Back to School: New Arrivals at Gap

It’s August…and as much as I shudder to say it, that means that autumn is right around the corner. Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing crisp leaves crunch beneath my boots and I love baking fresh apple pie – but definitely not as much as I love being drenched with the warmth of sunshine and having BBQs with good friends.

Since autumn is on its way, fall apparel is becoming more and more abundant in stores. I recently spoke with a friend who told me that she bought a whole bunch of new pieces from Gap. I was a bit surprised to hear this as I typically think of Gap as a place to grab a good cotton tee or perhaps a cute chunky sweater so it was my delight when I went on their website and browsed their New Arrivals section.

So. Many. Adorable pieces. The proof is in the pudding…

Mockneck Cable Knit Jacket

comes in Chalk and Green Heather

cn9732788

Tailored Stripe Poplin Shirt

cn9872521

Snakeskin Ankle-Strap Ballet Flats

cn9738957

1969 Denim Western Shirtdress

Ikat Flippy Skirt

cn9760792

Xo

cn9824486

-j.

Weekend Recap: Friends & Family City Adventures

My oh my…what a fantastically busy weekend it was! I had a couple events to attend in the city this past weekend, so I decided to make a bit of a trip out of it and stayed in the city for 24 hours. In those 24 hours I squeezed in so much time with friends and family, and I cannot help but smile about how the weekend went even though I was absolutely exhausted afterwards. It was so worth it!

nyc

Saturday evening I met up with a couple of the girls at The Smith. I had just been there a week prior…so I think it’s fair to say that The Smith is becoming the new Penrose for me (sorry, Penrose!) ! Last week I ordered the Tuna Tartare (fantastic- though it doesn’t say on the menu that it is literally drenched in soy sauce which I’m allergic to. Needless to say, I took tons of Benedryl after eating it) and split the Squash Blossom Flatbread (ah-mazing. I could eat that flatbread all day, every day.) with my friend. On Saturday, I split the Ceviche and the Grilled Chicken Paillard with another friend- both were excellent, especially since the Chicken Paillard had a subtle spice to it.

Sunday was chock full of even more adventures! My friend and I went to brunch at Macondo which was just so darn good. NYC brunches might be the only reason why I love New York- that may or may not be a lie. Rather than have one of the famed unlimited mimosa brunches, my friend and I each had one cocktail. I love spicy drinks so I settled for the Maracuya + Vodka drink with lime juice and jalepeno. Now I only had one, but let me tell you- after having that one, I definitely was craving a second! For my entree I chose the Eggs Benedict. Now, this eggs benny is not your every day eggs benny-  rather than toast or a roll, it is served on yellow corn arepa with smoked salmon and saffron-lemon aioli. I think I died and went to heaven while taking the first bite. First off, the egg was cooked to perfection (and you know that a poorly cooked egg can totally ruin an egg benny), the sweet corn arepa complimented the salty smoked salmon so well and the saffron-lemon aioli tied everything together. I will definitely be going back! Besides the food being terrific, it was such a blast to see a friend who I hadn’t seen in a couple months.

After brunch I headed over to my brother’s apartment for a bridal shower. I didn’t know many people at the event, but I still had a blast. My brother’s girlfriend did such a fantastic job planning and executing the party which was nautically themed, and I’m wishing now that I took more pictures but somehow my phone malfunctioned midway through the afternoon.

IMG_9834

Later, I headed over to my friend’s rooftop to take part in her surprise birthday party which her boyfriend had planned. He is hands-down one of the most kind boyfriends I have ever met! I am so over-the-moon thrilled for my friend, who deserves nothing but the best. It was around dinnertime, so the sun was still shining super bright (how perfect was yesterday?!) but it was cooling down quite a bit. Everyone pitched in and brought something so we had chips and dip and meat galore! So much fun. I wish I could’ve stayed longer, but I was making the drive back out east afterwards so I had to leave a bit early.

kendras This weekend was definitely the perfect way to end a chaotic week…now I can’t wait for next weekend!!

xo

-j.

