Behind The Butter

Thanks, MG

One year ago today….


I had my interview for Murphy-Goode, as part of their Really Goode Job Lifestyle Correspondent search. I submitted my homemade video as one of two thousand and somehow, somehow got chosen as a top ten finalist for the position. We don’t need to re-watch the video though….trust me. I’m getting anxious just thinking about it.
I had never been to California before and knew nothing of wine and jetlag.

My whole life was in Tampa and I was fine with that. I lived three miles from my mom and dad, got to wear shorts year round and eat all the Cuban food to my heart’s content.
But, then I saw this:

And something clicked. Grapes, vineyards, wine, dry heat! It was overwhelming, actually, but was only a short dream vacation. Soon, I would be returning to the cheap wine and humidity that I knew and loved (not).


While in California, I drank, ate and played Liar’s Dice, making some “really goode” friends along the way

Ended up flying to Santa Barbara on a whim

And my life was forever changed.


What a crazy year it’s been!

So here I am in California, eight pounds heavier and three thousand miles from home, loving every crazy mixed-up minute of it.


Well, almost. I don’t love the price of California gas or the fact that the DMV owns my soul. But other than that, things are pretty good.


And for any new readers, no, I didn’t actually get the job I applied for. I just decided that they weren’t going to get rid of me so I moved anyway on a one way plane ticket and two checked suitcases. And, no, I don’t really recommend following my lead unless you have a pretty good back up plan.
Or really good luck.

Winner of the cookies!

Screen shot 2010-07-21 at 8.12.47 AM.png
Robin, I don’t think you look like a fat little boy. Send your address to jenna [at] and I’ll bake you some cookies!

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  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin
    July 21, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Time sure does fly! I’m so happy for you that you’re enjoying your life in CA. I have still never been to wine country and am an avid wine lover/drinker!

  • Holly
    July 21, 2010 at 8:37 am

    amazing how much can change in a year – i like to say don’t be too keen on planning things, because life has a way of taking you the complete opposite way 🙂

  • Samantha
    July 21, 2010 at 8:39 am

    It’s so funny how life works sometimes. I moved from NYC to SF in May of 2009, lived there for a year, and moved back to NYC in May of 2010. It was an intense year of change and challenge, but I wouldn’t trade my time on the West Coast for anything. Congrats on a successful (and beautiful) year out West.

  • Maura
    July 21, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Wow- you have some guts girl. I don’t think I could do it BUT when tempted with endless wine, who knows what I’d do 😉 Cheers to a very successful year, Jenna!

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    July 21, 2010 at 8:47 am

    taking chances…that’s what i love to see and read about! if you’re not taking chances and living life to the fullest then what are we here for? 🙂

  • Jessica @ How Sweet
    July 21, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Amazing year. So inspiring!

  • Jill@MySoCalledHealthLife
    July 21, 2010 at 8:48 am

    OMG what an amazing post. I am so happy to hear you are loving life as much as you are. I can feel your spirit through every post and that’s what keeps me reading (sorry that sounds so lame, but it’s true!)

    I just had a big move 2 weeks ago and can only hope that I will feel as joyous about it in a years time as you do!

  • Lisa
    July 21, 2010 at 8:51 am

    That’s really cool that you made such a dramatic move! I almost did that a few times in my life. I loved Chicago and was ready to pick up everything and move there.

  • Lauren @ louisianagrown
    July 21, 2010 at 8:52 am

    I really can’t believe it’s been an entire year. I’ve been reading that entire time! And lookie, it’s Almanzo way back when!

  • Dorry
    July 21, 2010 at 8:52 am

    What a year! I’m a big believer in taking leaps of faith in this life. It’s led me to some great places. Thanks for sharing your story with us. 🙂

  • Anya @ Fitness & Sunshine
    July 21, 2010 at 8:52 am

    I’m so glad this year has been lots of fun for you! 🙂 It looks like you’ve finally found the place for you.

  • Ameena
    July 21, 2010 at 8:53 am

    I really admire your adventurous side! I can’t imagine picking up and moving across the country at 25 although now I that I am in my 30’s I would love to do so. Preferably without my husband and daughter.

    Just kidding! Kind of.

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine
    July 21, 2010 at 8:54 am

    I started reading at the end of last summer when you’d just moved, and it’s hard to believe it’s been that long!! You’ve definitely had a wonderful year- here’s to another great one 🙂

  • Carly (Swim, Run, Om)
    July 21, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Can I just say that your boyfriend is really, really cute?? You done good!!!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    July 21, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Wow, I’m glad everything has turned out so well for you!

  • Marla
    July 21, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Love the photo of you and Adam together-such a lovely looking couple 😉

    Kinda cool karma that also brought the two of you together-Texas meets Florida in Cali!What were the chances the two of you would have never crossed paths in your lives?!

