll never see him again but WHAT IF IT’S HIM AND IT’S MEANT TO BE. *posts a note on Craigslist* JK, never did that, but I LOVE the people who do. And SURE there are creepers like fictitious Joe out there, well OK, maybe he actually wasn’t being gross but Daria will never know what really lies behind those blue-green eyes, will she?! But there’s something weirdly romantic about someone taking the time to write something out, to try and get your attention, to say “hey! I noticed you! did you notice me noticing you? will you notice me back?” When I worked in NYC, I thought about this OFTEN, like WAY too often, as I rode Metro-North to and from Grand Central every day. What if, instead of a quiet car we had a social car?! These are things I’d think about. ALL THE TIME. And I still do, tbh. As introverted as I am, I wish folks were more social and less weird about, well, being weird. But, I guess it IS easier when alcohol is involved. C’est la vie. In closing, (lol am I writing a fucking dissertation? idk), here are some curated Craigslist Missed Connections for ya – a lot of y’all are missing each other at various marts of Wal, FYI.


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From Hawaii to North Dakota, folks are just trying to find love at their local Walmart. Follow @itsmefromcraigslist for alllll missed connections, not just Walmart.

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

Cheers to 2019!

HI, IT’S JACKIE HERE. I’m currently listening to the 80s pop channel on Pandora (sidenote: apparently I’m a grandma for still using Pandora?!?? whatever), sitting in my new, cozy room in Michigan (yes, MICHIGAN), and reflecting on what the hell has happened in 2018. It’s been a fucking journey. I went back to read the blog post I wrote this time last year and realized I DIDN’T EVEN W4407.CR2RITE ONE. Like, I wrote a “Cheers to 2016!” and “Cheers to 2017!” but I was in such a crappy place this time last year that I couldn’t even properly ‘CHEERS!’ to the New Year. In fact, I was DREADING 2018. This time last year I was four months into a marriage that I knew I shouldn’t be in. I eloped for all the wrong reasons and felt young, dumb, lonely, and lost. And it makes me sad for my 26-year-old self. But, GUESS WHAT!? I’m 27 now (weird) and things are great (fab, in fact) and I’m SO EXCITED for 2019.

I learned so much about myself in 2018. For starters, I let go of a relationship that was sucking the life out of me. It wasn’t an easy thing to do but I’m so much happier for doing it.

thank u, next.

I reflected A LOT on my own self and what brings me happiness and why I am the way that I am and all of that good stuff and I wrote THIS piece and so many of you responded with such kind words and I can’t thank y’all enough for that. I wrote another piece for a writing competition (which I hope to do more of in 2019) that was more of a reflection on my past relationship and, though it didn’t win, I’m thinking I’ll share it on here soon. It’s 5,000 words though, so…grab a cup of coffee first. Writing is extremely cathartic for me but sharing my words is a bit more difficult and I haven’t mustered up the courage to publish that piece yet but I’m working on it…

Earlier this year, I moved to Astoria and then, after six months, I realized it wasn’t for me. I was raised to be a city girl and I have plenty of close friends who live in and around NYC but I craved something a bit simpler, yet more grand and awe-inspiring. I’ve always loved lakes and mountains and I felt like I was forcing myself to be Carrie Bradshaw. Although, we all know she wouldn’t have EVER lived in Astoria. Anyway. I moved back home to Northern Westchester and gave myself some time to figure things out…

…But not before attending a gala, because duh that’s what everyone does in NYC, did you not watch Gossip Girl? JK we kinda snuck in but shhhhhh it’s fine it’s fine. 😂😂

29792962_10155308396201196_4992215602547392512_o.jpg20180323_215744.jpgThen, in July, I booked a one-way ticket to Europe because, let’s face it, all my best stories start with a one-way ticket to somewhere. See: “Why I Quit My Job in Broadcast and Booked a One Way Ticket to California.”

It was my first time back in Europe since Sept. 2017 when I went to Spain with Shanna and her family. This time around I went back to Iceland for a quick 20-hour stint before hopping along to Scotland, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, and England! I traveled by myself, with my best friend, and with friends both new and old…and it was splendid.

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Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 4.41.00 PMimg_20180710_064558_821806280922.jpgscreenshot_2018-07-14-14-13-00385184914.pngDSC06522.jpg^Monica captured a real ‘Jackie’ face there. 😂

Read more about my time in Europe here, here, and here!DSC06470Screenshot_2018-07-14-19-22-27.pngIMG_20180803_143030_908.jpgfullsizeoutput_b25I did A LOT of cool things in Europe. From eating danish danishes in Denmark and searching for Nessie in Loch Ness to partying in Edinburgh and taking a dip in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, it was an adventure. But, the true highlight may have been nerding out at the Michael Jackson On the Wall Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London. OH – and when I was in Berlin I saw the balcony where he dangled baby Blanket from that one time and that was great too. 😂😂😂😂😂

IMG_20180803_153622_469.jpgAnd then there was my GOLDEN BIRTHDAY. I turned 27 on the 27th of September and on that day I found myself on a flight to Kalispell, Montana. By myself, with my Man of the Woods album in hand (of course), I was ready for another adventure. And I’ll save the ravings because I already wrote about how freakin’ awesome it was HERE.

