Socially Distant Surf Contest!

“Everyone wants to know the story behind the stories.” -Kramer

For any of my friends and pals who follow along on my Instagram…. Here’s a little bit behind why my previous (and more to come) onslaught of stories include asking people to help me win a surfboard via Instagram! And why this might be the only surf contest I could ever come close to winning 😂🤣.

It’s socially distanced by default cause it’s all on social media! Head here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CQyKkN7HK… to check out @mamalasurf on IG to like my photo…

Costa Rica Clouds! (Like this Photo on @mamalasurf’s Instagram profile to help me win!)

and anyone else’s surf photos… honestly who ever wins is gonna be stoked out of their mind and it’s kinda cool that gets to happen to someone!

The contest ends August 20th… Two days after my birthday, YIPPPPEEEE!!

Mental Health matters, and the ocean is my potion (OMG, did I just make that up!?!).

I don’t surf to be the best, I surf to feel alive!

I surf because I love it and for my own mental health, and I’m pretty sure all these rad women feel the same way too! Good luck, ladies!

And also please like my photo 😂 https://www.instagram.com/p/CQyKkN7HK…

(Contest takes place on Instagram… Directions included in video for my older generation friends!)

The DIY Comedy Special

Hi everyone!

Well, it’s been a loooong time since I’ve performed comedy, like a long time. Instead of waiting for Covid to clear or Netflix to notice me, I decided to take matters into my own hands and do it myself… make my own comedy special!

It felt appropriate to just go ahead and title it the DIY comedy special since crafting and DIY projects are how I navigated a year of canceled shows and universal chaos (and since I’m literally doing it all myself… you know how they say “it’s all about who you know”? I know no one).

And sooooo… This is it… the moment everyone (mostly my mom and a select few family members, but that’s okay 😂) have been waiting for… The DIY COMEDY SPECIAL! I spent the last six months working on this, and I had so much fun creating it with the hopes that it entertains you, as well as reminds you of some classic entertainment that is already out there!

It will be a live premiere so we’ll watch in real time, hope you can join us! May 28, 2021 6pm PST, 9pm EST! You can have YouTube send you a reminder for showtime! Also be sure to watch in HD or 4K for better quality!

Until then, if you haven’t yet, please consider going back to watch Trailer #4 to give you an idea of the audience and Trailer #5, featuring my manager going over all the pre-show stuff!

You can watch them here:

Trailer #4: The Assistant

Trailer #5: The Manager

And since the show is free, you can’t have a free comedy show without a merch table! But since this isn’t in-person and I don’t have a table… I got some online shops with prints, tees, and even original artwork!

Thanks for taking the time to poke around and support the creative arts!

MERCH SHOPS!!!!!!

The New Etsy Shop with JJ’s original artwork (30-40% off discount this weekend only) AND in honor if the DIY Comedy spacial, use promo code DIYCOMEDY for an extra 10% off!: https://www.etsy.com/shop/JJBarrowsArt

JJ’s comedy tee shirts and art prints: https://www.teepublic.com/user/jj-bar…

JJ’s art products including apparel, prints, towels, bedding, clocks, etc… : https://society6.com/jjbarrows

JJ’s Leggings, or as Mr. Manager calls them… “Pretty Little Painted Pants!”: https://society6.com/jjbarrows/leggings

You can also simply donate here: https://itscalledaspade.blog/donate/

**************************

As a reminder, this is purely for entertainment, I’m not making any money off this video, any ad revenue goes to the copyright holders on YouTube. I included footage and music that I enjoy and wanted to share it with purely that in mind… enjoyment (especially after such a tough year!). No copyright infringement was intended.

Deleted Pages: Childhood Home

In the same way that movies have deleted scenes, so do books have deleted pages and passages that got rifled out through the editing process. I want to occasionally share some thoughts that lingered for a while in between the pages of my book “it’s called a spade,” but for one reason or another, didn’t quite make it to publication.

Today’s passage is about my childhood home, and while I was able to process some of it in my book, I think perhaps I found a better way to say it than this original copy that felt more like being much too old for pouting. Perhaps that’s okay though, perhaps now that I’m five years older, I can let my younger self have the permission she felt she needed to pout… even if that younger self was actually 32.