    This reminds me of that Gwyneth Paltrow movie-how one moment can change the whole direction of one’s life…was it called Sliding Doors?Arrgh,I can’t remember the title-anyone??

    • Mikell
      July 21, 2010 at 12:43 pm

      You’re right! It was Sliding Doors…one of my all time favorites.

  • Amanda @ Amanda On Foot
    July 21, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Awww. What an incredible post. It makes me happy to know that someone somewhere out there has truly followed their dreams despite setbacks.

    I’ve only been to Cali once, but it’s my dream to live in San Diego one day.


    • Jackie (Peaces of Earth)
      July 21, 2010 at 8:01 pm

      I live in San Diego! I moved here from NY/Boston. You should do it!!! 🙂

  • Christena
    July 21, 2010 at 9:01 am

    I just started reading last June and I have loved following your journey! Your writing, photography and the entire nature of your blog has changed dramatically over the past year and I love it! I really like how your blog has moved beyond documenting “this is what I ate” to more of your life and who you are. I think that is what sets this blog above and beyond! That, and your outlook on life is contagious! Love the way that you follow your heart and live with passion. Congrats, Jenna! I think you have a fantastic life (and career) ahead of you and I will be happy to follow along as long as you will let us!

  • Claire
    July 21, 2010 at 9:02 am

    I miss California! Your posts remind me of home! I’m from the bay area and trying to get back…eventually 🙂 When I can afford it. I have to ask…is the asian girl in your photo’s named Annie? I think I went to school with her and she’s lovely! Just thought it would be a crazy small world if it was 🙂

  • Kelly
    July 21, 2010 at 9:08 am

    I would love to do that! I love California, especially where you are living. Unfortunately, a house and job are tying me down here in the midwest 🙂

  • Allie (Live Laugh Eat)
    July 21, 2010 at 9:11 am

    The photos are breathtaking! I need to do something adventurous. I still live 3 feet from my parents but it’s only been 2 months so I consider that okay.

  • Emily @ For Sweets Sake
    July 21, 2010 at 9:12 am

    you make me want to move to california now! Hopefully the Air Force takes us out west at some point because it looks amazing!

  • Kait
    July 21, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Sometimes I wish I could just up and move, change everything in my life all at once…Looks like it really worked out for you, you’re living in such a beautiful place!

  • Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run]
    July 21, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Fun post! I admire your life. I don’t remember hearing about your SB trip – where does that fit into the picture?

  • Kim (Imperfectly Perfect)
    July 21, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Great recap, Jenna! You just never know what’s right around the corner and how quickly your life can change. I admire you for taking chances and working through all of the struggles this past year to get where you are. You seem so happy and I wish it to you always.

  • Courtney (delightful devours)
    July 21, 2010 at 9:43 am

    What a wonderful experience you have had!
    I love the story timeline in pictures. I agree with Kim that you never know whats around the corner. Everything worked out great for you girl!

  • Krystina
    July 21, 2010 at 9:53 am

    I think you have something akin to my dream life. I’m envious.

  • Jess.
    July 21, 2010 at 9:54 am

    It takes a pretty brave and adventurous soul to make such a leap… I am apparently not so brave and adventurous at moment so I enjoy living vicariously through your blog. You seem to be a pretty amazing girl 🙂

  • Lizz @ Leading the Good Life
    July 21, 2010 at 9:55 am

    I love this! I just found myself thinking, “Wow, she had an amazing year!”, but I bet a lot has changed in my life over the past year, too. Sometimes it’s hard to remember how all of the little changes can add up to a big change. I think it’s about time I did my own retrospective. 🙂

  • rachael
    July 21, 2010 at 10:00 am

    I hadn’t found your blog yet a year ago so I never knew what brought you to California. Loved the short story and love your blog!

  • Danielle
    July 21, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Has it really been a year already?! I feel like “we’ve” been through so much 😉

    365 days hold a whole lot of opportunity and I’m so happy for you that you took advantage of what felt right, of what you wanted out of life, and of just taking a chance in hopes that your skill and passion would lead you through. Maybe you wouldn’t recommend it, because there are definitely no guarantees when any big risk is involved, but it’s no less inspiring. Everyone has a unique adventure to take, it’s all about having the courage to set out and do it already.

    My time will come, methinks… one day… 🙂

  • Errign
    July 21, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Love the water “fountain” shot 🙂

    Can’t believe you’ve been sharing your California journeys with all of us for a whole year already & I’ve got to say that, you Jenna are one of the most inspiring and real bloggers out there. (I’m sure you’re totally awesome in ‘real’ life too!) I admire you for taking a chance & am so glad you are loving your life!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    July 21, 2010 at 10:16 am

    I can’t believe it’s only been a year. I don’t know why but I thought you’ve been there longer. You’ve got guts moving out there on a whim. I wish I could be so adventurous!

