February 15, 2015

100 questions to inspire rapid self-discovery

Early last September, when the sun was still sparkling like freshly poured champagne and my sundresses didn't need be sandwiched between industrial strength tights and cardigans that could double as a blankets, my dear online friend and fellow vintage blogger Lindsay from the blog Miss Lindsay Lane posted an entree with the the exact same title as mine here today, as well as the following set of 100 questions. (To speed things up in creating this post, I copied and pasted the list from Alexandra Franzen's site and recommend doing the same for the sake of brevity, if you wish to answer these excellent questions, too.)

Naturally, her answers were all her own, and mine are mine, but the questions themselves remain the same and the split second I saw them, I knew that I wanted to respond to these fascinating and highly intimate queries as well myself.

Not only is it a great way to continue to improve at sharing more about myself and provide quite a detailed picture of how I feel/what I think about many different things at this point in my thirty years of life, but as a scrapbooker, I know that many (if not all) of these one hundred questions could potentially be used a a journaling prompt and/or inspiration for a scrapbook page itself (and by the same token, you could use them as prompts for all kinds of blog posts and personal journaling entries as well).

I'm also keen on using the New Year, which we're still a wee bit flushed with the joyful glow of, as a great time to really delve into some introspective thought and personal growth, which I think it would be hard for anyone who was answering these questions honestly not to find themselves experiencing.

100 questions is a lot to get through, whether as a person is completing them or a reading my replies, so with that thought planted firmly in mind, I've tried to keep my answers on the very compact and concise side of things. I did generally find that they helped me reflect on and remember various things about myself, as well as remind me of others I hadn't given much thought to in a long time (if at all).

ϟ What's the best compliment you've ever received?

Of all the questions on this list, this was probably the that I had to stop and ponder the longest. I've been very blessed to receive many amazingly sweet, meaningful and deeply touching compliments over the years and it's hard to rank one as being more poignant or important as another. Certainly one that always truly makes my day and warms my heart to the core is when I have people say things to me in regards to my vintage outfits such as "You look just like my mom/grandma/sister/girlfriend/wife back in the 1940s/50s". The look of nostalgic delight that I see flash across people's faces when they say such things and see my attire is as meaningful as their words themselves.

ϟ What's one thing you're deeply proud of — but would never put on your résumé?

I am a survivor of both horrible domestic abuse and sexual abuse.

ϟ What's the most out-of-character choice you've ever made?

Just one, oh gosh! ;D These aren't open and shut questions, now are they?! It's tricky to narrow this question down, but certainly one uncharacteristic thing that I did, given how I'm both profoundly shy and also incredibly self-conscious about my appearance, especially when it comes to my less-than-stellar teeth, is launching my YouTube channel earlier this year.

ϟ If a mysterious benefactor wrote you a check for $5,000 and said, "Help me solve a problem — any problem!", what would you do with him or her?

If the question is, what problem would I help them solve, it truly comes down to what they needed assistance with in their life. For the hefty sum of $5,000, I'd definitely want it to be an issue that they needed substantial assistance with and which the resolution of would better their life significantly.

ϟ What’s going to be carved on your (hypothetical) tombstone?

Vintage to the very end.

ϟ What are you FREAKISHLY good at?

Finding items for sale in shops, at flea market, yard sales, and absolutely anywhere I go that don't have price tags or stickers on them. I swear, it's like a sixth sense with me. The big perk to this is that I can often negotiate on the price more than if one was there to begin with.

ϟ What's one dream that you've tucked away, for the moment? How come?

To visit each of Canada's ten provinces and three territories. I wouldn't say I've tucked this dream away, more like that it's a constant dream in progress, with at least one area in five different provinces being accounted for so far. The main reasons I haven't completed this dream yet are money, my health, and time - plus I like the idea of seeing a province or territory here and there periodically throughout my life.

ϟ What are you STARVING for?

The warmth of late spring and summer. We're truly in the heart of the long, freezing cold Canadian winter right now and I'd give my favourite vintage brooch for a +30C day again right now!

ϟ If you could have tea with one fictional character, who would it be?

Sherlock Holmes. I've been a die-hard fan of the good detective for as far back as I have memories.

ϟ Do you have a morning ritual?

Not overly so. My sleep tends to be incredibly sporadic and all over the place due to my health and the painsomnia (when pain prevents you from falling asleep and/or staying asleep properly) I constantly battle, so my morning may start at 6am one day and 6pm the very next!

ϟ Do you believe in magic? When have you felt it?

I believe that one can experience things feel so amazing, helpful, life changing, or otherwise positive that they almost seem to supernaturally powerful, but I don't believe in magic in the sense of spells or forces beyond our control.

ϟ Is there something that people consistently ask for your advice on? What is it?

Perhaps not surprisingly given what I blog about, sell, and wear day in and day out, I get literally hundreds of questions every month on vintage related topics, specially vintage fashion.

ϟ Have you ever fantasized about changing your first name? To what?

