Paint thinner (this is optional; add some paint thinner if you’d like a sheerer blue than what’s pictured)
Something to apply paint: I used part of a Magic Eraser because that’s what I had laying around, but you could use anything from a lint-free cloth (ideal) to a paintbrush (may leave streaks) to a rag. I would use a combo of a lint-free cloth for the body of the jars, and then a small paintbrush for the lip.
What you do:
1. Make sure your Mason jars are clean and dry.
2. If using paint thinner, combine Vitrea 160 and thinner in a small container until you achieve the desired shade (it will look much darker in the container than it will once applied).
3. Apply the paint to the body of the jar from the top down, and then swipe around the lip of the jar and across the bottom (a paintbrush may come in handy for the areas that you have trouble getting to with your rag; you can see some bare spots on the tops of my jars where my Magic Eraser didn’t quite reach).
4. Set the jars upside-down on wax paper and let dry for 24 hours.
5. Bake in a 325F oven for 40 minutes.
If you’re using these for vases or storage containers (for makeup brushes, knickknacks and such), try adding a little bit of twine for a rustic look.
I started going swing dancing at various spots around the city when I was 16. Mostly at 18+ places rather than 21+, but still: bad girls, I know. (Not really bad. We were swing dancing. There are worse things to be sneaking into places to be doing.)
That’s me celebrating my 17th birthday at the now-defunct (at least in its old incarnation) Supper Club. I remember that night because this guy who seemed incredibly sophisticated and worldly - he was probably 19 - asked me to dance, and he was that kind of amazing dancer who makes you feel like you’re amazing too: dips, lifts, and all. Of course I was immediately positive that I was in love; of course he only ever asked me to dance that one time. But still. I’ll always remember that night, because that’s the reason that dancing can be such a joy: those moments when you’re not thinking about the steps or your nerves, and you feel like pure grace.
Anyway, I have a sort of related question for you: I used to frequent Swing 46 and the Supper Club, with occasional stops into local events at dance studios, but I’m pretty out of the scene at the moment. (Oh, and just to lower those expectations: I’m nowhere near a fabulous dancer. I know the steps and can more or less avoid embarrassing myself…but that’s about it.) I’ve been thinking I’d like to tape an upcoming segment at a bar/restaurant with fantastic 1920s/30s decor (a little before swing hit its stride, yes, but that’s the decor look I’m shooting for) and a good dance scene (or at least a dance floor).
There must be places like this in the city. Probably a lot of them.
Q. Hi Jordan! I’m going to a wedding this June with my boyfriend and his family. He just bought me a pair of shoes (unheard of for him!) and he is SO proud that he picked them out that I just have to wear them in front of his family. Any ideas for a great dress/color palette that would go with cobalt shoes and make a great impression on his family?
A. What a nice guy! And that’s really sweet of you to build an outfit around the shoes he bought you. I can tell already that his family is going to love you.
You know, I have a pair of shoes that are sort of purple-cobalt, but I didn’t wear them a ton for the first year I had them because I wasn’t entirely sure what they went with, until I realized that the answer is…kind of anything. And the bolder the choice, the more the shoes will stand out and get raves. I actually wore my shoes to Fashion Week, which isn’t a place where I tend to be the most well-heeled person around by any stretch of the imagination…and I couldn’t take three steps without being interviewed (yes, interviewed) about them.
Summary: cobalt shoes are good.
POSSIBLE PALETTE PAIRINGS
This dress is pretty wedding-perfect, if you ask me - demure enough to be appropriate to wear around your boyfriend’s family, but super-fashionable (especially with your new shoes!). It’s DVF and so fairly pricey, but a pretty, reasonably-priced black-and-white dress shouldn’t be too tough to find.
Those aren’t too bad, right? I especially love the C. Luce in the center, maybe with a pale gray wrap (a little more unexpected than black or white) to cover up a bit in the evening.
Silver and rose are pretty, subtle options to pair with your cobalt - just make sure that the shade you choose isn’t too pale, lest you veer into wearing-white-at-another-woman’s-wedding territory. One note: in my opinion, pale shades like these are worth spending a little more money on, because a cheap cut and/or fabric are tougher to get away with when you’re dealing with such light colors.
And finally, you could try my favorite idea: a super-bold citrus hue. Orange, pomegranate, and mustard shades will all look spectacular with cobalt shoes, and get you big fashionista points. Just make sure to keep your accessories simple so that the focus stays on the color pairing and the whole look doesn’t become overwhelming.
I remember the first time I ever saw Method products in a drugstore very clearly, because I had a very particular thought about them, and that thought was: “Huh. Those are too pretty to be in a drugstore. They must be expensive.”
But of course, they’re weren’t, and home with me they came. And ever since, I’ve been a devotee to the clean scents, stylin’ packaging, and affordable prices. Especially the hand soap - I love that stuff (almost out of my Sweet Water). And now that I’m moving into a place that will require things like…wait for it…LAUNDRY DETERGENT (New Yorkers, you get my excitement over this one), I’m expanding my Method repertoire.
