Friday, August 30, 2013

A Day at the Dog Park

I wrote a children's book that teaches children how to interact with dogs the proper way so they can avoid getting hurt or becoming disappointed.

Go to my Kickstarter project to pledge an amount and find out what is in it for you!:

Many children are in love with dogs and claim that the dog is their favorite animal.  My niece is one of them.  However, when I watched her meet a dog in person, she seemed hesitant and even a little scared.  It makes me sad when a child is scared to meet and interact with one of the most beloved creatures of all time!  It also worries me when I see children do things they shouldn't when near a dog.
So I had the idea to take advantage of my experience with the publishing industry and create a children's book that teaches children how to properly approach and interact with dogs of all kinds.  I have completed the manuscript, which has been edited, and plan on using a professional illustrator for the pictures.  I created the illustration above of the book's main character, Carter, and his best friend, Snickers the mutt (of course the actual illustrations will look much better and will not be done in colored pencil). Together, along with Mom, they go to the dog park and give the reader a crash course in different dog breeds and the best way to go about making new friends.  There is also advice on what NOT to do.
I have worked for the self-publishing company, Outskirts Press Inc., for almost two years as an Author Representative.  I know all about the inner-workings of the company and trust that they will do a fantastic job in helping my big idea become a reality!  Here is a link to the Outskirts website if you would like to look around: 
My funding goal is $4,000 (plus $400 for Kickstarter fees and Amazon credit card processing fees) and anything raised over this amount will go towards marketing the book
It appears that there are no other full-color dog books out there quite like this one, and this book could easily become your child's favorite book of the bunch! 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I Love Portland

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  We went to a Cinco de Mayo celebration at a local Mexican restaurant today because a friend of ours was playing at it with his Cuban band.  It was more fun than I expected, and we got to spend some time with good friends from church.  After my friend's band was done there was a Marimba band that played.  Their sound was so interesting and fun.  Me and Will had actually seen this same band play at the First Friday Art Walk two days ago.  They were playing in monument square just outside of the restaurant we were eating at.  There was a guy in a lobster suit dancing to the music that day.  It was a funny sight to see :)  We also saw fire dancers that night at the art walk.  It was so intriguing to watch these young people juggling fire, dancing with swinging fireballs, and dancing with fire hoops.  I would never be brave enough to do something like that!  This weekend has definitely made me sad that we are going to be moving away soon...

We ended up getting our first choice of apartments that we looked at, and our official move-in date is May 24th, less than three weeks away!  I've got a lot going on during the next month or so and it's all kind of looming over me, but I'm excited at the same time.  I am glad though that things are finally getting set in stone and plans are being made.  Hopefully I can just enjoy myself in the present moment as the days go by and take things as they come.

<3 Justene

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Busy Two Weeks!

Sorry I missed my usual Sunday post last week!  That is if anyone actually reads this... Last weekend I was in Ohio and made the decision to not bring my laptop, so I wouldn't be distracted by it.  And it made getting through security at the airpot slightly easier.

I went to Ohio in order to attend my friend's bridal shower.  I am a Maid of Honor in her wedding and I feel terrible for not being able to help her with much since I live in a different state.  But my parents were nice enough to fly me home so I could go to at least one of her showers.  It was a nice weekend even though it went by kind of fast.

This is the lovely bouquet I made as my friend was opening all her gifts.
And this weekend I was in Massachusetts apartment hunting with my husband!  We went down Friday afternoon, which also happened to be the same day that a terrorist was on the loose in Boston.  People thought we were crazy for doing that, but we were looking at apartments far out in the suburbs so we weren't anywhere near all of the chaos.  We did see a lot of cops on the highway as we were driving down from Maine.

I made smoothies for us to drink in the car as we drove!  This one had bananas, blueberries, and raspberries.
We had five apartment showings set up for Friday and Saturday and we stayed a night in a hotel with complimentary breakfast.  We love complimentary breakfast!  We really liked two apartment communities that were pretty similar to each other, and I think we've made a decision on which one to go with.  Now we just need to fill out our applications and hope that we get accepted.

Things have been pretty crazy, but I'm really starting to look forward to the upcoming wedding and our move to Massachusetts.  Fun stuff!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Boston Here We Come!

We found out for sure this week that Boston is the next stop on the Presley Express!  (cheesy I know)  Last Friday, Will had an interview with a guy named Dale who works for a company called Red Point Global which is based out of Wellesley, MA.  I guess Will's dad knows Dale somehow.  But basically he told Will that he has a job for him if Will can find out whether it is legal for him to do the job when he hasn't passed the bar yet.  Will talked to an attorney on Monday and found out that yes, it can be legal with the proper paperwork and stuff.  So he is taking the job and we will be moving to Massachusetts in late May or possibly June.

