Meet Jess

Meet Jess

Meet Jess

Hi there, I’m the proud founder, entrepreneur, writer and blogger here at Exceptionally-Ordinary. First off, welcome! I figured I’d just drop you a few lines here (or more than a few!) and introduce myself so you can learn more about the person behind the scenes ๐Ÿ™‚

How would I describe myself?

That won’t be easy… and will definitely be a study in contrasts. I can be the most simple/complicated person. See? I told you it wasn’t that easy!

Here’s a few words/phrases that describe me:

  • funny
  • serious
  • easygoing
  • uptight
  • kind
  • stern
  • humble
  • extremely proud
  • honest
  • sarcastic
  • quiet
  • loud
  • very shy
  • outspoken and loud when with family and very close friends
  • Queen of Coarse Language
  • Well educated, with excellent manners (thanks Mom!)

As you can see, nothing simple or easy about my personality ha ha, but I do embrace the simplest of things in life and that in itself is my best trait, if I do say so myself ๐Ÿ™‚

Things I love:

1. All the colours; no favourite colour for me. So many options and each one as beautiful as the next!

2. Books

3. Dance

4. Musicals: Love all musicals, even musical movies (Cue in Grease, Sweeneyย ย  Todd, Hairspray, etc)

5. Harry Potter: What’s not to love?

6. Did I mention I love books?

7. Writing

8. All things handmade and homemade

9. Thrift store shopping

10. The beach; you know, the real kind, where the water isn’t 40 degrees or less and you can wear a swimsuit without risk of hypothermia. Wouldn’t say now to a pool, though.

11. My friends: Some I haven’t seen in many years, and some have been my friends for a short period of time but I love them all dearly, no matter what.

12. Last but not least, my beautiful family, quirks and all. They have my heart and love forever.

The juicy details.

I am from Ponce, Puerto Rico.

While I was born in the capital of Puerto Rico, San Juan, I never actually lived there since my Mom moved back home (to Ponce) as soon as I was born. Therefore, I consider myself a “ponceรฑa”, which is what people of our town are called.

That basically means that I’m insanely proud of my town and wholeheartedly believe that “Ponce is Ponce, and the rest is just the parking”, a phrase commonly used by my very proud town folks, to express how they feel our town is far better than any other, and the place to be, and relegating other towns or cities to be “the parking”. Charming, huh? ๐Ÿ˜€

I currently live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

When I first came to the states, I went to Florida (like any good Puerto Rican ha ha) but ended up moving to Illinois, where I met my now husband. A couple of years later, we moved to Washington State, which is where my husband grew up and where his parents and some other family members still live. We just wanted to be closer to family; after all, family is everything! My husband James had amazing memories of this place and he figured we’d all love it. He was right!

To sum it up, I moved from one version of paradise (the Caribbean) to another (the Pacific Northwest), with a few necessary stops in between. I am lucky to say that I love where I come from, love where I’ve been and love where I am.

I am fully bilingual.

My native tongue is Spanish, which I can read, write and speak more than fluently, with very few (rare) grammar mistakes. In my home country, English is taught as part of the general education from K-12, and also in college. It is a requirement, just like Spanish, math, history, science and so on.

Not all schools have a great English program though, so my Mom, who was fully bilingual, made sure I knew it, spoke it, wrote it and read it well. While I am sure I make mistakes sometimes, I am constantly trying to get better. I proofread my husband’s college papers and currently do the same with my high school senior kiddos, so I dare say I’m not horrible, right?

I used to be a dancer.

No, not a pole dancer, though that sounds slightly more fun ๐Ÿ˜‰ I was part of Ballet Teatro Musical Company, in my hometown Ponce. This was, at the time, one of 2 major ballet companies in my town. I loved dancing. Ballet is fun and beautiful, but if I’m being honest, I have to say I was way better at Modern Dance and Lyrical than at classical Ballet; point shoes were never my forte and I’m sure my awesome Ballet Master will agree ๐Ÿ™‚

As part as my years-long training, I learned and danced Flamenco (I can even play the castanets), Ballet, Modern Dance, Hip Hop, Jazz, and Lyrical, with some Salsa, Mambo and Cha Cha thrown in there for good measure. I never learned Tap Dancing though; but I wish I had!

Anyway, dancing not only benefited me greatly in terms of discipline, balance, great posture and gracefulness, but it also gave me the best extended family ever, including the company director, our ballet master and many other wonderful teachers that I had the fortune to meet and work with.

I can honestly say that my “oldest” (not calling them old; more like, they have been in my life forever), closest friends came from there. They turned into my brothers and sisters and my oldest daughter got her Godmother and Godfather from that pool of wonderful people. No matter how far I am, or how many people I meet, they’ll always be in my heart!

I majored in Forensic Psychology in college.

After a few major changes trying desperately to find where my heart was, I decided on Forensic Psychology. It took me forever and a day to graduate but I did it and I’m extremely proud of my degree and education (I’m kinda snobby about it actually ha ha)

While Forensic Psychology is an interesting field, my goal at the time was law school. Not a good fit there though. Don’t ask… I’ll share that story later on.

I am an only child to a single mother.

I was born in an era where being a single mother was seen as an awful sin, an offense to the family name, an embarrassment. This did nothing to deter my mother from feeling like the luckiest woman in the world, or in her own words, taken from my baby album: “She is beautiful, and she is all mine!” (Hmmm, maybe my very inflated ego is all my Mom’s fault ha ha)

While I do have blood related siblings on my father’s side, I didn’t meet them or have a relationship with them until I was a teenager. Some weird, albeit more common than we think situations led to this but I can say that I truly love them all, no matter what.

