The Secrets To Successful Online Dating

I’ve been in the online dating game for awhile now and like to consider myself fairly well-versed in the art of cyber schmoozing. Here are some of my favorite tips:


Writing Your Profile

Keep it simple: I like to take a “less is more” approach to writing my profile. While I appreciate the thought and effort that people invest in to writing up lengthy accounts of their interests and passions, it doesn’t leave much room for initiating conversation.

Focus on values: “The list”. Every woman has one. I’ve learned that every man has one too, and it’s often times longer than ours.  If you’re looking for a potential relationship, then you definitely should include qualities that you’re looking for in a partner – just make sure that you focus on values (communication, loyalty, etc). You may secretly want a man who’s financially stable or enjoys working out, but if you establish that in your profile than you may be narrowing your range of really wonderful men who a.) may not fit those standards, but may exceed your others or b.) don’t want to be valued because of their money or bodies. Guys have feelings too.

Be yourself: I like to pretend that I’m eloquent and sophisticated, but really – I’m blunt, sarcastic, and don’t take myself too seriously. I’ve connected with so many guys online that I have a steady ongoing stream of conversations with – only to meet them in person and realize their face-to-face presence is so much different than their online personality. You don’t want to be the girl who guys tell their friends was “nothing like their profile”.

Here’s a look at my actual online dating profile:

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 Simple, brief, and obnoxiously me

Online Interactions

Give men the benefit of the doubt: Through my experience I’ve learned that all men suck at online dating for different reasons. You’ll run in to a few different dating types:

  • The men that come on too strong: *insert 5 paragraph autobiography here* 
  • The men that don’t come on strong enough: “Hi. What’s up
  • The men who are really good at copying and pasting:Hi Sara! It sounds like we have a lot in common. I’d love to get to know you!” K, great. My name’s Jenn. Good luck with Sara, though.

In that respect, initiating a conversation is kind of a lose / lose for men, so try not to judge that first message too harshly.

Don’t feel obligated to respond to every message: That being said, if a guy messages you – you’ve checked out his profile – and you know that there are some things that aren’t compatible with what you’re looking for (i.e. smokes, has kids / doesn’t want kids, etc. etc), you don’t have to respond to them. This was a struggle for me at first, but I realized that there’s no “nice” way to say “I’m not interested” and often times, the rationale you’ll have to provide for not being interested is probably going to be more hurtful than just not responding.

Keep it simple: Similar to writing your profile, when you’re communicating with a guy that you’re interested in – try not to get in to an ongoing back and forth of laundry-list type questions (i.e. what’s your favorite movie? favorite food? favorite cereal?). Generally, you don’t really care about these trivial questions and you’re not doing anything to maintain your interest or his. Instead, focus on a small number of questions that will help you get a better feel for the kind of person he is (Are you close with your family? What do you like to do in your spare time?) . I usually don’t go go longer than 3 – 4 solid message exchanges each before setting up a time to meet.

Don’t give our your number until you’ve established up a time to meet: Guys love to ask for your number because “communicating via text is easier”. False. 99.9% of men are using an app anyway – which is just as easy as texting. If you give your guy your number before setting up a time to meet, you’re essentially just transferring to another mode of communication where you’ll have to develop another conversation before maybe establishing a date. After you’ve set up a time to meet, then you can give him your number and tell him to “text you if anything changes”. This is good tactic for two reasons: 1.) it closes off cyber communication (which you’ve probably already belabored at this point) until you actually meet in person, and 2.) he has your number – so if things go well after the date, he can call you and let you know how lovely you are :) And if he doesn’t….next!

The Meet-Up

Keep it simple (do we notice a trend here?): Again, simplicity simplicity simplicity! It’s really easy to fall for the thought of having an over-the-top romantic first date that you can tell your future grandkids about, but there’s also a 50% chance that could turn in to an over-the-top awful first date that you can tell your best friends about. Essentially all you know about this person is his bias perception of himself. He may be great on paper, he may be a good person, but the last thing you want is to be stuck on the top of a ferris wheel with some guy that you have absolutely zero chemistry with.

Do what makes you comfortable: I love when a guy extends an open-ended date invitation (i.e. “I’d love to get together some time), because this allows you to tell him what you want to do. Yes ladies, it’s okay to say what you want to do. While it’s tempting to want to play coy and let “him do the work”, you can let him do the work on the second date. For me, I know I’m the best version of myself during the day. I’m more energized, relaxed, and, personally – it’s way easier for me to pick out an appropriate “day time” outfit than a night time outfit (which may totally vary depending on where you’re going!). If a guy says he’d like to get together, my go to response is “That’d be great. I’m free Saturday afternoon if you want to grab coffee). Coffee dates are the best. They’re relaxed and allow you to really focus on the person rather than worrying what he’ll think about what your ordered for dinner or how much wine you’re drinking / not drinking.