It's a relief to actually have something figured out.  The next step for us is to find an apartment in the area, and that could potentially be difficult.  Especially because we have an 80 pound German Shepherd that we don't plan on getting rid of!  But we've already set up viewings of a couple places that we're going to look at in a couple weeks when we take a short trip down there.  In fact, William just booked our hotel for the night.  Free continental breakfast, yeah!

Why would you not allow this cutie to live in your apartment complex???

I'll be able to keep my job with Outskirts Press when we move, which is nice.  But I think I might check out my options in Boston once we get there, because who knows?  I might find something really cool to do there.  And I'm looking forward to checking out the Jazz scene in Boston.  It looks like its pretty huge and sounds like it might be competitive too.  But I'm tired of always wanting to do jazz gigs and not actually doing them.  So I think I just need to do it.  I have some musician friends here in Portland who are willing to help me make some demo recordings so I can show them around when I get to Boston.  Isn't that sweet of them?

Even though I'm tired of moving around all the time, I always get pretty excited about starting over in a new place with new people and new things to do.  I'm not sure I understand it.  Does that make me weird?  Probably...

Have a good week!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

He's Alive!

Backstage view at the Merrill Auditorium this morning.
He's Alive! Forever Amen!!!   Those are the lyrics we closed out the Easter service with today.  It was a great service from what I can tell.  I got to sing up front as part of the "praise team" and had my own little solo in a song called "You Reign."  I also sang background during the offering song and got to join the choir for the last song.  Being a part of the service I had to sit in a seat backstage during the sermon, but I was actually able to hear Scott (our minister) speaking the whole time, and I don't remember that happening last year when I sat backstage...He had a great sermon today that wasn't the usual Jesus-died-and-rose-again-isn't-it-great sermon that you normally would hear on Easter.  He actually spoke about King David, the good things he did, the sins he committed, his repentance of those sins, and the forgiveness that God lavished on him afterwards.  He said that forgiveness is the second greatest miracle of Easter, next to the resurrection.  I think he's probably right.

I was very happy that three people I invited to the service (who are not Christians) actually came and seemed to have enjoyed it.  I'm looking forward to talking to them some more about it, to see if they got anything out of it.

Well now it is the end of March, which was a long month indeed.  Heading into April, me and William will be figuring out the fine details of our upcoming move.  Right now it's looking like we'll be going to Boston.  I know, I mentioned California before, but hey, things change.  I should have more deets next week.

Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Twist Scarf

Twist Scarf in Cobalt
I received an American Apparel twist scarf in the mail this week and I am in love with it.  I had bought one a few years back for my little sister as a birthday gift, and could never get over how cool it was, so I finally got one for myself.  What makes it so cool is the fact that you can twist it to look however you want.  There is some special kind of wire inside of it that is easy to bend and form into different shapes. My favorite thing to do with it is twist the ends around each other into a tight spiral that looks like a little flower or rose on top of my head, or form a bow similar to the one in the picture above.  You can also just tie the ends behind your head for a regular headband look, tie it around your neck like a scarf, or on your wrist like a bracelet.  It is so diverse!  It is also very comfortable.  I usually don't wear accessories in my hair because I can feel them on my head and it bugs me, but somehow I managed to wear my twist scarf for a whole day without feeling an urge to remove it.  I told my sister that I got one of these and she said that she still wears hers all the time!  I guess it was a pretty good gift :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013


So Tuesday was my 24th birthday.  Happy birthday to me!  It was a pretty good day for the most part.  I was hoping to get a tattoo that day, but when we got to the shop, my artist was super busy and I didn't have time to wait around for him.  So I went home and watched an episode of LA Ink to make up for it.  I painted my nails emerald green while I watched in preparation for Saint Patty's day.  Apparently emerald green is the "it" color right now, but I'll be curious to see if that's still true when Saint Patrick's day is over with.

So back to my birthday...I avoided working that afternoon because I shouldn't have to work too hard on my birthday, right?  I opened presents when William got home.  I got a Fossil purse from my in-laws and William got me a few Alex and Ani bracelets.  These were both really great presents.  We went out for a special dinner at Davids 388 in South Portland and I ordered Duck breast, which came with this really yummy sauce.  Then I went to bible study and all the girls had gotten me little gifts of nail polish and other beauty items.  There were also gluten free/vegan cupcakes that were delish.  I love gluten by the way; there is just one girl in the bible study who can't eat it and bakes the most delicious gluten free things.  Who would have known that was even possible?  But it was really cute and everything was decked out in purple because it's my favorite color.

I ended up getting my tattoo done on Thursday instead.  It KILLED getting the inside of my bicep poked at for an hour and a half.  But the design turned out really awesome and now I'm just waiting for it to heal all the way.  Am I the only person who thinks that the healing process of a tattoo can be really gnarly?  It's annoying.  Anyway...Maybe I'll post a picture when its all healed.  Well that's all for now.  I'm super tired.  Was at church literally allll morning (7 am to 12:30 pm, eck!) singing with the team.