I grew up with my Mom and Grandma. Then later on, my Mom, who’s heart was the size of the world, welcomed all my friends, whom she treated like her own children and who became my brothers and sisters. However, I had an amazing childhood and was never lonely, not even when it was just my Mom, my Grandma and myself.

I hate cooking.

There, I said it. Cooking is one of those things that I know I have to do, but despise it with great passion. Like an OB-GYN visit. Or the dentist. Or driving. Oh, or taxes, because, who likes taxes, right? I am the master of keeping it simple in the kitchen and my recipes turn out pretty good, if I say so myself.

Well, at least my family love whatever I make and clean their plates every single time. And they are all still alive, which is a plus ๐Ÿ˜€

I’ve never been bored. Ever.

Let me rephrase that. I wouldn’t know what it truly means to be bored unless the feeling smacked me across the forehead. There’s always sooo much to do and so little time! I often wonder why so many people say they are bored, with so many possibilities to occupy their time. Hmmm…

I’m a bookaholic.

My Mom taught me how to read and write from the tender age of 3.5 yrs… best thing ever! Thanks Mom! I am an avid library user and have a very nice collection of books at home as well. Needless to say, my to-read list is ten miles long and growing by the minute. I read many different genres, including but not limited to mystery, romance, classics, Hispanic American literature, adult books, YA literature, Dystopian literature, and more.

*If you want to follow me on Goodreads, you can find me here. That’ll give you a tiny idea of what I’ve read and who knows, maybe my list will spark your interest on some new reading material!

I hate sleeping.

That sounded harsh. But it’s true so I won’t take it back ha ha. Truth is, I enjoy sleeping like the next person and I am also pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. So good in fact, that if I say I’m tired, I mean business and can fall asleep in two seconds flat. It’s absolutely brilliant!

The only downfall I see is, I really love staying awake. To read. And work on my never-ending list of crafts and projects. And occasionally to binge watch my favorite movies.

But nooooo. The Sleep Monster has to intrude in all my plans! But I do know how important it is to have our beauty sleep so I suck it up and go night night zzzzz

I’m absolutely obsessed with the Harry Potter world.

Not only have I read the whole series more times than I care to count (including all the extras, like The Cursed Child), but I’ve also watched the movies multiple times, decorate my Xmas tree with a Harry Potter theme and have slowly but surely “Potterized” my home. Maybe I’ll share some pics later on.

Meeting James.

When I first moved to Illinois, I had no job and was kind of desperate. I signed up with an agency to help me find a position, any position. In less than a week, they had called me to offer me a job. The job was crappy to say the least. Mindless, but hard.

I am not complaining though. In less than a month I had met my now husband and started dating him. And in less than a year we had moved in together, had a baby (Little E) and gotten hitched.

Now, more than 8 years later, I can say that I am glad I moved to the cold, windy IL and thankful for that job. As usual, even the crappiest of circumstances can lead to much better things. And for me they did.

I have 3 kids.

Okay, WE have 3 kids. We have made 100% sure our kids are ours, even my 2 teens. One of those teens is my beautiful daughter, who is 17. The other one is my handsome Godson, who is also 17. I might not be his biological Mom but he IS my son in my heart and in all the ways that count, plus he lives with us.

Luckily my husband considers and treats those 2 monsters like they are his own, because THEY ARE. They might not share a blood bond but they are loved and treated as such. And that’s more important to me than anything else.

Why blog?

Some people find their calling very early on in life. For me, it wasn’t like that at all. There’s many things I love or like and some have grown into passions that still live in me. However, I didn’t think of writing as one of them until a few years ago.

At the time, all my heart was telling me was that I wanted to write. I have had no conscious close encounters with blogs though, so I am sure what my heart and my head were referring to was writing in a more traditional way, like books, or magazine articles, etc.

As most people do, I put my dream or calling on hold. I had kids to raise, then a husband and of course, another little kid who had joined Thing 1 and Thing 2, turning them into the Terrific Trio. As most moms, I was busy, tired and above all, happy with my life. Why change anything?

Then I came across couponing. And to say that it changed my life would be an understatement. I was suddenly able to help a bit with the family finances by saving money. How cool is that!

But the relevance of couponing in this post is how I finally became aware of blogs. I had never given it much thought. I’d probably read many blogs before but I thought of them as websites, professionally set up and owned by companies. It would’ve never occurred to me that a Mom, just like myself, could be the founder, creator and writer of such great content! Not because she was working for somebody else, or some big corporation but because she was a blogger, an entrepreneur.

And it was from a blog that I found the easiest way to learn how to use coupons and save money. But it was also that same blog that planted the seed, a seed that took many years to grow and flourish but here it is. Just starting out but with the will to make this work.

Even though I’d always been passionate for the written word and loved to write on journals, handwritten notes or letters since I was young. And even though I had a gazillion words and phrases running around freely inside my head, forming sentences, composing paragraphs, and desperate to escape, it is just now that I finally pulled the plug. But as they say, better late than never, right?

I explain in more detail the how and why I chose Exceptionally-Ordinary as my domain/blog name here, but I’d like to add that the main purpose of the blog is not for me to mindlessly write whatever pops into my head, but to also create a place where my readers can come for tips or solutions on many different things like organization, family, saving money, etc. to the simplest of recipes, or creative projects for the not so creative or artistic pair of hands.

I am excited to have you here and hope you always come back for more.

Enjoy!