December 31, 2012

In Memoriam

My most favorite picture of Nana & Pop, taken at our wedding: September 23, 2000
In loving memory of my beloved Nana & Pop,

Dorothy Mae Raithel
May 28, 1924 - December 5, 2012
W.J. "Bud" Raithel
December 2, 1920 - December 29, 2012

Who taught me to follow my heart, live life to the fullest, and that nothing replaces the family.

To carry you with me will forever be a blessing.

December 28, 2012


The month of December brought with it my new iPhone 5, and subsequently Instagram! I've been loving the opportunity of documenting my day to day experiences there, and hope you'll join me moving forward. 

Here are a few of this month's favorites:

Tilapia tacos made fresh by my cousin, Chef Sarah, while were together in Arizona for our Nana's funeral. The family who eats together, stays together ... especially when they eat my Aunt Ruth's & Chef Sarah's amazing cooking!

The most adorable retro kitchen at The Motor Lodge - a fully retro-renovated property that you must, must, must check out whenever life takes you to Prescott, AZ!

The view(s) from my parents' new ranch in Prescott Valley - 2013 will bring some incredible new adventures with them there!

Back home in Brooklyn - where a snowman blowup in front of a brownstone is actually charming!

 With my boy, Woody, after an emergency procedure. Doesn't he look like he's in a martini glass?

 My biggest girl reading "The Night Before Christmas" at our Hurricane Sandy Benefit Concert

 Nail art supplies as chosen by my girl on our mani-pedi date

 The "before" and "after" of my cheilectomy surgery on December 21st! Ho ho ho!

 Christmas traditions: our girl seeing Santa ... except Santa happened to be female ... again. Oh, yes, this was the second year in a row! 
No Christmas would be complete without our beautiful tree, as photographed on Christmas Eve.

I'm signing off until the New Year, my lovelies. Make sure to take a moment (or several) and give thanks for this incredible year of 2012, and declare your intentions and rituals for 2013.

Blessings abound!

xo JN

December 22, 2012

O Christmas Tree

I have had my very own Christmas tree since I was a young girl. It started with a very small tabletop tree loaded with miniature ornaments, and as time went on, it evolved into a 6' tree ... just in my room!

When I went to college, the tree and my ornament collection came with me. Talk about a treasure! Then, when I got married, Jim & I started with a tree full of ornaments, all while adding our own to it year after year.

After our first move to New York back in 2002, we lost all of our Christmas trimmings (among other things), and had to start from scratch. Needless to say, we were devastated. I actually went for 3-years completely banning the mere idea of a tree the point where I didn't even look forward to the holidays. It wasn't until 2004, when Lyla was born, that I succumbed to the intervention orchestrated by Jim & my mom to start a new tree so we could establish new family memories.

In other words, it was time for me to get over it!

Through the years since, our family Christmas tree has become something I cannot wait to put up. In fact, having a child completely changed my holiday perspective. Trust me when I say, there are few people who have more holiday cheer than our Lyla. She is such a creature of traditions, and when I say the day after Thanksgiving is the day we deck the halls, let it go on record that at 9AM we are on our way to storage to get everything out!

This year, we had the bittersweet opportunity to add ornaments to Team Newman's tree after receiving ones from both my brother's collection and my Nana's. I cannot tell you how special our tree is for us this Christmas season. I must admit, I had no idea how meaningful it would be to have both of them represented in multiple ways on the tree. Just another visual reminder to keep their spirits in the forefront. And the stories they conjure in just a single glance.

For as hard as it is to go into Christmas this year without these two loved ones, I feel equally comforted. Rest assured it won't be easy, but on Christmas morning, I will celebrate them both when we turn on the lights and wait for Lyla to get up and see what Santa has brought her.

Memories are made in these moments! I'm curious to hear about the stories your tree tells ... it's your turn!

xx JN

Just a little snap of the tree - of course Jimmo has a Starbucks ornament collection!

My brother's first Christmas ornament - and the year I became a big sister!

There's really no place like home, is there?

Some of my Nana's ornaments - two of which engraved for her by students. She was an incredible teacher!

New ornament given to me by Mom this year. "The ones we love never truly leave us." Certainly poignant this year.

December 18, 2012

Homespun for the Holidays

If you're looking for some festive ways to deck the halls, check out some of these fabulous, and simple, DIY craft ideas. Make sure to click on the link below each photo for complete instructions.