Over the next few months I’m going to be spotlighting some of my favorite products here, but for now, let’s talk giveaway, because this is a good one. Head over to Method’s Facebook Page, and you can enter to win very cool prizes: a trip for two to the Method HQ in San Francisco (which I hear is awesome), a year’s supply of product (!), and other surprises. Good luck!
Not intentionally. I was trying to do my nails because I was shooting a segment the next day that I thought might involve lots of hand close-ups…and I don’t know how to explain the disaster that I created. I have used both this nailpolish and this nailpolish remover many times before, but this time rather than taking off the polish, the remover just sort of smeared it around and then cemented it to my fingertips, dyeing them a lovely, semipermanent shade of eggplant. The shoot ended up being postponed, so it totally didn’t matter, but still. Why?
(And yes, that’s a Solo cup next to me. I bought them for the post-partum weeks, during which I figured I’d be uninterested in doing things like washing glasses, and then remembered that oh right…I’m always uninterested in doing things like washing glasses, newborn or no. And so now they’re what I drink my bazillion daily glasses of water out of.)
Anyway, as you can see in that video, I was more than a little tired, so by 10:30 I had called it a night.
I only found out that the shoot had been postponed after I got ready, so I ended up wandering around doing errands while looking quite a bit more done-up than I ordinarily would on a Saturday.
I’m kind of into the Accessories Explosion look lately. (From L to R, that’s a Swati Jr bracelet, my grandmother’s necklace from Costa Rica, a Courtesan Studio stretch bracelet, my Nanny Ruth’s ring, a ROXoxox ring, a ring that my parents gave me when I turned 30, and a bamboopink bracelet worn as an armband.*)
Oh, and check out my hands! No dye, what do you know. It seems I willed myself into the aforementioned intense cell turnover.
On Saturday night we decided to see Wanderlust, and were stunned by the extent to which we have become grownups and laugh at the kinds of dorky, grownup jokes that our parents used to laugh at (and we used to roll our eyes about) when we were kids. Go to 1:47 in the trailer for What To Expect When You’re Expectingand you’ll see what I mean.
Wanderlust, by the way, was a solid B. I loved the first third or so, but it seemed like after that the filmmakers sort of forgot what they had been getting at but kept the cameras rolling anyway. The entire movie, however, is worth seeing for the extremely long and mind-bendingly uncomfortable scene of Paul Rudd “seducing” himself in a mirror.
On Sunday, I did a little DIY-ing. Tutorial coming up shortly (blue mason jars are a 2-day process, so I’m finishing them up today).
And hung out with this little face.
It was fun.
Also fun: putting on my dancing shoes (these, by Seychelles) for the first time in…oh, a year and a half or so…
And taking Mom swing dancing for her birthday.
The walk through Times Square at twilight gets me every time.
For some reason, when I started this whole blogging thing I decided to import my videos using Vimeo. And then I just kept using Vimeo, only occasionally uploading a video to my YouTube channel. Why? No idea. But since JITH will be airing on YouTube’s DIGS, I figured…you know, best to switch over, let’s get this shebang back up and running, etc etc.
Which is all to say: my YouTube channel is now updated and will be my primary hub for video posting for the forseeable future, so click here to check it out or subscribe.
Springity spring spring spring. Can you tell I’m in a come-on-Spring mood today? I’ve decided to title every post accordingly.
It’s this weather. No one in New York can stop talking about it. It was, what…65 yesterday? It was amazing. For the first time ever, I left the house with Indy and felt…free. It took away so much stress, just the simple fact of not worrying about whether or not he was comfortable on top of all the general worries associated with trucking around the city with an infant.
And it was sweet to watch him love the sunshine.
One of the best things about Spring is opening your windows for the first time in months and letting all that lovely-smelling warm air pour in. In our apartment, however, said air would also include dust from our resident construction zone and burger-y smells from Big Daddy’s, so I like to welcome the season in ways that are perhaps slightly less authentic…but equally delicious.
By which I mean candles. And diffusers. And spritzes of all kinds.
Clockwise from left:
NEST Blue Garden Reed Diffuser: I’ve written about the Blue Garden scent before (I believe I referred to it as smelling “like forget-me-nots and joy”), and the reed diffuser is a fresh, subtle way to get some floral action going.
Elton John Woodside Garden: Inspired by Elton John’s own gardens in England, the candle contains notes of hyacinth, rose, freesia, and jasmine, and comes in a gorgeous glass container (well, I think it’s gorgeous, but I have a thing for chartreuse). Plus, a portion of sales benefits the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which supports HIV prevention programs for vulnerable and marginalized populations.
J.R. Watkins Aloe & Green Tea Room Spray: This is everything that you want your home to smell like after a good, deep Spring Cleaning: totally fresh, and light, and just perfect. Can you tell I love it? I love it.
