July 9, 2014

Thoughts on who I am as I turn 30




Outfit details

1950s nylon (chiffon) scarf: Gift from a dear online friend ♥
White plastic rose stud earrings: Claire's
Navy blue knit shrug: Sears
1980s does 1950s blue and purple floral print dress: Mr. Idaho’s Vintage 
Pine green skinny belt: eBay
Green vintage Prystal bangle bracelet: Last year’s annual Rutland Antiques & Collectibles show
All other bangles: Assorted sources
Vintage purple purse: Yard sale find
Nude seamed nude stockings: eBay
Navy blue faux patent leather pumps: Payless
Lip colour: Clinique Raspberry Glace
Nail Colour: Essie Lilacism


Photography by Tony Cangiano
 








































The internet can can be, and is, a blank canvas of sorts, a medium the likes of which the world had never quite seen prior to its invention and subsequent large scale adoption from the 1990s onward. What started out as an unsettled, unknown barren wilderness is now a city so crowded it makes places like Hong Kong, Mumbai and New York seem like quaint, quiet little villages nestled in some far off woods.

Online, unless somebody is already famous in the real world, and even then to some extent, one can if they so desire, create whatever sort of persona they desire. Not of course, that we all do such. Many strive to be as much like themselves online as they are off, but by the very nature of the fact that our interactions on the web are not the same as those had face-to-face with others in our daily lives, we often end up only sharing or intentionally divulging certain aspects of the whole, much more rounded and/or interesting person that we are.

The truth is incredibly important to me and I've never knowingly or intentionally misrepresented who I am online, but like most people, I value my privacy and as much I am working diligently at getting better at sharing more about myself, there are certain things that I will likely never say or share in the public sphere.

However, the longer the blog, the more I find myself thinking about how there are certain sides to me that I feel rarely, if ever come out in my writing here, as well as certain facts that I've reached a point where I no longer feel like I must hold them fiercely close to my chest, shielding them from the world.

In my daily life, I am - humbly - a very funny person. I crack jokes, make puns, delight in world play, and have a wicked sense of humour. Many people over the years have described me as the funniest woman they've ever known, and yet, oddly or interestingly, depending on how you opt to look at it, my personal brand of humour rarely shines through too brightly in my vintage related writing, perhaps because I'm not penning posts about topics that are inherently funny. I like to slip in a good pun or witty remark every now and then, but that's about the extent of it for the most part here (though every now and then I do love to write an intentionally humour post, such as this year's The real truth behind 15 Canadian stereotypes or 2009's look at Five items I would always/never wear).

Following in the same vein, I also love watching TV shows like Family Guy, American Dad, The Simpsons, The Daily Show, Peep Show (from the UK), How I Meet Your Mother, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Tosh.0, Impractical Jokers, and World's Dumbest. And while we're on the subject of TV, I've never sat through a full episode of any soap opera, am rarely a fan of talk shows, can't stand "real housewives" type of reality shows (which are anything but, in true reality), have a voracious passion for dramas and 80s and 90s sitcoms and have seen every single episode of Sex in the City.

Some people set out, when they begin blogging, making Youtube videos, growing a following on Instagram, or what have you, to craft and shape a specific type of persona. This is not something I did in the slightest, as I believe in sharing the real me with the world, but again, sometimes by the very nature of the web and its complex relationship with privacy, we don't end up letting people see all our good sides, or certain traits that we might not be too fond of end up being magnified in ways we never expected.

For example, I love to write at length on various topics and to be very thorough (there's no such things as being too thorough in most cases, in my books), partner that with the fact that my speech is sometimes more akin to that of Charles Dickens than Gnarls Barkley and it can become all too easy for some people to perhaps view me as being pretentious, or arguably worse, a know-it-all. Good grief! Nothing could be further than from the truth. I loath pretentiousness, which was a trait in a certain family member that I could not stand as a child and swore I would never embody it when I grew up. Much like Socrates and Plato, I know one thing: that I know nothing.

Of course that isn't literally the case, but the sentiment certainly rings true and is something that all lovers of knowledge should ascribe to because there is no shortage of topics to learn and expand our body of knowhow on throughout the - in the greater scheme of all of time - very short time we're fortunate enough to be on this planet.

I am incredibly shy, and yet, at times I can be so brazenly bold that when I later look back at certain actions, I can scarcely believe that I myself carried them out. I am a homebody who also loves to travel, with a wicked sense of wanderlust. I love to sell, always have, always will (so it was only natural that I'd open an Etsy shop one day, as I did this year). I have a complex relationship with money and was, at one point in my life, a stress spender (though thankfully, with help that I will always be truly grateful for from my husband, this is no longer something I frequently find myself in recent years), but have always been great at saving, too, and making sure my true financial priorities were taken care of first and foremost.