Don’t have expectations: I’ve found that dating is so much more fun when you remain present and surrender any expectations that you may have about the person or your communication with him. The best thing that can happen is that you meet someone that you connect with, and the worst thing that can happen is you have to sit and get to know someone new for an hour.

Have you ever tried online dating? Any tips to share? Or, better yet, any good stories to tell? 

The Sentimentalists Guide To Downsizing your Wardrobe

There are two things I’m really good at when it comes to my wardrobe: 1.) buying clothes, and 2.) getting rid of them. I actually didn’t realize that some people have a seriously difficult time purging clothes until I helped my sister clean out her closet. I had to spend 10 minutes convincing her to throw away an awful tan skirt (circa 2005) that she wanted to keep “just in case she maybe decides to dress of as a hippie for Halloween one year… maybe“. (Love you sis).

I get it. Throwing away unworn clothes feels like throwing away money – but the truth is, they’re not making you any money collecting dust in your closet. If you struggle with getting rid of old clothes, here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind as you’re going through your wardrobe:


1. Shift your mindset: If you perceive downsizing as solely “getting rid of things”, the process seems a lot more wasteful and less fun than if you think of it as a process in “holding on to things” and “creating a wardrobe filled with only pieces that you love”. It’s easier to shift in to this mindset if you go through your closet and identify the pieces that are non-negotiables: the ones that you love, make you feel amazing, and you can’t get rid of.  Anything that was a non-negotiable stays…everything else goes!


2. The blindfold test: If you had to walk in to your closet blindfolded and pick one piece to wear, would you feel comfortable wearing it? Every piece in your closet should make you feel fabulous and true to your present style. Apparently 2014 was my year of neon because I recently got rid of a ton of highlighter-esque tees and blouses in favor of downsizing to a neutral wardrobe. Speaking of which…

3. Stay current. It’s tempting to future trip and rationalize keeping things just in case they come back in style, but even when trends do resurface, they always seem to be a slightly evolved version, and chances are you’ll find yourself re-buying similar styles. In the same token, we tend to get so caught up in staying current that we invest in pieces we don’t like, or ones that may not suit our body types. I’m still recovering from the backlash after trying to rock overalls that barely covered my ankles and gave me a perpetual wedgie.

4. Would you buy it again? Treat your closet like a clothing store. If you were going through the racks and saw this piece, would you buy it? If not, toss it!


5. Only keep your “go-to” pieces. I like what I like….so much so that I typically buy pieces that are very similar to ones that I already have. During my recent clean out, I noticed that I had 7 black tanks. I know, though, that if I’m going to wear a black tank – there’s one in particular that I always choose. It fits the best, it’s the softest material, it’s my “go-to”. Identify pieces in your closet that are similar and ask yourself which of the two (or 7, in my case) you would wear. This tip is really helpful when you’re going through jeans!

Of course, the process can be bitter-sweet, especially for the sentimentalists. Getting rid of old clothes may feel like getting rid of old memories as you rummage through your favorite pair of jeans from high school or your ex-boyfriends sweatshirts (p.s. definitely don’t keep those). But in the end, you’ll be left with a closet that’s organized, filled with pieces you love, and ample space for new boyfriend’s sweatshirts :).

*When’s the last time you cleaned our your closet? Any helpful tips for getting rid of things? 

image by WhoWhatWear | Graphics by Jenny

How to Design Blog Post Images

One of the most effective ways to gain readership on your blog is to make your posts shareable. Word of mouth is a powerful thing – especially with all of the social media outlets that we have available to us. One really effective way to make it easier for readers to share your content is to add stylized photos and text to your posts.


The first thing you need is a picture. You can take your own, or choose a stock photo. There are a few things to consider if you’re photographing a picture that you intend on designing:

Have an end result in mind. When I’m taking a photo that I know I’ll be designing for a blog post, I typically have a tentative idea for what the post title will be and how I can incorporate it in to the picture. Try to develop a vision for how you want the image to be displayed before you take the picture, so the end result looks dynamic and intentional (rather than as though added text was an afterthought and you had to cram it in). White Space is your best friend!


That being said, Sometimes you may find a fabulous stock photo that you want to use that doesn’t have enough white space for you to add text. In these cases you can apply shape overlays to use as the background for your text.

If the photo is exceptionally busy, you can also create space by extending a photo using shapes.

In either case, try to use a color that compliments the rest of the photo.

