Author: Jody Jones

To My Lopsided Nose Job

“The Jones Nose.” That’s a thing we talk about — and not fondly. Meaty and bulbous, it’s the nose a child makes from a big ol’ pyramid of Play-Doh to stick on a sphere that acts as head — both geometric items approximately the same size. It’s a Shel Silverstonian creation. It’s not the kind of nose that outsiders look at and think, “Jesus, that’s big,” though. I’m no Cyrano. It’s an unassuming big nose, one that blends in fairly well when plopped in the middle of a rather large face and head. But — and I say all this in all honesty and not with self-loathing or an overly critical eye — the thing is big. If there were some kind of ratio formula that declared the ideal acreage your nose should occupy on your noggin, something like the Vitruvian Man, but for women and faces, I could prove to you without prejudice that my schnoz is oversized. So when I got to the point that I had enough money to do somewhat-frivolous things, …

How to Build the Perfect Bed

Sleep, that elusive and temperamental beast. I’ve spent my adulthood seeking it like Godzilla hunts Mothra, or the way that perimenopausal women look for sleep. Thanks to better living through chemistry, I’ve come to a mighty-fine agreement with sleep: Leave me alone for 14 hours a day, and you can have all of me the other 10. Ish. Having your own issues? Try calming lavender sachets or spray, melatonin, warm milk, calming music or Ambien (at your own risk). Surely something will stick (fingers crossed!). And once you’ve conquered getting sleep, it’s time to turn your attention to the quality of your sleep, which very often begins with building the perfect bed. Mattresses Start with foundation: A stellar mattress begets a perfect bed. The tough part? It’s completely subjective. I have some friends who swear by their “green” latex mattresses. I’ve loved my crazy-expensive, wrapped-coil Stearns & Foster, having first sampled it at my Mammy’s house and refusing to get out of it for a day or three. There are benefits and drawbacks to all …

Calling Julie: The Sister I Chose and Lost

I still have her listed as “sister” on my Facebook. You know how you can tag people as family in your profile? It has been five years since she died, and I just can’t bring myself to change it. Perhaps I never will. Julie was my best friend. We first met each other when we were working at The Destin Log on the northwest coast of Florida. It was my first “real job” out of college. I had followed a cute Air Force officer to the beach town after I got out of school, planning to move on to Atlanta after the summer. Turns out I loved it there and, although the dude didn’t love me, I stayed. I had a friend who knew someone at the local paper, and — voila — I got a job there on the lowest rung, working the government beat in nearby South Walton County. Julie was the features editor — a beautiful woman who drove a cute red BMW. I was drawn to her immediately. Now, the government …

From High-Powered Exec to Pilates Instructor — Am I Happier?

You hear about those folks who eschew corporate America — who just bail and find some trade that makes him or (more likely) her happier, more fulfilled, less angry. You envy them at times. Maybe you crave to do what they’ve done. Perhaps you have a plan to do the same at a certain age or net worth. I’m that girl. I did that. I used to be a media executive. I made the big bucks. I was a Senior Vice President at several major media companies: Scripps Networks Interactive (aka, the parent of Food Network and HGTV), Discovery Communications and Time, Inc. Having started my media career later than many (I did odd stuff until I arrived to it at 30), I ascended fairly quickly. I was a VP by 35 for a high-profile company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. (Fun fact: I started the week after she got out of prison.) Among other things, I had teams under me numbering over 100 people and managed P&Ls in the multi-millions. I was a kind of …

13 Homemade Gifts that Don’t Suck

I’d guess I was about seven or eight when I made my dad an ashtray for Christmas. I’m pretty sure everyone in art class made their parents ashtrays for the holidays that year. We might even have been told to. Who knows. Mine was quite the specimen. It looked like I had taken a misshapen ball of clay, jumped on it with a pogo stick, dropped it and then fell on it. Oh – and stabbed it in with an eraser and etched a shamrock on the side with a pencil (because I actually did those things). Had my parents smoked, it at least would have been a practical gift – function not form and all. (In my defense, the glaze was spectacular. A nice emerald green. Ye olde Irish ashtray.) Let this be a lesson: Don’t do stupid homemade gifts. Don’t decoupage anything, don’t use papier mache unless you actually have talent, and – whatever you do – don’t bedazzle anything. NOTHING. Hear me? If you’re dying to express your creativity or don’t have …

F#$@ It. Why I Love to Use Dirty Words.