Archipelago Home Santorini Candle: This is burning in my apartment right now, and if you managed to ignore the piles of half-packed boxes and bouncy chairs, you might think you were sitting smack in the middle of an ocean breeze. In Greece. Incidentally, lots of the Archipelago Home Destination Scents look gorgeous: I like buying things based on names of places - like those Bond No. 9 perfumes I’m into, I think when you get it right the name of a place can just be so purely evocative of a scent - and am dying to try Marrakesh and Charleston.
Years ago, I was wandering around down in SoHo, and came across a street vendor who sold the most incredible, over-the-top necklaces made with ceramic flowers and beads. At the time, I was more minimalistic in my jewelry tastes than I am today, but when I found out that her pieces - which looked exactly like the kind of things that would be under glass at Barney’s and selling for hundreds - were more in the fifty-dollar range…I had to.
This was the necklace. (For some reason, this is the only photo I could find of it, and it’s pretty hideously lit and semi-blurry…but it also includes Stephen Baldwin, which allows me to forgive its other failings. Stephen Baldwin!)
It was the kind of thing that I couldn’t wear if I was feeling antisocial, because everyone would stop me to talk about it. I actually remember several occasions when I started to put it on and then changed my mind, just because I was in a crappy mood and didn’t want to chat about my damn necklace all day.
While I probably dress a little more “in the box” than you do, I fully appreciate your sass and style. In need of a great replacement for my many-seasons-ago bright-pink spring coat. Any suggestions? Pop of color preferred!
And if Indy is down for a marathon nap, feel free to throw in suggestions for my tiny tot…he needs a new spring jacket as well!
A. Hey Shari!
Well, first, if a pink replacement is what you’re looking for, I found this Juicy Couture for just $90 for you on eBay.
But! Spring jackets are pretty much the funnest (I said it) thing to shop for ever, so here are many, many more picks, in case that pink one doesn’t float your boat. Right now, I’m especially into boyfriend-style, slouchy cuts, swing coats in bright colors, and neon.
And one more that pulls together everything I love (it’s a swing coat! and a mac! green! with 3/4 sleeves! and it’s fifty bucks!).
And since you also asked for some suggestions for your wee one, I’m just going to show you the best little boys’ spring jackets out there, all from Appaman.
Right? That racing jacket is too much…and also comes in black with a neon green stripe. (I also recommend Zara Baby for jackets - my friend Ali gave Indy the most perfect little jacket from Zara that’ll see him straight through to summer.)
One of the stops we hit on yesterday’s shoot in Chinatown, Jade Garden Arts & Crafts, is an absolute must if you’re in the market for things like affordable pottery, teapots and tea accessories, planters, and vases.
Aren’t those colors gorgeous?
I picked up a whole bunch of these teacups ($2 each) to use as likely-to-remain-in-one-piece (no stems) wineglasses.
Tons of planters at very reasonable prices (plus there are lots of markdowns, and the store owner is open to negotiation).
I think this is a…very large ashtray? I’m not sure. And it’s more expensive than most of the stuff there ($59, yikes). But I like it for keeping next to your bed to gather all those little things you scatter around (jewelry, coins, whatever) into one very lovely spot.
We’re having a contractual snafu with the house. The details are tedious; in short, what it means is that we will almost certainly end up closing (and moving) later than we’d hoped to, but in the worst-case scenario we’ll have to start from scratch. And of course these things happen, but arrrrrrr.Â
Also, can I just say? Thank you. For helping me - and sticking with me - through this transition into Grownup Land, what with the babies and the homes and all sorts of things that may very well lie outside the boundaries of Obviously Interesting Content (like, I don’t know, wild dating stories, trips to fabulous restaurants, and travel to far-flung locales). I have no idea whether things like first-time homeowner drama are interesting to anyone outside of my immediate family, but hey, that’s what’s going on at the moment, so it’s sort of impossible for me to ignore. This is consuming stuff, when you’re in the middle of it.
First of all, can we have a conversation about those shoes?
They’re so good. The whole strappy-platform thing has been around forever and ever by now, but I like that neat twist with the heel shape - it’s a great little update. And the colors! So ’70s. So cute.
But that’s completely besides the point. The point is that over the next couple of months I’m going to be styling a couple of fun, spring-y (and affordable) looks using pieces I find at Tanger Outlets, but before I get to that we wanted to give you guys a chance to get moving on your own warm-weather wardrobe…with a $2,000 shopping spree. Woo!
All you have to do: visit Tanger’s Facebook page and upload a full-length photo of your most stylish spring look. Starting March 29, fans will help select the winning look from the top 24 submissions, and the entry with the most votes will win a $2,000 Grand Prize (First Runner-Up up will win $1,000, and three Second Runners-Up will each win a $500 gift card).
Seriously, what is that completely bizarre outfit I’m wearing up there (for Saturday’s day trip with the family)?
I’ll tell you.
When Kendrick and I met, I was living in Los Angeles, and he was living in New York. And after a few weeks of flying back and forth to see each other, we decided to spend a night in Vegas.
I totally knew he was going to propose.