And speaking of stress, I am the polar opposite of a stress eater, in fact, I have a hard time swallowing a single bite if I feel consumed by stress, worry, guilt, grief, sadness, or any other strong negative emotion.

Like all of us, I am a product of my past, my present and my dreams about tomorrow. As I sit here this morning on the cusp of my 30th birthday tomorrow, a very substantial part of me feels like I could write for hours about things you don't know about me or which I've only touched on vaguely in the course of my blog's life so far. I want to share more and grow more as a person, both two things that I've been actively working on ever since the rather life altering and affirming experience that our trip to Calgary last September turned out to be for me (a point that I talked about at length in this post).

I am not the same person I was a decade ago on this very same morning. Not by a long shot. Some elements are the same of course, but a billion things have changed. From certain priorities to various hopes. I have far more wrinkles, but way less of my real hair (not sure what I'm talking about there? See this post). I've grown stronger and weaker in different ways. My health, a true shambles since I first became chronically ill at the age of just 18, is, and will - baring major medical breakthroughs - always be a train wreck and constant source of stress and problems, but it doesn't have a complete hold on me. I've learned to make a life for myself in spite of it and to use the lessons it has taught me to become a better, braver, wiser person.

If I could go back in time and speak to myself on the last day of when I was 19, I am sure there are encyclopedia volumes of information that I would tell my young self, but I don't think, if I could do the last decade over again, that I would ultimately want to. I fought those fights, cried those tears, rejoiced in those smiles, won those victories, and learned those lessons once and that is more than enough. The path wasn't always perfect, but it was my road, and I walked it as best I could in the moment, with the tools and love and ingrained sense of hope that I had right then, right there, when I needed it.
 
There were times in the last decade where it didn't look like I'd make it through to my thirties because of my health, but thankfully, miraculously even, I am still here. Sorry, chronic illnesses (and certain doctors who don't begin to deserve the degrees they hold), I'm still here. This ol' body of mine hasn't won quite yet and I have no plans of letting it do so any time soon.

I left home - a world filled with horrible dysfunction, abuse, sickening lies, manipulation, and endless problems at the tender age of 16, and instantly began making a life for myself from that moment onward (a topic that I'm going to be delving into a bit more in my next post on Friday). I have never given up or given in to people or things that tried to change me. I'd had more than my fair share of that as a child. I grew up far too early and in ways no one should ever have to. I've known poverty and hardship, hunger and the most brutal and vile sides of human nature. I have also never lost my inner child, the glee that I find in cute things, animals, and dressing in feminine styles.

My soft spoken-ness and typically very gentle nature often makes people think that they can walk all over me, but what they don't know is that this seemingly quiet and unassuming kitten has claws (and knows how to use them!). I always know when someone is trying to play me and they'll quickly learn, they aren't about to get away with it on my watch. I have an almost crippling fear of confrontation when it comes to myself, yet I am fiercely protective of those I love and will fight to the death for my dearest and dearest, no matter who I have to go up against.

So much has changed over the past decade. At times it feels like I have lived a lifetime in the span of each of those years. So many were fraught with uncertainty and challenges that at first seemed insurmountable, but which were ultimately tackled or at at least woven in the tapestry of the bigger picture and able to be dealt with in various ways. There were great, sometimes even amazing, points as well and the older I get, the more I not only like, but love who I have, and who I continue to, become.

I have my quirks and my shortcomings, my flaws and my failures, we all do, but I don't let them rule or worry me - for the most part at least - nearly as much as they did ten, seven, five or even two years ago. I am wiser, but still have much to learn and will always continue to do so. The good of the last decade will carry on with me into the next, the bad I've buried in the past. It is not worthy of my time or anguish any longer. I have a new day to experience, a new chapter to begin, and new set of challenges ahead of me.

There will always be elements of who I am that you may not fully know, but I hope that in this post and many more to come, I will show you further sides of who this vintage loving, resilient, bookworm, history buff, happily married, proud pet parent, chronic illness fighting, determined, optimistically realistic, joke cracking, gluten-free, travel adoring, shy, spirited, creative, passion Canadian woman is as I embark on, and embrace, my thirties.

Buckle up and keep the camera at hand, I can already tell it's going to be on heck of an exciting ride - and I wouldn't want it any other way.

