I will admit to you here that I often see characteristics in myself that resemble Leslie Knope. I am optimistic, quirky, detail oriented, a light hearted feminist and overall good friend. I love serving my community with a fundraiser or town hall meeting (although I have never planned an event with a Shetland pony like Little Sebastian). If at this point you are unsure who I am talking about head to your streaming device and search Parks and Recreation.

So why am I talking about this show from way back in 2015? Because of one very important holiday that is almost here! “Galentine’s Day”!

Galentine’s Day

Galentine’s Day is on February 13th, right before Valentine’s Day. The term got popular from “Parks and Recreation,” where Leslie Knope, played by Amy Poehler, celebrates it with her female friends. It’s a day for women to come together, appreciate each other, share love and support, and strengthen friendships. The focus is on platonic relationships and the importance of female friendships, not just romantic ones.

Sure, it’s a made-up holiday, but actually aren’t holidays made up?


Growing up Valentine’s Day was a fun family holiday. My mom would save the heart shaped chocolate boxes from the year before and make cute picnic lunches in them. We would have heart shaped food for dinner, often meatloaf and potatoes. My Dad always brought us the kids See’s Candy boxes and we all exchanged small hand written cards and words of love. When I got older and started dating, I wanted the big fancy restaurant, jewelry and roses. I remember one Valentine’s Day I wanted all of that so badly the pressure was on to make sure it was perfect and I was worried my boyfriend wouldn’t plan exactly what I wanted! I look back now and think “poor guy”. He did a good job by the way! He’s my ex…but I digress.

As a mom myself I have started the same traditions I had growing up. No pressure on my partner to be overly romantic, it’s a day of family fun and sharing love. I have spent the past few years at a classroom party at my son’s school and making heart shaped pizzas for dinner. Which I greatly enjoy.


However, the other day while in the shower, where I do my best thinking, Galentine’s Day popped into my head, that is when I realized…I don’t see my girlfriends as often as I should. So I sent a group text! “Galentine’s Day, let’s do it!” And plans are made.

I realized I need it more than ever, a chance to hang out, laugh, enjoy food without cutting someone else’s food first, time to talk and relax. Shout out and thank you Leslie Knope for promoting the idea that love and appreciation extend beyond romantic relationships, and the reminder that friendships are valuable and should be celebrated. It emphasizes the importance of nurturing and cherishing all meaningful connections in our lives, including those with our closest friends. Message me below if you want to join me and the girls for Galentine’s Day!

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Jessica Brandon
Jessica moved to Ventura less than three years ago from San Diego, where she lived for the past 20 years. Married in 2004 she began a fertility journey to start the family she always dreamed of. In 2007 she lost her husband to a chronic illness. For the next 8 years, now single, she focused on her career and the hope of being a mother someday. Six months before her 40th birthday she decided to manifest her own destiny and she became a Foster parent. Her son Luke (now 7) was placed with her at 14 months old and adopted when he was 4. Once in Ventura Jessica met her partner James, a retired Dermatologist. They dated and quickly became a blended family with James' two adult children Christa and Harrison. In October of 2021 the family received a surprise, Luke had a full biological sister who was 3 days old and she needed a home. Five days later they picked up a sweet tiny girl Ella (22 months) who will, hopefully, be adopted very soon. Jessica has a full-time career as a fundraising events planner, helping nonprofits fulfill their missions with the vital funds needed. She is a singer, and former musical theatre director, but only performs lullabies these days. Her family can be found most Saturdays at the Downtown Farmers Market, lunching at Peirano’s or at the Harbor feeding the birds and having ice cream on a hot day...or any day really.


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