I know, that sounds crazy - we had been dating for all of six weeks, and neither of us had even broached the idea (obviously). He didn’t even know he was going to propose - it just happened, and we had to go buy a ring at a pawn shop the next day. And it’s not like people go around proposing to me as a matter of course, so there wasn’t a whole lot of precedent there.
And so I wanted to look special for our night in Vegas, and I borrowed this dress from Francesca - it was a vintage cream lace minidress with 3/4-length sleeves, and was (I thought) equal parts romantic and sexy. (I cropped that photo from the night we got engaged weirdly because Kendrick has demon-eyes in it, and as you can see the red-eye reduction tool isn’t my friend. Neither was the brownish-red hair I had at the time, but that’s another story.)
Anyway, Francesca let me keep the dress, partially because she’s really nice but also partially because the thing was disintegrating, and so in the years since I’ve always kept an eye out for something similar that I can wear more often without fear of it coming apart. And the other day, in H&M…I found it.
Except it was purple. And two sizes too small for me.
And so this is how I dealt with that. Plaid shirt over, tights under, and a healthy dose of looking-kinda-weird-and-not-really-caring.
Oh, and boots. Big, silver boots. Why not?
(I think, by the way, that this dress can be worn slightly less oddly in the summer, with a loose white button-down and metallic flats. But for now, this will do.)
On me: French Connection leather jacket, Kendrick’s Ray Bans, Old Navy shirt, H&M dress, boots c/o Dr. Martens, Forever 21 hoop earrings, Kenneth Cole camera bag.
I hate breaking out. Because on a day-to-day basis this 2-Minute New Mama Makeup routine is pretty much all I can muster, and breakouts mean…well, more.
Anyway, I’m going to blame the breakouts on ebbing pregnancy hormones mostly because a) last time they showed up was when the hormones first came out to say hi, so it makes sense that my skin would throw a party when they leave, too, and b) I refuse to believe that my 30-year-old self would be breaking out just ‘cause. Either way, they must be gotten rid of.
This stuff*Â is helping so much. I’m wary of acne treatments because my major skin issue is dryness (oof, the dryness)…but so far, so good. One thin coat of the La Roche-Posay salicylic acid acne treatmentÂ over the problem spots (not every night, just when needed), and in the morning, the state of my skin is worlds better.
More personal care products I’m into at the moment:
1. Borghese Acqua Ristorativo Eye Treatment*: Shea butter, jojoba oil, and avocado = texture that’s thick enough to feel like it’s really doing something, but not so thick that it feels heavy and gloppy.
3.Â Nature’s Gate Glow Lotion in Light*: After seeing these photos, I realized that I am so pale at the moment that I’m practically fluorescent. This stuff builds a natural, subtle glow over time, and is helping to turn down the volume on my Casper The Ghost-ness quite nicely (see these photos for evidence).
4. Mustela Bebe 2-in-1 Hair & Body Wash: I just ran out of this, and am in the process of ordering more this very second, because it smells so good that it takes what’s already the best part of my day (bathtime; so much fun) and makes it even better.Â
It’s a fact: weekends should always, always start with a Dance Break (this one was to The Cardigans, Ray Charles, and M.I.A.). Bonus points if it happens before anyone has a chance to get out of their pajamas or brush their hair (or peach fuzz, as the case may be).
On Saturday, I had to go back to Cold Spring to take care of a few more things, so we thought we’d make a Family Day Trip of it.
I wore some very ridiculous (and very amazing) boots.
This is us on the train ride home, ready for naps all around.
On Sunday morning, we just laid around and ate this kind of stuff…
…before heading over to my Mom’s place, where I made her favorite dish for her birthday dinner.
I’m not really a bright-blue nailpolish kind of girl, but this is sort of great, no? Maybe better on the toes.
And finally, I spent a couple of hours last night immersed in this book. You know, right away what struck me is the author’s observation that in France there aren’t as many options when it comes to parenting - there are just things you do, and one of those things is to chill out a little bit and trust your gut. Which both reduces stress - because you don’t feel pressured to choose a “parenting philosophy” the moment you get pregnant - and reduces the amount of judgment coming both from yourself and from others.
One of the first things I noticed when I got pregnant was how dramatically ideas about the “best” way to parent differ, and yet how completely wedded to their own beliefs people can be, to the extent where they simply cannot comprehend that another woman would choose to do things a different way, and transform questions about sleeping patterns into questions about one’s very worth as a parent and capacity for love. Take The Pacifier Issue, for example: parents are all over the map with this one, and there’s a lot of judgment (verging on anger) from both sides with regards to who’s “right” (when the answer, of course, is that every child is different and every parent is different, and what works for some simply won’t work for others).
But this judgment that parents throw at each other is scary stuff, especially when you’re a new parent and not exactly rock-solid in your own beliefs about things…and maybe a little nervous about how you’re doing. Do you know, I’ve been pretty nervous to admit that we use (and love) pacifiers? To the point where I’ve thought twice, and then twice more, before posting any photo in which a pacifier is visible. But you know what? The things work for us, and have made all three of our lives run more happily and smoothly, and so that’s that.