77 comments:

  1. I love your belt, shoes, bag and how the dress just ties everything together. Your lip colour is really pretty too. As for the post, I love reading more about the bloggers I follow, because I feel like as fun as outfit posts and list posts are, it's sometimes good to get to know the real them. I think we have a lot in common. I love 'How I met your mother'! I am also quite shy, and yes, what is with people assuming you will be their robot or guinea pig just because you don't talk much? It has happened to me many times through out school and my inner rebellion was the cause of many unhappy recesses.

    I really feel for you that you had to grow up so soon and that you felt you were not safe as a child. I often feel that I take my family home for granted, because I always forget how lucky I am to have both of my parents here with me and that neither would ever hurt me.

    Oh and I am a bit of a stress-starver too. I just can't stomach a meal when I get in one of those weird moods.

    It was good to read more about you and I hope you have a lovely birthday :)

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    1. I too have sensed before that we shared much in common and were kindred spirits. I'm so happy for you that experienced a healthy, loving, happy childhood. I'm not saying every moment of mine was horrible, it wasn't (thank goodness!), but it was fraught with a lot of difficulty, problems, abuse, and other negatives that I'm all to happy to now have put many years between me and those memories.

      We seem to be a fairly rare bunch. I think a lot more people are stress eaters or don't find it impacts them much either way. I've had times where I literally forgot to eat for three or more days because I was so stressed. Once, when this happened in high school, a dear friend quite literally took me by the arm and kindly dragged me to the school cafeteria for a slice of pizza. These days a headache usually kicks in after about 36 hours, so that reminds me to eat if I should get so worried that doing so slips my mind.

      Thank you deeply for your comment. It means a lot to me and I feel closer to you, too, now because of it.

      ♥ Jessica

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  2. What a beautifully written piece Jessica. I truly feel like I do know more about the wonderful woman behind this blog and I am so happy that you wrote this. Thank you for sharing a bit of your soul with us. I have enjoyed getting to know you through your blog and I'm looking forward to many more years of wonderful posts which in turn will hopefully lead to a meetup one of these fine days.

    Happy Birthday! Being in your 30's is truly an amazing experience,enjoy that ride.

    Liz :)

    P.S. I love sex and the city too and How I met your mother was a huge favorite of mine.

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    1. Interestingly, I didn't set out with this post in mind for today, but a few nights ago a wash of powerful thoughts came tumbling through my mind relating to where my life was at on the cusp of my 30th year of life and I couldn't get them down on (virtual) paper quickly enough. I'm glad I did - I know that having this snapshot of my thoughts at this point in time to refer back to will be important in the years to come and I very much look forward to seeing how the same kind of post might look when I hit 40, 50 and beyond.

      Thank you deeply for your wonderful comment and happy birthday wishes, my dear friend,
      ♥ Jessica

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  3. Wonderful & insightful post, I wish you the HAPPIEST of birthdays for tomorrow! This post rang particularly true to me, as I am hitting 30 in a couple of months time, and it is very insightful & useful to look back on life's events in order to learn & grow for the actions & events to come.
    Lots of love and best wishes from the UK!
    Jenny xx

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    1. Thank you very much, Jenny. How exciting that you're approaching a new decade in your life as well!

      Here's to our 30s being an amazing, fun filled, rewarding, beautiful time for both if us!

      ♥ Jessica

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  4. Dear Jessica,

    You have such a lovely spirit. I am so glad to have "met" you through this odd medium of blogging, and I know that we would be great pals in the everyday world if we lived closer to each other. I love your vintage style, your sweet and gentle spirit, and the glimpses of your happy life that you share with your readers. I hope you have a wonderful birthday and year to come. 30 is a great age and the beginning of a great decade in a woman's life. I am 39 now, and and grown and developed so much in the past 9 years. I am more comfortable in my own skin now than I was in my 20's, and I think I have more to offer the world world these days. I think you will love being a "thirtysomething"!

    Happy, Happy Birthday my friend! May all your wishes come true!

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  5. Beautiful blog post! Love the outfit :)

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    1. Thank you very much, dear Michelle.

      ♥ Jessica

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  6. Fantastically written as always. I did not give much thought to my 30th (which was last year oh my!) but I was more focused on my 28th and 29th because I knew it lead to 30...I think you did a great job reflecting back on what has happened up until know. You should try and be more funny if you find it fits, I am sarcastic as hell and I never know if people get I am joking so I can see how in print it can be hard to express your true humor. Keep at it.
    I won't go into much more we both sound like we have gone through issues that most people don't experience at such a young age, you have survived I am sure your health will stay on the same track as well. I have found finding your happy really helps keep you strong:)
    Best of wished on your birthday.

