Week in Review (February 10 – February 16, 2014)

I like Valentine’s Day.  It’s a great excuse to show the people you love how much you care through thoughtful notes, handmade cards, beautiful bouquets, and small tokens.  In the past I’ve celebrated (and been celebrated) with gestures both big and small, but no matter the size, the sentiment is always the same: love.

Love is a many-splendored thing.  Love lifts us up where we belong!  All you need is love.

– From one of my all-time favorite movies, Moulin Rouge


The “week of love” (aka last week) was just that – a week of love.  Don and I enjoyed spending quality time (and quality food!) with some of our loved ones as well as with just each other.  I celebrated my loved ones on Valentine’s Day this year by sending cheery bouquets.  I think the gift of flowers is such a lovely gesture and I enjoy sharing such beautiful things.  Don and I had a lovely Valentine’s dinner date at the newly overhauled Japonais by Morimoto, sharing many small, delicious plates.  We exchanged handmade valentines and small tokens.  I absolutely love the Filofax love poem Don crafted for me!  It also happened that Valentine’s Day fell on a Friday this year, which is typically when I post an OLJ update.  I like to think that  my latest post on my Erin Condren Life Planner was a fitting one to share on Valentine’s Day, since it has been so highly requested.  It was also fun to coordinate that post with a video I filmed with my friend Kristina (StarOfMay on YouTube) where we discussed our love of planners.  I celebrate my online community by sharing some of my greatest joys, such as a beautifully designed and functional planner.  We don’t all love the same things, but it is in sharing that we learn to appreciate the diversity among people.


I think Valentine’s Day is more than just showing the ones you care about your love for them, but also taking time to love and appreciate yourself.  I’ve talked before about the sad and paradoxical double standard our culture places on self love.  You’re expected to be a selfless giver, born to serve others and do right by the world, while also somehow managing to be perfectly happy, content, and comfortable in your skin.  I have yet to meet one person who is able to love others well and be truly charitable without first loving themselves.  So why is the pursuit of self love so condemned?  I know that I am best able to be loving and giving to others when I am loving and giving to myself.  I wish everyone could  encourage others and most importantly themselves to self nurture, but unfortunately, we do not live in a society that allows for this kind of mutual and self respect.  Alas, I try in my own way to keep in touch with myself and my feelings in the ways that best suit me.  I’ve mentioned some of these self love rituals in the past, including giving myself some space and “me time” (baths, reading, knitting), feeding/fueling my body and mind (good food, running/toning/yoga, learning new things), and being gentle and patient with myself (therapy, acupuncture, journaling).  Feeling fulfilled in these ways allows me to more fully care for my loved ones.  Instead of a vicious cycle, it is a beneficial one.

I’ll get off my soap box now 🙂 You can watch this week’s vlog here if you’d like:

As I mentioned in the video, I have a giveaway to share this week.  The Weekly Wednesday MAC Pigments Giveaway will run until Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 6 PM CT.  The giveaway is open internationally.  All entrants under the age of 18 must have parental permission to enter.  There will be three winners, each who will win one of the three different MAC pigment sets pictured below (you can specify which set you’d prefer when you enter the giveaway):


*** Please note – the giveaway prizes include makeup products that are gently used.  By entering in the giveaway you acknowledge this and consent to accepting the products as is in the event that you win. ***

You can enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter widget posted below (check out this blog post for more information on entering Rafflecopter giveaways).   I’ll announce the  winners on THIS blog post and contact them directly through email, as always.  Good luck!


Congrats to Amanda A., Ashley W., and Kamila on being selected as the winners of my Weekly Wednesday MAC Pigments Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you find ways to nurture and care for yourself and your loved ones this February 


* This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are genuinely my own. *


24 thoughts on “Week in Review (February 10 – February 16, 2014)”

  1. I think most people agree that you need to be able to love and take care of yourself. I certainly agree with that sentiment. However there is a big difference between loving yourself and being self-indulgent. I think it’s great that you make a point to stay in touch with your feelings in ways that work for you. And although of course there is nothing wrong with knitting or reading or taking baths, I still have a hard time seeing why you need to make it such a point to make “me” time and give yourself tons of space, when your whole day basically seems like “me” time, including your job as a YTer? I guess I say this as someone in a similar position to you (a wife with no kids who works from home). I feel like I already get plenty of space and “me” time.

