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The Best Of 25

Happy Birthday, birthday party, birthday celebration, work party, office party, surprise, surprise party

Well I have been 26 for almost an entire day now, and during this time I was able to talk to my grandfather on Skype and see that he is doing relatively well, got my first paycheck from work, and received news that I got a VIP table at a hot new bar for my birthday party!! In my opinion I’d say 26 is shaping up to be pretty freaking fantastic so far!!! However, since 26 is still so new to me, and I have the last year so fresh in my mind, I thought I’d take a moment to highlight the most memorable events of year 25!

Moving on, and moving up! 

When I turned 25 I was living in a very bad situation. I was living in a gorgeous, stunning, brand new apartment that I could take no enjoyment from due to the fact that I was surrounded by dishonest, disrespectful, and all around miserable roommates (except for one who I am still happy to call a friend of mine to this day). Shortly after my birthday I realized that this was no longer a healthy situation for me, and I made the decision to break my lease and move onwards and upwards! And so I did just that… LITERALLY! I found a great apartment in my same building, only instead of being on the 8th floor I was now on the 28th floor with two amazing girls (and a dog) who I love dearly! My world changed for the better the day that I left, and I’ve never been happier!

My roommate Jen!

My roommate Jen!

My roommate Megan!

My roommate Megan!

My canine roommate Bella!

My canine roommate Bella!

My beautiful room in my gorgeous apartment!

My beautiful room in my gorgeous apartment!

Attending my FIRST Israeli wedding

Since moving to Israel I have done everything I can to ensure that I would have whirlwinds of new experiences. I love trying new things, going new places, and, most importantly, experiencing new cultures. I think this is one of the reasons why I love Stephane so much. He is so different than I am in every way, and though he is Jewish he is apart of a culture that is night and day different from my own. Because of this I have been exposed to so many new and wonderful things, including the opportunity to experience my first ever Israeli wedding! It was everything I imagined and more! Mountains of delicious food, beautiful decorations in a gorgeous hall, hundreds of family members, and really, really, really good Middle Eastern music! It was pure magic, and it got me so excited for the day when I will have a similar wedding and officially (and legitimately) become a member of the Sephardic community! I’m going through a process of “sephardification” as I like to call it :-)!

Stephane and I under the canopy at his cousins wedding!

Stephane and I under the canopy at his cousins wedding!

Completing Ulpan

In the past I have been the kind of person who starts things, but has difficulty finishing them. Because of this it was a huge accomplishment when I finished my 5 month, highly intensive Ulpan (Hebrew language learning) for new immigrants to Israel. It may not seem like a big feat, but I was extremely proud of myself for sticking with it even when I felt like just giving up and self studying. It gave me phenomenal foundations that have allowed me to really develop my skills in both speaking and reading/writing. At the beginning of the Ulpan I could have never imagined that one day I would be sitting in marketing meetings conducted solely in Hebrew!

My Ulpan class with our amazing teacher, Sarah

My Ulpan class with our amazing teacher, Sarah

Explorations in the kitchen

25 was a big year in terms of trying new things! Cooking was one of them! Everyone in my family has wonderful talents in the kitchen, including my uncle who is a downright artist when it comes to food, so I felt there was a good, biological, genetic chance that I inherited some kind of cooking gene. Once I moved in with the girls I actually had a great, clean kitchen that I could experiment in, and with the addition of having a boyfriend to cook for I set to work! One of my more memorable dishes was on Valentine’s day when I cooked orange glazed cornish hens! Since starting this cooking venture I have found my specialties to be goat cheese lasagna, beer battered fish tacos with my special apple cider vinegar coleslaw, and chocolate chip cookie brownies! Don’t underestimate my sandwich making ability, however, as I make a pretty mean pastrami sandwich as well! 

Home made chocolate covered strawberries!

Home made chocolate covered strawberries!

My first real creative food creation! It tasted really yummy!

My first real creative food creation! It tasted really yummy!

The final product!

The final product!

He liked it so he put a ring on it

Well it’s not an engagement ring yet but it was a very big gesture for Stephane to give me my gorgeous, beautiful “promise” ring (or pre engagement bling as I like to call it). It was such a special moment, enhanced by the fact that Stephane kept it fun and light, like most things that he does. Like I said before, nothing is too serious with us, so even a serious gesture like the giving of this ring, was done in such a lighthearted fun way!

My beautiful ring!!!

My beautiful ring!!!

It's just so pretty!

It’s just so pretty!

Attending the ONLY Cal football win of the season 

For those of you who know me, you know I’m a die hard football fan. I’m such a fan, in fact, that I even have my school’s logo tattooed on my hip. I literally, at one point, bled blue and gold! My football fanaticism is a huge part of what makes me “me”, so I was very excited when I could share that part of my life with Stephane. When he visited me in California I ensured we found time to go see a CAL football game in person. It had been almost two years since I had seen a game live so I was craving some one on one time with my bears as well… Unfortunately this was the worst season I have ever seen… We couldn’t win a game… EXCEPT for the game that Stephane and I attended. That was Cal’s only win of the season, and I was so honored that I could be there with my love, sitting in our brand new, gorgeous stadium!

