Tag Archives: Jenny G

Learning How To Fight

16 Apr

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Greetings dearest readers! I feel terribly embarrassed about my long absence. I confess I’ve only really been busy with work and have no better excuses. An International Woman of Mystery really should have better time management skills! But, I digress.

In any event. I’m resolving to resume regular posting and I promise I’ve got more adventures up my sleeves. In fact, I’m in the midst of planning my next mission and I could use a little input.

See, earlier this year I began working on my list of traits that I needed to cultivate in order to truly become Jenny G.: International Woman of Mystery. One of those proposed traits was to be strong. I explored my fearless side at the shooting range, but my experience there has inspired me to explore other methods of self-defense. After watching movies like Kill Bill and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, I find myself gravitating more towards martial arts as a potential way to get strong. It’s something I haven’t, as of yet, explored and I’m wildly curious. What’s more badass than being able to kick through boards?

I’ve rediscovered a love of fitness in the very active community that is Denver. I recently joined a gym-pass subscription service that allows me to take tons of different classes at studios around town and so far, I’ve stuck to the familiar favorites, like yoga and spin. But I can’t help scrolling a little slower every time I see a class options for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muy Thai and Krav Maga. I find these offerings extremely intimidating but also extremely intriguing. What better way to hone some ass-kicking skills?

Thus far I’ve had trouble making it to a class, because I’m overwhelmed by the options. That’s where you come in. I’m giving you guys the opportunity to weigh in and/or share your experiences. Below I’ll give you a couple of options I’m considering and then I’d love to hear what you think.

Option A.) Women’s Self-Defense: Basically exactly what it sounds like. I’ll get a low-down on how to protect myself within my means and maybe bring back some tips. I also like this option, because the class is taught by actual women. Jenny G. is always on the lookout for other strong and brilliant women to be inspired by.

Option B.) Krav Maga Fundamentals: It’s Krav Maga. Enough said. If you are not familiar, Krav Maga was invented for the Israel Defence Forces. According to Wikipedia it is known for its focus on real-world situations and its extremely efficient and brutal counter attacks. And it was derived from street fighting skills. Sounds pretty IWOM to me.

Option C.) Capoeira: I’m taken with the exotic name, as it is. But additionally, capoeira is legitimately exotic. It’s an African and Brazilian martial art and combines music and dance with martial arts. Being that I’m a bit nervous about this whole endeavor, I think music and dance might make this fighting style more my speed.

Option D.) Judo: Judo is known to be a gentler (It literally means “The Gentle Way.”) martial art, which appeals to my sensibilities. That said, judo also sounds pretty intense. Further investigation informs me that most of the defense is done through throws, arm locks, chokes and pins. Am I ready for that?

There will be plenty of time to explore all of these options, in the future, I’m certain. But having lost a couple of weeks, I’m anxious to get back to business and get myself on a mission. The next time an opportunity to attend one of these classes arises, I vow to seize it.

Thoughts? Let me know in the comments.

Ciao,
Jenny G.

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An IWOM Takes NYC

27 Mar

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My apologies for being away, darlings. The International Woman of Mystery has been busy. I wish I could say I was out exploring the pyramids of Egypt of skiing the Swiss Alps. Alas, it hasn’t been quite so exciting. However, I did recently take a business trip to New York City, which has left me feeling inspired.

The trip was unexpected. I got a call from one of my bosses late on a Thursday asking if I could be in the city to attend a weekend conference. At first I was a little annoyed by the last minute request, but then it occurred to me that I’ve never actually spent much time in New York. Nor had I ever traveled there alone. It seemed liked the perfect excuse to take Jenny G. on a little impromptu adventure.

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You Are a Badass

15 Mar

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I’ve been thinking a bit lately about my opinion regarding self-help books. How do they factor into The IWOM Book Club? Or do they at all?

Certainly, one is never the worse for doing some self-analysis and broadening their own horizons. But does International Woman of Mystery. do self-help? Or does she help herself? I debated these ideas heavily the other day, while doing some soul-searching in a downtown book shop. I had come prepared to choose something off of my required reading list, but when I got to the book store, they were out of most of my picks. I then proceeded to wander a bit aimlessly. For hours.

Call it a fugue state, but when I got to the self-help section, I began to peruse some of the titles. It was then that a book called to me. Front and center with some other bestsellers was Jen Sincero’s “You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living Your Awesome Life.” Surely this wasn’t really self-help. So maybe it was okay to buy? (I rationalized.)

I grabbed it immediately. Paid for it discreetly before going home and tearing it open. I wanted so badly to know, what it had to say. And I’m sure it’s no secret, I very much wish to be told I am a Badass.

