Welcome to the wilds! New Jersey for me was like crossing the border into Tijuana. Sure, the new lifestyle was crazy, but no one would ever admit to living there. When my husband’s job was relocated here in August 2010, we both were frightened. Now we’re learning about life, love, and marriage in this strange new culture. Feel free to tag along for the adventure.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Since reaching adulthood, I have come to appreciate new holidays. Of course, the days off work around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are nothing to sneeze at, but just because you’re not at work doesn’t mean you’re not working. In fact, many people consider those vacations to be a bigger hassle than their actual, paying jobs. But that’s neither here nor there. Like the rest of the American populous, I too participate in the craziness. However, I survive it by partaking in a secret holiday all my own. And since the traveling, shopping, decorating, caroling, and baking are about to commence all over again, I thought I’d share this secret.

Every year whether or not I’m a good little girl, Corporate Multimedia Santa Clauses bring me a spectacular Blockbuster Movie Madness Event! “What’s that?” you say. Well, it’s only the best compilation of in-theater movie releases between the months of November and mid-January. It’s comparable only to Summer Movie Madness, but has a longer run and generally a larger selection.

In preparation for this extended celebration, I sit down at the end of October and create my movie wish list. This involves a computer with faster than dial-up internet, so that I can review every trailer in the November, December, and beginning of January line-up. It’s crucial. I’ll be honest, I’m a bit of a movie trailer junkie. I can watch them for hours with the same excitement and awe that I had after the initial watch.

Once the list is made, I evaluate my movie criteria and budget. If my wallet was thicker and time was no object, I would watch them all, but at $11 a show it’s unrealistic. So a general rule is actions and thrillers usually top romantic comedies, animated cartoons, and independents; because surround sound and movie magic can only be duplicated in the theater. Granted, if a girls’ night happens to appear, the romantic comedy re-makes the list.

For example, for this turkey season, there are two movies that are a must see and four I can’t wait to rent:

Definite See: Harry Potter – because it will be visually, aurally, and all around entertaining.

Possible See: Burlesque – Broadway-esque potential.

Already added to the Netflix, because I can’t wait to rent them: The King’s Speech, Love and Other Drugs, Morning Glory, and Tangled.

With these November additions, obligations transform into family fun, because there’s still a little me time scheduled in. It’s like an advent calendar where every few weeks there is a special surprise just to get me in the spirit.

If you’re interested in partaking in this unique, cinematic spectacle to keep you singing, “It’s the hap-happiest season of all” head to imdb.com. Then, click Now Playing under the Movies tab, and review each month to make your list. I warn you, it’s a bit addicting, so don’t forget to have your guidelines ready; or all that extra Christmas cash will disappear before you can say, Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 15, 2010


Since this blog’s inception, I have tried to write on it at least once a week. It was not a regiment, but a goal. Well, that objective slipped away with Veteran’s Day. No, I did not get eaten by bears in the Wilds. I’ve been working. Three weeks ago, I began a part-time job. Before you go sneezing and sticking your nose in the air, it’s a good one! It pays pretty well, gives me potential for growth, is close to home, and I would do the job for free (but don’t tell my boss that)!

My steps toward it began in September. If you’ve been following the blog, it’s the Interviewee Turned Outlaw post. I didn’t get that secretary position, because I was “over-qualified.” However, my interviewer did give me the name of the dean of another department. I emailed my resume with fingers crossed and high hopes. Four weeks ago that email paid off. I got a call and the next day I had the interview, which was more like my boss trying to sell me on the job. I had no other offers, they honestly didn’t have to try and convince me of my place there, but nonetheless it was a nice ego-boost.

The funny thing about interviewing is the inevitable questions that conclude them. They always make me smirk, because to laugh-out-loud would give away how ridiculous I find them.

“What is your dream job?”

The first answer that always crosses my mind is “Ninja” or when I’m feeling particularly verbose, “a novelist who moonlights as a ninja protecting the world one mission at a time, but is still able to make dinner and doesn’t have to kill anyone.”

Please human resources, you said “dream;” but what you really meant was “quickly fabricate an answer that sounds good for this job.”

My other favorite is:

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Hello? If you would have asked me that eight months ago, I would have said, “Not living in New Jersey.” Guess where I am! Life evolves my friends, and trying to guess or predict its outcome wastes precious seconds. If you need proof, sit down and scribble what you expect in the next year. Then, file it away until November 15, 2011. My husband and I do this. We write our 1 Year and 5 Year goals every October. Let me tell you, in 365 days what seemed like a good idea before is often replaced and what seemed out-of-the-question suddenly becomes a possibility. Nothing in life is static! If it were, it would be far too boring.