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Becoming a member of StartUp Nation

Getting hired to be the Community/Social Media manager at PowToon Ltd. was one of the greatest things to happen to me this year. Tel Aviv is the city of Start Ups, and I am honored to say I am now apart of that thriving community. I am working for an amazing company that has no where to go but up. It is a fun, crazy, wild, environment, and I love every second that I’m there! It’s really special to be apart of something in its infancy, and know that you are playing a part in contributing to its growth and success. I work with very special people who are really, really wonderful. After only a month I already feel so at home there, and they really do all that they can to make sure there is a very “family” like feel in the office. In fact, in the absence of my own family and close friends, they made sure I felt very loved on my birthday yesterday and threw me a surprise party at the office! PowToon is a phenomenal company and I feel very honored to be a member of this team!

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My office birthday party!

My office birthday party!

Watching 2 of my best friends get engaged, and another 2 get married! 

25 was the year of love for so many of my dear friends, and I couldn’t be happier for each and every one of them! I was able to see my best Israeli girlfriend, Sarah, marry the love of her life in a beautiful ceremony in Jerusalem, I felt like I was front and center when my best childhood friend, Christy, became engaged to her AMAZING fiancé Ryan (who is so special and perfect for her),  I got to see one of my best college friends, Keri, become engaged to her boyfriend who is nothing short of a match made in heaven for her, and I was able to be home for a dear friend of mine from BBYO, Ashley, when she married her long time boyfriend! All four of these women mean so much to me, and are so special, and their happiness brings me so much joy! It’s scary to think that we are all growing up so fast, but it is comforting to know that they have all found wonderful partners to share in this journey with them!

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Sarah and Shai's wedding!

Sarah and Shai’s wedding!

Ashley and Steven's wedding!

Ashley and Steven’s wedding!

Keri and her finace

Keri and her finace

Christy and Ryan are engaged!!!

Christy and Ryan are engaged!!!

Christy's gorgeous ring!

Christy’s gorgeous ring!

Becoming a Mommy! 

The day Jasper came home to me was one of the best days of my life. He was so small and sick when my roommate first brought him home, and to know that I nurtured and cared for him so that he could grow into the amazing dog that he is today, is so special. Having Jasper was one of the most challenging things I have ever done, and the worry that comes with being responsible for another life is indescribable. But it was also one of the best, and most special times in my life, and I have never been more happy to have serious responsibility. The unconditional love of an animal is beyond description, and he has brought more joy into my life than almost anything. he is perfection and I love him more than I do myself. He will always be my baby no matter the circumstances, and I’m so thankful he was brought into my life! Please also enjoy these highly entertaining videos featuring the fantastic talents of Jasper!

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Giving Jasper the greatest gift of all 

Sacrifice is never easy, and selflessness is even harder when it comes to giving up something that is apart of you, but when you love someone so much, there is no option but doing what is best for them; your wants and needs become insignificant. With my 9-10 hour a day work schedule, and the fact that Jasper was outgrowing my very tiny room, he was in a very bad living situation here. He was locked up, alone, for most of the day, and though I devoted every free moment to him, I didn’t feel it was enough. It wasn’t enough… The look on his face every time I left the house was more than I could bear, and I couldn’t give him the kind of life I wanted him to have. He needed a large space to move and feel free, he needed attention, and stimulation, and a house where he didn’t have to be restricted because there were other dogs who didn’t get along with him. After much thought I knew the best thing would be to find him a situation where he could have it all; he could have me in his life and a great home where he would get all of the love and attention he needed and deserved. A miracle of the grandest proportion occurred and my roommates sister (who has another dog) decided to take Jasper to primarily live with her. I get to see him on many weekends and when he is not with me he is enjoying a huge apartment, two balconies with grass, a puppy brother, and mommy, and a daddy who are giving him a great life. It was the hardest decision I have ever made but I know he is happy and I still get to see him whenever I want!

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Stephane meeting my family 

The absolute best moment of my 25th year of life was when Stephane arrived in California and was able to meet my whole family (especially my grandfather). It was so important for me to have my family meet this person who was so special to me, and at the same time it was so important for me to have Stephane meet the people who made me the person I am today. I was a collision of both of my worlds- my world in Israel and my world in the United States- and it was magical. I think the most special part of Stephane’s visit was the relationship he and my grandfather built with one another. My Zayde is perhaps the most special person in the world, and the fact that he and Stephane bonded like they did made me so happy. They are truly kindred spirits, and I see so many of the wonderful qualities my grandfather possesses in Stephane. It was a necessary and fantastic visit with my family, and I hope we can both make it home to see them again soon!

Stay tuned for a post about my big birthday celebration soon!

Until we meet again <3,

Jordana Simone

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