I think we’re always in the process of growing, even once we’re “grown up,” and I think that’s okay as life throws us curve balls we aren’t always prepared for. I think 2020 is a great example of a curve ball for which none of us were prepared for.

For now, a deleted page that remains a memory I am finally at peace with.

The Barrows Bunch (Please note the matching tee shirts! Ahh to be naive again!)

It feels like my childhood home is being ripped right out from under me. It is only now at 32 that I am beginning to accept I won’t get my childhood back. I’ve realized it long before now, but accepting it is a whole different ballgame I wasn’t prepared to play. In many ways I don’t want my childhood back, perhaps parts of it, like the innocence, the pizza parties, the beach games and make believe worlds in the woods behind our house, but other parts of it I’m quite glad I don’t have to relive. And even though I know time travel to be as silly as Kanye being president, part of me deep down has always hoped I could go back and do things differently.

“If only I had known then what I know now,” who hasn’t thought this? I’m sure there’s a country song or jazz ditty with this line in it. I’ve held onto this thought so tightly that for quite some time I have always thought things were going to be different. I’ve always thought I would get a second chance, not realizing adulthood was my second chance. I pay my own bills and drive my own car and complain about the government and do all the things that adults do now, but outside of engaging in those adult responsibilities, I don’t feel like an adult. I don’t know what an adult is supposed to feel like. It is safe to say that up until this morning I have been functioning very much like a child, waiting for everything to turn out right, wanting someone else to do everything for me and hoping for a better ending to the story.

I’m helping my mother pack up the place we called home for over 30 years and it dawned on me this morning as I laid on the couch that we weren’t playing pretend and we weren’t going to get our house back. Much like my childhood, the place I called home for so long is going to be a thing of the past.

Perhaps I only just now realized I wasn’t going to get my second chance at doing things all over again because my house was the last thing left from my childhood still lingering in the present. I knew I could always go back home no matter where I was or how hard things got, and home was the physical location of the house I grew up in.

Some people and plaques say that home is where the heart is, or where you park it, or where you make it. Some people say home isn’t a place but a people. I agree with all of those things, sort of, but mostly because I know it in my head to be true, not because I feel it. Home has always been the house at the end of Gray Mans Loop in Pawleys Island, SC because it is the only home I have ever lived in. And while it might be the people inside the house who make up the home, what do you do when the people split up and go live different places?

My siblings all grew up and moved away, which is to be expected of siblings, but when my mother and father split up after 30 years of marriage, my family didn’t feel like home anymore, mostly because none of it was familiar to me. The only thing that remained stable after my parents split was the house I grew up in, and so it remained home even after the people in it came and went. 

Even though I moved out of the house after high school, it was always there, always an option, always a safe place to retreat to. I could always run home. Knowing it would always be there also meant I never actually went there. It was more of a last resort, especially after my parents split up. It’s weird to walk into a familiar place with a new vibe. It’s confusing to look around and recognize everything but feel nothing. It’s confusing to be at home and not feel at home no matter where you go. 

—————————–


To be honest, that was as far as I got in that thought process, and I’m still not sure I have resolve for it. I am at peace with it, but I don’t necessarily have any more answers now than I did then.

Time has allowed me to adjust to my new normal and it no longer hurts the way it used to. There are still moments that sting from time to time, but I’ve realized that’s okay. Nothing in this world is as it was intended to be and sometimes we will feel the sting of it… some worse than others. I have no remedies or how-to solutions. I have no motivational quotes for you or I to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. Perhaps there’s a time for that, I honestly don’t know. I just know that sometimes life kinda sucks. It’s still beautiful, but it doesn’t always feel that way.

Today, I’m good (I think I’m technically supposed to say “well,” but I like using “good,” I hate when people correct that!). And I suppose that’s all I need for right now. My hope is that you are good too, and that you recognize that simple state of being good as a gift.

And if you aren’t, I hope good times are ahead… trust that they are. This life isn’t all bad (even if it feels that way sometimes).

