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C’est La Vie And Other Things You Tell Yourself When You Take Solo Pictures

10 Jan


Let me set the scene for you here.

It’s 4PM on a Sunday in Sin City.  I’ve been driving all day and am wearing a muumuu/bits of cinnamon bears.  My best friend and I are on the hunt for a place to take pictures before the sun sets.  I have a pile of clothing on my lap and I keep yelling, “How about over there?  What do we think of that BARREN FIELD?”

Ashley, said best friend, pulls over to the side of the road.   “Yes, a barren field could work.”  “But this barren field?  Or that barren field?”  “Why do we keep saying barren field?” “I don’t know, but are we doing the barren field?”

The words “barren field” are tossed around 700 times EXACTLY NO EXAGGERATION.

Barren field yields pictures like this:


No go.

Our spirits are broken, we can’t go on etc.

But wait!  There’s Jokers Wild Casino which has a big stucco wall for picture taking opportunities! Never mind that Ashley’s home has a big stucco wall for picture taking opportunities, the time is now!  The day is here!

I stumble out of the car in my muumuu.  Awkward photos are taken including an entire series with a shoulder shrug?  (I don’t know.  My shoulder doesn’t even know.)


Second outfit is pulled out.  Ashley blocks my body from the dead end traffic so no one sees it.  We realize that I am facing a major road and they can see everything.

Sun is setting!

Accidental prayer photo is taken. (I was not praying, SO YOU KNOW.)


Bad group shots are taken which Ashley will not even give me so I can decide on my own how poor they are.


C’est la vie.

(Which, incidentally, was the name of my favorite song for several years of elementary school. I can still sing every word in full Irish accent, and I will try to pull a Michael Flatley if you put it on in my presence. In another life I was the bad dancer in a girl band.)

Say you will!  Say you won’t!  Say you’ll do what I don’t!

Bringing it back around.

Flatley contained.

The end result was this picture, which I needed for blogging purposes.


This whole photoshoot (?) was for blogging purposes because I’m always woefully lacking in headshots and single shots and all shots and now you know why. When I try to take pictures it turns into a story, but never into a usable photo.

Honestly, I don’t know how other people do it.  I still have mini panic attacks when I think of the shoulder shrugging photos and I still reevaluate my desire to blog when I think of every having to do it again.

C’est, c’est la vie.

The Getty Villa

11 Nov


Once every few months or so I pull out my camera and decide it’s time to practice taking pictures/being a blogger.

I bought my camera shortly before I moved to London, in a delightful time in my life where I was working full time and could buy things like fancy cameras.  I had a one-on-one session with the camera guy where he said a whole bunch of things that made absolutely no sense to me, and proceeded to take pictures on Auto for at least a year.

To this day, my camera continues to perplex and frustrate me.  Shouldn’t I be smart enough to handle settings and flashes and whatsits?

Shouldn’t it be more intuitive?

I think, in reality, photography is another aspect of my life that I haven’t devoted very much time to and thus just write it off as “not for me.”  I was having a conversation with my brother recently about how I’m terrible at real life things like printers and health insurance and such and he kind of laughed and said, “Jill, no one’s inherently good at these things.  You have to practice.”  Then he pointed out how I spend zero energy on “real life” tasks, and thus my real life skill level is exactly what I’ve put into it.


Common sense.

This is not for me.

Halloween 2013: A Study In Feminist Icons

1 Nov

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Yesterday was a really great day for feminism in the Pepperdine MFA program, oh yes it was.

Oh Hello There, Disneyland

20 Oct


On Friday I headed to Disneyland with my mother, my baby sister, my baby sister’s friend and Caitlin/Thelma/Ben.

There is probably a more fun way to phrase that sentence, so I’ll let you get on that.

We walked around looking like mice all day because before we put on Minnie ears my energy was at a 0 and after we put them on my energy was at a 1 and we need to take these victories where we can get them.


Going anywhere with Caitlin means I take more pictures than I am comfortable with.  By the end of the day as we passed yet another perfect backdrop I said, “No more pictures, please.  I have enough awkward hand-on-hip shots to last a lifetime here.”

I really need to practice my photo taking skills, especially if I’m to call myself a blogger, but it just seems so out of character. You know those adorable girls on Instagram who just casually laugh and hold each other all the time and you go, “Is this real life?” and “That seems exhausting to cultivate”?

Yes, well that seems exhausting to cultivate and also nothing like my real life.

Oh!  And another thing about pictures with Caitlin, she keeps them all, INCLUDING THE BAD ONES and then comes back and tries to blackmail you with them later i.e. “Tell me about this conversation with this boy or I will post a 2012 OC Fair photo on Facebook.”

She hasn’t actually posted any because she loves me, but it is frightening to think that those photos of me are still out there.

What if they fell into the wrong hands?

I believe the greatest blessing to come from technology is the freedom to delete photos and try again and never, ever mention they happened.

And now that my Disneyland post has taken a drastic turn for the photo, we will end with one last, happy picture and the knowledge that on Saturday  I woke up and had a Disneyland caramel apple for breakfast.


Successful weekend all around.


16 Sep



A few months ago, Caitlin and I gave talks in church on the same day.  During her talk, Cait mentioned that she has a flair for the theatrical. I later joked, “If you think Caitlin is dramatic, you haven’t met me.”  Ever since then people have come up to me and said, “You’re the girl that’s more dramatic than Caitlin!  I never thought such a thing was possible!”

To be fair, Caitlin and I are probably equally absurd, just in different ways.  For instance, Saturday night she called to tell me she’d begun her memoir.