Late Summer/Early Fall Reading List

I’ll admit- lately, I’ve definitely been slacking off on reading actual books. Magazines? Check. Newspapers? Check. Online articles? Check. Books? Nada! Is that embarrassing or what? I would have gladly named this post “Summer Reading List” but HELLO- it’s August (third!), so I  think that “Late Summer/Early Fall” is a bit more appropriate.

Anyway- I am so thrilled to be making this list as  I strongly believe that lists are the best way to make sure that things get done. Obviously, creating a Summer Reading List was not too far high up on my list of priorities! So here we go…

1. My Paris Dream by Kate Betts

9780679644422

2.  Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

luckiest-girl-alive-9781476789637

3. The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

9780385539586

4. Always Pack a Party Dress by Amanda Brooks

9780399170836

5. The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drake

 9d23c59bce3118c8ee64a51fafbac1a4-1

6. Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht

Leave+Your+Mark+Hi+Res

7. The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenberg

woman-i-wanted-to-be-9781451651546

8. Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin

BetterThanBeforeJacketHC-e1413545062477-197x300

9.  I’ll Drink to That by Betty Halbreich

9780143127703

10. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

978-1-60774-730-7

If there are any others that I should add, I’m all ears!

*all images via publishers or Amazon

The French Press Coffeemaker

What is tall, dark, and very handsome? (hint: it’s not a man!)a-cup-of-coffee-399478_640

It’s my cup of coffee every morning…

There are very few people I know who do not require a jolt of caffeine to wake up in the morning – and for those who don’t require it, I’m relatively sure that you must be some kind of robot! Before doing anything productive, I have a morning ritual of heading to the kitchen to begin brewing coffee with my French Press. I have an aversion to the conventional coffee makers and I’ve only been dreaming of calling myself the proud owner of a sleek Nespresso machine (note to self: add to Christmas list next year) – I swear by my trusty French Press and I am especially proud to say that I’d be able to brew a cup even if New York suffers another hurricane one day.

Although I swear by the French Press I use every single day I’ve been looking for an update. I strongly believe that if you’re going to be seeing and/or using something every day, it should be beautiful! I’ve scoured the internet for some alternatives to the super simple one I currently own which is actually from Ikea… I’m not trying to drop a hint…but the Le Creuset one would definitely go slightly better with my Le Creuset-filled kitchen 🙂

1. Le Creuset French Press (a bit pricey, but oh-so beautiful)

PG8200-1059_full

2. Ovente Flower French Press via All Modern (under $25!)

Home+and+Kitchen+Copper+French+Press+Coffee+Maker

3.  La Cafeterie Classic Chrome French Press via Bed Bath & Beyond (under $35)

31221141956328p4. Hario Olive Wood Double Walled Coffee Press via Seattle Coffee Gear (also a bit pricey, but is superior quality with wood and leather accents that are detachable for washing)

original

5. Frieling Brushed Stainless Steel French Press via All Modern (also a bit pricey, but it is double-walled for insulation)

Brushed+Stainless+Steel+French+Press

XO

-j.

From Pool to Party…We’ve Got You Covered

Ooh la la, this summer is heating up, and I’m cranking up the AC! I cannot believe that tomorrow is the first day of July. Where did June go, and can someone please press pause on this sweet summer of 2015?

As New York finally heats up, I’m putting the finishing touches on my summer wardrobe. I dipped by toes in the ocean the other day, and it seems that it’s warming up (very slightly)…which means that it’s time to get ready for those seemingly never-ending beach/pool days that fade into long summer nights. I’m very much  ready to pull off the “I just stepped off the beach, and now I’m ready for my Rose please and thank you” look and I think these cover-ups are just what the beach bum ordered.

pool-690034_640

5 Cover-Ups that go from Pool to Party

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 7.39.34 AM

Michael Michael Kors Belted Paisley Cover-Up Tunic via Lord & Taylor

I love that this cover-up comes with a belt to accent the waist- the v-neck is also super flattering and I cannot get enough of this print!