Another important consideration before designing your photo is to add a filter BEFORE you add text*. Otherwise the text will become washed out after the filter is applied.

*Quick tip: You can apply an Instagram filter without uploading the photo to your feed by switching your phone to “airplane mode” before sharing. 

Now, once you have your photo, it’s time to design. I use Photoshop to create all of my graphics, but there are some other great resources you can use if you don’t have PS. 

Photo Editing Resources

1. Canva: This is probably the most user-friendly and fastest option for you if you’re a design newbie. One major benefit of Canva is that they offer premade templates that are already sized for posting to different social media platforms:

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All you have to do is upload a photo that you want to use (though they have a variety of both free and premium photos for you to choose from) and add your text in the designated “text area”.

2. PicMonkey is great if you want to get a little more customized with your design. They offer a lot of functionality in terms of editing the actual photo, such as cropping, applying effects, touch ups, filters, etc.


3. Polyvore is a really fabulous option for creating fashion collages. The cool thing is you can shop directly through the Polyvore app (under browse) and drag and drop the images you want to use in to a premade collage theme.

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Then you can stylize the collage with fun text, overlays, and embellishments.

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I can dive way deeper in to my creative process when designing an post image, but I don’t want to overwhelm (because #monday). If you have any specific questions or requests for tutorials, let me know! :)

when life hands you lymes

I rarely speak about my battle with Lymes Disease because, truthfully, I didn’t think it was something that anyone would care about or relate to. That being said, recently Yolanda from RHW and Avril Lavigne have publicly announced their own struggles with the disease, and I felt compelled to do the same in hopes of bringing awareness to others who may be undiagnosed.


For me, my symptoms were atypical. Instead of a rash or bite mark, my knees became very swollen. I attributed it to be an injury, so I gave them some rest, ice, and pain meds – but after a few months, they had only gotten worse. Finally I went to see an orthopedist who thought to test me for Lymes “just in case”. Sure enough, I tested positive. It was probably the last thing I ever would have suspected and I’m eternally grateful that the orthopedist was knowledgable enough to test me.  Because the bacteria was in my blood for so long, it had already done permanent damage to the tissue in my knee joints. I know that the disease can cause much more serious repercussions, so I feel truly fortunate that a pair of plump, weak knees is the only long-term effect that I’ve had to deal with.

I feel obliged to share this today because a few weeks ago I was speaking with a women who works at my Dentist’s office. She asked what was wrong with my knees (I have support braces. I try to avoid wearing them because they’re not the cutest accessory, but sometimes I suck it up if I know I’ll be on my feet for a long time). She was telling me about her sister who was struggling with what seemed to be chronic fatigue and pain in her joints. She had tons of blood work done, but the doctors couldn’t find anything. I asked if she had been treated for Lymes, and she said she hadn’t. I recommended she get tested “just in case”. The woman called me this morning (she had my number on file) to thank me. Turns out her sister did have Lymes and was now pursuing the proper treatment.

Our bodies are beautiful, yet strange machines. If something doesn’t feel right, get it checked out. If it still doesn’t feel right, get it checked out again. Be relentless. Get second opinions. Cross all your t’s and dot all your i’s. Take care of yourself, always <3

Blog Refresh and 10% OFF!

Hi babes! I just wanted to drop in and unveil what’s been going on behind the scenes of PBJ. I’ve given my humble abode a little refresh, and decided to merge my design website and blog together. I found that having two separate sites was getting confusing for clients (and my dad), so I think integrating them will simplifying things. I ended up going with a static homepage, which I’ve always been a little anti, but I actually really like it showcases more info and readers can pick and choose what they want to read. I’m still checking the nooks and crannies of the site for any kinks, but I was so excited about the finished product that I couldn’t wait to post! Hope you like it :)

Annnnnnd if my look has inspired you to refresh your site, I’m offering 10% off all design services. 


For more info you can check out my services or fill out a project request form! 

baby got back | favorite open back styles

Personally, I think breasts and booties are overrated. I say that only because I have neither, and have to work with what mama gave me. I’ve become a huge fan of open back tops and dresses when I want to show a little skin, without calling attention to my [lack of] goodies.


And here are some backless wonders that I currently have my eyeballs on: 

^^ Click on an image if you want to purchase the item directly from the site. 

Don’t forget your backless bra! 


I’ve decided that my goal for the month of April is to become more observant.

Indulging in moments is a quality that I am grateful to have inherited from my dad, but I’ve found that my appreciation for subtle beauties is usually overpowered by schedules, deadlines, and social media. In moments that beg for bouts of self-reflection or observation, I typically find myself responding to e-mails or mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. I’ve decided that this month – I’m dedicating myself to eye contact, flowers, perfectly rusted pipe lines, “hi, how are you?”, perfume scents, spices, elevator music, calling cashiers by their name, and every other facets of life that makes it so discreetly beautiful.