  • theemptynutjar
    July 21, 2010 at 10:18 am

    i admire u for following your dreams.
    i just wish i knew how u did/do it…i think about stuff like that i would like to do, but i would never be able to afford it…rent, bills, loan payments, 8 years of school, etc…
    i don’t know how u do it, but it seems that u are happy.

  • TorontoGirloutWest
    July 21, 2010 at 10:37 am

    I continue to be impressed by how beautifully you have managed all of the challenges that have come your way in the last year and a bit. Congratulations on your success!!!!

    BTW – when is the book coming out? I’m definitely going to buy it when it hits the shelves!!!

    • jenna
      July 21, 2010 at 10:40 am

      The book will be out spring of 2012!

  • Camille
    July 21, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Looking at all the old pictures, let me say that you look 100x happier now that you did then! I know this year wasn’t 100% easy for you, but you seem to be doing fabulous 🙂
    You are such an inspiration to everyone!

  • Maria @ Oh Healthy Day
    July 21, 2010 at 10:50 am

    You are my inspiration. I moved to CA three years ago from Virginia and I’ll admit I cried like a baby the entire first year…and I had my Fiance with me! It take real guts to step out of your comfort zone like that. And yes, after three years, I finally like it here 🙂

  • Kelly
    July 21, 2010 at 11:08 am

    You make me want to move to California! Or at least come visit. I need to pop in on my friends in San Fran and maybe I’ll make it up to wine country. 🙂

  • Monique@She's Going The Distance
    July 21, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Such an awesome story 🙂 Glad CA has been so good to you!! I’m going to be really sad to move away from CA for the first time in my life very soon….

  • Daisy
    July 21, 2010 at 11:14 am

    things are pretty amazing. you are one inspiring woman! 8lbs and longer hair looks good on you girl. 😉

  • Katharine (Meal Muse)
    July 21, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Your journey is truly inspiring. It’s a great reminder for us twenty-somethings that you truly can do what you love and the money and opportunities will always come. Thanks so much 🙂


  • Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf
    July 21, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Wahooo! I think we all can thank MG!

    Wait, dry heat EXISTS?!?!

  • Amber K
    July 21, 2010 at 11:18 am

    What an amazing journey! I could definitely not jump into a huge life altering change like that, but it is amazing to see how it has worked out for someone else.

  • Alyssa @ bride to be fit
    July 21, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Isn’t it amazing what a difference a year makes?! Your such an inspiration!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg
    July 21, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Isn’t it crazy how much can change in a year? You’re such an inspiration for taking great leaps and seeing where life can take you!

  • Rosey Rebecca
    July 21, 2010 at 11:32 am

    I can’t believe that was a WHOLE year ago! I remember being so excited for you! The life you live is very inspiring, and you DID make me want to follow in your foot steps. I’d admire you greatly! Happy MG anniversary! Drink an entire bottle of wine tonight!

  • andrenna
    July 21, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    wow! times flies. i can’t believe it’s been a year! it takes a year to settle into a place, and i’m glad you stuck it out in california. it’s a wonderful place, even for displaced southerners. 🙂

  • Beth (Blessed and Inspired)
    July 21, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    What an awesome journey!

  • eatmovelove
    July 21, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Change is hard.
    Your experience seems to have paid off for you. Hope it continues.

  • Nicole, RD
    July 21, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    What a year! Congrats to the cookie winner!

  • Still Life in Southeast Asia
    July 21, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    It’s hard to believe that it has already been a year. Like another poster said, you do seem so much happier and content in Cali. I can’t wait to see all of your future twists and turns.

  • Stacey
    July 21, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    You have come a long way and inspire others to follow there dreams.

  • Jenny D.
    July 21, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Ok, girl – Really. I’ve read your blog for about a year now and had my own little thoughts of “wow, we’re so similar!” but imagine my surprise when I scroll through today’s post only to find one of my husband’s good friends from high school in a picture with you!! (Blake, second picture from the bottom in the red shirt) I squealed and made my husband come see that there really are six degrees of separation in this world!! How funny!?!?!?

  • Amanda @ Cakes and Ale
    July 21, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    What an awesome year… transformational! I love that. Someone once told me that you have to “live your dash”… meaning, when you die someday, and someone looks at your gravestone, and it says “19XX – 20XX”, it doesn’t matter where you started or ended, what matters is what you did in between… the “dash”!
    You have totally been living your dash this past year – you should be proud!

  • Tina
    July 21, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I think it is so amazing and inspiring how you moved out there because you loved it. And I think you look absolutely gorgeous. Wine country suits you. 😉

  • Stacey @ Tipping the (Kitchen!) Scales
    July 21, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Wow, it’s so great to look back and think of what you have achieved. You are so brave for moving with no plan!