I have to say, sometimes I definitely think how much easier it would be if there was a little more emphasis on “what works for you, because you are an individual with individual needs” versus “what worked for me and if you don’t do it my way you are wrong.”
I also am about twenty pages into the book, so these are just my initial thoughts. Have any of you read Bringing Up Bebe? Did you like it?
On Friday morning, I had a flashback to that shining moment of sartorial triumph.
This project is obviously one that I’m pretty excited about, and so while I wasn’t nervous per se - auditions give me the willies, but once I’m on a set I’m happy as a clam - I definitely wanted everything to go smoothly, especially because we were working on a fairly tight schedule in the morning. So before getting into bed on Thursday night, I made sure that all my location releases were printed out, my cameras were charged and packed, and my carefully-selected outfit was hung on the back of my chair. I even knew what I was planning to eat for breakfast, just like I did on days when I had big tests in high school.
And in the morning, I calmly got ready to go, made sure I had everything I needed, and was all set to walk out the door when I caught sight of myself in the mirror in my pretty new flowery dress and thought: you know what? This could use a quick ironing.
But your resident Space Cadet thought it would be a good idea to smack the iron down on a polyester dress with nothing to protect it from the heat…and…
I melted it.
So my lovely, relaxed morning turned into a last-minute mad tear through my closet…but all was well in the end, and I quite liked what I ended up in.
Which was this.
As you can see, I had quite the little accessories party. (From left to right, the bracelets are chloe + isabel, Swati Jr*, and ROXoxox.)
On me: Guess by Marciano sunglasses, Forever 21 blouse and blazer, H&M shorts, La Rok jacket, Anthropologie charm necklace, Kenneth Cole camera bag, Rebecca Minkoff purse, Aldo wedges, vintage belt, FingerPaints polish in Pop Rocks Pink, cuff and earrings c/o Swati Jr*, black wrap bracelet c/o ROXoxox.
Today is the first day of shooting for Jordan In The House, which airs in early April on the Meredith Video Studios-produced Digs Channel. We’re headed up to Cold Spring…and I am so excited. So I wanted to tell you a little bit more about it.
Click here to follow me on Twitter (I’ll be Tweeting from the set…and posting pics on RG once I get back, of course).
I’m so embarrassed that this is the way I’m choosing to introduce myself to you, but hey: Desperate Times, meet Desperate Measures. It seems like most of your readers write to ask about weddings (fun!) and recipes (super fun!) and bras (kinda fun?), so my holy-shit-what-do-I-do-with-my-life email to someone I really don’t know seems kind of insane. But, Jordan? Holy shit, what do I do with my life?
I graduated from college last May with the ever-financially-rewarding degree in English and have, since then, been working in the office of the business my mom created. I’ve also applied to grad school - all Creative Writing programs that have less than 1% acceptance rates - and rekindled a terribly inconvenient relationship with my first love.
I really don’t know why I’m writing; I’m not the kind of person who contacts random lifestyle hosts/bloggers/new mothers for Major Life Advice, but I guess my reasoning was a bit of this: I’ve seen you build something - Ramshackle Glam - and I know from what you’ve written that you pursued lots of different avenues before settling into where you are now. So I guess I figured that maybe you’d be able to give me some advice?
I think the problem is that we’re all raised to believe we’re exceptional and that we can and should do exceptional things. I mean, how do you know what you are Meant To Do? Are you meant to do it if all the “doors of opportunity” in that direction are closing in your face?
I know you’re a new mom, and if all you have time for is a “Get yourself together, girl,” I’ll not only perfectly understand, I’ll actually try to, like, you know, get myself together.
Lots of love,
A. Ah, Meghan, I just woke up and read part of this email to Kendrick while having coffee, and he said, “Huh. That sounds like an email that you would have written three years ago.” To the word. Three years ago, I was working at a job I didn’t even come close to feeling was right for me (or enjoy), applying to grad schools just because I wasn’t sure what else to do, and wondering…you know, “Holy shit, what do I do with my life?” Crying about where things were headed all the time, because I felt like I had been given so many extraordinary opportunities…and then there I was, doing a whole lot of nothing at all.
It’s tough to give concrete advice here because the truth is that when it comes down to it part (not all) of the process of arriving at what you want to do depends on luck, chance, whatever you want to call it - especially when you haven’t set out upon a conventional road (get degree —> get job —> get promotion). But it’s so important to keep your eyes open to the opportunities life throws at you - don’t ignore those bits of luck or twists of fate when they come your way, because they will, especially if you keep pushing yourself to explore different directions. Be open-minded. What you are Meant To Do might be a thing you never even considered…but that thing might make you happier than anything you had ever imagined, so don’t ignore it when it shows up knocking.
I can say that I think going to school is an excellent idea. I did about 1/3 of a Master’s in Hospitality (I know; I was having a crisis, like I said), and while it was a very expensive moment of career confusion that I’ll be paying for for the next, oh, twenty years, it also got me all excited and inspired, and energized me to the point where I was able to see new possibilities…and that time period directly resulted in what I’m doing today.