*What’s something special that you observed today? 

Everyday Loose Waves Tutorial

There are three things that every woman wants:

1. Ryan Gosling

2. Unlimited Sushi

3. A full proof method for achieving perfect waves

I lost Ryan’s number and can barely eat sushi properly – let alone make it ( #chopstickilliterate ), but perhaps I can help you with #3.

hairThe best thing about rocking the wave look is that even if it looks messy – that’s okay, because it’s supposed to. I wish the same rule applied to wrinkled clothing. After a lot of experimenting with different products and methods, I think I’ve finally found a regime for perfect loose flowing waves.


Step 1: Shower and wash your hair with your favorite go-to shampoo. (Recently I’ve been loving Organix’s Thick and Full line) Don’t use too much conditioner, as this tends to weigh hair down.

Step 2: Towel dry your hair and “scrunch” with two – three pumps of Tresemme’s Perfectly Undone Wave Creation Seafom. If you lived during the 90’s, I’m going to assume you know what “scrunching” means.

Step 3: Twist your hair and secure it in a high bun on the top of your head. I’m OBSESSED with these hair ties. They’re super comfortable and don’t leave a crease in your hair at all!


Leave the bun in for at least 3 hours. I actually keep mine in overnight and wake up with really awesome volume.

Step 4: Take out your bun and see what you’re working with. Sometimes just securing my hair in a bun has left me with a pretty decent wave. Other times, not so much. When the hair gods are less favorable, I enlist the help of my Beachwaver iron and curl using this method.  The Beachwaver works wonders, but if you don’t want to invest a regular clip-less iron totally works too.

Step 5: Spray with your go-to hair spray. This L’Oreal Elnett satin spray is a game-changer. Unlike most hairsprays that make your hair “crunchy”, this holds a curl really, well while still allowing it to move. The spray is also really easy to brush out, in case you decide you want to switch up your look without showering. Speaking of which…

Step 6 (optional): I’ve mentioned before that I only wash my hair two times a week, which has really helped to strengthen my hair and grow a lot faster. In between washes I swear by this Batiste Hint of Color dry shampoo. It combats oily scalp like a champ, adds amazing texture, volume, and the hint of color is great, as most dry shampoos leave a white residue in your hair.

The best part about this look is that it holds really well, and the third day curls often look better than they did on the first day. I usually wear my hair down throughout the day. but when I do put it up (while working out and showering) I always use the no crease hair ties and secure it in a pony tail rather than a bun to help maintain the curl.

Shop below for direct links to purchase for any of these products! >> 


What’s your go-to everyday hair look?

5 essentials for transforming your bedroom in to a therapeutic retreat!

I’m obnoxiously particularly about where I do certain things in my apartment. The kitchen is for dancing to Beyonce cooking, my breakfast bar is for eating, my living room is for working, my bathroom is for … bathrooming, and my bedroom is my therapeutic retreat for yoga / sleeping / late night Netflix marathons when the insomniac living next door forgot to take his meds.

I love all the spaces in my apartment for different reasons, but recently my bedroom has become my favorite spot.

Taking some design inspiration from my friend Taylor, my room has become a calming retreat with the help of a few key essentials.


1. Mood lighting:  I got these globe lights from Target . They’re intended for outdoor use, but I won’t tell anyone if you don’t. They create the prettiest soft lighting.

2. Cozy bedding: I’ve been a bed in a bag girl since college, and once I moved to Florida i decided it was time that I invested in a quality bed set. So worth it! I purchased this duvet set  in gray from Anthropologie. It’s so comfortable. I probably should still buy a few accent pillows, but I share Jennifer Anniston’s attitudes towards them in Along Came Polly . Who needs ‘em?

3. Aromatherapy: I spray my Lavender aromatherapy mist every morning and before bed, and I also have a diffuser in my bedroom that I plug in during the day. Recently I’ve been filling the diffuser with orange oil every morning. Smells like fresh squeezed OJ :)

4. Special things: I’ve got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty I’ve got whozits and whatzits galore…and they’re all special in their own way.


5. Ample empty space: Clutter gives me hives. I love open spaces and keep the furniture in my bedroom to a minimum (just a bed, nightstand, and TV console. I store all of my clothes in my closet). Less furniture = less distractions, less barriers to have to clean around, and – most importantly – less money to have to spend.

Do you assign different tasks to specific spaces in your home? What’s your favorite spot?