Something for the tree:

 Button Tree Ornament via Modern Minerals

Something for the entry:

Holiday Ice Lantern via Oh My! Creative

Something for the table:
 Peppermint Holiday Carnations via Karin Lidbeck-Brent

Something for the mantle:

Vintage Style Putz House via Retro Renovation

Something for the front door:

Yarn Ball Door Wreath via Country Living

Tis the season!

xx JN

December 17, 2012

Donning My Smock

I received this card today from a friend, and he could not have chosen one more apropos! I almost wish it were my holiday card for the year, specifically because it sums up 2012 perfectly. 2012 felt like a blank canvas, and quickly became more colorful than I could have imagined.

As many of you know, I started out the year losing my only brother, Adam. That experience in and of itself is traumatic, let alone all of the trauma that surrounded his death and the 20+ years of pain his addiction caused. The mere change in dynamics within my immediate family was therapy-worthy, and that's exactly where I have spent the last 10-months. I have been learning to look at the world using a different set of filters, and giving myself the permission to not only be vulnerable, but to acknowledge it, feel it, live it, and embrace it. That, in and of itself, has been a blessing - although, certainly one that came at an awful cost.

And while dwelling on blessings, I had the great privilege to debut with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra  2-1/2-weeks ago. It was a fabulous weekend, and nothing could have reminded me more that my life's work is, yes, to use my voice in all of its capacities - through writing, through speaking ... and most importantly, through singing.

Prepared for the holidays and full of cheer, I found out on my layover while traveling home from Indiana that my Nana had taken an unexpected turn and was not expected to live through the end of 2012. A mere 48-hours later, she passed away at home in her bed. She was 88-years old, and one of the great loves of my life. We shared an incredibly special bond, and I am still not sure what it is going to be like to not write her Christmas card this year. Life without her is a mystery, yet I am deeply comforted by the truth that I have the privilege of carrying her with me.

I hope you understand why at various points throughout the year I have stepped away from Delightfully Dishy. I refuse to put on a front, yet in the midst of some of the incredibly painful moments, I wasn't ready to share the pain with you - so I chose to not say anything at all. However, that pain is a very real part of my personal truth. No outfit, item, tip, or recipe can make it disappear. It doesn't envelop or overshadow the blessings and joys that continue to fall in between, but it is a part nonetheless. Considering this blog is devoted to lifestyle, which as I've shared before starts with (in my opinion) living your personal truth, then I do feel I have done a disservice by not talking about how tough things have been this year.

As we draw closer to the Christmas holiday and to the New Year, I urge each of you to take into account what really matters. There aren't enough words to describe how that has been the theme of my year. Whether it's the personal issues I've faced, or the tragedies we as a country have faced together, it seems to keep coming back to this: family matters, personal truth is imperative, living out your dreams is necessary, and the power of unconditional love can change the world - even if it starts with having unconditional love for yourself.

Alright, lovelies, now go and get your smock on! I'll meet you back here shortly!

xx JN

November 21, 2012

Candid Camera

I know you are going to be extremely shocked to hear that I typically have a lot to say at any given moment.  Well, imagine my surprise when I found out that a certain Mr. decided to photograph me mid-convo while chatting to stylist Amy. These photographs speak for themselves:

And then there's this one - nothing said, but it's worth a thousand words!

Dress: Teri Jon (old) / Cape: vintage / Hat: Trina Turk / Belt: vintage 60's / Shoes: Lela Rose (old)
Styled by: Amy Keller
Photographed by: James Newman
Cameo appearance: my best girl

November 20, 2012

Print Aid NYC

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I discovered Print Aid NYC yesterday afternoon, and am so grateful to have happened upon this artists' collective for a dear cause: Hurricane Sandy recovery.

Artists were asked to respond to the theme: light, and each piece is sold in limited editions of 50, with 100% of the proceeds given to the Mayor's Fund for Hurricane Relief here in New York.

Creative genius for the greater good ... truly the definition of art in my opinion.

Stay informed: make sure to view all of the available prints, and follow Print Aid NYC on Twitter and Facebook.

xx JN

November 19, 2012

1,000 Thoughts

I've decided that a journey of a thousand thoughts begins with a single tweet:

Won't you join me and my #1KThoughts on Twitter?

xx JN

P.S. I'm "Now Serving" the live feed over to your right!

Mom's Little Vase

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While growing up in the South, gift-giving was an anytime occurrence. There need not be a specific occasion, holiday, or poignant moment. In fact, these opportunities were referred to as giving a "happy" to someone - merely for the sake of spreading joy! Granted, the season of gift-giving is upon us, but isn't it a great feeling to receive something on any ol' day of the year?