I wouldn't say I've thought about it to the point of fantasying, but I have have occasionally pondered on what I'd pick if I could select my first name. I'm not entirely sure at this point in my life, but I know that as a little girl, I thought the idea of having the name Briar Rose like Princess Aurora in Disney's Sleeping Beauty was about the coolest, most beautiful moniker I could think of at the time and would have happily taken it as my own back then.

ϟ When was the last time you astonished yourself?

I don't know if I'd go so far as to say astonishment was involved, but I was pretty darn proud of myself for how much I was able to accomplish during our stellar two week trip to Vancouver Island last fall. That's the longest I've ever gone on holiday in the 12.5 years now that I've been chronically ill and I didn't know how well I'd fare. Though there were some rough patches on the health front, I pulled through and was able to do, see and experience far more than I'd imagined I would heading into it.

ϟ What's your personal anthem or theme song?

There are three that always fall under this heading for me: The Beatles’ Let it Be, Tom Cochrane's Life is a Highway, and Frank Sinatra's My Way.

ϟ Do you ever yearn for your life before Facebook?

I didn't join Facebook until December 2012 and then did so primarily to create a fan page for Chronically Vintage. I don't spend a lot of time there and am by no means a Facebook addict, so to speak, so I don't feel like my life is much different than it was before I hopped on the Facebook bandwagon.

ϟ What's your definition of an ideal house guest?

Someone who wants to go yard saling with me while they're here on the weekend! :)

ϟ If you had an extra $100 to spend on yourself every week, what would you do?

I'd put it towards saving to buy a bigger house so that we'd have more space indoors, a patio or balcony outside, and (finally!) a backyard for our dog.

ϟ If you could sit down with your 15-year old self, what would you tell him or her?

That she/I was beautiful, important, worthy of love, and an incredible survivor/fighter who had already overcome a staggering number of hardships in her/my short life. Oh, and to buy every last piece of pre-60s vintage she/I could find, as such items were usually still available for a complete and total song back then!!!

ϟ What are you BORED of?

Seeing skinny jeans and black leggings on at least 9 out of 10 women under the age of fifty anywhere I've gone in the past few years. Yes, we can all dress as we please, but surely society as a whole deserves to be a heck of a lot more stylish than this perma-hipster meets yoga wear trend we've been on for far too long.

ϟ What’s the best birthday cake you've ever ate?

Bar none, my mom's homemade chocolate sheet cake with seven-minute frosting.

ϟ How do you engage with panhandlers on the street?

Circumstantially. If I believe that doing so can genuinely be of benefit to them and isn't likely a risk to my own safety.

ϟ Do you think LOVE is chemical, intellectual, spiritual — or completely undefinable?

Love is a little bit of everything listed above. It's profound, life altering, incredibly important and when it's good/healthy, it's beyond amazing!

ϟ Have you ever dreamed about starting a business? (Or if you've already got one — a new business?)

I have and did, when I launched my Etsy vintage shop last May. That's more than enough to keep me super busy all the time and I'm not planning to start any other businesses for the time being. If one day I lived in an area where doing so seemed like a smart move, I would massively love to open a bricks and mortar vintage shop as well, but there just isn't the market for it where we reside now, so that's not something I'm actively working towards at present.

ϟ Are you afraid of flying in airplanes? (How come?)

Not at all! I actually really enjoy flying once you get past the incredibly needless, OTT security, freedom stripping checks at the airport and are actually up in the air. I took my first plane trip when I was 14 and have been hooked ever since.

ϟ What's your most urgent priority for the rest of the year?

I think that this is something that changes for most people, myself included, at different points in their life. The answer today might not be the same thing in a decade, a year or even a month. Certainly for me one continual priority every year is to try and manage my plethora of severe chronic illnesses as best as I possibly can in the moment in the hopes of giving myself a decent lifespan when all is said and done.

ϟ If you could master any instrument on earth, what would it be?

The fiddle. As I touched on here a couple of years, I have a massive love of fiddle music. Unfortunately it's not physically possible for me to play (let alone master), but if I could, you can bet your bottom dollar that I would.

ϟ Have you ever been genuinely afraid for your physical safety?

Yes, more times than I can count. Truly thankfully though, not very often from the age of eighteen onward.

ϟ What are you an expert on? Is it because of training, lived experience, or both?

I'd say I'm (humbly) I'm very well versed in areas pertaining to things such as vintage fashion and history, scrapbooking and card making, beading, cross stitch, photography, cooking, how to live/cope with chronic illness and chronic pain, how to pack up and move homes (done it many times), decorating for the holidays, budgeting, and the fine art of collecting (in general), amongst others. In all cases, these things came about from years of self-teaching and study and emerging myself in the field, sometimes coupled with wisdom imparted from others.

ϟ Has a teacher ever changed your life? How so?