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    July 21, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Oh, that was one of your best posts ever. Very gracious. Brought tears to my eyes. Probably, like many of your fans, I think of you as almost a (younger) virtual Sis, and the best kind of girl, like Veronique, my son’s first French GF (you even look like her). Poor Lindsay Lohan is your age and could learn a lot from you.

    A bit like your move, I decided to reslant my blog on my relocation to France (my son is a French citizen). But AM going against my usual inclination to ‘just do it’ and planning meticulously. Immigration police pounding on the door at 3AM because of a neglected paper–not a good thing. Here’s the 1st post, on the move of my life.

    Cheers on the anniversary!! Great pix of you and Adam…who knew. 🙂

  • Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly
    July 21, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    I can’t believe it has been a year! Sheesh time flies!!! You absolutely glow in all your posts! I love it. You are such a shining star Jenna and sometimes in this gloomy world we need a shining star to perk us up! 🙂

  • Tasha
    July 21, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    What an amazing year you have had! =)

  • April
    July 21, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Beauiful photos Jenna….they are so pretty!
    Odd question: Do you ever eat potatoe chips? Sorry strange question just curious .

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog)
    July 21, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    aww sweetie – it has been quite the year! Although I must say- has it been a year already?! boy does time fly!

  • Lola
    July 21, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    I’d love to see a “eat live run” movie one day for sure 🙂

  • zoe
    July 21, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    isn’t northern california beautiful? gorgeous pictures! i love living up here, too 🙂 enjoy the sunshine today!

  • Mom
    July 21, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    I love YOU!

  • louise
    July 21, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Everything is in flux, always moving forward; once you’ve seen outside of the box, it’s very difficult to go back. I left the box, spend 20 yrs. in Hawaii. The best years of my life, but eventually returned home and learned you can never go back. Live and Learn.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin
    July 21, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    That’s awesome that you just jumped in head on and took a risk. It looks like it certainly worked out for you! 😀

  • Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble)
    July 21, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Great post! I’m really glad everything worked out for you 😀


  • amanda
    July 21, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Sounds like everything has really worked out for you! 🙂

  • Lana
    July 21, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Happ Cali-versary!!! I feel like I was just reading about you moving there!!

  • Jo
    July 21, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    wow. you nailed that one. damn girl

  • Faith @ LovelyAsCharged
    July 21, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    From an fellow Tampa(ish) girl – even though I don’t really have roots down here, I’d love to just pick up one day and fly out to a big city and see what luck brings me. Unfortunately, even though I’m a spontaneous and impractical person, I know that’s not my best idea :/

  • Cynthia (It All Changes)
    July 21, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    It’s been fun to be on your adventure with you. I can’t believe it has been a year already and all you have done. Here’s to many more.

  • Jackie (Peaces of Earth)
    July 21, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Awww, congrats on 1 year in California!!!! How cute that you met Adam from the very beginning, too. It was meant to be. 🙂

  • Pure2raw twins
    July 21, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Wow you have done so many amazing things in just a year. Just think what will come your way this next year. Best wishes to you!! I love reading about your Cali adventures!!

  • Yamilka
    July 21, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    This post makes me sooo home-sick. I did the opposite -moved from the SF Bay Area to the Tampa Bay Area- and now I can’t wait to move back out west! I miss everything there (specially Sonoma and Yountville). Yes, this “humid” southern heat is killing us!!! Glad to know you are enjoying your time over there!!!

  • Laura (Starloz)
    July 21, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    I’ve only been reading for a few months & i’ve really enjoyed getting to know you.

    You’ve moved away from the “This is what I’ve eaten” type of blog & moved onto something even more incredible. You’re life is out-of-this-world.

    I love your photography skills & creativity in life.

  • Julia @ Brit Bride
    July 22, 2010 at 1:49 am

    That is an inspiring tale!

    I love your hair short by the way.


  • Lauren
    July 22, 2010 at 4:05 am

    Amazing journey, Jenna. I’m so glad you’ve shared it with us! (we’ve been “with you” the whole way 🙂 ) I really admire your courage, conviction, and ability to make the most of whatever situation you find yourself in.
    I think you’re in a great spot now – Here’s to another adventure-filled year!

  • Ann
    July 22, 2010 at 6:52 am

    Oh, Jenna, I just love you! I wish I could have been like you at your age. :::sigh::: Youth wasted, here. But trying mercifully to make up for lost time right now 😉 You’re awesome!

  • Anna
    July 22, 2010 at 6:59 am

    You never forget following your heart. Great post! 🙂

  • Dee
    July 22, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    You’ve essentially done what I’ve wanted to do for the past 2-3 years now. Oh to live in NorCal! Le sigh. Definitely a dream of mine!

    Great post! Very awe-inspiring! 🙂

  • Ann
    July 22, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    You just never know where life might take you. Reading your blog has inspired me to be more at peace about the unknown. And also not be afraid to take chances!