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I’m Back… Let’s Talk About Season 19 of the Bachelor January 14, 2015

Posted by Jill Renee in : Destination Proposals, Engagement Rings, Just Jill , add a comment

Season 19 of the Bachelor started off with quite a bit of drama and quite a bit of twists. For the first time in Bachelor history, Chris Soules got to go inside after only 15 women arrived and start getting to know them. Did it stop there… of course not, 3 more limos pulled up holding 15 more woman for a total of 30 beautiful choices for Chris. After an eventful evening, 8 women went home. BUT as always, a twist happened, and one woman, Kimberly, came back and asked Chris for a second chance. He is now at 23 women after the first week. During the second week, another 5 went home, including Kimberly. I guess her second change didn’t make a difference. Chris after the second week is left with 18 women.

Bachelor 2015

Let’s talk about the women for a second. The first one that EVERYBODY wants to discuss is Ashley S. What is the deal with this woman? Seriously, is she on something? If not, she needs to be taken to a mental institute because something is wrong upstairs. In last night’s group date, she was blabbing on about who knows what and nobody could understand what she was talking about. And then Chris gives her a rose…… SERIOUSLY????? During last night’s episode, we also got to learn more about Mackenzie and her input on aliens and big noses. What weird topics for a first date. Of course, Tara was drunk again. Not much more to say about that. We also learned that Ashley I is a virgin and Mackenzie was very jealous of it and continued to tell her that she should tell Chris because guys love it. But not only is she a virgin, Ashley I admitted to never having a boyfriend in her life. In response to her “free hug” card, Britt received a card from Chris for a “free kiss.” She thought it was sweet. Was it really? He kissed like 8 girls in last night’s episode is it really that sweet if he is just giving them away?


Speaking of Chris, let’s talk about him. Every woman in America fell in love with Chris during the last season of The Bachelorette and I think they were all secretly happy when Andi let him go. My question is… does America still feel the same about the man everybody is calling Prince Farming? Sure he is a sweet guy but look at the previews for what is to come. What in the heck happens in the tent in the upcoming episodes? By the moans and the way the other girls react, we can only imagine. I’m sorry but that is just nasty… you are in a tent with a bunch of other people surrounding it and on national TV. Also, it has only been two weeks and he has already full blown made out with half the girls. That is part of the show but wow.


Lastly, what is to come? Who will stay and who will go? Well there are some rumors out there about who the winner is and even the final 4. I will not repeat the winner because if the rumors are true I do not want to ruin it for anybody.   I will say that I have my reservations about the rumors circulating out there. Chris Harrison in the premiere stated that a virgin goes to the fantasy suite. We just found out that Ashley I is a virgin. She is not in the rumors of the final 4. So my final question is…. Is there another virgin or are the rumors out there false? I guess we will all have to watch and find out.

Shout Out to All the Single People September 19, 2012

Posted by Jill Renee in : Buying Engagement Rings, Buying Jewelry, Jewelry, Just Jill , add a comment


Have you spent your summer watching Bachelor Pad or Say Yes to the Dress?  Or maybe a wedding or relationship has developed on your favorite sitcom.  Well now it’s your time.  We are officially in the middle of National Singles Week. This is a time for you to celebrate that you are single and embrace it.

National Singles Week was started in Ohio in the 1980s.  It is designed to celebrate singles and their contributions to society.  You do not have to actually be single to celebrate this week.  This week is to be celebrated if you are not married.  That means if you are a parent, a partner, or are widowed or divorced, it still counts.  This week is now celebrated all over the United States in the third week of September.

In 2010 there were 99.6 million unmarried people 18 and older in America.  This is equivalent to 43.6 percent of the United States Residents in that age group.  There were 88 unmarried men for every 100 unmarried women.  National Singles WeekNatasha Bedingfield sang “This is my current single status, My Declaration of Independence” in her popular song “Single.”  This week is for all the single men and women, no matter the circumstances on how you got there, to celebrate.

So how will you celebrate National Singles Week?  Will you go to dinner with some friends, make a date with somebody special, or unfold in a book or favorite hobby?  It doesn’t matter what you decide as long as you celebrate this week for you in your own week.  Happy National Singles Week!

How to Celebrate the Academy Awards March 4, 2010

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What was Genna thinking?

The world will tune in this Sunday evening to watch the Academy Award Ceremonies live from Los Angeles. We will watch the stars walk in and admire the beautiful dresses and the gorgeous jewelry! Of course some of the dresses will be judged not so beautiful and the tabloids will have a heyday making fun of the “ghastly” fashion choices of a few poor stars!  It does make you wonder if they have the lights on when they choose to wear some of the clothes we see!

It will be pure joy for the ones who take home the golden Oscar statue and better luck next time for the ones who only have the Wolfgang Puck dinner to look forward to. This event has come a long way from the modest beginnings in 1929. The first Academy Awards banquet was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and tickets cost $5! The event began to be televised in 1953 and millions in the US and Canada watched the ceremony.