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  7. Happy Birthday! It's nice to read your reflections on this passage. And this outfit is so cute -- my favorite colors, put together beautifully. I envy your ability to wear bangles. (My hands are too big.)

    It doesn't surprise me to learn you're funny. Probably because of your vintage style, you've always reminded me of Lucille Ball, one of history's funniest women.

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    1. That's really cool to hear, Ally, thank you! I adore Lucy and respect her as a hardworking, groundbreaking woman, too, so it's quite the honour to be compared to such a venerable comedienne.

      You can skirt around the bangle issue by opting for clamper style ones. Not all will fit, but a lot work well for larger wrists and are easier to get on because you don't have to slip them over your hand. Just open them up and "clamp" them down over your wrist.

      Many thanks for everything,
      ♥ Jessica

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  8. You look so pretty in purple! :)

    Also it sounds like we share quite a lot of interests - although I must admit that I can easily get hopelessly addicted to reality TV. Real Housewives isn't something I've bothered with but I have been known to marathon other shows such as RuPaul's Drag Race or Toddlers and Tiaras. Those things are so trashy but somehow that's part of what attracts me to them! Thankfully I am also interested in other types of television, so all is not lost.

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    1. Thank you very much, sweetheart. Given that I dubbed purple my colour of 2014 back at the start of the year, it only seemed fitting to sport a violet hued ensemble for my birthday week outfit post. :)

      So true - they're like the junk food of the TV world and that's part of their appeal. I don't judge - sometimes we just need something silly to tune into and relax with after a long day that is pure visual fluff.

      Thank you very much for your great comment,
      ♥ Jessica

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  9. Wanted to be among the first to wish you a very, very Happy Birthday (tomorrow)!! Eat lots of cheesecake for me too! Love, Psuedo-Grama xoxox

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    1. No problem there! :D

      Thank you very much, dear Grama Nicholette, you're such a splendidly lovely person!

      ♥ Jessica

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  10. What a wonderful post, and thank you so much for sharing these little pieces of yourself with us. I always enjoy interacting with you online - you've always come across as a warm, sweet, really kind person, and that's rare in this world. Whenver you write about your illness, I am continually impressed with your strength of character and your ability to overcome the obstacles that you have faced.
    This may sound strange, but I was thinking about how I would characterize different bloggers that I read, and in my head, at least, you're someone who bakes a casserole for the new neighbors across the way. ;)

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  11. What a lovely post, thank you for sharing those things with us and sharing your thoughts. A lovely outfit to match too! Happy Birthday and many happy returns! x

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    1. Thank you deeply, Hayley. I was moved suddenly one recent evening by a swarm of these sorts of thoughts whirling through my mind and knew that they were what I wanted my last post before I turned 30 to be about.

      ♥ Jessica

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  12. Happy Birthday lovely lady!

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  13. I love how you picked out all of the colours in the dress with the accessories - especially with the bangles. You are right that a blog doesn't normally reflect all of our personality, but it was interesting to learn about who you are! You write so beautifully. I love Sex and the City too!

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  14. Jessica, I love this post. It's real and honest, and I'm so honored to get to see a little more of the lovely woman behind the terrific wardrobe. Your thoughts as you approach tomorrow (happy early birthday!!!) definitely resonate with me-- I'm turning 30 this year too, and it's already starting some thoughts churning. And I think a lot about how I present myself online-- like you, there's stuff I just don't share, for whatever reason. It's great to interrogate that, and your post is a great touchstone for me to start thinking about whether some aspects of my life might be worth talking about. I love getting a fuller picture of you as a person, and as always, you look beautiful in purple!

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  15. As always, great post and very inspiring words. You are such a talented writer and have such a wonderful outlook on the future, your future. Happy Birthday!
    Ivy

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  16. Happy birthday to you, Jessica. I have to say that it's hard to believe you're not quite thirty yet, I thought you were older because you seem very poised and mature. I am almost 36 and I have loved my thirties so far. I hope you will too. Have a wonderful day. :)

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  17. I want to wish you "Happy Birthday!" a day early! I hope you have a wonderful day (and weekend, really), have lots of fun, treat yourself and all in all, have a grand time! Thank you for sharing these personal details about yourself. It's nice to be able to get to know you better. I know I avoid sharing personal details online. I feel the need to keep much of my life very personal and off the internet. Yet, it is also sometimes difficult for me, because being very shy myself, I have a far easier time writing down my feelings and sending them out into this great oblivion, the internet, than I do talking with people face to face. But thank you for sharing and I hope you enjoy your day, your week, your birthday month quite splendidly!