I had some fantastic teachers growing up (not all, of course, but certainly a few), especially including one of my (two) grade six teachers, Mrs. Setters, who always made me feel like I was capable of achieving anything I put my mind towards.

ϟ Are there any household chores you secretly enjoy? Which ones — and why?

If we take the physical challenge (for me) involved out of the question, I enjoy most household chores because I massively love having a clean, well organized home. In particular, I'm fond of folding laundry, sweeping, and organizing everything and anything!

ϟ How do you reign in self-critical voices?

Ummm, that would imply I was able to do so. I kid, but only slightly. Honestly, I find that getting older itself is one of the best ways to quell the self-critical voices. The more years I tuck under my belt, the easier I find it becomes to both cut myself some much needed slack, but also to not be as hurt/worried/stressed/etc by critical or hurtful things said to me by other people.

ϟ If you could custom blend a perfume or cologne, what would it include?

Vanilla, tobacco smoke, cinnamon, oak or moss, and just a tiny whisper of musk.

ϟ What does FEAR feel like, in your body?

Wow, that quite the question. I've always been the type that manifests physical symptoms of fear (especially sudden onset fear), so there are a lot things that happen to my body. On top of the fact that it instantly sends some of my medical conditions into a tailspin, I'm prone to feeling like my hands (specially my fingers) are absolutely on fire (nerve pain/numbness), my childhood tendency to stutter when nervous/worried/scared comes back, my face flushes, and sometimes my whole body will shake like a leaf.

ϟ Do you think you’re currently operating at 100% capacity?

In some respects, like when it comes to what I do day in and out to run my blog and Etsy shop, yes, but in general, and I don't say this in a "woe is me" kind of way, one can't battle more than a dozen different chronic illnesses for years on end and be able to operate at 100% of the capacity they could if they were healthy, or even just not as sick. I give life my best every day. Sometimes 100% is a pipe dream, and sometimes I bring 200% to the table. So long as I keep on trying, doing my best, and believing in myself, I'm happy.

ϟ What do you value most: free time, recognition, or money?

Money is the most important to me of the three, simply because it's so integral to life, but I actually value both happiness and not being stressed (which usually go hand-in-hand) are far more than any of those three.

ϟ If you could save one endangered species from extinction, which would you choose?

Oh my gosh, could I please save every last one of them? I've been a huge animal rights activist and supporter of doing all that can be done to preserve every endangered species my whole life. If I could save just one though, it would be either sea otters (which tragically, have been hunted to near extinction at various points and their numbers have yet to even come close to bouncing back) or any and all specials of whales that are at risk of dying out forever.

ϟ Are there any laws or social rules that completely baffle you?

I wouldn't say that there are laws or social rules that baffle me in the sense of me not literally being able to understand them, but there are certainly plenty that I think could use a serious overhaul. For massive starters, the fact that in Canada it is illegal to pay someone to carry a child for you (you can pay for their medical and associated expenses, but cannot pay for this service), thus rendering surrogacy almost non-existent in this country and leaving countless couples without the ability to bring a child that is biologically (one or both of) their own into the world.

ϟ Would you like to write a book? (About what?)

With every fiber of my being, yes. Writing a book has been on my list of life goal's since I was at least five years old and I truly hope it's one that comes to fruition for me, perhaps even in this decade of my life. I'm open to writing on a lot of topics, but would be especially thrilled to see my name on a book about vintage, another historical related topic, or cooking.

ϟ If you could choose your own life obstacles, would you keep the ones you have?

Goodness gracious, no.

ϟ Have you ever SCREAMED at someone? (What did they do?)

I'm sure I have, but I tend to be more of a level-headed arguer and if emotions to fly, I'm much more apt to cry than scream.

ϟ Do you think there's going to be an anti-technology whiplash, in our lifetime?
I think that it's likely that as the years roll by, more and more people will opt to spend less time online and will feel a very deeply rooted urge to get out and enjoy the real world more. I've already seen a bit of this in recent years, with considerably fewer people blogging (and/or blogging as frequently) in the vintage world - though, objectively, the massive rise in popularity of social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest certainly plays a role there, too. I love the web and use it often, but I really do believe in the importance of spending time offline as well and hope that we, as a species, never become completely dependent on technology to the point where the natural world no longer matters to most folks.

ϟ Where + when do you get your BEST IDEAS?

I've had great ideas strike me at all hours of the day and all manner of locations, but that said, I tend to get my best ideas (and do my best work) when I'm awake late at night, the house is quiet, and (ideally) I'm not overly stressed. I also find that talking to my (brilliant!) husband, crafting, listing to excellent music, and being in the company of the arts (such as watching a play or going to an art gallery), all spur on fabulous ideas for me as well.

ϟ Have you ever met one of your HEROES?

Not yet (save for those family members I consider to be heroes).

ϟ What’s in your fridge, right this moment?

The usual array of condiments, plus (off the top of my head) strawberries, lettuce, cucumbers, mushrooms, bell peppers, black olives, various cheeses, milk, leftover roast chicken, and mandarin oranges.