I know I will be watching on Sunday night and trying to keep my eyes open until the best motion picture award is given at the end of the show.  Some of my friends go to fun Oscar theme parties and get all dressed up but my favorite way to watch is in my pajamas on my couch with some great snacks! There are so many great nominees this year it will be hard to choose a favorite or be disappointed with the eventual winners.

What Toyota and I Have in Common February 24, 2010

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The top story in the news the last few days has revolved around the Toyota car company and its failure to address a very dangerous and scary problem with the accelerators in many of its vehicles. I have watched like hundreds of thousands of others but I do not have to wonder what it would feel like being behind the wheel in a runaway car.

Twenty one years ago, I was driving from Virginia to upstate New York in my new Mercury marquis four door sedan.  I had two children in the back seat in their car seats and my grandmother in the passenger seat next to me.  One was three, one was 18 months old and the other was 75. It was a beautiful sunny day and the drive had been going great. Both children were happy and all was calm. I usually took the scenic route because we made lots of stops along the way at the little shops and restaurants. This made the trip much more bearable for the kids. Lots of treasures to be found along highway 15!

One of the drawbacks of taking the scenic route is that you occasionally get behind some very slow moving vehicles like farm equipment. If you are patient passing zones are dotted along the way and you can easily get by these slow movers. This was the exact scenario that I encountered. Once I accelerated and passed the tractor I eased back into the right lane, I took my foot off the gas but the car continued to pick up speed. I looked at the speedometer and it was at 90 mph. I hit the brakes and it was creeping up to 100 mph. Now you must understand I did not even know my mercury could hit 100 mph!  My grandmother gave me a look and knew something was wrong. BIG TIME. We exchanged words back and forth in a frantic manner.  Eventually I put the car in neutral, hit emergency and regular brakes and we slowed down.

This ordeal was pure terror. My thoughts were for my small children and my poor grandmother who would surely die with me in a fiery ball of metal. I think of all the people who experienced this same thing in their Toyota’s and wonder about the ones who might not have been so lucky and perhaps the accident has been chalked off to driver error. I too was told by the mechanics at Ford that either the floor mat or a stuck accelerator was to blame for my terrifying trip. I could never quite accept this. I traded in that mercury a few months later. I never felt safe in it again.

Keep Your Engagement Ring in Tip Top Shape February 19, 2010

Posted by Jill Renee in : Jewelry Care, Just Jill , comments closed

You have a gorgeous sparkly diamond engagement ring on your finger and the metal shines like new fallen snow, here are some hints on keeping your engagement ring in tip top shape for a long time to come.

Once you come down from the high of being newly engaged regular life will resume. This means cooking, cleaning and work related activities.  All of these things will dull the appearance of your engagement ring and diamond. The good news is that this can easily be kept in check with a few simple steps.

Make-up, lotions, perfumes and hairspray will all build up on your engagement ring, cutting down on its sparkle. We recommend cleaning your engagement ring in an ammonia solution made up of 1/3 cup ammonia to 2/3 cup of hot tap water. To remove caked on dirt such as cooking sauces or play dough soak your engagement ring for ten minutes and then gently scrub with a soft toothbrush. Do not use an old toothbrush because toothpaste remnants are too abrasive for your engagement ring!

It is also a great idea to have the prongs that hold the diamonds in your engagement ring checked by a jewelry professional one time per year to make sure all is well and that none of the prongs have loosened up. If you follow these simple suggestions your engagement ring will continue to look great year after happy year!

Let It Snow, but Not in Virginia! February 17, 2010

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As I am writing today there are mounds of snow plopped all over my hometown and the state of Virginia. We normally have one snowfall per year. Maybe a dusting of the white stuff just enough to give the kids a day off of school. This year we have had four large snowfalls of 4 or more inches. OK, that may not sound like much to you folks in Buffalo or Fargo, but it’s incredible to those of us living below the Mason Dixon line.

We do not have the snow plows, the shovels, and the road chemicals necessary to control the road conditions nor the snow mobiles, warm boots, parkas and sleds to make it enjoyable! We have struggled though and “oohed and aahed” at the beautiful snow covered trees and embraced the extra time inside to get all those chores done, but now we are looking for the buds to bloom and the forecast is calling for more snow!

All this is taking place while we are watching the Olympic downhill skiing competitions in Vancouver getting postponed day after day due to you guessed it…a lack of snow! This has many of us scratching our heads and thinking Global warming or worse but the weather experts simply say this is a cyclical and normal weather pattern. So I guess the old saying is true, you can’t control the weather. You just have to roll with it. So, here in Richmond I am off to buy a new shovel and some kitty litter and up at the Olympics in Vancouver they are trucking snow over to the ski slopes so the games can proceed. Go Figure.

photo credit: kurtcweishaar

Is He the One?? February 17, 2010

Posted by Jill Renee in : Just Jill, Romantic Tips , comments closed

Statue of David

So you have been dating for the required nine months or longer  and you are thinking that a proposal of marriage is the logical next step but are you really sure that is what you want? (ed. note: A collection of video proposals)

Sometimes we take that important next step because we have reached a certain age, we have dated a certain amount of time, or we want to start a family and the biological clock is ticking away! We want it and we enter into our commitment for some valid reasons, but maybe we need to step back and make sure we are not rushing things. Patience now can save years of heartache and pain later.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

If the answers to any of these questions are no, you should think about your relationship and whether you are in the right place. It is true like the song says that “breaking up is hard to do” but it will allow you to explore other opportunities and pay off in the long run.