    1. I appreciate you sharing your opinion. I feel there is a big difference between “me time” and work/chores/family time, even if I am home most of the day. I can tell when I am not allowing enough “just me time” into my schedule because my stress spikes and I feel like I don’t fully attend to the needs of my loved ones like I do when I strike a better balance. Everyone’s version of a balanced life will look different. I choose to share what mine looks like here.

  2. Thanks for sharing your week with us Jen! I absolutely love watching your weekly vlogs and look forward to them every week. Also, I admire your generosity here on your blog with giveaways as well as things we’ve seen in your vlogs over the years. I love by a similar mantra. If I am not getting the use out of something, I’d much rather let someone else get use out of it, or donate to charity. Thanks for thinking of us! Have a great week!

    All the best,

    P.s. I was the one who told you (on twitter) that dole whip was open at disneyland while you were there. Hope you enjoyed your treat!

  3. You know the conversation for women making time for ourselves is really important. I’m not sure why it is, but we tend not to allow ourselves “me-time”, for many reasons. Guilt seems to be the big one. We’ve been raised to put everyone else before ourselves. Be it the husband, the kids, the house, the pets … the list goes on and on. Personally, my two kids have both finished university and now live on their own. But when they were at home I was working full-time, taking care of them, talking care of our home, taking care of my husband (who works out of town often). and taking care of our pets. To make a long story short needless to say there was no time left for me. There was no balance, and I was tired all of the time, to be perfectly honest I likely wasn’t the best mom/wife that I could have been.
    So, my advise to my daughter or any other young woman is. Make “yourself” a huge priority, be somewhat “self indulgent”, take “me time”, set out “time” just for yourself. It doesn’t matter what a woman wants to do with that time, read a novel, take a bath, go for a little shop, take a walk – whatever. The point is that we need to do that. I wish that I would have. I wish that I would have had someone to tell me that that was ok. Not just ok but honestly a requirement for our own well being. And now, today my kids are no longer under “my care” and they have jobs & homes of their own, and I have lots of extra time, I insist on having “me time” to do whatever it is that I want to do with it. Today there is a balance of doing for “others” and doing for “myself”. Again, I wish I had known this when I was a younger woman, and I make sure that my daughter makes “time” for herself too, I greatest wish for her & all women is that we can find a good balance in our lives.

    1. I am going to take your advice, because as a mother and a wife and a pet owner, I am the glue that holds it all together and “If Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy”. I want to be happy so I can share joy with the ones I love, not be cranky because there is some underlying need not being met . Thanks for sharing, it has made a good difference.

      1. “There was no balance, and I was tired all of the time, to be perfectly honest I likely wasn’t the best mom/wife that I could have been.” This is key!!

    2. It’s like the old adage “put on your oxygen mask first before you help others with theirs.” It does no one any good if you collapse trying to help everyone else first.

  4. Yet another sweet video, Jen! 🙂
    Maybe this sounds funny or strange, but my favorite vlogs are when it’s mainly you, Winnie and Don – your family is super sweet too, don’t get me wrong (& I really admire the close bond you all have). I feel that whenever I watch your vlogs, it’s like we are hanging out – I know, we’ve never even met haha And since I know so much about the 3 of you already, the vlogs with mainly you guys are very familiar and comforting 🙂
    Just wanted to share.

    Have a fantastic day!! 😀

  5. You know, sometimes reading your posts reminds of a book I received long ago. Living a Beautiful by Alexandra Stoddard. It wasn’t something I fully understood then. But as the years passed I learned to create a space for myself. I have a room now. Well, more than that. But, before it was a corner that I may have draped fabric over with a small bud vase, maybe a candle, pretty paper or stationary and it was my oasis for a bit. For a long time I had pushed the book aside thinking I did not have a home and couldn’t afford to decorate but it wasn’t about that. It was about doing things in an attractive and appealing manner. And oh I got my Emma Bridgewater mug. You were so right. Such a wondering drinking experience. I did not understand by just looking at it. Thanx for what you do. Now, to decide on a planner. Decisions. Decisions.