It was my use and vast knowledge of colorful language that led a former boss (now friend) to nickname me “TSJ” — aka Truck Stop Jody. As in, curses like a trucker. He told me that I introduced him to some words and phrases he’d never heard before, and wouldn’t dare utter in front of most people and all women. Except me. I’ve been experimenting with sailor-style language since elementary school. Even back then, I tested out a few gems on my dad (not yet knowing how offensive they really were, or how to use them appropriately, with fervor and panache). Me: “These pants are green. They’re horny!” Dad: “Never say that word. Who taught you that word? That’s not what it means.” Dad was not into dirty words. “Damn” was not allowed. Hell, “fart” wasn’t even allowed. We had to say we “beeped.” Early on, I think the excitement of cursing appealed to me. I got immediate attention, even though it wasn’t always positive. Back then, ANY attention was good. Both at home and …

Ode to an ‘80s Station Wagon

The day I turned 16, my parents took me out into our front yard and showed me a car, which had “IT’S YOURS!” written on the windows in soap. It was a big, clunky slap in the face parked where my something-else, new and shiny (and not brown) vehicle should have been. What’s the worst thing you can do to a dorky high school teen? Make her drive a station wagon. A brown one. And not one of those real old ones with the fun flip seats in the back. This one was called the Aries K, and I think it was a Dodge. It was horrid. Mom took me for my driver’s test. It was a Friday and I knew I would pass the exam with flying colors. I had aced behind the wheel, and the written test was cake. But I did not pass the exam with any sorts of color whatsoever. I was literally finishing the test, turning back into the DMV when — SUPPOSEDLY — a school bus turned on its “don’t …

Tales of T.M.I.: When Does Oversharing Become Overbearing?

T.M.I. Too much information. Ever shared more than you should? Ever gone out on a limb, to have no one join you there? You, too, could be a practitioner of T.M.I. You’re oversharing, of a very personal sort, to folks who may or may not want to hear it (but, let’s be honest, probably not). Like colleagues. Folks at church. Your not-well-curated social media networks. Unsure if you’ve ever done it? Let’s assess, via criteria I like to call “The 7 B’s”: Is it about bodily fluids? Is it regarding bedroom activity? Does it involve your boobs, your bump, your bum or your balls? And finally, not a B but an important question: Did you experience sharing regret — even a smidge? If yes, to any/all of these criteria, then you might be an oversharer. According to Urban Dictionary — esteemed and accurate source that it is — T.M.I. is, “information more personal than anyone wants, or needs, to know.” Word. Now, don’t get me wrong: There are some times when oversharing might be appropriate. In …

Gifts For Discerning Dog Owner

  Janey, my dog, is an amazing beast who has discerning taste. It doesn’t help that her mom has a certain penchant for fabulousness, as well — I always seek out the best of products for the best of friends. I buy Janey gifts so often that she goes nuts when the UPS person comes to the door. Here, I present some of our favorite shipments, which Santa or Hanukkah Harry may deliver if pup isn’t on the naughty list.   1. Tattooed-Inspired Dog Sweater I never thought I’d own a dog who sported outfits. Seemed dumb. But once I moved to New York City and got a little, lean pup with scant hair, I learned that clothing is not optional: It’s essential. Add to that the fact that I like to think that someday I will get a tattoo, and maybe Janey thinks she will, too. So here’s our intermediary endeavor: a comfy and warm sweater with an old-school, tat-inspired logo. Janey shows the world how much she loves her mom, and I share …

Ode to a Lost iPhone (A Poem)

It’s morning in ChelseaI have but a selfieto show where you might last have been.I’ve scanned all the garbagePeered under the cushionsI love you like dearest of kin. Are you in the dryer?Looked lower and higherIn search of my wee data fix.Seems my 5S is goneI’m such a moronMaybe I now buy a 6?I lost all my contactsMy apps are for naughtHow can I now get an Uber?Hailing a cabAnnoying and drabFeeling like such a big loser.How ’bout the cloud?Oh, I was too cheap!to cough up for additional storage.Hubris, my friendYou got me againPlease now talk me down off of this high ledge.Hey — I never claimed to be a poet. Although poetry writing was my major in college. Whatever. Just read on, phone owner.My license allows(poetic that is)To above say some technical fallacyOf course I have back upto prevent for the lack ofmy iJunk but oh now-you-seeHow punished a girl(a person, to wit)Can feel by the loss of a phoneTo keep track of my gearand prevent such bad fearI may need a personal drone.So …