Luckily, Sincero’s book, is pretty good about delivering that. Although it verges on self-help often, “You Are a Badass” reads more like sensible friend-to-friend advice. The authoress divulges her own struggles and triumphs, and how she overcame various challenges. She offers up mostly relatable anecdotes to demonstrate her point and frequently reminds us: “Love yourself.” Admittedly, the International Woman of Mystery is a bit of a cynic. There were still a few moments that had my eyes rolling.

Even still, I found it an enlightening and entertaining read. The book is as full of humor as it is deep advice. The book also reads quick. (Perfect for a woman on the run.) And the more I read, the more Sincero’s ideas started to make sense. She advocates heavily for changing your own life, by making better decisions and letting go of self-limiting beliefs. Playing bigger, dreaming bigger and going after what you really want. With chapter titles such as, “Your Brain is Your Bitch” and “Fear Is For Suckers”, one can’t help but be inspired by the moxie in this book.

If anything, this book was so jam-packed with compelling material, that I believe I will have to revisit it later. In the meantime, I intend to bring some of that moxie out of the book and into my own life.

Ciao,
Jenny G.

What Kind of Woman Do I Want to Be?

10 Mar

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Are you the kind of person who could save someone’s life?

I’ve been asking myself this lately as it relates to my future. If the time came, could I fend off a gun-toting villain, could I give someone CPR, could I steer a speeding car out of harm’s way?

Some people believe that everyone has it in them to act heroically when it becomes a matter of life or death; your primal instinct to survive kicks in and your responses become automatic.

I don’t know that I believe that because it suggests that being a hero isn’t a choice – it’s just part of being human. I’d like to think we have a choice in the matter. I’d like to think that the heroic part of it is the choice. True heroes try to save the world, or even just one person, even if they’re not sure how it will end.

These questions all popped up because I’ve been seriously considering what I’m doing with my life. Now that I finally feel established in Denver, it is perhaps time to consider my motivations and long-term goals. In between that, I’ve been procrastinating making any decisions by watching the Kill Bill movies and the Netflix series “Jessica Jones” that feature female heroes. Totally inspired by the courage and tenacity of these hard-core women, I started questioning whether or not I had it in me to live in a similar way. Is there a reason I was never drawn to a career as an EMT, surgeon, police officer or member of the military? Was it because in my heart, I knew I couldn’t do it and didn’t want to do it? Or was it because I was too scared to see if I could?

But wouldn’t it be cool if the result of my moving to Denver is that I changed a life, or several? Wouldn’t it be cool if all this nonsense about a guy was the impetus for me becoming the kind of person who could help the world in a really important way?

Kill Bill is a revenge story, where Uma Thurman’s character, The Bride, searches the globe for the man who tried to kill her, and for anyone who helped. We watch her travel to Japan and learn to use a Samurai sword; we watch her demolish entire gangs of killers with her badass martial arts moves. She’s tough and singular in her vision. She learns new skills and stops at nothing to seek a justified revenge and save her life.

Jessica Jones is a graphic novel superhero, who at first chooses to use her wit to help others rather than use her superpowers. Jessica is unapologetically unpolished and dysfunctional, but also brave, smart, strong and compassionate. She takes tremendous risks and makes personal sacrifices to save others’ lives. She is one of the most inspirational superheroes I’ve seen on the screen.

With the exception of perhaps Wonder Woman, it seems to me a relatively new concept to portray a woman as a traditionally masculine hero. What I mean is that her being a woman does not change the way she fights evil. She uses physical strength and intelligence to save the day, without any caveats from the storyteller.

We’re lucky we live in a time that this portrayal is becoming more popular. We’re lucky we live in a country where women have the choice to be this kind of hero. And I’m lucky I have the luxury to discover who I really am and how I can really contribute to the world.

I want to be the kind of woman who devotes her life to saving others’ lives. What does that look like? Does it mean I have to wear hole-y jeans, combat boots and a leather jacket, or a yellow tracksuit? Or can I still be Audrey Hepburn chic in my trench coat and still save the day?

So I come back to the question: am I someone who could do that? Do I have it in me to be like The Bride or Jessica Jones? Is that what this International Woman of Mystery thing is all about? Would I make the choice to be heroic, even in the face of uncertainty, if the opportunity presented itself?

Perhaps it’s time I figure this out.

-Jennifer

Cooking With a Vengeance

2 Mar

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The email for my assignment requests that I bring two things on my next mission. One of them is a set of knives. And the other? An apron.

Jenny G.: International Woman of Mystery, is about to finish what she started. I am headed for my very first cooking class.

A few weeks ago after some misadventures in my own kitchen, I decided it was time to get proactive and improve upon my somewhat non-existent cooking skills. As it turns out, cooking classes are becoming more popular in Denver, so I was able to locate a plethora of options pretty quickly. There was some heavy debate around pasta and pastry lessons , but I ultimately deemed those options more harmful than helpful. I stumbled across a Healthy Japanese Cooking workshop and registered before I could talk myself out of it.