ϟ Can you tell when someone is lying?

Yes, it's like a sixth sense. You know that TV shoe Lie to Me. I'm like Dr. Cal Lightman (Tom Roth's character). Just a head's up to anyone who might want to try and pull a fast one me.

ϟ Can you tell when someone is telling the TRUTH?

Very much so. I think that the ability to do so generally goes hand-in-hand with if you're skilled at being able to detect if someone's lying to you.

ϟ Have you ever pushed your body further than you dreamed possible?

My gut response is to answer "every day since becoming chronically ill", so you know what, I will.

ϟ Are you living your LIFE PURPOSE — or still searching?

I struggled with this immensely after becoming chronically ill at such a young age (barely 18) and having nearly every aspect of my turned upside down. Though I do wish there were things I could do with my life that are simply not possible due to my health, I have reached a point where I'm generally very happy and content, not to mention frequently excited by, where my life is at now as a wife, blogger, and vintage shop owner. These are all very important purposes to me and I'm so grateful that I get enjoy them everyday.

ϟ Have you ever had to make a public apology? (How come?)

Not yet, but who knows, it could happen one day. I'm huge on owning up to one's mistakes and taking responsibility for them, so if I had to make a public apology, I'd have no bones about doing so.

ϟ What’s the WORST piece of advice you've ever been given?
Do you have a year decade? I would say that in recent years, some of the very worst advice we were given, and this came by way of professionals like vets and dog trainers, involved how to raise and handle our dog, Annie, when she was a young puppy (she was the first dog either Tony or I had had as an adult and we were so incredibly wet behind the years, save for common knowledge, when it came to rearing an incredibly energetic, smart, and strong willed dog like ours). In some regards, we're still working to undo/correct the effects of the horrible advice we were given back then.

ϟ Do you think we’re designed for monogamy? (Why or why not?)

I'm a huge believer in the role that evolution plays in our biological and physical responses to this very day, so while I do feel that we (or at least most of us) have the metal capability to be monogamous, if so desired, I fully understand that it will probably always be something of a losing battle for many of members of our species.

ϟ How do you CELEBRATE your victories?

By starting to think about the next thing that I really want to tackle. And perhaps some GF frozen yogurt. :)

ϟ Would you consider yourself an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert?

Massive, card carrying member of team introvert (as I blogged about here in detail not too long ago).

ϟ Do you ever hunt for answers or omens in dreams?

I like to analyze my dreams (when I dream, or more accurately, remember dreaming, which is not often unfortunately) and see how they pertain to my life, but I don't look to them as a way of divining the future or reading more into them than what they really are.

ϟ Do you think everyone has the capacity to be a LEADER?

Honestly, no, and that's completely okay. Some people are a lot more happy and at peace in the role of being a follower. There's nothing wrong with that, so long as they aren't being oppressed into that position. I've always been much more of a leader than a follower (no doubt in part because I'm the oldest child in my family) and love that about myself.

ϟ Is WAR a necessary EVIL?

The notion of war being a necessary evil is something of a double-edged sword. If there was no evil to begin with, would we need war? I truly wish we could have world peace, but if the freedom of my country and its people is a risk, in certain circumstances, I think that defending oneself through the act of war is acceptable.

ϟ Are YOU a starter, a finisher, or an implementer?

I'm a both a starter and a finisher, in the sense that I try my absolute hardest to finish whatever I start. It makes me really antsy, even anxious sometimes, to not finish what I start, be it a book, a meal, a craft project, or a major life goal, so if I can complete something, I most definitely will.

ϟ Have you ever unplugged from the Internet for more than a week?
Yes, numerous times. Sometimes by choice (such as on holiday), sometimes by circumstance (such as being in the hospital or too ill to use my laptop). I think it's immensely important to take a breather from the web a least every now and then.

ϟ Do you think we should live like we're dying?

Technically we’re all dying (at some point), but of course I know what this statement means. To a degree, yes, in that we should try to savour life and get the most out of as many days as possible, but I don't think we should just throw caution to the wind and an adopt a devil-may-care everyday just because your number could theoretically be up tomorrow.

ϟ Do you have any habits or quirks you wish you could ERASE?

I wouldn't mind worrying less!

ϟ What was the most AGONIZING hour of your life?

That is far too personal to discuss publicly.

ϟ Have you ever dramatically changed a habit, or gotten yourself out of a rut? How'd you do it?

I was a serious perfectionist as a child, in part because it was demanded of me by one of my parents, but I think I would have been to a degree anyhow. I still strive to give things my all and to do the very best I can, but as I've gotten older and experienced all kinds of major problems, stresses, and situations that I had little to no control over in the moment, I've gotten a bit better at not sweating the small stuff and not worrying if I forget to dot an "i" or cross a "t" here and there.

