10 Questions with Jillian of Coffee, Light & Sweet
I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled onto Jillian’s blog, Coffee, Light & Sweet, but I’m pretty sure it was after she gave a tip for stretching out new shoes that went viral on Pinterest. It took me a couple months of following her great DIYS, practical-yet-delicious recipes and adventures with her friends to realize that she lives in Astoria too! Now I’m extra hooked on seeing what she’s up to because I’m also getting the scoop on what’s going on in my own town. Bonus!! Hope you enjoy meeting the sweet and funny Jillian, and on a purely shallow note…how freakin’ pretty is this girl??
Name? Jillian. Or Jill, Jilly, Jilly Beans, Jilly Donuts, Jilly Jackson or Silly Jilly. You can call me anything!
Where did you grow up? Brooklyn, NY. It was mostly an Italian neighborhood, so pizzerias and bakeries were everywhere. This has likely contributed to the big love for carbs that I have today.
I’m hungry and I live down the street from you. Where should I go in Astoria? There are too many to name! But if I’m narrowing it down, it has to be Fatty’s for the deliciously greasy brunch. For dinner, I love the modern Mediterranean restaurant Brick for its impeccable service, beautiful dining space and versatility of the menu. Most importantly, the food is wonderful! Another dinner spot I love and for when I’m feeling a little more adventurous is the not-your-average Greek restaurant MP Taverna.
They have this amazing octopus salad that can hook even the seafood-averse (my boyfriend is proof of this). For happy hour, Sweet Afton has just the right vibe and prices. Non-food or drink related: Astoria Park is great for strolling at sunset and the recently opened Buffalo Exchange has an amazing selection of thrift store duds.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do? Italy. For the food, of course! Also for the culture and gorgeous landscapes and beaches. I think a vacation in Italy would be the perfect mix of relaxation and exploration.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A professional jazz dancer. I attended a local dance school for five years and always looked up to the older girls who were in the “senior company” classes. They were beautiful and always looked like stars on the stage! I’d spend hours watching the recital videos, trying to emulate their choreography.
What do you do for a living now? Honestly, I wouldn’t even know how to explain it and I’d probably bore you to tears in the process. So I’ll say this: I work in a company where I use the exciting words ‘fund changes’, ‘state regulations’ and ‘Section B questionnaires’ on a regular basis. I mostly like my job. I love my direct manager, who I consider more a friend. I have a pretty sweet schedule and a regular paycheck. Not much to complain about!
What was the worst job you ever had? For my first job at 17, I was a sales associate at a women’s clothing store in Brooklyn. My first day was spent managing the fitting rooms. A woman who had just had genital reassignment surgery came out of the room panicked because she couldn’t get her jeans off. Something about the surgery bandages being in the way. She asked me to help pull down her pants and hold her bandages down so that they wouldn’t peel off. I was shocked and obviously not wanting to touch a crotch bandage (or undress a stranger, for that matter) so I just said, “Uh…I don’t know what you want me to do!”. That first night pretty much shaped what would be the rest of my experience there. I can’t even begin to tell you how many interesting/wacky/pervy/violent/rude people I encountered while working there.
Describe an average dinner at your house growing up. My dad is the cook in the family, so it was usually him fixing up something for me and my mom. Dinners were usually spent together at the table with a good home-cooked meal, but on occasion I’d eat a Kid Cuisine tv dinner or Spaghetti-Os while watching Doug and/or music videos on my living room floor (good times!).
Tell me your favorite memory. I loved it whenever my grandmother – who is now deceased – laughed. She had the heartiest, most contagious laughter in the world! The littlest things would make her whole body shake and tears would stream down her cheeks. She would place one hand on her chest and the other would be grabbing my arm, almost as if she was holding on for balance. When I think of her laughter, it makes me happy and sad at the same time.
Last day on the planet. Whats your last meal? My mom’s sweet potato casserole and her rice with milk soup (a comforting dish most known in Spanish-speaking countries), a medium rare filet mignon drenched in herb butter, a plain slice from my favorite pizzeria that closed down years ago, a giant double chocolate chip cookie fom Levain bakery and a toasted marshmallow milkshake. I’ll end it with a good, strong shot down the hatch!
If a genie granted you three wishes, what would you ask for? 1. World peace. Really! With our current state of affairs, that’s needed more than anything. Also, I need at least one selfless wish because my next two are purely for me. 2. To be a billionaire. It would be fantastic to never have to work or worry about money again. 3. For Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak. Think of the possibilities! I could get into concerts for free, listen in on private conversations and mess with people for fun.