    P.S. Your Dickensian speak is not pretentious. I sometimes feel inadequate writing on my blog, for I know there are great writers out there like your lovely self. But you are not pretentious. I love reading your posts! And there is proof in your writing that you actually DO READ... haha! Keep it up! :-D

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  18. Beautiful post. I, too, grew up fast and left home young. It has a way of making you feel so old. Congrats on overcoming your past and looking forward to a bright future!

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    1. Thank you deeply, dear Susie. That it does, and I don't think that many people discuss as much. We tend to want to look forward and not dwell on how markedly aged our souls became as they went through that harrowing journey (and typically what preceded it).

      ♥ Jessica

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  19. I just simply cannot wait to meet you one day and we must darling girl, we must. Bc I know we would have oodles of fun and silliness. I love that you are funny and full of life no matter the circumstances. I count myself very blessed to call you a friend and am so grateful that you always "get it" somehow even when I share the madness of motherhood with you. 30 is going to be amazing! I loved my 30s and I cannot believe in 6M time I will be 39 and slowly making my way out of them hahaha So dearest friend I pass the 30s baton to you. It is true what the say-each decade does get better and better. Lots of hugs and love from me to you! xox D

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    1. That is such a cool, touching thing to say, dear Daffny, thank you very much. I am honoured to take my turn as the baton runner in this relay called life that we're all a part of.

      It would be phenomenal to meet you in person as well and I truly hope with all my heart that such is able to happen one day.

      Thank you for the gift of your friendship, understanding, shared love of vintage, and all the other ways you brighten my world - and those, I'm certain, of all who know you.

      ♥ Jessica

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  20. "I am incredibly shy, and yet, at times I can be so brazenly bold that when I later look back at certain actions, I can scarcely believe that I myself carried them out. I am a homebody who also loves to travel, with a wicked sense of wanderlust."

    i have to say that those words struck me with their truth and relevance to my life as well. after reading this i think that many of your readers (myself included) feel such a deep and true smile within ourselves toward you, Jessica.
    i love your writing. it's so elaborate, but modern and easy to follow. How you effortlessly bare your soul and communicate with your readers is something that i this gets lost a lot today, but you do it flawlessly.
    wonderful outfit ensemble, i just had to gasp and then take in all of your perfect accessories.
    -Abigail

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    1. My fellow wordsmith, thank you deeply for your touchingly beautiful comment. I will share something else here with you, I've always been exceedingly happy when a reader quotes me in one of their comments. The feeling is a heady mix of happiness and feeling honoured that a portion of my text moved someone else to such a degree. Thank you for doing so today and for the many ways in which your words made me smile.

      ♥ Jessica

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  21. Actually genuinely have tears in my eyes reading this post. As strange as this sounds, the fact you have a chronic illness isn't even a thought in my head when I read your blog, because you as a person, trumps it everytime!
    I hope you have a truly wonderful birthday tomorrow! & I truly look forward to reading your future adventures after celebrating this milestone, and more personal posts learning more about you! You are always such an inspiration to me Jessica! Have a wonderful day! Jess xxx

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  22. I think you have a great hold on who you are at what is a very young age! I remember thinking 30 sounded so mature, now im 36 and it seems so young! forty is right around the corner. The older you get the better you know yourself and that's a good thing. I fervently hope for your good health in the coming years

    retro rover

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  23. What a lovely post, and you look beautiful :) I myself hit the big 3-0 a couple of months ago, but didn't really celebrate it - I fear getting old! You have a wonderful attitude x

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    1. Happiest belated birthday wishes, my fellow born-in-1984er! (I'm hereby making that a word :))

      Thank you for yours, they mean a lot to me, as do your words about my outlook on life and aging. I hope that as you move through your 30s, you're able to enjoy and delight in each and every year, even if it does mean getting older, because, ultimately aging always beats the alternative, as they say and I think that when we look back in another twenty, thirty, fifty (if we're lucky) years, we'll laugh and feel like we were still so very young at "just" thirty.