ϟ Would you rather be a lonely genius, or a sociable idiot?
That's sort of a mean and loaded question isn't it? Certainly there are sociable geniuses and lonely folks who aren't exactly putting Stephen Hawking out of a job. But since I must answer, I would always opt to be a lonely genius.

ϟ How would YOU fix the economy?

I don't think it's beyond the point of salvation, but I do feel like the path to recovery is very multi-dynamic and may take generations to occur. I'm not honestly sure if I have a clear cut answer to this question (as the problem is utterly staggering at this point), but I am convinced that part of it lies in returning to being more self-reliant when it comes to growing our own food, as well as living a much greener/more traditional lifestyle in general.

ϟ What was your very first job?

If we take things like babysitting and volunteer work out of the equation, my first job was waitressing in the fabulous historic ghost town of Barkerville, BC.

ϟ What brings you SHEER DELIGHT?

Gossamer fabrics! :D (Just a little fashion joke to see if you’re still with me this far into today’s lengthy post.) So many things! A sublimely warm breeze on a summer evening, star gazing, getting the chance to travel, hunting for vintage treasures, my husband's voice, Halloween and all of autumn, for that matter; falling asleep to the sound of the rain, and so many other things. Life is an unending gift and it truly pays to delight in as many aspects of it as possible.

ϟ Are you highly useful in a CRISIS?

Massively. I actually find that, generally speaking, the more in a panic those around me are, the more I'm calm as a cucumber, can access the situation and come up with logical, realistic ways to help.

ϟ Do you like to be SAVED — or do the saving?

Doing the saving. Sure, there's always a bit of an appeal to the knight on a white horse idea, but at the end of the day, I've always been the sort of person who could save herself - and those she loved - all on her own.

ϟ What's one mistake you keep repeating (and repeating)?

I don't tend to keep repeating my mistakes. In fact, I'd say that doing so would fly in the face of how I try to live my life. There's no shame in making (most types of) mistakes. They can be hugely beneficial actually to personal growth and in helping you see the bigger picture, at times, but ideally you don't want to keep stepping on the mousetrap over and over again, so to speak. Make a mistake, learn from it, and move on. However, all that said, I do tend to continually push myself way beyond my “spoons” and end up paying for it big time on the health front.

ϟ If you were heading out on a ROAD TRIP right this minute, what would you pack?

It's mighty chilly out there on the Canadian roads right now, so I'd definitely bring my vintage winter princess coat, opaque tights, my two quilted 50s circle skirts, a warm hat, thick gloves, and a thermos full of hot cocoa! :)

ϟ Do you have any irrational fears?

Not really. My fears are all pretty rational. Though not fears, I despise the sound of Styrofoam being touched and its texture (as does my mom - so that is totally a learned response on my part), as well as the feeling of chalk dust, cotton balls, and most types of fleece (they all make my skin crawl).

ϟ When you see peers + competitors getting things you want, how do you react?

I'm not a jealous or overly competitive person, so I usually feel thrilled for them and hope that their success/good fortune continues.

ϟ If you were to die three hours from now, what would you regret most?
That I knew the end was so near.

What's something you've tried, that you'll never, ever try again?

As much as I adored the photos that came out of it, I’m not in a big hurry to do a nighttime photo shoot in below freezing weather while wearing a halter dress again any time soon.

ϟ If you could enroll in a PhD program, with your tuition paid in full by a mysterious benefactor, what would you study — and why?

Medicine. If I was granted perfect health all of a sudden (so that I could put in several years of university study), I would become a doctor immediately, because I would love nothing more than to be the kind of truly caring, compassionate, understanding, investigative physician that is harder to find than water in the desert.

I've been on the patient's side of the exam table more times than I can count and I know exactly how I wish I had been treated (yet almost never was/am). It would be so fulfilling to be that kind of doctor for others, especially those with chronic and terminal illnesses, and to make them feel like they had an ally in their medical battles, not another massive cause of stress in their already hugely challenging lives.

ϟ Have you ever had a complete + total nervous breakdown? (How did you recuperate?)

No, thankfully.

ϟ Have you ever set two friends up on a date? (How did it go?)

I haven't, no. Perhaps one day!

ϟ Have you ever questioned your FAITH — or lack thereof?

Who hasn't questioned the big unknowns in life? Why are we here? Are we alone in the universe? (Doubtful!) What if the world ended tomorrow? And so on. Part of the joy of life actually is being able to ponder these points and know that we share this point in common with countless souls before us and no doubt many, many more who will come after we've turned back into stardust once more.

ϟ What’s your recipe for recuperating from extreme heartbreak?

Throw yourself into something else that you love - a job, a hobby, a new home, traveling, etc - with everything that you have. Create huge goals and keep plugging all those raw emotions into fueling the fires that will help you complete it/them.

ϟ Have you ever had a psychic reading? Did you believe it? Was it accurate?

To date I have not had a psychic reading.

ϟ Have you ever (actually) kept a New Year’s Resolution?