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 7.35.04 AMNanette Lepore Solana Beach Tunic via SHOPBOP
Now I’m usually not a fan of pink, but I think that this beach tunic is just oh-so darling. It’s slightly boho which makes it the perfect go-to cover-up for more casual occasions.
8771413_fpxVince Camuto Whimsical Garden Swim Cover Up Maxi Dress via Bloomingdale’s
So easy to wear, and so beautiful especially for the less busty ladies. I love that this dress has pleating in the front and has a higher hem in front to show some extra (tan?) leg.
8755699_fpxLauren Ralph Lauren Crushed Cotton Covers Paige Swim Cover Up Dress via Bloomingdale’s
Ralph Lauren can do no wrong in my book, and this cover up is no exception.
_10417091MinkPink Evening Bloom Cover-Up Maxi Dress via Nordstrom
Just say yes to this dress! The slit on the side gives it that breezy flair, and the cobalt blue and orange floral print of this dress will catch the eyes of everyone.

XO

-j.

5 Things…to Keep in Mind When Traveling with Only a Carry-On

The last couple weeks, I’ve been lusting for a weekend getaway- there are just so many reasons why the summer is an ideal time to pack your bags, hop in a car (or on a train, or on a boat…) and say “Adios!” After all, the weather is ideal in many places (Maine? Alaska? Montana? Vermont?), many people are in a vacation frame of mind anyway, etc. But also…why not? Let’s pack our bags and GO!

As I’ve become more experienced with traveling, I’ve realized that it simplifies things so much when I decide to travel with only a carry-on bag. Sure, it’s not always possible or easy for that matter but paring down to only a carry-on gives me peace of mind. Caution: this is probably not the best idea for someone who buys lots of souvenirs when on vacay!

Here are some things I keep in mind whenever I travel with only a carry-on:

sandals-691364_640

Continue reading

5 Things…to Achieve Inbox Sanity

Once upon a time I was opening one of my inboxes, only to realize that I had over 1,000 unread e-mails- I very nearly ran away from my laptop at that point. I had no system in place to organize my e-mails, so this large number shouldn’t have surprised me yet it did (did I really sign up to receive all those daily e-mails from retail companies? Hmm…perhaps I should join Shopaholics Anonymous!). I felt completely overwhelmed…for about a minute.

As with so many things, I knew that if I swept my inbox organization situation under the rug the problem would not improve by itself. Only I could make sense of my inbox and only I could set it up to be an organizational success for the future. Luckily, e-mail servers have so many organizational tools already built in that it is rather easy to set up a system- it simply takes a bit of time and patience to achieve ultimate inbox sanity.  Here are some tips that I learned along the way…

workspace-766045_640

5 Things…to Achieve Inbox Sanity

1. Sign up for Unroll.Me – This relatively new (and free) service is absolutely genius and a total game-changer when it comes to setting the stage for an organized inbox. I highly recommend signing up for this service, as it will pull all the e-mails that you are currently signed up to receive and you will have the ability to edit your subscriptions afterwards. It will pool e-mail subscriptions that you select, so that you only receive one daily e-mail containing links to the e-mails you want to receive – that way, rather than having dozens of emails sent to you each day (like I used to), you’ll only have one Unroll.Me e-mail. For more information, visit their FAQ Page.

2. Designate specific times to check e-mail – For me, this was (and still is) a bit tricky but I find that when I stick with my routine I feel much calmer about my e-mail situation! I chose three times (6am, 12:30pm, and 6pm) that work with my daily schedule – I used to find that I would be checking my e-mail constantly, and this resulted in lots of wasted time as I scrolled through tempting e-mails (J.Crew! Nordstrom! Pottery Barn! Need I go on?), spent time deleting old e-mails, etc.