      ♥ Jessica

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  24. A very happy birthday to you, lovely lady.
    And what a wonderful, thoughtful, and sharing post this is-I know we are all so much more multi-faceted than we can easily show, but I suspect no one else could show it as beautifully as you just did.
    XXX

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  25. Such a beautiful post. As someone who is 33, I can say that I wouldn't want to go back and relive my twenties, but them old us into who we are. The thirties are definitely a time when I feel more comfortable being me and care much less about societal conventions or what others may think.
    I also feel keenly aware that when I write a blog post I may come across as something I'm not. I don't know if it's even possible to avoid it, but I too feel that I don't want to give anyone a false impression of me or my life. You are an inspiration to many and I pray you have an amazing birthday tomorrow followed by many more birthdays for years to come.
    And you look great in purple and navy, by the way. I'm quite envious of your chiffon scarves and have been scouting out some for myself, as you make them look so easy to wear.
    Sarah

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  26. Just Lovely. x x

    Oh and I can tell you from experience life just gets better as you get older and the 30's are definitely a million times better than the 20's!

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  27. Happy 30th birthday for tomorrow my dear Jessica. What a beautiful set of photographs to remember this turning point by. I would 100 times rather read a post from a real and honest person than someone who's 'trying too hard'. That can actually be quite boring, and to your list of attributes I would like to add you are never boring. I still am surprised and delighted by the variety of subjects you post on under your vintage umbrella. I must admit you do sometimes surprise me too, for example by giving the talk and answering questions in the vintage shop. I thought that was really brave! You have to be extra strong too, with chronic illnesses,a point I know only too well. On your birthday I hope you will celebrate all you have become and all you are yet to be. I'll raise my glass to you, across this side of the ocean! X x

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  28. Happy Birthday, Jessica! May only good things come your way this coming year and always.

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    1. That's a wonderfully nice birthday blessing, Dawn, thank you so much!!!

      ♥ Jessica

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  29. Beautiful post and beautiful dress, (as is usual for you!) I think its fantastic how you let your readers in and let them get to know you more! Inspires me to do something similar! I always chicken out though. I think talking to much about me could be too boring form my readers.

    Hope you enjoyed your birthday and had something super fun planned!

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  30. Another fabulously, lovely post, Jessica! And what a cute outfit! I've been blogging myself since 2010, and completely understand the fine line between personal life/blog persona and how each affect the other (there have been times where I've gone months without blogging due to incredibly personal issues I was dealing with at the time, but definitely did not want to share those on the internet!). That being said, I definitely admire your courage to share more about your background, and you sound like a very tough (and funny!) cookie! Happy (early) Birthday!

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  31. What a tremendous post! With such a great attitude and outlook, I know your 30s are going to be just stellar! I really relate to you about the whole humor thing. I, too, have been told I'm very funny but I have a very dark sense of humor. I just don't think it always has a place on my blog! But I hope that you maybe start sneaking in a little more of your own sense of humor in your blog. You do seem like a very funny person to me! (And I have to agree with a lot of the other comments-- you're such a great writer!)

    Have a fantastic birthday, and thank you again for the splendid package that arrived in my mail today!

    Cheers,
    Jenny

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  32. Happy Birthday dear sweet Jessica. I enjoyed reading your thoughts about who you are and where you want to go. This post very much reminded my of a phoenix….out of the ashes arises greatness:) I'm very thankful to read your posts and see all the wonderful images you take. Your vintage journey absolutely inspires mine:) Cheers to you dear friend!

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  33. Wish you a very, very happy birthday! I am a week away from turning 39, and I can say without a doubt that my 30s were fabulous. Not always easy (thanks to chronic illness too), but turning 30 helped me to let go of a lot of things, and focus on a positive and happy life. I hope that your 30s are wonderful to you. Love, Nicole (missfancylibrarian)

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  34. As always, I love what you choose to share about yourself. I am glad that you feel positive about your growth in the last decade and about moving into 30. 10 years is such a long time, and although I don't often seriously reminisce about those times, when I do it is staggering how much I have changed.

    Have a joyous birthday and may your thirties be as promising and happy as can be. So far, I rate the thirties as a great age to be. I hope you find that too!

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  35. All my best wishes to you, Jessica on your birthday, I hope your day is simply perfect and much joy and happiness follows in the coming year.Thank you for sharing a little of you with us all, yours is a very wise soul.Your outfit is simply lovely in every way. Enjoy your special day. xx

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  36. Happy birthday. I left my 30s behind earlier this year, but it's a great age - so much less stressful and intense than one's 20s. The 30s is where you make peace with yourself...