This is the Broken Glass: Flotsam of a Breakup

There are crazy things your mind does to you after a breakup. You associate every single item and smell and taste and feel that you saw, held, smelled, tasted, experienced together as a reminder. A killing, crushing reminder of him. I walk through my house alone now. Memories flow from every painting, candle and bottle of perfume. It all feels ruined. I itemize: He brought me this art, a picture of tribal lovers. We bought this couch together, on St. Patrick’s — a rare daytime date. He was with me when I brought the dog home. She loved him. This freezer made the ice cubes for our martinis. We sprinkled this volcanic black salt on fresh avocados in the summertime. We ate cheese and tomatoes and pork chops at this table. We laughed. We cooked out of this cookbook. Barefoot Contessa. This kettle made his tea in the morning. Here, is the tea he drank. He always liked this nail polish on me. It’s called Heartbreaker. I made space in this drawer for him. I packed up …

What’s With the Damned Scarves?

I am not a fan of winter. Frankly, I’m not a fan of seasons in general. You know those people who “love the seasons!” Those who enjoy the temperature variations, the brisk autumn days, snuggling by the fire in winter, the beautiful blooms of spring. That ain’t me. I like it when it’s warm, period. Ok, I do love boots and sweaters, but only as a necessity for weathering the anti-summer. I do have many beautiful pairs of suede and heavy leather boots that sit and wait for those times of year I have to tolerate the cold. Perhaps I should start wearing them in the summer. Right? I mean, I do love boots, so why not wear them when my spirits are high, the sunshine is overhead, and I can actually come out of the house long enough for people to see and envy them. Hell, no. Which is why I take issue with people who wear scarves in the summer — a phenomenon that appears to be happening more and more. And it’s not just women in bulky …

In Defense of Parrotheads — Really, There Is a Defense

Oh, haters. You just love to hate on my boy Jimmy Buffett. Do you think he’s too pedestrian? Too conformist? Too old? Too old school? Too silly? I can’t seem to figure it out. Perhaps you’ve only heard the ubiquitous party anthems “Margaritaville” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise”. They’re simple, harmless songs. Sure, they can get annoying — but anything can, if you hear it too much. Buffett has penned tons of those types of tunes— songs like “One Particular Harbor” and “Boat Drinks”. It’s all good fun. And those of us who dig him? We really love this shit. We like being transported to a place where sand in your shoes and waves crashing on the beach removes us from the mundane. I have to credit my brother-in-law for introducing me to Buffett when I was 18.  Just beginning college, I was struggling with my mother’s imminent death, and Buffett took the edge off by giving me an escape. Ed took me to concerts and I found a way to connect, laugh and smile. And get to …

Why New York City Is the Best City for Crying

New York, they say, is cruel. It’ll chew you up and spit you out. Quite often, “they” are dead on. Says the city: Sorry, you can’t have this apartment. Or that one. And don’t even THINK about that one there. The dating pool? That’s not for you, girl. That’s Chelsea. You jump in over HERE, right between the Ashley Madison guys and the Amish gentlemen violently allergic to cheese and shellfish. No, no, no, normcore. You’re too old, honey. You’re lucky, though. I’m sure you really like that cool job you have. You’re so happy I bet you won’t even see it coming when they downsize. Remember: Layoffs happen just before the holidays. Remember when it happens, we told you so. Sometimes it feels like this place really has it in for us. The other thing they say about New York? The people won’t bat an eye if they see something situationally askew. Naked man eating a banana in the Village? That’s not news. Giant bear bounding out of a Central Park West building? Meh. …

A Gemsbok Named Velvet Or Why I Love Taxidermy

It may sound strange — perhaps even stranger than strange — to have a five-foot tall piece of taxidermy in a 500 square foot apartment. Well, I guess I’m stranger than strange. I’m not a big fan of vintage. I don’t like popping tags. Smelling like mothballs and failed deodorant is not my idea of fashion or fun. Yard sales? Meh. Someone else’s crap is generally going to be my crap as well. I will not dumpster dive. You tend to get what you pay for. But based on my love of taxidermy, I guess you could say that I have an affinity for things that used to be something else, which is, I suppose, the same as the adoption and renovation of found items. [pullquote]There she was, right between the piglet and the jackalope. Glorious, glorious Velvet. She was exactly what I wanted.[/pullquote] To me, there’s nothing more beautiful than majestic animals — especially mammals. So why wouldn’t I want to have one as part of my home’s design, assuming the creature is not endangered …