But here are some pics to prove just how PRETTY MONTANA IS:

fullsizeoutput_c0afullsizeoutput_c2420181004_175800.jpg20180928_135128fullsizeoutput_c1cfullsizeoutput_c39From Montana, I flew to LA where I reconnected with some of my FAVORITE people who reminded me to listen to my heart and soul and that making big moves and changing things up can be scary but super duper fulfilling. ❤

20181006_231601.jpg20181008_18204720181008_19595320181008_200306Back in NY, I celebrated Spencer’s 30th (he doesn’t look a day over 25) and I was even a bridesmaid at Shanna’s wedding! So much good stuff to be happy about — I love you guys! ❤

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Holy bananas, 2018 was a good one. I mean, I even witnessed a dog WALK ON WATER earlier this year, like, COME ON ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?! LOOK AT THAT MAJESTIC CREATURE.

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My goal for 2019 was to finally move out of NY but woohoo I hit that goal earlier than expected! I’m in Michigan for now but it’s more of a stepping stone (though I’m enjoying it so far!)…I’m getting my feet wet before making the bigger move to MONTANA. I can’t wait! I’ve let go of a lot of things this year (both material and emotional) but it’s allowed for really exciting, incredible things in my life.

Also, this has been my first full year working completely freelance with no in-office jobs and it’s been a hustle but sooooo worth it!!!!

Anyways, thanks for being a part of the adventure!
And thank you to all of my new and old friends who’ve made 2018 super kick-ass.

Cheers to 2019!

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

Why I Donate My Birthday to charity: water Each Year

Because 1 in 10 people lack access to clean water. 

Because 13-year-old Letikiros Hailu hung herself after the clay pot in which she carried water home after a six-hour RT walk broke…and she couldn’t bear the thought of showing up to her family empty-handed. 

Because I’m inspired by 9-year-old Rachel Beckwith’s story:

Because I attended the annual charity: water gala in 2014 and was awed by the passion of their employees, volunteers, and supporters. 

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Because clean water is something so many of us take for granted. The water in our toilets is cleaner than the water that many folks TREK for daily…kids even miss school just to walk miles to retrieve dirty water for their families. 

Because I can afford to.

Because I have everything I need.

Because we should use celebrations to give back to those in need.

We should draw attention to things that really matter.

Material things DO NOT MATTER.

Skipping your $5 latte one day WILL NOT KILL YOU.

HELP ME HELP THE WORLD!

Click the link above to donate to my 27th birthday campaign for charity: water! I’ve raised over $7300 over the years and I’m looking to make it to $10,000 by the end of this year! Together, we can make sure everyone has easy access to safe, clean water.

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

“This Is the Best Cheesecake Ever,” Said a New Yorker in Berlin

Ah, New York. Home to the best of the best. From pizza and pastrami to bagels and bodegas, if you want it, NY has it. And it is the best.

Also, apparently home to the “best fly fishing east of the Rockies,” according to the New York State Conservationist MagazineWho knew? 

Of course, the Empire State is also known for its infamous New York-style cheesecake. From Junior’s to Eileen’s Special Cheesecake and S&S, it’s hard to argue with the feeling of your arteries closing as you take ‘just one more bite’ of the creamy cake made of fromage.

I mean, it’s hard to argue with a New Yorker in general. Colin Heinrich offers a guide “how to win an argument with somebody from New York” …but he’s not a native New Yorker so I wouldn’t trust him.

Anyway. 

Back to Berlin. Remember that time I was in Berlin and it was awful? Ok, it wasn’t that bad…just, like, weird and grungy with a real sex, drugs, and rock & roll house music type vibe. Sounds like my kind of place, right?

*Taps ruby slippers off-white BOBS Skechers together, desperately trying to get back to NY*

BUT WAIT.

The cake made of cheese, guys. The cheesecake. 

I was led to a little place called Five Elephant by Loic, the photographer I booked for an Airbnb Experience. More on that in another post…but here’s a sneak peek:

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Dammmnnn, nice photo skills, Loic! Ok, back to the cake.

Loic asked if I’d like to stop somewhere for a drink (beer) or a coffee.

Me: ‘Oh, yeah! Cawwwfeee for sure!’

Loic: ‘Er…’

Me: ‘Great!’

On we went. Loic insisted that the place we were going not only had great cawwfee but the *best* cheesecake as well.

*New Yorker skepticism sets in*

 ewis1.gifWho does this guy think he is? He’s not even from Berlin and now he thinks some random cawwfee shop has the ‘best’ cheesecake. We’ll see about that. Has he ever been to NY? Nope, he hasn’t. WHAT DOES HE EVEN KNOW?!

But…GUYS.

Five Elephant is on an unassuming street in Berlin’s more artsy fartsy district, Kreuzberg. And, well, I’ll try to describe the cheesecake…but first, a photo:

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Do you see that thin layer on the top? Yeah, I don’t know what that is either. But cheesecake will never be the same without it.

And that crust? Yeah, again, I don’t know but it was THE BEST.

And the actual cheesecake? ‘Holy bananas’ is all I can say.

It was as if the cheesecake was whipped for days on end by little elves. Magical, delightful, cheesecake-making elves. (Sidenote: I am ready for snowy weather and Christmas. Can you tell?)

GUYS. I know I can be dramatic, but LOOK at Jonathan’s review. He is a “LOCAL GUIDE.” The internet doesn’t lie! 

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Yo, that guy Jonathan that reviewed this place WAS RIGHT. 😂

The comments go on and on…I’ve noticed folks have knocked off stars for the cafe’s lack of WiFi, but seriously. You will not need to connect to anything except your inner soul once you take a bite of that cheesecake.

I almost don’t want to ‘publish’ this blog post for fear that this place will really catch on and turn into a chain and then it’ll be awful.

But I’m not that popular, so publish I shall! 

Alas, it was a cake made of cheese that left me beguiled by Berlin.

You win, Berlin.

You win.

Spread kindness and cheer (and cheese and cake), xo
Jackie