  6. Sorry. Correct Book:
    Living a Beautiful Life: 500 Ways to Add Elegance, Order, Beauty and Joy to Every Day of Your Life by Alexandra Stoddard

    p.s. Love, love the poem.

  7. Hi Jen, I don’t understand why some women have a problem with another woman working from home and enjoying what time she can for herself. Work is work whether it’s a lot of work or a little work! Making Youtube videos and everything around that, a blog, picture taking, editing, taking care of a dog, your family obligations etc. is A LOT of WORK! People don’t realize that your whole day is not on video! For some reason women find it hard to believe that another woman can WORK from home and call it WORK! That is so silly to me! No one gets to determine how much work you do IS WORK or not! This sort of discussion has been going on for generations and even hit mom’s who stay at home versus working in a 9-5 office and putting their kids in daycare! Women just don’t seem to win no matter what they do or choose to be in life! Sadly, the biggest naysayers about women ARE women and it’s just not right!! Just because you are the boss and you are not working outside of the home for someone else does not mean you don’t work and you don’t need ‘me’ time! It’s all in balance! I enjoy your videos, hauls, vlogs and married sentiments! I find it refreshing and real! Keep doing what you love and enjoy your life to the fullest because you only get one chance to do it right and you never want to have regrets for not being you in the end! Do love those vacations, enjoy them and please don’t ever apologize for being ‘you’ or being fortunate in life! It’s a blessing!

  8. Lovely post Jen. I needed to be reminded about loving and caring for myself. You are a kind soul and I enjoy your vlogs and videos. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing!

  9. ” So why is the pursuit of self love so condemned?” So true, and I think it goes back to the Puritan work ethic, and the concept of group survival – the thought has carried over, even though the need has disappeared. And poor role modeling in my case as well. Most of the time I don’t even read all the emails in my .”in-Box” because I feel guilty about taking the time away from the house cleaning. Sad 🙁
    But, maybe, now – I’ll start taking some time for me. Thanks for the thought stimulating and the discussion!
    All the best, Mason

  10. It’s true. In a family, with young children, I tend not to take time out to do things I would like to do. I feel like I need to have everything done before I can do something I enjoy. But, I am learning that my stress level goes up when I do this. You are no good to anyone when you are completely frazzled! Lol Although it’s slow, I am starting to try taking some time for ME. I love crafting, drawing, organizing, and baking. Just to name a few. 😉 Work in progress!!! TFS and have aa wonderful week, Jen.

  11. I just am so in love with your posts… I sent you a email of couple of weeks ago but wasn’t sure you have time to answer them.
    anyhow. Love your blogs and a huge fan. I would love to live in your shoes for one day.
    be well.
    keep up the good work.

  12. Hi there Jen!

    I just want to take a moment and put some positivity out there. I have noticed that there has been quite the stir on Youtube and maybe on here as well (I have stopped reading most of the comments). I for one know that you do care about your subscribers, your actions prove this. My stance on this whole subject is that you need to do you. You need to take care of yourself, your family and your life first and for most. i feel that how ever valid everyones opinions might be, yours is the one you need to listen to. A lot of these people seem to forget that the life that your vlogging and work has the most affect on is yours. When i see these comments that are sometimes for straight rude and uncaring it makes me not want to see their side at all, because they act as if it impacts their life greatly and you very little. You and I both know it is the complete opposite. I do love seeing you in my subscription box daily, but if you need to do it once a week that is fine with me. At the beginning of your vlogs you usually say something like “hey friends” and that is how i see the youtube relationship, we are all friends from around the world and sometimes there are a few friends that feed off drama. When i get a call from a friend and i ask them how they’ve been and we are catching up I don’t get mad at them if what they tell me isn’t interesting, I am just happy to know anything and support them because i care about them. Thats how i treat all relationships, even ones like subscribing to someone on Youtube.

    In not as many words as above. I hope you take care of yourself first and for most and just know that you have followers that truly and simply want the best for you and support your decisions as long as they are the decisions you want and I am one of those followers.

    best wishes, Merissa

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