Missing the Carefree Life in Beachtown, Florida

For five years, just after college, I lived in a super-small beach town. My initial intention was to join my friend Beth for a few weeks in Destin, Florida, then head off to Atlanta to start my “adult” life. But the “sand got in my shoes,” as they say, and I decided to stay in Destin for a little while. In retrospect, it was a good call. No, actually, a great one. I got a job with the local newspaper — a twice-weekly that still laid out the pages with X-Acto knives and wax. No website here. I started on the lowest rung, as the government beat reporter for the neighboring burgh, Walton County covering fire district meetings and mosquito control division meetings. Scintillating! The most important task was attending the county commission meetings in the seat, DeFuniak Springs. My favorite county commission debate involved a man who lived on a dirt road (not uncommon) and was unhappy with the rate of acceleration on his sandy street. To drive home his point, he pulled the hood off an …

How My Father Became the Mother I Didn’t Have

Father’s Day (and Mother’s Day). Ugh. For those of who have lost parents and aren’t parents, these days can really suck. And while we should be celebrating what we once had (assuming we had something wonderful), it’s hard not to wallow in their absence, and what we will never have again. I sometimes wish I believed in heaven or the afterlife or reincarnation. Seems like it would make things a lot more palatable, though probably not any easier. They’re still gone. Mom got sick when I was about 11 — I have very few memories of my life before she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Through chemo, hair loss, remissions and the returns of the beast, I was always afraid I’d lose my mom, but never really accepted that it would happen. There was a lot of sadness and dread and anger in my formative years, which resulted in life-long fear of abandonment, as well as depression and codependence. Add to that a father who wasn’t really around. He was busy starting his own small business, …

My Mac and Cheese Obsession (And a Recipe To Die For)

Oh, your curves: I trace them with the tip of my tongue. Your milky pale form, your creaminess. I close my eyes and nibble, just a bit. And then I shove a giant spoonful into my mouth. Oh mac and cheese. I objectify it like a really fine, tan Southern man from Tennessee wearing nothing but cowboy boots and a Four Roses Bourbon t-shirt. Mac and cheese is good even when it’s bad. Kinda like French fries and sex. [pullquote]Drop it on the ground and I will eat it. I will use either the five-second rule or the five-hour rule if that makes you feel better.[/pullquote] You see, being a mac and cheese aficionado does not make me a mac and cheese snob. If you’re one of those Velveeta haters, stop reading right now. That shit is not from this earth whatsoever, but many cooks agree it’s essential to an amazing, creamy dish. I’m easy like Sunday morning when it comes to mac and cheese recipes. I don’t care what kind of cheese is used …

My Wide Open Mistakes as a Dude Ranch Cook

Ever heard the Dixie Chicks song “Wide Open Spaces“? It goes like this: “Many precede and many will follow A young girl’s dream no longer hollow It takes the shape of a place out west But what it holds for her, she hasn’t yet guessed” Sounds inspiring, right? I blame that song for one of the bigger flubs in my life. But, hey, at least it’s a good story now. I was 28 and working as the features editor for a small-town, twice-a-week newspaper in Florida. It was a job I truly loved, but I was living below the poverty level. I supplemented my income by working both retail at Casual Corner and as a cocktail waitress for a cheesy, late-night club called Thunderbirds (seriously). Exhausted working from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m., I felt stagnant and thought some fresh, mountain air might do me good. In my younger days I did a good deal of horseback riding — and was a budding chef — so when I found a job as a cook on …

Building the Perfect Picnic

Who doesn’t love a picnic? When the weather gets warm and the grass gets green, there’s nothing better than filling a cooler full of food and drink and heading out for an afternoon at the park or the beach. But in order to make it a truly fabulous picnic, you’ll want to make sure you have the following five essentials. 1. The Basket Buccaneer’s Grill and BBQ Set, $160, is the mother of all picnic baskets. It not only chills your sodas and holds your food and supplies — it also turns into a grill! Now that’s hot. If you’re more of “a jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou” type, then you’ll love Picnic at Ascot’s Wine Carrier and Purse, $44. Pick a favorite bottle of spirits, tuck a baguette under your arm and let the party begin. The creators claim that this cute tote can also be used as an evening bag, which will come particularly in handy at those pricey bottle service establishments. Cheers. 2. The Blanket This is the …

Why Running is the Sport That Makes Me Feel Like “Me”