Hollywood Engagements and Our Fascination with Them February 11, 2010

Posted by Jill Renee in : Engagement Rings, Just Jill , add a comment

Big celebrity news on the web:

  1. Kristen Bell is engaged to Dax Shepard and shows off her stunning three carat platinum ring at the Grammy awards.
  2. Russell Brandt and Katy Perry out furniture shopping while she flashes her new engagement ring!
  3. Miley Cyrus is definitely NOT engaged this was confirmed by Miley herself to Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet at the Grammys. Her ring was a cheap bobble she picked up for herself in London.

While I find all of this engagement news interesting what is really important is that these stars are setting some trends about jewelry style. We all watch what jewelry the stars are wearing because the designs are usually unique and stunning and something that we can adjust to work for the not-so-famous of us.

Trends and styles emerge that are worth adapting. The main issue is often getting the price point down while still maintaining the integrity of the basic design.  Once this is accomplished an affordable alternative to a very expensive jewelry item can usually be purchased. After all imitation is the best form of flattery!

Tips for the Perfect First Date February 5, 2010

Posted by Jill Renee in : Just Jill, Romantic Tips , add a comment

There are few things more nerve racking than going out on that first date. What will you wear? What will you talk about? Where will you go and what will you do?

Once you get past all the wondering it’s time to relax and take things one step at a time. Do something that you enjoy to do. Wear what you are comfortable wearing. Now is not the time for a complete makeover and some four inch heels. You will most definitely be uneasy if you change your entire style for the date. Make sure your clothes are comfortable and that you are not constantly pulling on your waistband or worrying about tripping over your pants!

Now is also not the time to try out ice skating or even bowling if you have never done these things before or if your date has not.

Now is also not the time to try out ice skating or even bowling if you have never done these things before or if your date has not. Go someplace easy and keep the date to a few hours at most. Leave the exotic restaurant for the second or third date and choose someplace that offers a wide variety of options including some vegetarian choices.

The most important thing is to be yourself and to be honest about who you are. This does not mean rambling on about all of you personal business. Keep some things private until the relationship has time to grow.  Most importantly let your date know whether you have had a good time or if the connection was missing. That way you both are on the same page when the date is over.

The Valentine in America – A History February 1, 2010

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While Valentine’s Day had been celebrated in some form since the third century, A.D., it did not catch on with any momentum in the United States until the 1840s.  A holiday with a variety of possible beginnings, Valentine’s Day evolved into a holiday used to celebrate love and affection.  People would give trinkets and cards, and in the 1840s a woman named Ester Howland started the first wave of mass-produced valentine greetings in the U.S.

Esther Howland Valentine, circa 1850: "Weddings now are all the go, Will you marry me or no"

Born in 1828, Howland graduated from college in 1847 and shortly after received a beautiful and intricate Valentine’s greeting from a business contact of her father’s.  This man was English – the tradition of exchanging cards and gifts to celebrate Valentine’s Day was a mainstream practice in England and the rest of Great Britain by the mid-eighteenth century – and his card to Howland gave her a grand idea.

Esther Howland ordered fancy paper, lace, and flowery decorations from England and started making valentines.  She spread the word about the practice, and started taking orders for custom and stock-style valentines.  The response was tremendous, and she was not able to produce the goods for all the orders she had.  She asked friends to help her assemble the cards, and put out her first ad in The Daily Spy, a Worcester paper, in 1850.

Again, the response was tremendous.  She set up an assembly line in her house to assemble this first year’s worth of valentines, and she eventually set up shop for a business that would bring in $100,000 every year.

Though Howland used a lot of traditional English designs in her cards, she did come up with a few things on her own.  The lace paper that she ordered from England was par for the course in Great Britain.  Howland wanted to add some punch to the look of the card, so she started putting bright red or pink paper behind the lace to show the intricacy of the lace paper (which was copied from handmade tatted lace).

Another style that became popular in the latter part of Howland’s career was the shadow-box style.  These cards had a built-up section with a 3-D design.  Shortly after these successful cards, Howland sold her business to George C. Whitney, who went on to manufacture the necessary materials for valentines in the United States, rather than continuing to order them from England.  Whitney stayed true to Howland’s designs, and modern-day historians are hard-pressed to distinguish between the two, naught for Whitney’s distinguishing trademark of a red “W.”

Prior to Howland’s business, people in the United States who wanted to send Valentine cards to their loved ones either had to order them from England or make them personally.  Certain people who showed a talent for this craft would then be commissioned to make cards for others, but it was Howland who first mass-produced the valentines for American customers.

Today over one billion valentine cards are purchased annually.  Along with cards, people buy gifts for their loved ones on Valentine’s Day.  These gifts range from small tokens of affection to large items, like diamond engagement rings or expensive quality jewelry.