I've kept pretty much every resolution, New Year's or otherwise, that I've ever made (see the question earlier on about being a "finisher"), so long as circumstances that I had any kind of control over would allow me to do so.

ϟ Have you ever met someone who was genuinely EVIL?

Sadly, yes. More than one, for that matter.

ϟ Do you believe that everyone deserves redemption + forgiveness?

No. I do think that the current penal system is severely flawed and that we need to rethink how we rehabilitate many types of prisoners, but there are some crimes (such as raping a child, being a cereal killer, etc) that are beyond forgiveness.

ϟ What was the BEST KISS of your entire life?

The first time Tony and I kissed (we'd met online three months earlier and were already in love, so getting to embrace and kiss at long last was like being showered with fireworks and rose petals at the same time).

ϟ Do you secretly miss Polaroid cameras?

Nostalgic as I generally am, no, I wouldn't say so. We didn't use them a lot in my family, but perhaps if we had, I'd pine for them now.

ϟ Do you have any physical features that you try to cloak or hide? How come?

Yes, a few, but the biggest would be my teeth. My crowded, crooked, awful teeth that have left me unable to smile and show them without feeling mind-blowingly self-conscious since the age of about seven years old. I've discussed such things here before and YouTube, and I don't like to focus on negatives too much, so I'll just say again that it is certainly a true goal of mine to one day have the means to get my teeth fixed and to know what it feels like to smile with my pearly whites showing and not be indescribably self-conscious + embarrassed in the process.

ϟ What makes YOU so special, anyway? (No, really.)

I feel like this post from last summer covers some such points, but ultimately I'm not sure if it's up to me to define that. Specialness, like beauty, is so often in the eye of the beholder after all, so it's really up to my friends, family, and blog readers to fill in the answer to this question.

ϟ What’s in your pocket (or purse, or man-purse) right now?
Right now, in my robe pockets, I've got my trusty tape measure (as an Etsy seller, it's on me almost 24/7), a vintage hankie, my iPhone, lip balm, and a roll of chevron print washi tape (which I use to dress up the parcels I send out to my customers).

ϟ Ever fantasize about being in a rock band? What would your group be called?

I can't say as though this is something I've daydreamed about much. If I had a band though, I like to think I'd use a vintage/historical reference of one sort or another for the name.

ϟ What’s your guiltiest of guilty pleasures?

Pleasures shouldn't necessarily have such negative connotations associated with them. If you love doing something and it doesn't hurt you or anyone else, there's no need for guilt to be involved. I wouldn't say as though I have many pleasures that would fall under this heading, as I tend to enjoy most of what I do and am a very happy person in general, so life itself provides me with a significant amount of pleasure.

ϟ Who's on your panel of imaginary mentors?

Fun question! Hmm, let's see, some definite contenders would be Florence Nightingale, Hunter S. Thompson, Nikola Tesla, John Lennon (any of the Beatles, for that matter), Anthony Bourdain, Leonardo Da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Martha Stewart (I just want to talk holiday decor with her!). Mixed bag much? :D

ϟ Have you ever stolen anything? (Money, candy, hearts, time?)

No, the idea of stealing (unless it is truly a matter of life and death), has always greatly unnerved me and is one of the last things I'd ever do.

ϟ When was the last time you saw an animal in the wild?

We see deer, which are abundant in our town, almost every day.

ϟ What's the hardest thing you ever had to write — and why?

There have been a few exceedingly challenging things that I've had to write over the years, all of which are too private and/or I wish to respect the privacy of the other party involved, to go into detail about in such a public forum.

ϟ Who's the last person that deeply disappointed you? (What happened?)

Thankfully it's been quite a long time since anyone disappointed me to my core, so I won't both rehashing old news that I've long since moved beyond.

ϟ Have you ever won an award? What was it for?

I won a number of academic awards over the years as a student, a few for sports teams I was on, two for a couple of science shows back in my school days, some very lovely blog awards from dear online friends, and perhaps my very favourite of all (which is technically more of a form of recognition than an award, but still! :)), when I was crowned a Queen of Vintage in 2013 (I swear, I'm still on cloud nine over that!).

ϟ How long can you (comfortably) go without checking your emails or texts? How do you feel about that?

I'm not a big texter, so unless I'm expecting a message, I can go for days there. With emails, as a question from a customer could come in at any time, I do need to check my email periodically and will rarely let more than 24 hours pass without doing so. If, for the sake of argument, we took Etsy out of the equation, I can easily go several days without checking and am totally fine with that - save for the stress of knowing that there will be hundreds of emails piling up that I need to start replying to once I log on again.

ϟ What do you deserve + get to receive, no matter what?

It's rather self-entitled to think that I automatically deserve something, but I do feel that, like everyone, I should be entitled to my basic human rights, as well happiness, safety, and the ability to always dream big.

ϟ What are you ready to set into motion, today?