When the great geneticist in the sky hands you a pair of legs like mine, you gotta put ’em to work. But how? No, I never played basketball. Nor volleyball. There were no long jump and hurdles for me. I tried those and failed miserably. Just because you’re tall doesn’t mean you can fly. Or play well with others. But, as I emerged on the other side of my awkward teens, I laced up some sneaks and started to think I might have found a decent use for my lanky sticks: running. “Teamwork” could be a team of one, I didn’t have to be that coordinated (good, because I’m not) and I didn’t have to have much gear money at all. All I had to do was run. It felt good, too. The muscles in my legs got stronger. I felt in command of my body, which is something I never felt in my adolescence. And my mind got to dream and wander while I felt increasingly accomplished. Cool. I started running for real when I …

The Beauty We Forgot to Pass Down to Our Daughters

While I didn’t always notice it — especially during my ridiculously self-centered teenage years — my mother was quite a striking woman. Mom was what some call “Black Irish,” — dark, wavy hair, brown eyes and a slightly olive complexion. She was medium height — maybe 5’7″? — with beautiful hands, gorgeous “gams” and slender fingers. She carried herself in a way that was almost lyrical. And that smile. You knew she liked you, if not loved you, when you saw that lovely smile. It made you feel good all over. That was what we saw. But then there was what she saw. I remember the phrases she’d utter for each stage of her life: As a child she was: Too skinny… embarrassingly skinny. Tiny boobs. Shapeless legs. Hip bones sticking out. As an adult she was: too heavy. Too heavy to even want to shop for clothes. (She was a size 14 at her largest, I think — what most call “normal” now.) Mom criticized her body constantly in front of me. I’m too big …

The Embarrassing and Inventive Ways My Dad Saved Money

Dad was a Depression-era baby. My siblings and I always assumed this was the reason for his notoriously thrifty ways. But now that I’ve  considered it further, I’m beginning to believe that it was a result of both nurture AND nature. I think Dad was actually born cheap. While my family had natural financial ups and downs, Dad continued to live as if we were still in the Depression, no matter how flush with cash we might have been. My family ran a small chain of Hallmark stores. Which was ironic since Dad saw the one-time use of greeting cards a foreign and unnecessary concept (we don’t think he planned to resell them, but no one knows for sure.) Every card we received from Dad, since the opening of the stores in the mid 1970s to his death a few years ago, was signed in pencil. After the occasion, he would erase his sentiments, with the intent to reuse the card. My sister Julie calls him “The Original Repurposer.” Hallmark carried a lot of fun …

5 Really Wacky Hair Don’ts

I’ve made a lot of poor choices with my hair. Sun-In? Yep. Turned my hair orange. But didn’t it turn everyone’s hair orange? Perms? Check. Even though I had (and have) naturally curly hair. Banana clips? Of course. I wore one my entire junior year of high school. Mainly, the yellow one, which of course, was the coolest. But that was back in the day, during the crazy, ill-fated hair era of the 1980s. Think we’ve moved past that nonsense? Think again. Behold some current hair trends and contraptions that are just as ridiculous as banana clips and self-inflicted sun-streaks.   1. The Dryer Bonnet Touted as a remedy for tired arms, The Dryer Bonnet is nothing shy of galactic. And by that I mean spacey and weird looking, a la Star Trek. Manufacturers claim the device easily attaches to your current hair dryer, prevents overheating of the scalp, and replicates your “salon hood experience.” ($20, Whitesandsproducts.com) If you act now, the bonnet comes with a cigarette, a glass of whisky, cat-eye glasses and a wood-paneled station …

Women Who Inspire: Anousheh Ansari

                  NAME: Anousheh Ansari AGE: 47 OCCUPATION: Engineer; Cofounder, Chairwoman, and CEO of Prodea Systems WHO SHE IS: What a 40th birthday present! Just a few days after Anousheh Ansari rolled into that monumental age, she rocketed into the stratosphere and became the first private female space explorer and the first Iranian in space. And while that eight days in space may have earned her worldwide acclaim, it’s her work on terra firma that proves her a woman to watch. Born in Iran, Anousheh emigrated to the US with her family as a teen, speaking no English. Now she speaks Persian as well as English — and French — and has a functional knowledge of Russian (for space travel, of course!). Having worked in the entrepreneurial engineering space for almost two decades, she is a holder of three patents. Anousheh is the former CEO/Co-Founder of Telecom Technologies, a pioneer in the VoIP space. But what I love most? She founded the What If? Prize Competition in an effort to …