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  37. Happy Birthday! I hope you had/have a fabulous time celebrating! I turned 21 recently and spent so long contemplating my life and dissecting everything. It's such a beautiful piece you've written. With blogging and anything social media you can put out the parts of your life that you want to. People can think they know you but they really don't. It's good to keep things to yourself and not get overcome by blogging. Because at the end of the day it's people in your reality that really matter. I wish you lots of luck, health and many happy years to come!
    http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.co.uk

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  38. I dag er det Jessicas fødselsdag, hurra hurra hurra! This is the birthday song we always sing in Denmark, and it translates to "today is Jessica's birthday, horray horray horray". This is such a well written and lovely post. And I think thirty is a fab age, you are still young (I don't see that much wrinkles, dear), but so much wiser. I suppose adulthood starts about thirty. And I am surprised you have risen to be such a whole person, considering your childhood and youth. I've sent you a little present over a week ago, I hope you have received it by now. I go' on vacation in two days, so my comments will be sparse or missing completely, but I will be back for sure. I wish you all the luck in the world for the rest of your life, and a happy happy birthday - may the sun shine brightly and may you be surrounded by your loved ones, eat your favourite food (and desserts) and get everything you have wished for. lots of e-hugs from Sanne

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  39. What a great post! Thanks so much for sharing more about yourself! :) I am a very open person, and so it's nice when I get to find out more about other people (and frankly, I am just super nosey hahaha!). Have a wonderful birthday!!!! xxx

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  40. You made me cried. I have no words to say, I am so sorry.
    I know how health issues could be difficult to bear.
    Anyway, happy birthday dear Jessica.

    And you look stunning in this purple and floral outfit. I love it a lot!

    Nella F.

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  41. A very happy birthday to you, dear, lovely Jessica! I hope your day is filled with countless delights and surprises and the year to come will be as well! It's always a pleasure getting to know you as the wonderful person that you are and I feel blessed to have you as a friend. Bug hugs!

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  42. Happy Birthday, I hope you are having a wonderful day. I really enjoyed this reflective post, it is always interesting to me to learn more about people. Any birthday ending in a 0 seems to be a potential trigger for reflection on the past decade and for looking forwards to the next. I turned 37 yesterday and my 30's have a been a strange mix of highs (getting married and meeting a great new group of friends) and lows (having a breakdown and losing my career). However, I feel I know myself much more clearly now and am proud of the person I have become, very much like you are saying in this piece.

    On a lighter note, what a gorgeous dress! It really suits you. I love the colours in the background of these photos, so pretty!

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  43. Happy Birthday, Jessica!

    This has to be one of my favorite posts ever from you. Not only is it touching and so wonderful to have such insight into you as a person and your personal history, it is also incredibly relatable, as I often feel the same way about wanting to be honest in presenting who I am on my blog, but also not sharing certain elements (both good and bad).

    Thank you for such beautiful and inspiring words, and I continue to look forward to your blog posts for years to come.

    Love,
    Janey

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  44. I always enjoy your posts (even with the "barrier" of language) dear Jessica. I am happy to met you and enjoy your writing, your thoughts, your looks .... Happy Birthday, my sweetest friend!

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  45. Happy, happy birthday, beautiful and wise Jessica! What a wonderful post.

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  46. What a beautiful, thought-filled post, and what gorgeous outfit photos to go along with it! (I completely adore that dress!). I hope you had a wonderful birthday!

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  47. Happy Birthday, my dear friend. I hope you have a truly wonderful day tomorrow full of family, friends, cake, presents and laughter.

    30 is such a big milestone. I reflected heavily on my life before 30 and now that I'm two years in I can assure you that your 30's are better than your 20's. I wouldn't trade my life to be 22 again for a million dollars! Even if it meant less wrinkles. haha!

    Here's to 30. May it be fabulous, like you pretty lady. xo

    Lisa.

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  48. Happy Birthday!! So great to hear a little more of your story, and this outfit is lovely.

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  49. Happy Birthday Jessica! You're a few months older than me. You look fantastic and am sure you will continue to thrive as you get older. You have a wonderful husband that loves, respects and cherishes you.

    I also come from a background of abuse and manipulation. People of say "If I could go back, I'd change. . . " I honestly wouldn't change anything in my past. It is what made me who I am today. It was a lot to handle and ,like you, I had to deal with situations and grow up quickly. I have often wished things were different but there is no point inn holding onto the pain, hate, regret, or ay other ill feelings. All those feelings do are make us bitter and hateful. I have forgiven but I will not forget. People often think that forgiving means forgetting. Not so. if we forget, we are bound to repeat those mistakes again.