Inspiring others to fill out this no holds barred list of 100 questions as well. Sure, they took a bit of time to answer, but for each one you stop and ponder, you'll like have another where the answer springs to mind instantly and when all is said and done, you'll likely be thrilled that you completed this hefty questionnaire.

{Well, I think it's safe to say that I more than came out my own personal bubble of shyness and privacy today! If you're in the mood to follow suite, why not have a go at answering this set of 100 questions yourself. Be sure to let me know in the comments below anytime if you do, I'd love to read your replies. Image source.}

♥ ♥ ♥

I'm really glad that Lindsay posted these excellent questions and definitely want to thank her for doing so. If you're in the mood for a bit of a blogging challenge and mental aerobics, I highly encourage you to try your hand at answering this thought provoking questionnaire as well. I know that as time goes on, I'll be very grateful that I have this post to look back on as a marker of where I was at on a lot of fronts in early 2015, as well as how far I've come in my life as time continues to march onward.

My brain is buzzing right now in the best kind of way. I feel the creative juice rolling and like I'm on a really good footing as we embark on the end of winter and rest of the year that stands before us, and that alone made answering these one hundred questions more than worth it!


  1. Your answer to something that you've tried but never want to try again make me laugh - I feel like I've had a lot of moments this winter to do with trying to take outfit photos for my blog that resulted in the same feelings! Lovely to learn more about you, you're such an interesting person. Which sounds like a lame way of putting it, but I mean it! I think you've got such incredible principles and values, especially for someone who's clearly been through a lot... you're clearly quite amazing :) And as you know, I can completely sympathise on the subject of teeth... But it is sad when something like that can make us feel that way. CC x

    1. Aww, that is such a cool thing to be told (that's you think I'm an interesting person), thank you very much, honey. It doesn't sound lame at all. I actually think it's one of the most positive and kind things you tell someone (assuming it's said in a positive light, as I know you did here). I'm sincerely touched and appreciate that you said it.

      Huge hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

  2. Wow! Thanks for sharing so much! I adored your description of you and your husbands first kiss <3. That is how they all should be in my opinion :). You are such a brave inspirational person, Jessica, and I always love reading your posts.

  3. Wow, what a fascinating and varied list of questions. You answered these with such candor and it was a pleasure to read. In particular, I adored your answer to the question about your best kiss. It's so wonderful that you got to marry the person that you're madly in love with, and that the first kiss you shared was so very special.

  4. WOW .... what a post dear Jessica!
    I wish you a great Monday!

  5. wow jess! <3 <3 <3
    can i come to the tea party with s.holmes and would you sell me a bottle of your personal scent - it sounds delicious!
    you are very honest and very very wise! especially in the answers that touch politics and society. you are a grown up person in the words true meaning. i´m still fascinated that we have meet in the world wide web!!!!
    love and hugs!!!!! <3 <3 <3

    p.s.: i´m a bit irritated by the rune style thingies in front of every question.......

    1. That is tremendously kind, dear Beate. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

      Agreed...the little lightning bolt/rune symbol-esque things were there from the list I copied it from, but in I don't think I'd use them again, especially not in such a large quantity. They're not that easy on the eyes.

      Thank you again, my precious friend. Huge hugs and many happy wishes for the new week coming your way!

      ♥ Jessica

  6. This is informative; we learned a lot more about you. I'd go "yard saling" with you anytime!

    1. That would be a blast, I'm sure! The past couple of years have left much to be desired on the yard saling front, but you can be that I'll still be out there this year - one never knows when lady luck is going to strike. If you're a fan of this early morning art, I hope she does the same for you this year as well.

      ♥ Jessica

  7. Oh yay, I loved reading these questions and I love getting to know you better because of them. You are such a strong and unique person!

    1. Thank you very much, honey - both for your wonderfully kind comment and again for posting about this awesome rapid fire Q&A in the first place. I'm perpetually inspired by you and your blog and sure that I'll be spurred on to post my own take and many more things you share on your site in the months and years to come (and really look forward to it!).

      Huge hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

  8. oh i did enjoy this list! i slowly worked my way though it this weekend and it has been most interesting. i remember when Miss Lindsay posted this, and i just plain old enjoy question/revealing type posts. each time and everything that you write is such an inspiration to me. it is not hard to tell that you are a woman who has overcome many challenging and fearful things in her life, and still has to every day, yet does not have a bitter or complaining attitude about it. and that makes me smile and stand in awe.

    1. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, sweet dear. Your words moved me through and through, especially because I can instantly tell through them that you see my true heart and soul through my posts.