“it’s called a spade” can be purchased at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com

Dolly Party

Yesterday was Dolly Parton’s Birthday. I know this because it’s just long enough after Christmas to still feel comforted by your Christmas decorations being up, but not too long after that you feel lazy for not having taken them down yet.

I usually take down my Christmas decorations the same time as Dolly… on her birthday. I blast Dolly’s Christmas album and it makes taking the tree down a little more enjoyable instead of feeling like the spirit of Christmas is dying and we’re about to go back to the real world of people hating each other.

I normally wouldn’t be that pessimistic, but after 2020 ended and 2021 didn’t get off to the best start, I’m tired of looking on the bright side. Mostly I’m just tired. I think everyone is.

And yet, knowing we all have moments of feeling too tired to encourage others (even Dolly), I’m grateful for things like technology where words can be recorded, saved and replayed at a later date, a date when everyone’s too tired to come up with more encouragement and instead can just read or hit play and remember the words of someone who encouraged them once before.

I was too tired to take my tree down yesterday. I didn’t play Dolly’s Christmas album, but I did play her greatest hits and was reminded that bullies don’t get far in life, women are stronger than anyone thinks, and you can’t keep wasting time… you gotta get to livin!

While Dolly may not be everyone’s cup of tea (neither am I, and WHO IS anyway?), to me, she’s someone who inspires people to be unabashedly themselves, change as they see fit, and love others no matter how different. For that, she deserves a cake (at the very least)!

I don’t usually bake her a birthday cake every year, but I was inspired to yesterday morning as I saw my empty egg carton sitting upside down in my recycle bin. I’m not quite sure what it says about the way my mind works, but upon looking at said egg carton, I thought to myself, “Omg, Dolly!”

Yea, I’m not quite sure how it all happened, and the fact that it was perfect timing to have finished off a carton of eggs on Dolly’s birthday… but there she is “in all her glory,” as my once 13-year old brother would have said.

My sister and I had a Dolly Party last night, which these days is a Watch Party on Amazon showing 9 to 5. Like I said, I’m grateful for technology, especially during a pandemic that allows my sister and I to still hang out and watch movies together.

While watching 9 to 5, we commented on how different things are today than they were back then, glad for the progress but knowing we (as humanity) still have a ways to go. It was nice to just be, to be silly and careless, and bake a cake just for fun. I’m grateful for the moments I get to have like this.

I’m still a little tired, but mostly rested and finally ready to take the tree down. Today, January 20th, feels like a good day for change.

Silly as it may be to celebrate a woman’s birthday who doesn’t even know me, it was a little breath of fresh air to be celebrating something instead of grieving so much loss that the year 2020 brought. The celebration doesn’t cancel out the loss, but the loss doesn’t have to be reason not to celebrate life’s big and little accomplishments. There are many things in life to still celebrate, many more things than Dolly’s birthday, but that seemed like a great place to start.

I’m genuinely grateful for a presence like Dolly in the world. I’m grateful for women, no matter how different, who blaze trails for those of us who wonder where we fit in life. 

I’m grateful and tired and concerned and curious and hopeful and worried and excited and nervous and happy and sad and anxious and all the things that life throws at us.

Happy Birthday, Dolly! 75 years is quite an accomplishment. Making this cake sure gave me a bunch of laughs, and laughs is what I needed right now!

Hoping everyone gets to do a few things this year just for the fun of it.

💖🎉💖

jj

You can order my Holly Dolly Christmas design at www.teepubic.com/user/jj-barrows

It’s Just A Feeling with Brian Apprille (Part 2)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-hv9zv-eda844

Part 2 with Brian Apprille (be sure to check out last week’s episode before listening to this one… at least for context’s sake, or not if you prefer to be confused 😀 )

This week Brian continues his story of recovery from facial paralysis, crippling depression and eventually getting back onstage… including his epic Simpsons audition! 

homer_29791m.jpg

 

Per last week:

Brian Apprille is a stand-up comedian, voice actor, and motivational speaker who performs across America for comedy clubs, businesses, churches, and any audience who wants to laugh or hear an inspiring story.