Keep trying things, and follow through. Did you know that no one follows through? I remember when we were shopping around the pilot for Sunny, no one could believe that we’d actually just gone ahead and done it. Every actor/director/writer we knew was always announcing his or her plans to shoot their own pilot and shop it to networks…but no one did. They just talked about doing it.
It’s one of the great secrets of life: everyone talks and talks about all the things they’re going to do, and very few people actually do them. And those who do just blow everyone away.
Really, I hear you: I know that this feeling of wanting to do something and not knowing how to go about doing it is just crushing. Almost the worst feeling, the sense that you’re wasting time and wasting all those opportunities that you’ve been given. But you’re not, and you haven’t. What you’re going through is an absolutely crucial part of the growing-up process that smart, creative people with enormous dreams and capabilities go through - or at least that’s been my experience from watching those around me.
I don’t want to suggest that I have it all figured out - of course not, not at all. But I do know that I used to feel just as you do, and I also know both that it’s very, very difficult, and that it will not last forever, not if you keep your eyes open to the possibilities around you.
Look: if you didn’t care so much, you wouldn’t feel this way. And it’s because you care that you’ll put in the work to change your situation, and to do great things.
And that’s not making you feel better - that’s just the truth.
Lots of love,
*Reader email edited and reprinted with reader permission.
What To Wear: Jeans Are On The Menu...But I'm Not Buying
I recently received two similar workplace-fashion questions: both of these readers work in offices where employees are encouraged to dress more or less however they like…but neither is really into the idea, for very different reasons.
Hi Jordan: Since I love your style, I was wondering if you could help me out with a clothing dilemma. I work at a company that has no dress code and is a start-up (young! fun! hip!)…so basically anything goes. I’m at a complete loss: I want to look trendy and fashionable, but still semi-professional.
Jordan, I’m thinking Ramshackle Glam might need to help me with my new work wardrobe. Dress code is casual. Yep, casual. Like jeans and t-shirts. Two things: (1) I refuse to wear jeans and t-shirts to the office. If I don’t dress up in something cute for the day, it doesn’t feel like I’m ready to do anything productive; (2) having come from a stuffy law firm where business to business casual was the norm, my wardrobe is going to need some sprucing up.
To me, these questions raised an interesting issue: How much should your attire stand out when you’re on the job?
To answer this, you have to start with these two questions first:
1. How much do you wantyour attire to stand out?
2. How much does your employer want your attire to stand out?
The trick is to strike a balance, leaning far more heavily towards what your workplace expects of you.
If your workplace is big on Cool Factor but you feel lost every time you look into your closet, you can’t go wrong with more “unexpected” neutrals (meaning dove gray and navy rather than basic black), pretty patterns on top, and colorful shoes.
If your workplace is all about the casual but you still want to stretch your fashion legs, the goal is to feel stylish and pulled-together while not making too much of a point with your clothing - you don’t want what you’re wearing to get noticed before your work product. Go for neutrals in relaxed (but not especially attention-grabbing) shapes and fabrics with the occasional pop of color or pattern (not both) mixed in, and add standout accessories, like a great bag or gorgeous scarf.
My husband & I just bought our first home and I am in the process of decorating…my concern now is curtains. I’m thinking I want to go with something sheer, but I’m not sure what color. I’d love some ideas for what I can do to warm up the place and make it feel more homey!
A. Congrats on your new home!
First, I ran your photo through a color palette generator to clearly lay out what we’re working with here - your room is full of shades of grey and blue-grey with a touch of burgundy and black, which is a very cool color scheme, so you’re absolutely right to have the goal of adding a little warmth - and curtains are a great place to start.
You can choose curtains that are red, dusty rose, silver, gold, or cream, but what I would do to add a homey feel is focus on texture, layering in rich, cozy fabrics.
Start with some cream curtains and sparkling tie-backs…
Add a super-soft area rug (it looks like you have a carpet - but maybe there are hardwood floors underneath? Just an idea) and throw blanket…
And some pillows…
And then sprinkle in some inexpensive, fun accessories and natural elements that bring the outdoors in.
Click here for lots more inexpensive decorating ideas, and remember - you can always check out my Pinterest for tons more home decor inspiration.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I really do try hard not to be too All Baby, All The Time around here. Despite the arrival of the Baby tab several months ago (and the arrival of an Actual Baby a few months later), I’ve tried to keep RG more or less true to its roots and not chatter on too much about Indy for various reasons, including (but not restricted to) the following: 1) I don’t want to bore you guys, and while I find my son’s newfound ability to hang onto his feet both adorable and fascinating, I’m not sure that anyone without a biological imperative to find such things adorable and fascinating would, and 2) I am very, very afraid of ending up on STFU Parents. Nearly every time that I’ve sat down to recount a hilarious! wacky! tale about Adventures With Baby, I’ve thought to myself, “Self, might this blog post end up on STFU Parents?” And if the answer is yes - which it nearly always is, because hilarious and wacky stories about babies routinely involve bodily functions, and bodily function stories are just asking for it - I put an immediate halt to the proceedings.