3. Consider setting up files– Some people are chronic filers/sorters, like myself, while others prefer to leave their e-mails alone in their Inbox. If you’re a filer/sorter, or a wannabe filer/sorter, find your balance so that you’re not over-filing (surprisingly easy to do) or under-filing. Generally, I find that the following folders cover my bases: Family/Friends, Promotional, Work, Reservations & Confirmations.

4. With files, come rules. Set them! – Oh the fun we can have with organizing an inbox! After setting up files, I’ve set certain rules for e-mails sent by specific people/companies so that once the e-mail is received it is automatically sent to the folder it belongs in. Once you set the rule, that’s it- you don’t have to think about it again. The e-mails will magically appear in the right folder, ready for you to read when you have the time to (which, in my case, is at 6am, 12:30pm or 6pm!)

5. When in doubt, THROW IT OUT– this rule applies to most organizing situations and your inbox is no exception. I remember when my e-mails reached over a thousand and I was terrified that I’d never get that number down. It took quite a long time, but after sorting my e-mails and throwing out the majority I have an inbox organizational system that allow me stay sane!

XO

-j.

The Perfect Fix For A Rainy Day… 5 Darling Rain Coats

What a complete bummer this weekend has turned out to be! I suppose you could say that we’re a bit spoiled here in New York after last weekend was just so gorgeous- it was the first weekend that was perfect for spending some quality time at the beach, after all. I thought that perhaps we’d luck out with just a bit of clouds and no rain but as I was horseback riding this afternoon, I felt the rain drops begin…shortly after my ride was over, it began to pour (what perfect timing!).
             I’ve been on the hunt for a great rain coat for a while now- something that’s classic (of course), a bit fun,  and completely 150% dependable to keep me dry in a downpour. It turns out that there are a ton of darling rain coats out there that fit my idea of a perfect rain coat. How’s a girl to decide on just one?
The Perfect Fix For A Rainy Day... 5 Darling Rain Coats
XO
-j.

5 Things…I Adore from Nordstrom’s Summer Clearance Sale

Oh my goodness…it’s that time again! Nordstrom is having a clearance sale for their summer items, and so I had to check it out. I’m a total sucker for sales, especially when Nordstrom has them. There are a handful of pieces that have been on my “Must Have” list for summer and fall, and it looks like I’ll be able to cross some of those things off the list thanks to this sale!

_10431677

Taylor Dresses Cotton Jacquard Fit & Flare Dress

Spring and summer are peak seasons for events, from graduations to birthday brunches to weddings. I am always on the hunt for a great dress to wear to events like those, and this one definitely fits the bill. I love that it’s 100% cotton, too.

_8746145

Halogen Long Sleeve Chambray Shirt

I absolutely love chambray shirts. I bought one years ago, and now I consider chambray shirts to be a year-round wardrobe staple. There are lighter weight options like this one for spring/summer, and heavier weights for autumn/winter but despite the weight, these shirts are just so easy to throw on with a pair of jeans. Also- these shirts can easily be dressed up with a pair of heels and the right jewelry.

_9976452

Vince Camuto Carlotte Pointy Toe Pump

Last weekend, a bunch of my girlfriends and I went out to dance and one of my friends threw on this fantastic pair of cobalt pumps. I had instant shoe envy! My wardrobe consists of mostly neutrals and blue pieces, and my collection of shoes is pretty much the same in terms of color variety. My friend wore a similar pair of cobalt pumps with medium-dye denim and it looked fantastic. Adding these to my shopping cart!

_7627982

Barbour Summer Liddesdale Gilet Vest

I know, I know. It’s not even close to fall yet…but I strongly believe in stocking up for future seasons when you see a piece that is reduced in price and you know you’ll wear it. For me, that’s definitely this vest. Come October (possibly even September- but hopefully not!) I know I’ll be on the hunt for a lightweight vest like this one.