Even critics (and JJ) describe Brian as “brilliantly entertaining,” and “coast-to-coast funny!” Brian is best known for his high-energy comedy and impressions; he has been dubbed “The Man with A Thousand Voices” and throughout his performances slips between Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin, Alan Rickman and hundreds of other characters both real-life and animated.

Brian’s career took a turn for the serious in 2009 when he developed facial paralysis as a result of a rare disease called Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. In today’s episode, we talk about how he found humor in the midst of his challenges and got back on the stage after over a year of fighting Ramsay Hunt Syndrome’s debilitating symptoms and severe depression.

Now an activist and a comic at once, Brian raises awareness of facial paralysis and inspires hope in fellow sufferers with plenty of belly-laugh healing along the way. He founded San Diego’s first facial paralysis support group and has appeared on NBC’s Inspiring San Diego to share his story. You can listen to the stories of notable facial paralysis survivors like Mary Jo Buttafuoco and WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross on Brian’s podcast, Unique Smiles: The Facial Paralysis Podcast.

You can find Brian on Social Media as @comedybrian, as well as hosting his comedy podcast: Uncommon Comedy, available where all podcasts are available (or just a click of the Uncommon Comedy button!)

To help Brian with his facial paralysis surgery, please visit:  https://gf.me/u/yxvwwg 

Tune_into_The_Jest_of_It_copybcu62.jpg

More Comedy!? Check out drybarcomedy.com/jjb for JJ’s stand up special, and keep an eye out for Brian’s coming soon! 

 

It’s Just A Feeling with Brian Apprille (Part 1)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-4maky-ebe3fe

BRIAN2.jpg

Brian Apprille is a stand-up comedian, voice actor, and motivational speaker who performs across America for comedy clubs, businesses, churches, and any audience who wants to laugh or hear an inspiring story.

Even critics (and JJ) describe Brian as “brilliantly entertaining,” and “coast-to-coast funny!” Brian is best known for his high-energy comedy and impressions; he has been dubbed “The Man with A Thousand Voices” and throughout his performances slips between Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin, Alan Rickman and hundreds of other characters both real-life and animated.

Brian’s career took a turn for the serious in 2009 when he developed facial paralysis as a result of a rare disease called Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. In today’s episode, we talk about how he found humor in the midst of his challenges and got back on the stage after over a year of fighting Ramsay Hunt Syndrome’s debilitating symptoms and severe depression.

As mental health advocates, we care deeply about discussing mental health issues and raising awareness, and are excited and grateful to have had this time to sit down with Brian. 

Now an activist and a comic at once, Brian raises awareness of facial paralysis and inspires hope in fellow sufferers with plenty of belly-laugh healing along the way. He founded San Diego’s first facial paralysis support group and has appeared on NBC’s Inspiring San Diego to share his story. You can listen to the stories of notable facial paralysis survivors like Mary Jo Buttafuoco and WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross on Brian’s podcast, Unique Smiles: The Facial Paralysis Podcast.

You can find Brian on Social Media as @comedybrian, as well as hosting his comedy podcast: Uncommon Comedy, available where all podcasts are available (or just a click of the Uncommon Comedy button!)

To help Brian with his facial paralysis surgery, please visit:  https://gf.me/u/yxvwwg 

 

 

 

Lemon Juice with Melissa Lima

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-5f2s4-e9eff6

Born in Los Angeles but raised in New Hampshire by immigrant parents, Lima experienced the power of stories through her parents as they tell her about their homeland of Guatemala. As her parents learned how to speak English through watching television, Lima’s fond memories of family times were spent gathering around the TV to bond over sitcom shows, telenovelas and film. 

With her professional background being in higher education and the nonprofit sector, Lima produced 26+ comedy shows in Santa Barbara with LA based Don’t Tell Comedy (pre-COVID).

Through her love of entertainment and Latin (i.e.salsa) dancing, Lima continues to expand her creativity by exploring comedy, storytelling and writing. One day she hopes to follow in the footsteps of Mindy Kahling and Phoebe Waller Bridge to write and create television that tells the stories of the heart of humanity and the power of representation.