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  50. my dear, you look like a flower fairy in that dress!!!!
    love your thoughts about your birthday, your childhood memories touch my heart. i´m with you in "what does´t kill me makes me harder". and you "work" hard for the luck in your life. and we all can see here that this "work" is paying out. so many people can learn sooo much from you!!!! you are a really strong woman!
    kisses&hugs!!!!

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  51. Reading your blog for so long, I really feel close(er) to you than I am. And, after so many years, these personal post of yours have remained deep and emotional. You share a slice of your soul with us, on a silver plate. ....and I say "thank you" for that, Jess.
    I hope the Big Day went well?
    You're 30 now! You really are!
    I don't think much has changed in a day - but the feeling can be great. Is it?

    Yet again: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    Many, many hugs!
    Marija

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  52. Happy Birthday, dear Jessica! Hope many, many years will follow! I wish you all the love, health, luck and happiness in the world! Big hug! Liz

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  53. congratulations on turning 30 and happy birthday! even moreso because there were times when you were told this might not happen for you, i'm so happy that it has! i'm sorry you didn't have the best home life growing up but that along with countless other things have helped shape you into the person you are today, who you should be so proud of.

    i think we would all have a lot of advice to give to our younger selves, but i know if i told myself certain things at 19 that i wouldn't have listened, wouldn't have wanted to hear it and wouldn't have been ready to understand it yet. the wisdom we acquire can only come from hard learned lessons and often it takes going down some dark roads to learn more about ourselves and the world around us in ways that wouldn't make sense to our former selves. and having these experiences also teaches us how strong and resilient we really are.

    congrats again on your birthday and i may there be many more happy birthdays to come. :) x

    little henry lee

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  54. Happy birthday from a fellow Cancerian! I always enjoy reading more about the person behind the blog, it definitely isn't always easy to open up, especially regarding the more negative aspects of our lives and is something I've been thinking about myself a lot lately. I still consider myself a newer reader of your blog and I loved reading such an insightful post and learning more about you and things we have in common. You're such a warm, kind, strong person and are an inspiration, I admire your positive outlook and can-do attitude so much. I hope you had a wonderful birthday and that your 30s treat you well.

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  55. Happy belated birthday Jessica!

    Wonderful insightful post. You have a mature view on life for someone that is just turning 30. Our experiences make us who we are, but hopefully they don't change the spark in our souls.

    That dress is so beautiful on you. The colours are glorious with your hair.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  56. Well said Jessica. Your thoughts about olden clothes are good.
    Belated Birthday wishes

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  57. Thank you for sharing this post Jessica. I truly feel that I know the lovely person behind this wonderful blog so much better because of it. Belated birthday wishes. May you continue growing into the beautiful woman I know you will become.

    I also love the dress you are wearing, the colours are so pretty on you.

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    1. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, dear Shelly.

      ♥ Jessica

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  58. this is such a wonderful tribute to your thirty wonderful years on this earth. you're a beautiful and strong woman. i am so glad to have met you via the internet and hope maybe one day we can have a face to face meeting, if i ever get to canada {maybe a meet midway?}. no matter what you always think of a situation in a positive way and it has encouraged me to try to do the same. you're a wonderful friend, jessica! happy 30th!!!!

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    1. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, honey. Truly. I too hope that we're able to meet in person one day. I've said it before, but I'll say it again, one of Tony and mine's biggest dreams in life is to get an RV (or at least a really good trailer, say like an Airstream - how vintage perfect and awesome would that be?!) and make our way (likely over the course of multiple trips) across both Canada and America. Only time will tell, but that optimistic side of me which you so touchingly praised, really like to fervently believe that it will and when it does, hopefully we can meet up somewhere in the States.

      ♥ Jessica

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  59. You look as gorgeous as ever and I enjoyed reading your post.
    I would haver never thought you were one to crack jokes! I perceive you as a fun but serious person, so this was quite astonishing.
    From what I read, you have come a long way, from going through intense situations that have made you who you are today. I am glad to see that it has all been for the better. Happy birthday my dear Jessica, a true Phoenix bird.

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    1. Thank you deeply, dear Lorena. It's true, you're right, I come across significantly more serious most of the time online than I am in the real world. I'm so laid back, easy going, keen on making jokes and puns, try not to sweat the small stuff, and smile like it's going out of fashion. I never set out to seem so straight-laced or serious online, it just sort of happened that I came across as such, perhaps because I'm quite shy, private, and intellectual. Whatever the reason(s), I do hope that as time goes on, more folks will get to see my fun loving side online as well.

      Big hugs & many heartfelt thanks again,
      ♥ Jessica

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