I responded with, “I’m so proud of you and I believe in you fully and also I nearly died choking on a piece of pizza, alone in my apartment, while watching Romancing the Stone.”

*Moment of silence to process this information*

If our Polaroids from the Rascal Flatts concert were to be displayed at a museum, say the Smithsonian, say in an exhibit celebrating our friendship, I imagine they would simply be titled “Drama.”

Or perhaps “Drama And How To Run It Like Gary.”

One Of Those Photos

24 Jun


Do you ever see a candid photo of yourself and go, “Surely this can’t be what I really look like!  Surely one of my supposed-to-be-my-soul-mate friends would have stepped in years ago and confronted me about the problem that is this facial expression!  Surely the camera was on the fritz!  Surely so many things!”

Sadly, this is not one of those photos for me.

This photo is all Jill.  Classic J. Lo.  Jillian 101.

The hand in the air, the furrowed brow…if you’ve ever wondered what I look like telling a story, look no further.

I’ll have to save my surelys for another shocking picture.

On another note, my hair color is one of my favorite things going on in my life at the moment.  This may sound very shallow, but this time last year I was recovering from a bout of wannabe-Addison-Shepherd hair and that sort of experience does things to a girl.

I’ve made a vow to not change my color from now until forever, and it is your responsibility as a reader of my blog to hold me to that.  Talk me off the ledge.  Remind me I’m not Isla Fisher.  This is really for the good of everyone as I can get quite emotional about poor hair decisions and you really don’t want to read my hair-color-inspired poetry, I’m warning you now.

As a final note in this incredibly insightful and thought-provoking blog post, I’d like to point out that I don’t think the facial expressions of those around me in this picture accurately depict how people respond to my stories.

I’m sticking to that.

Aunt Jill

8 May

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I spent Monday afternoon running around trying to catch this little guy on camera.

Actually maybe I should rephrase that.

I spent Monday afternoon sprinting-at-full-speed-in-impractical-shoes trying to catch this little guy on camera.

There, that’s more accurate.

I imagined taking Liam’s picture would be as simple as me saying, “Oh Liam! Look over at Aunt Jill!” He would quickly oblige, of course, so happy I was in his life and spending time with him. I would snap wonderful, candid photographs that would reflect our close relationship. We would spend the afternoon laughing, swinging, and singing a duet to “A Spoonful of Sugar” together.  Maybe while I taught him his times tables.  Maybe not.  We’d just see how it went.

I really do think like this.

Someone save me from myself.

An hour into The Great Liam Picture-Taking Adventure I collapsed on the couch, exhausted. My whimsical-photographer outfit was a mess, my knee was bruised, my muscles were sore. I vowed to recommit myself to the gym and to take a good, hard look at my expectations in life.

I also vowed to spend as much time as possible with little ones. There is nothing in this world cuter than a 2-year-old who calls you Aunt Jill.

There just isn’t.

You better believe next time I’m wearing running shoes, though.  And maybe knee pads.  Would buying a helmet for this venture be going too far?

That’s what I thought.


25 Mar

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Can I ask you a question? When is it appropriate for me to sing “California Girls” at karaoke? I was born in San Diego. I’ve lived in Malibu for 8 months. I once talked about The 405 like I was knowledgeable. When can I sing “California Girls” and not be a fraud? Deep philosophical thoughts that plague me…

Moving on.

Today Rob and I went to Chinatown. I always enjoy a good tourist day, but this one was especially fun because last week we studied Chinatown in my History of American Film class and so I felt all knowledgeable and film student-y.

We came with huge expectations because Rob had heard that Yang Chow was the best Chinese food in LA and had change-your-life slippery shrimp.

Lies, all lies.

We ordered enough food for the next three months and felt pretty so-so about it all. Like so so-so that when I asked Rob the best part of the meal he said, “Your company.”

I’m not that charming.

Chinatown was fun, though.

PS: If you ever come to Malibu and realize there are no Chinese restaurants, you may be tempted to order the crab rangoons at Duke’s. DON’T DO IT. SAVE YOURSELF.

LA, I Love You?

11 Mar



Here’s the thing about LA.  Most of the time it just sucks.  It costs $40 an hour to park at Target.  (True story.  Talk to Caitlin’s debit card about that one.)  You get a ticket for even thinking about parking in Venice.  On a sunny day it can take an hour and a half just to get out of Malibu.  Just out of Malibu!

Don’t even get me started on The 405.

Every time I venture into LA I vow never to do so again.  I vow to stay in my little Malibu bubble and eat Lily’s breakfast burritos and watch Dawson’s Creek until the day I die, alone, miserable and surrounded by diet coke cans.

And then I go to the Griffith Observatory and forget what I was upset about.  I forget that it took me three hours to get there, and in that time I could have driven to the middle of Mexico.  (Don’t quote me on that.) I find myself starting to think:

Wow, I wasn’t expecting LA to be so beautiful!

Look–the Hollywood sign!  Pretend to be famous!

I’m pretty sure this view was featured on 90210 and my life is now complete!

And then, inexplicably, I hear myself say, “You know what?  I should come to LA more.”


PS: Guys, my camera died right when the sunset was getting really, showstoppingly, heartbreakingly beautiful.  I didn’t handle this well.  Ask Rob.  He heard me repeat over and over that I was so so so so so so so so upset about this.  I’ve decided I must return, this time with a fully charged camera, sensible shoes, and a picnic.

It’s so so so so so so so so going to happen.

Maybe It’s Genetic

3 Mar

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Things we have in common:

1. Hair!

2. Talking with our hands

3. Forever 21 “I Heart Malibu” sweaters