      Huge hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

  9. Oh, Jess. I read your long list from start to end, and many things made me sad, but also some things made me smile. I got goose bumbs when I read about the abuse, no one should EVER experience such a thing. But the experience of your first kiss with Tony with both fireworks and rose petals, made me smile from ear to ear. :) Your answers show how considerate and grown up you are. A charming and clever woman. And I say it again, I find your teeth charming. They are NOT as bad as you think, girl! Just ask Tony, I'm sure he agrees with me. Lots of e-hugs from Denmark

    1. Hello my darling friend, thank you very much for clocking the hours, so to speak, needed to read this list and for your immensely lovely words. I knew that, even with my fairly streamlined answers, it was a really chunky post and that not a lot of folks wouldn't read or comment, which means that those who did earn big time extra Brownie points in my books! :)

      Tons of hugs always,
      ♥ Jessica

  10. I feel like from these few questions I have gotten to know you so much better. I've been chronically ill for a long time and I also suffer from chronic pain from another condition. I totally get the day to day struggles and the way it seeps into your life and has an effect on every aspect. I also totally understand the painsomnia, I had terrible painful scoliosis. I've since had surgery but it still effects my muscles and my neck causing me all sorts of pain and troubles that never seem to go away.

    You sound so strong and like such a kind, interesting person. :)

    Alecia xx

    1. Hi sweet Alecia, with all my heart, I am truly sorry that you've long had to wage war with chronic pain, illness and painsomnia as well. It is a massively challenging row for anyone to have to hoe and my understanding and empathy go out to you completely.

      Thank you deeply for your beautiful words and for sharing more of your own story of strength with me.

      Gentle hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

  11. This is so amazing (I should learn how to say amazing in different ways! ._.). The moment I read it I knew I had to save it to read it again later :)

  12. I settled down with a cup of tea to read this and found it fascinating. Did you answer all the questions in one go or do a few here and there over time? I imagine some answers were on the tip of your tongue and others needed more thought. Your positive outlook and determination really shine through here.

    1. Hello my sweet friend, thank you very much for taking the time to read through this whole post, that really means a lot to me. I knew that even with most answers being on the short side, a lot of folks would simply skim through at most. That's okay, I really enjoyed answering these questions and doing so to be cathartic in a way. I answered them all over the course of many hours one day, for the most part in the order that they appeared. Though I did leave a handful until the end, as they were the ones that I wanted to put the most thought into. Once I started, the answers flowed like water for the most part and I could have happily kept going - though, LOL, I'm not sure if anyone would have read it if this post was much longer than it already is! :D

      Thank you again deeply - huge hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

  13. Dear Briar Rose, (i.e., Queen of Vintage)

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your responses to this grand list of questions, including those which I do think are a bit strange:-) You have answered with your typical grace and eloquence. I know that you are "freakishly" good at many, many things and I hope you have the opportunity to see many of your dreams come true. I suspect you will! I'm thinking that I may try and answer one question daily, as this type of reflection seems a great way to begin one's day and test the old memory:-) The notion of a lonely genius appeals to me as well, however I do miss my Polaroid. Thank you for this engaging post!

    1. Hello my very dear friend, thank you deeply for your sweet, caring, and immensely kind comment. It's awesome that the idea of focusing on each of these 100 points as a post or daily question unto themselves appeals to you. I feel the same way and suspect that I'll revisit at least a few of them again, particularly in my scrapbooking.

      Huge hugs & again, many heartfelt thanks,
      ♥ Jessica

    2. I'm trying hard to find more time to comment on the blogs I enjoy! I am woefully behind but fear not, I haven't forgotten you:-)

    3. That's very sweet of you to say, Ann, thank you. Likewise, please fear not, I would never think anything negative about you. You're one of the most kindhearted people I know.

      Have a fantastic weekend!
      ♥ Jessica

  14. I have to say one of my favorite answers had to be was war evil. As a writer, researcher, and history buff I'm never for war as I've read constantly of what it costs. But like you said "If there was no evil to begin with, would we need war?" wow that was spot on!! Those are my thoughts exactly. It is always nice getting to know you a little better with each post, email, or tid bit you share. I don't think I've ever really told you this, but I do truly admire you. :)

    1. Hello my dear friend, thank you very much for your tremendously kind comment and for letting me know that we share such strikingly similar views on war. There were a few points in particular that I wondered if folks would be more apt to discuss in the comments on this post and that was certainly one of them.

      I wholeheartedly admire you as well and am touched, seriously touched, to know that you feel the same way towards me.

      Huge hugs & the happiest of weekend wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

  15. I thought this was an amazing thing to publish. X x

    1. That is an immensely sweet thing for you to say, dear Philippa. Thank you deeply. This was certainly an intimate, no holds barred kind of post for me. I touched on, if only briefly, certain things here that I've never or almost never uttered a word about on my blog before. Perhaps one day they'll be the focus of post themselves - only time will tell. For now though, this was plenty of sharing and shining the spotlight so heavily on myself! :)

      Tons of gentle hugs & happy end of February wishes coming your way,
      ♥ Jessica

  16. Jessica I thought it was courageous, sincere and encouraging of you to not only answer these questions but to also share them.
    I have even more admiration for you, you are truly an exceptional human being.
    A big hug.

    1. That is tremendously kind and touching of you to say, dear Lorena. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

      Giant hugs coming right back at you.
      ♥ Jessica