But my desire to not fall into the Mommy Blogger hole has created a bit of a conundrum…because at the moment 99.9% of my brain is taken up by my son (four and a half months old now!), and every second - literally every second - that I’m not working, I am feeding/changing/entertaining a very small person. Not that I deserve a medal for this - of course not - just that…it doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to do stuff that I can write about. The non-Baby stuff. (This, by the way, is why I love Reader Questions - they keep me thinking about things like what I might wear to all those places I don’t go these days…so please, keep sending away!)
Anyway, this was an extremely long and rambly way of getting to my point, which is that this post is sort of tangentially Baby-Related, in that it’s about how my head is a total disaster zone at the moment.
Want to hear what I did yesterday?
Hunted around for half an hour looking for the Snap ‘n’ Go stroller thingy, until finally remembering that I had brought it downstairs to leave in the lobby before Kendrick left for the day. This, mind you, had transpired just a few minutes earlier…and I had no recollection of the entire four-flights-down-four-flights-up trip. Zero. I apparently floated downstairs, tucked my stroller into its little nook, and floated all the way back upstairs without a single moment of recognition as to what I was doing.
And then later on, when I got back from the grocery store, I hunted around for another half hour (can you tell how productive yesterday was?) in search of the grocery bags that I was absolutely certain had gone missing. I even went out into the hallway and down a flight of stairs, wondering whether I had, I don’t know, dripped grocery bags on my way up or something. And you know what I eventually realized?
I had already put my groceries away.
And I could not remember doing it.
I’m sorry, but that is weird.
And apparently that’s also what they refer to as “Mommy Brain.” Which makes the text conversations I’ve been having with Kendrick lately make a lot more sense.
"Want me to bring anything home for you?"
Seriously, I had that conversation with him. I’m often typing with one hand, and so when autocorrect makes pancake batter of my words, I usually just hit “Send” and have faith that he’ll be able to figure it out.
But I like making up words generally, so the only problem here is that some recipients of my text messages might think that I’m tippling into the schnapps at 10AM rather than suffering from a raging case of Mommyitis.
Mostly I love them steamed and served with lemon butter (click here for a whole bunch of artichoke-makin’ tips)…but sometimes you need to pile those suckers into things like pasta and chicken dishes, and the more the better. And you don’t have time to wrangle a zillion fresh artichoke hearts out of their fuzzy little cocoons. Or maybe you’re just feeling lazy, and believe (like I do) that if you’re going to go through that ridiculous amount of effort, you’d rather just eat the things straight rather than mucking around with sauces.
And on those days, you know what comes in handy? Frozen artichoke hearts. I keep them stockpiled in the freezer at all times and add them to everything, I love them so.
And the frozen ones totally work here (my advice would be to skip the canned ones; they can get mushy). But within a couple of weeks we should start seeing the markets fill up with gorgeous, fresh specimens, and so if you’re feeling it, I say go ahead: wrangle away. And then invite me over for dinner, please.
(Note: while parsley is usually optional, I’m going to insist you add it to this one - it gives this dish a light, fresh touch that’s really lovely and makes it feel much spring-ier.)
PENNE WITH ARTICHOKES AND SMOKED MOZZARELLA (serves 4; inspired by Chicho’s Kitchen)
What you need:
1 package dried penne (or pasta of choice)
4 slices good-quality bacon, cut into matchsticks
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 package frozen artichokes
1/2 cup diced smoked mozzarella
1 large handful parsley, chopped
Salt & pepper
What you do:
1. Cook penne in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions until al dente.
2. Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed skillet, fry your bacon matchsticks until the fat has rendered slightly.
3. Add a little more olive oil to the skillet if necessary, and throw in your onion and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent, then add the artichoke hearts and cook, stirring constantly, another couple of minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes and let simmer about 10 minutes, or until the sauce and artichokes are heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add the penne to the skillet along with the smoked mozzarella cubes and parsley and toss to combine.
To take advantage of the deal, available at YUVA Salon (which has locations in both the Financial District and Herald Square; apologies to non-NYCers - I’ll see what we can do about making some similar deals available for other citydwellers), just click this link (it’s easy and quick). The treatment includes cuticle care, nail shaping and cleaning, hand massage, and polish application using one of 100 shades.
And! Once you buy the manicure (only 200 are available, so chop chop), you’re automatically entered to win $100 to use on Lifebooker any way you want. And this offer is only available to RG readers, so your chances of winning are quite excellent.
The weekend started with a good, long Friday evening visit with Francesca, who (very sadly for me) lives in L.A. now (you can check out her music here).
On Saturday, we had to spend a couple of hours taking care of some things downtown, so the first stop was at my parents’, where an impromptu First Piano Lesson took place.
On the way over, Kendrick and I passed by the very first apartment that we lived in together and did a little reminiscing.