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Dating In The Modern Age

28 Feb

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“You’re going to have to suck it up and do it at some point,” challenged the crackling voice on the other end of my telephone. “Might as well rip off the bandaid and get it over with.”

I’d been debriefing with an old friend, and while I’ve been keeping most of my activities off the radar these days, the loneliness in my voice betrayed me. My cohort suggested it might be time for me to try online dating. Despite my protests that I simply wasn’t ready, her insistence struck a nerve. An International Woman of Mystery would never back down from a challenge.

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Mission: Be Benevolent

18 Feb

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Sometimes you choose the mission, but as I’m sure many an action hero can attest, sometimes the mission chooses you.

I hadn’t planned on undertaking any new endeavors this Valentine’s Day. It seemed as good a day as any to work on being incognito. And by incognito, I mean laying at home watching cheesy romantic comedies (even the International Woman of Mystery has guilty pleasures) and eating popcorn for dinner. Don’t get me wrong – I did treat myself to a nice bottle of wine and some chocolates. I’m not a complete barbarian. If anything, I’m the best date I’ve had for Valentine’s Day in quite some time.

However. As if sensing my intrinsic happiness from afar, it seems Mr. Poison was not to be outdone.

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Casino: Take Two

9 Feb

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I’m sitting at a buffet table wearing a chic cocktail gown, engrossed in a mound of crab legs, laughing like a madwoman in a room full of senior citizens wearing Hawaiian shirts, or fleece vests. (Dear reader, a few of them are even wearing Hawaiian shirts with fleece vests.) At some point in my travels I made a gross miscalculation.

Now it’s up to me to remedy it.

After washing my hands of greasy butter, and chocolate sauce from the frozen yogurt machine, I’m also ready to wash my hands of this entire mishap and just go home. But an International Woman of Mystery would never be so easily deterred. It’s a Saturday night. I’ve braved weekend traffic on 1-70 to get here. I’ve still got $25 and I’m wearing a fabulous dress. Ocean’s Eleven, it is not, but something good must come of this.

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Casino: Take One

8 Feb

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The other day when I was dress shopping and the salesgirl, Lu, recommended I go to the casino town of Blackhawk, it reminded me of something I hadn’t thought of in a long time.

Back in high school, my friend Nikki (the one I saw at Christmas) would sneak into the casino on the Native American reservation, all by herself, and play poker all night. She got pretty good, and I think she paid for a European trip from her winnings.

At the time, I didn’t think much about it, except that I was little jealous she got to go to Europe. It was just one of those odd little things Nikki did by herself and didn’t really talk about. With the hindsight of several years, I am now in awe of Nikki. Gambling— and winning! – as a 17-year-old female in our small town was pretty bad ass.

I wish I had let Nikki influence me more as a teenager, when I was impressionable and more likely to emulate her confidence and healthy risk-taking. Now, with a clearer view of things, maybe I could glean some inspiration from her adventures.

Thanks to Lu, the suggestion of going to a nearby casino was percolating in my mind. What better way to channel my inner Nikki than try my hand at a poker table?

I’ve never been to Vegas, or even a casino, but that doesn’t mean I’m so naive to believe that I can just walk into a casino and win my first hand of poker – or win at any game for that matter. Going to Blackhawk wouldn’t be about gambling my way to an international trip as Nikki had done; it would be about challenging myself to dabble in the world of gaming while maintaining an air of confidence, and maybe even a little mystique. It would be about modeling the behavior of a really cool woman.

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Mission: Be Stylish

4 Feb

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I’m sprawled out on the floor of the Mystery Abode living room, surrounded by piles of gathered intelligence. I stare at the pages scattered on my floor with a furrowed brow. I know the answer lies in here somewhere. I just have to find it.

In a small black notebook, I scribble notes for myself. Observations to take with me, into the field. A jumbled report on seasonal colors, hemline lengths and silhouettes. Accessories and fabrics. I’m on a hunt. A mission, if you will. Jenny G: International Woman of Mystery is going dress shopping.

A funny thing has happened since moving to Denver. Despite the International Woman of Mystery’s innate desire to exude personal style, it seems a bit of the opposite has happened. I’ve fallen into the attire trap that is Midwestern casual. I’ve assimilated to the ways of jeans and t-shirts and mismatched layers of warmth. It’s an easy mode to default to, by virtue of cold winter days and a local culture that accepts it as the norm. However, if I want to persist in my transformation to worldly ingénue, I’ll need to up my fashion game.

So here I am, armed with old back issues of my favorite fashion magazines and a couple of Pinterest boards. Determined that I will find some new adornment to set the tone. My means are somewhat modest. Most of my extra income these days is being socked away in the travel fund. Exotic adventures on the distant horizon, I thought I might try to find some local inspiration instead. The IWOM’s arsenal is a multifaceted one, but by my estimation, it should include one truly great dress. I’ll choose the outfit and then surely adventure will follow.

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