April 30, 2012

Made-Up Eye Makeup Removers

While taking a leisurely trip to mecca Sephora yesterday, I picked up a some key sundries I had recently run out of this week:


My hubby was quick to remind me of how many times over our 14-years together that I have come up with a made-up alternative to eye makeup remover in moments of desperation ... let's just say we had quite the laugh over this list:

Kiehl's Lip Balm #1

 Vaseline Petroleum Jelly

Johnson's Baby Oil

Wesson Canola Oil ... nope, I'm not ashamed. 
Alright, it looked hysterical on the bathroom counter next to the cotton balls!

Mineral Oil ... I admit after applying it I thought, "I just applied a laxative to my eyes. Wow."

 Up until yesterday's trip to Sephora, I resorted to using 100% natural, all-Vegan Rahua Shampoo.

I hope you're shaking your head and cracking up like Jimmo & I were, because I would be lying if I said it isn't typical for me to MacGyver something at a moment's notice.

Hmmmm ... do I see a new series of blog posts? 

xx JN

April 27, 2012

Working It With Class

Work From Home

Work From Home by thejennnewman

No matter where your work finds you, embracing your personal style transforms that power suit from “corporate uniform” to “fashionable chic” in seconds. With the world today offering opportunities to work from home, the office, or on location, wearing pieces that inspire your openness and creativity are a must.

People often equate working from home with working in their pj’s, but just because your desk is within your own four walls doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the latest trends! During the work hours you’ve set for yourself, why not trade-in the flannel pants, sweatshirt and fuzzy slippers for a dark washed skinny jean, cashmere cardi and a delightful pair of ballet flats? You can maintain the comfort necessary to be sitting with your laptop and latte, but it’s that extra something that takes your confidence (and therefore, your work) to the next level.

When you have that outdoors-to-indoors commute deal with, invest in some quintessential layers. The transition from Mother Nature to recycled air can be fraught with temperature fluxes and everything in between, so don’t feel like you can’t go sleeveless in summer outside - just layer on the perfect black blazer once you get inside.

Playing Fair with Added Flair

If you’ve ever worn a uniform, sang in a choir, or played on a team, you know the feeling of wanting to express yourself within the confines of the said (or unspoken) dress code! Although your work environment may dictate many factors (sometimes down to the color of polish you’re allowed to don), I do believe there are two great assets to sparkle and shine in the sea of black pencil skirts and pinstripes: makeup & accessories.

What about that special scarf when you need an extra pop to your outfit, or (appropriate) patterned tights instead of basic black? Paint your pout with a bright coral instead of your everyday neutral. Switch out the pearls with a bold, chunky necklace. You’ll find ways to express your individuality while respectfully adhering to the list of “do’s and don’ts.”

Role Models

There’s always that someone in our midst who has perfected their personal style ... and their routine walk down the hall is your version of a runway show during Fashion Week. Embrace it! There is always something to gain from observing someone else’s creativity and sense of self. Take what you can as pure inspiration, and find ways to incorporate their know-how into your wardrobe. Although imitation is the greatest form of flattery, keep in mind that although your muse may rock the black shift dress better than Audrey herself, maybe you knock a pair of perfectly tailored trousers out of the park. The key is: wear what fits you best ... with a gusto!

Fail Me, Fail Me Not

We have all been there. Some of us (myself, specifically) more than others. I went through a phase where I embraced double knit v-necks, cropped cargo pants and platform flip-flops ... on my hourglass figure it accentuated everything in a negative light and was one big epic fail. After you’re done burning the evidence and pretending “that never happened,” the sooner you’ll realize that when you dress for the success of your figure and personality, failure will no longer be an option!

xx JN

April 16, 2012

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

On Saturday, we took ourselves over to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to experience the joy of such a gorgeous Spring day ... and did it ever exceed our expectations! We only covered a portion of the Garden's immense landscape, but were fortunate to see several highlights.

We started off on our way through the Osborne Garden:

To the Lilac Collection:

Off to the Cherry Esplanade:

Then to the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden:

From there, we stopped by the Shakespeare Garden and then to the Fragrance Garden:

Then to the Magnolia Plaza:

And couldn't help but stop and photograph the incredible tulips!

Truly a magnificent afternoon - one I highly recommend! Make sure not to miss this weekend's annual 2012 Sakura Matsuri: a weekend celebrating traditional and contemporary Japanese culture.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is open Tuesday-Friday, 8AM-6PM, Saturday & Sunday from 10AM-6PM. Admission is Free for Members, $10 for Adults, $5 for Seniors and Students, and Free for Children under 12. For more information, please visit the Garden's official website.

xx JN

April 13, 2012

What is Your Soul's Ideal?

As we head into the weekend, my lovelies, I had to share with you an excerpt from the book I'm currently reading, Wishes Fulfilled, by Dr. Wayne Dyer. The following excerpt has officially been starred with red marker as I continue to reflect on and refer to these powerful words:
"The ideal of your soul, the thing that it yearns for, is not more knowledge. It is not interested in comparison, nor winning, nor light, nor ownership, nor even happiness. The ideal of your soul is space, expansion, and immensity, and the one thing it needs more than anything else is to be free to expand, to reach out and embrace the infinite. Why? Because your soul is infinity itself. It has no restrictions or limitations - it resists being fenced in - and when you attempt to contain it with rules and obligations, it is miserable. Your invisible self is extraordinary because it is a fragment of the universal soul, which is infinite. The part of you that knows you have greatness, and is stirred by the idea of you expanding and removing any and all limitations ... this is your new self-concept, one that is inspired by your soul." 
Amazing, right? What is your soul's ideal? What does that mean to you? I would love to hear your thoughts on this ...