So what is your "dream" job? I would love to hear it!

Until next time,
Joyz Jess

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Ghouls and Goblins are not nearly as entertaining as scantily clad cops and robbers. For Halloween this year, my husband and I dressed with the best of them for an evening out in a college town. My brother-in-law, who is in graduate school, was throwing a costume party just off campus. For a month, I tottered between wearing an adult or college costume. There is a crucial difference between the two. An adult costume dresses in character without substantial cleavage or ass hanging out. In fact, many times there is neither. On the other hand, the college costume is low cut, short, and usually paired with heel. Thus my dilemma: I am an adult, but I was going to a college party.

Originally, I decided to be a bad a** biker. I would dress in my mountain biking attire and wear a number of Henna tattoos. This seemed reasonable and cheap, but no one was enthusiastic about it.

My friends said things like, “You’re going to wear a helmet to a party?”

To which I replied, “No…hence the bad a** part of my title.”

By the Friday afternoon before the spooky event, I was still teetering with my mountain biking outfit washed and ready. I drove to the Halloween store for the fake tattoos…and they had none! I was in the middle of a costume Mecca, knowing if I didn’t find something I would be forced to wear a helmet to a party. You can’t have bad a** biker without tattoos. It’s just not right. So armed with a credit card, I wandered through the racks.

Then, I spied it: a black wig with the bold face lettering, “CLEOPATRA WIG ON SALE.” It called to me. For a good phase of my childhood, I collected books on Ancient Egypt, and loved Cleopatra. I figured I could convince my husband to be my Marc Antony, and it would be perfect.

$7 wig + $24 dress with gold streamers = awesome costume

I brought it home, donned the outfit, and much to my elated relief, the ties matched my golden heels perfectly. For a brief moment, I thought I had found a dream costume. I washed and styled the wig, and was ready to surprise my unsuspecting husband.

His reaction was not what I expected. His face suggested that I had jumped from behind a dark corner, dressed in a Scream mask and shouted, “Boo!”

“I don’t like it,” he told me after regaining his wits. My hubs can never be mistaken for a sugar coater. It’s not in his nature.

“The whole outfit?” I pouted. I really loved the dress with the heels.

“It’s the hair,” he admitted, and he was right. If I ever need to change my identity, it’s heavy bangs and black dye for me; I didn’t even recognize myself in the mirror.

Unfortunately though, I couldn’t be Cleopatra without black hair. I was left with a white dress that suddenly seemed sluttier without the wig. In desperation, I called my sister-in-law and detailed my problem.

“Well,” she answered, “I’m wearing my costume from sophomore year…”

I breathed a heavy sigh of relief. Knowing my in-laws since high school, I knew exactly what she meant: fish net stockings, black stilettos, hand cuff bracelets, and a cop costume both low cut and short. She had chosen the college costume route, and so would I.

I arrived ready to party with my cop sister-in-law, my Donnie Darko brother-in-law, and other crazy paired couples like peanut butter and jelly, bees and honey,Waldo and Wenda, and waffle and eggs. I only incorporated one addition to my costume: shorts. I wasn’t about to pull a Marilyn Monroe. That and I figured I needed a few more points in the direction of an adult costume.

I stepped into the room and all eyes fell upon me before the bee exclaimed, “I love the costume! But who are you?”

Oh no, I thought. I had been worried about this possibility. I wore a hieroglyphic necklace and a dress more in line with the Greeks. My forehead glistened.

“It’s very Grecian,” Donnie Darko added with a nod, quoting our family joke.

“R-roman,” I stuttered still formulating, “Or maybe Greek...Goddess?” My nervous debate added the question. I was about to break into the explanation about Cleopatra gone brunette when my cop of a sister-in-law burst into the discussion, jungle juice in hand.

“You’re Epona’s Chosen?!” she delighted. We both broke into laughter.

“Who?” someone asked.

“A book,” we answered giggling. If you’re interested, it’s Divine by Mistake by P.C. Cast.

And I realized my husband and I had unintentionally gone as a dynamic pair. He was ClanFintan. In Epona’s realm that meant he was a centaur, but in ours, he was just one handsome tequila cowboy.