Well, I just received a "happy" of the most lovely bud vase, known as Mom's Little Vase. I must tell you it has quickly became one of my favorite things! It should come as no surprise that it came from one of my favorite gift-giving spots, Uncommon Goods. To begin with, this piece has immense character based on its petite size, and takes up minimal space in my Brooklyn apartment. The fact I can proudly display one of the many hand-picked treasures Lyla gives me delights me to no end ... not to mention the idea I can cut the perfect bloom for it! For anyone who comes to our home, there is nothing uncommon about my love of flowers. Let's just say this vase is reason enough to want to keep them displayed at all times!

It is said that good things come in small packages, and this little gem does not disappoint. Handmade by artist Jill Henrietta Davis, each vase varies slightly from the other. I am not exaggerating when I say that this is that piece you stock up on and give to everyone. (Can we say stocking stuffers, my lovelies?!)

So, who are you going to give a "happy" to?

xx JN

November 15, 2012

I Am Changing

One of the (many) benefits of living in my neighborhood is the breathtaking foliage. Park Slope is truly stunning that way. I can't help but wonder as I walk Woodrow everyday, if I didn't have a reason to stop and take it in, I would miss the nuances to the seasons and their changes. Because it is no exaggeration that a tree can be full of beautiful fall leaves one afternoon and barren the next.

Isn't that also true of life and its many changes? If we don't really pay attention, we miss the pivots, the nuances, the subtleties.

And when I speak of change - which ultimately leads to personal growth - I can't help but think of (and sing) this tune.


Dress: LOFT / Jacket: personal vintage collection / Scarf: Trina Turk / Boots: Guess / Bracelets: Silpada & Tiffany & Co. / Ring: Silpada / Nails: Apertif by Essie
Styled by: Amy Keller
Photographed by: James Newman

November 13, 2012

When the Sun Comes Out

A Hurricane. An Election. A Snowstorm. And some real life in between.

Welcome to the last 2-weeks.

As much as it is necessary to "get back to normal," I find myself feeling very guilty in trying to do so. Just this morning, it took the image on the front page of the NY Times as I stood online for my morning fill-up: there lies Breezy Point amid massive destruction. Or the story of my friend still without heat & hot water. How about the knowledge that the holidays are fast approaching those who have lost everything? Maybe it's the idea that some people I love are so distraught over the outcome of the election - how can that be? We saw women, equality and our President take the majority! I'm rejoicing, yet others I know are convinced the world is coming to an end.

Is this "normal" now?

I can't help but think about Thanksgiving next week, and all that entails. The feast, the family, the gratitude. I must admit I can't get too fixated on the "details" this go around: if the napkins aren't folded perfectly, and the table setting isn't something that's Instagram-worthy, that's okay. Because the people who sit around the table are the most important part. Being with each other. With a roof over our heads. Hot water coming out of the tap. There is nothing like a national disaster alongside a great political outcome to break it down to what really matters, right? I'm in no way advocating to abandon the holidays, or to not rejoice in what we have - quite the contrary! What I am saying is how relevant and necessary it is to acknowledge our brothers & sisters as we do so. It's about holding both things in our hands at the same time: gratitude and empathy, thankfulness and humility. We owe that to those who are suffering - no matter who or where they are.

I have returned here with so much to share, and will continue to hold outfits, recipes, and the "perfect" stocking stuffers in the same hand as this overwhelming feeling that it is a blessing and gift to even have the opportunity to write about them. To experience them. To even have the clothing that Amy can style and Jim can photograph. Moving forward, it is of equal importance for me to share more of my own life's day-to-day that goes far beyond the things I can take photographs of.

After all, I founded this blog to talk about life + style ... and the only reason I can fully enjoy where I am today is because of a whole bunch of real life in between. It's been colorful to say the least, and I hope you'll join me as we talk about mine and yours a whole lot more!

xx JN

October 25, 2012


As much as I love color, and goodness knows I equally love living life as colorfully as possible, there is something so special to me about the timelessness of black and white imagery. The story changes in the absence of color - in the way things are neutralized. And although we shot the majority of these looks in color, these black and white images quickly became my favorites:

Outfit #1 details:
Jacket: vintage (stylist's own) / Skirt: Rugby (similar here) / Shoes: vintage Chanel (stylist's own) / Clutch: Coach (circa 2005) / Men's Watch: DKNY (old)
Outfit #2 details:
Dress & Sweater: both vintage - (stylist's own) / Accessories: personal collection / Shoes: Enzo Angiolini (similar here)
Styled by: Amy Keller
Photographed by: James Newman