Wishing you a beautiful weekend!

xx JN

April 11, 2012

Four Seasons by Claudia Pearson

Aren't these Four Seasons Dish Towels just flawless? Handmade in the USA and illustrated by the ever-talented Claudia Pearson, these are sure to make a great gift. May have to splurge on them for myself, too!

{ image via Uncommon Goods }
You're also going to want to check out Claudia's Etsy shop ... because it is chock full of treasures! How much do I love that this amazing illustrator lives right here in ...

{ image via Etsy }

xx JN

April 10, 2012

Personalizing Your Rental

I simply adore our Brooklyn apartment. Now that we rent in New York after owning two homes in the Southwest, there are moments when my husband & I daydream about what we would do if we had the liberty to make interior alterations to our current space.

It can be challenging and daunting when you're first scouting for that "perfect place." Truth be told, there is an unwritten rule, especially here in New York, that there will be trade-offs no matter where you choose to sign on the dotted line. Unless the sky's the limit, most renters come with a list of demands, the most important being the monthly rent and the neighborhood. You may absolutely have to have a dishwasher, but you'll deal with the fact you're in a 4th floor walk-up. Or maybe you must live near the subway ... but the wafting fragrance of Thai food day and night is worth the 45-second commute to the F-train.

What about that amazing brownstone you're nestled in with the amazing view of the park, but that pink, brown and white tile in the bathroom ... it's not like you can rip it out and start from scratch. So what do you do?

No matter where you land, it is essential to personalize your space after you get your keys. Here are a few tips to get you started:

{ image via Small Cool 2012 at Apartment Therapy }

Color Me Lovely: Paint is the quintessential ingredient to making a colorful change in your space. There is nothing overstated about taking the paint to your walls and livening up your home. With a myriad of options out there, you can radically change your space for a small cost. Don't be afraid to use strong colors - but keep in mind that you may have intersections in your home where multiple colors are seen at once ... so when in doubt, ask for a second opinion or try sample boards first before you commit.

{ image via Small Cool 2012 at Apartment Therapy }

Curtain Up: Window treatments are a simple way to enhance your environment and personalize your space. The most you may get when you move in are vertical blinds (yikes) ... so factor in some affordable ways to dress your windows upon move in. You can do anything from blinds to curtains to sheers. You will be amazed how much your room will change with these touches.

{ image via Small Cool 2012 at Apartment Therapy }

Picture This: Art is in the eye of the beholder. Use what you have. You don't have to hit up the local gallery if it doesn't fit within your taste or your budget. Your definition of art may be to frame a beautiful scarf, or maybe a piece of sheet music. Perhaps you have a favorite photo that you love so much you wish to have displayed with prominence. Consider using a resource like ChicCanvas.com and turn your digital photo into a piece of art. Framing your child's artwork is not only a joy to look at, but also a great way to create a lasting keepsake. Whatever your pleasure, make it your own. Websites like 20x200 and Art.com have not only an array of incredible choices, but you also have the option to have your new piece matted and framed at once.

{ image via Small Cool 2012 at Apartment Therapy }

Match.com is for Dating ... Not Decorating: Blend. Think outside the box. Not everything has to be "matchy-matchy" - you can blend styles, colors, textures, patterns and eras. It's okay! Granted, I would not just put something together for the sake of putting it together - but within reason, using a mixture of pieces will give great identity to a room. Gone are the days when you buy the infamous "bed-in-the-bag" along with the matching valance, throw pillows and wall border.

{ image via Small Cool 2012 at Apartment Therapy }

Totally Floored: Rugs can be life changing! They add warmth, texture, color, dimension and comfort to name a few. No matter the size, design or color, you are sure to have an added focal point with the right rug. The size of your rug can be deceiving, so make sure you take good measurements and consider things like traffic patterns, furniture placement and ease of care.

{ image via Small Cool 2012 at Apartment Therapy }

Go Green: Plants are such a fabulous accessory! Take a walk to your local hardware store or florist and ask questions. If you have a green thumb, great. But if not, let your garden expert know about your sun exposure in your apartment. Also, if you run humidifiers or prefer a dry space, make sure to take those facts into consideration. There are plants out there that are incredibly user-friendly, not to mention incredibly vibrant and good for your air quality. They literally breathe life into your space.

Make it your own, and don't apologize for it. The most important factor about your home is you - your personality, your taste, your expression. Keep it authentic and you're sure to succeed in transforming your space into something uniquely yours ... even if you can't rip out that tile!

xo JN

Photos are all via the Small Cool 2012 Contest at Apartment Therapy - make sure to check out this year's contestants and vote for your favorites!

April 6, 2012

Spring, the Sweet Spring ...

{ image via my Blackberry in Park Slope, Brooklyn }
I'm thrilled to have the day off with my biggest girl today. Spring Break for the NYC public schools has officially begun, and I get a long weekend with her before camp starts Monday. (Joy!) I popped out this morning to run an errand and with the sun shining and the birds chirping, I couldn't help but think of Thomas Nashe's words:
"Spring, the sweet spring, is the year's pleasant king,
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to witta-woo!"
As we get ready to go out and enjoy this gorgeous day, I hope you take a moment to reflect on the promise of spring - no matter how long the winter ... no matter how dark the days ... life comes back.

xo JN

April 5, 2012

Amazing Superfood: Kale & Quinoa Cakes

I took a little trip over to Joy the Baker this morning, and lo & behold, two of my favorite super-foods, kale & quinoa, got married! These Kale & Quinoa Cakes are chock full of flavorful ingredients, and are just perfect for those who are gluten-free. Don't these look absolutely delicious? I cannot wait to try my hand at these this weekend!

{ images via Joy the Baker }