_10202637

Zella ‘Live In – Streamline’ Reversible Mesh Inset Capris

Meet your new favorite pair of workout capris. I absolutely adore these – I have too many pairs to count! Zella, which is a Nordstrom brand, makes an athletic apparel line that I cannot seem to get enough of. Every time I notice they’re on sale I stock up because they’re totally affordable, not to mention how comfortable and darling they are.

XO

-j.

5 Things… to Help You Stay Focused When Working from Home

organizer-791939_640

Good morning!

There can be many perks to working in an office environment- among them, I would say that the 9am-6pm schedule and the camaraderie I had with my former coworkers were what made me enjoy an office environment the most. I tend to thrive off a specific routine, as many people do, so I absolutely loved having a reliable schedule. Beyond the routine/schedule, it was such a joy to work with people similar in age who had similar backgrounds and/or interests. I definitely miss that!

Though there are some things I miss about working in an office, I have had quite a bit of fun working from home and developing my business. I’m still learning how to maximize my time and stay on track but I’ve found that there are a handful of things that have been helpful with this.

5 Things….to Help You Stay  Focused When Working from Home

1. Get dressed!

I remember “spirit week” back in junior high and high school, which included the legendary “Pajama Day”. Among the five days of spirit week, “Pajama Day” was by far the favorite- after all, who wouldn’t enjoy staying in their pajamas all day? Well…staying in my pajamas all day has been awfully tempting! I’ve found that the single action of getting out of bed and getting dressed like I’m going to the office has set the productivity tone for the rest of the day, though- it’s an absolute must, in my opinion!

2. Establish a routine that works for you

Don’t judge or roll your eyes- but I am a total morning person. As in, I usually wake up between 5:30am and 6:30am and after making my morning cup of coffee I am good to go! With that said, I know that by 4pm my productivity levels have decreased significantly (cue the Nespresso machine to start brewing another cup!!). Since I’m naturally a morning person, now that I’m able to set my own schedule I know that it’s best for me to work from approximately 8am-4pm.

3. Remember to take breaks

This is a big one, and it’s one thing that is not to be messed with. After speaking with many of my friends about their jobs I’ve learned that many of them do not actually take lunch breaks. There are some days that are just so busy- I get that and I’ve definitely eaten lunch at my desk before or just had a snack to hold me over until 6pm- but one of the luxuries of working from home is that you can set up your own break times. Small breaks, beyond an actual lunch break, can be a major factor in improving productivity- for example, I know that around 11am and 2pm I often begin to stir at my desk. Rather than letting my productivity wane at those hours, I’ve set up a quick 5-15 minute break at 11 and 2 so that I can grab a healthy snack, make a cup of coffee, or take a quick walk outside. These small breaks in the day enable me to keep a steady level of productivity throughout the day.

4. Determine specific times to “check in” and check e-mails, social media, etc.

Oh goodness- this is something that I’ve definitely had to work on quite a bit! It’s just so easy to get distracted when working from home by checking my phone for texts or by reading the latest Tweets. I’ve found that even if I just meant to check my phone for a quick moment, I will soon find myself on Pinterest or on J.Crew’s sale site (so guilty of this!) and before I know it, an hour will be wasted. With this in mind, I set certain times to check my phone, my e-mails, etc. during the day so that I can stay on track and not let distractions get the best of the hours that I’m most productive during the day.

5. Be social!

It’s one of the things I miss most about working in a typical office environment- it’s fun to work with other people and share ideas, plan after-hours get-togethers, etc. I’ve definitely found that since I’m now working from home I’ve missed the amount of human interaction I used to have so I’ve made it a point to get out and work from cafes when possible, or to break up my day by meeting with friends.

Bonus tip: Keep a running to-do list

I think this pretty much speaks for itself- it helps to visualize exactly what your priorities are, so that you can plan your day accordingly and stay on track.
XO

-j.