This was our first recorded episode, a huge thanks to Melissa Lima for navigating unknown territory with us, sharing a story of her own, and providing necessary insight to a successful podcast, like “yes, you should definitely have outro music!”
 
Tune in this episode to hear one of Lima’s original stories about when life decides to chuck lemons at you! (2020, anyone!?)
 
LIMA_LEMON_JUICE_copybqawu.jpg
 
Find Lima on Instagram: LIMA ON IG
 
Tune into Lima’s playlists on Spotify: LIMA’S JAMS! 
 
Find this week’s graphics in prints and products in: JJ’S ART SHOP!
 
leggs.jpeg fancy-on-the-inside-travel-mugs.jpeg
fancy-on-the-inside-beach-towels.jpeg mask.jpeg
 
Find us on Instagram for more current updates and stories!!
 

 

Hope In Waiting with Lisa Gilbert (Part 2)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-5y837-e8e406

Lisa Gilbert is back, fresh off of our virtual comedy show and picking up where we left off last week. After her own story of growing up in foster care, being adopted by a single mother, and eventually marrying later in life and giving birth to TRIPLETS!!… Lisa shares with us this week about what it’s like to raise kids in the current climate of racial tension, and her own story and family history of growing up bi-racial, being raised in a white family, marrying into a black family and addressing the dynamics and differences of each, yet how to find common ground and unity through the art of listening. 

Our personal favorite take away from Lisa this week: “be willing to have a learner position instead of a judgement position.”

Find Lisa on Instagram @lisagilbertcomedy, and be sure to tune into her Facebook Live show every Sunday night at 8pm PST “I Feel Like a Bad Mom.” 

lisa_momaq1hw.jpg

You can watch our episodes on YouTube at THE JEST OF IT YOUTUBE CHANNEL!

Find us on Instagram for fun updates and clips of each guest: THE JEST OF IT INSTA!

IMG_7029.jpeg

Find merch for The Jest of it Podcast and JJ’s art and comedy over at: JJ’s Artdy Shop! (Art+Comedy= Artdy!)

117223325_10164108053080092_3429658762921133092_o.jpg

Hope In Waiting with Lisa Gilbert (Part 1)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-53scy-e7e2fa

This week, Comedian, Social Worker and recent Home School Teacher (thanks to Corona), Lisa Gilbert, shares her story of growing up in foster care, being adopted by a single mom, and finally becoming a mother herself… to triplets(!!) at the age of 44. In this first part of two episodes, Lisa has a lot to say about having hope in the midst of waiting… whatever it is you may be waiting for.

Lisa Gilbert and The Jest of It host, JJ Barrows, perform live comedy with Nowhere Comedy Club this Sunday night, August 23rd, 2020 5pm PST!

Tickets available at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/jj-barrows-live-stand-up-comedy-tickets-116076928217

Be sure to check out Lisa on Facebook Live every Sunday Night for her show “I Feel Like A Bad Mom” 8pm Eastern.

Find her on Instagram at @lisagilbertcomedy  https://www.instagram.com/lisagilbertcomedy

Third World Memories with Maria Alexander

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-rdz48-e6a7b9

Maria Fuentes Alexander grew up fast, raising her 4 siblings in poverty and a time of war in El Salvador. At only 10 years old, her parents set off for America to prepare a new place to them all to call home.

 

Maria shares openly for the first time in public, what is was like to grow up as a lonely child of war, dreaming of an America with golden streets and miracle-producing microwaves. With her arrival in America came relief, but also great disappointments… like chicken sandwiches. 

 

Now raising a son of her own on a farm in Indiana, Maria is able to laugh, enjoy life and express gratitude for where she has come from. Her story serves as her compass for how to raise a son in America with the grit of a third world immigrant. 

 

——–

Added Notes and Upcoming events:

Upcoming live virtual comedy show!! August 23rd, 5pm PST, Lisa Gilbert (an upcoming guest) and I will be performing comedy via zoom! My first attempt in this pandemic world! Join in the awkward fun and get tickets at: 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/jj-barrows-live-stand-up-comedy-tickets-116076928217