Now, I’m all for spiritual messaging, to each their own, et cetera…but you have to admit: this is a kind of intense thing to stare at first thing in the morning, every morning, for two years.
FYI, there are gorgeous mix-and-match bowls and plates to be found down on Mulberry south of Canal St for about $3-$5 apiece. This store, Tokyo Mart, is where we picked up our first set of dishes, and I highly recommend the place if you’re in the market for inexpensive, gorgeous (and sturdy!) tableware.
Shanghai Cuisine, on Bayard at Mulberry, is famous for soup dumplings, so we made a quick detour to escape the cold.
I’ve never actually sampled the Polynesian Drink List that the restaurant is also famous for on any of our visits (those look like headaches in a basket to me), but I’m always tempted to. Pineapple Paradise, please!
This was our Saturday night, in a nutshell.
And then on Sunday I took a whole bunch of photographs while we did various things…
But this pretty much says it all:
(How forlorn does Lucy look?! She’s not, I promise. That’s just her standard expression.)
The plan had been to watch the Oscars - or at least the red carpet part - at our friends’ place, but an early-to-sleep baby switched the night’s activity to Beef & Beer Stew on the couch. Which was fun, too, and let me make expressions like this without anyone seeing them (until…now, I suppose).
The tall drinks of water pictured above get the Number One spot not because of their outfits…but because of this photo, and the whole owning-it thing happening here. Look at them. Brad’s expression! Angelina’s leg!
Oh, these two.
This is my for-real #1 Best Dressed: I love that Michelle Williams (in Louis Vuitton) captured the spirit of the film for which she was nominated without looking costume-y in the slightest. This is a dress that was gorgeous in photos, but spectacular in motion - the way the skirt moved when she walked was stunning.
Gwyneth Paltrow (in Tom Ford) couldn’t have looked more head-to-toe perfect, and the only reason why she wasn’t my hands-down favorite of the night was because Gold-and-White Goddess-In-A-Sheath is a look we’ve seen on her (also to gorgeous effect) before.
I was also crazy about Octavia Spencer (in Tadashi Shoji) and Rose Byrne (in Vivienne Westwood) - Octavia’s look was drop-dead gorgeous, and even though Rose’s dress was more Cocktail Party than Showbiz’s Biggest Night, I just love the elegant, unexpected shape. And her hair.
Question for you: if you were to put this paper on one wall in a room, what color would you do on the other three walls? I’m leaning towards some shade of white so as not to get too crazy with it - that paper is crazy enough - but am open to suggestion.
Update: Very pale dove grey, yes - and I love JulieGirlie’s suggestion to add some bright pink peonies.
I’m a freshman in college and just found out I’ll be living in apartment-style campus housing next year…we’ve already started planning because we’re so excited! However, we’re limited by budget and the fact that we can’t make any sort of permanent change or provide a whole lot of furniture (the place comes with standard dorm built-ins, couches, etc.).
I love what you’ve done with your apartment and figure the same concepts could apply to our space. Do you have any tips for making it cozy, functional, and cute?
A. This is a great situation to be in: you basically get to do all the exciting decor stuff - playing with color and style - without having to make any major financial investments or long-term commitments…and that is awesome. Always dreamed of having a Moroccan-style living room with tons of pillows piled on the floor? Do it. Fantasize about having one of those net curtains around your bed? Now’s the time to pick one up. Think inexpensive, think adventurous, and think fun.
Easy Style Updates:
1. Plants. Incorporate at least one bit of greenery into every room. I go for fake over real because I have a Black Thumb, but whatever you choose, it’ll go a long way towards making your temporary rental feel like a for-real home.
2. Soft Stuff. Curtains and rugs provide instant coziness, and are an easy way to add colors and patterns to a simply decorated space. Curtains in particular do wonders to soften a room, and you can find chic styles at low prices (try World Market and Urban Outfitters). You might also want to consider splurging on some pretty rods or tie-backs, which really make a room look finished and can easily come with you when you move (but be sure to fill in those holes so you don’t lose your deposit!).
3. Mirrors. They’re gorgeous, they make small rooms look instantly larger, and they’re fun to hunt around for at yard sales and flea markets. Try either one large mirror in a striking frame above the couch, or a selection of smaller mirrors in mismatched shapes and frames grouped on one wall.
4. Color & Texture. Since you’re probably working with a fairly neutral starting palette, look for creative ways to add interest, like the fabric headboard and “grass” rug in the above photo.
5.Lighting. Lighting is so important for making a place feel homey. In every rental apartment I’ve lived in, one of the things that’s made the biggest difference to me is having lots of good light - at the very least, consider a retro standing lamp to brighten a dark corner.
If You Have A Little Extra Time & Money:
1. Paint or Wall Art. A coat of bright paint on a single wall can make the entire apartment feel brand-new (you may also want to just paint the moldings; this is a quick way to give a room some character). Remember, though, you’ll have to return the apartment to its original look when you leave, so that’s something to keep in mind…and is the reason why you might want to go for interesting wall art (or decals) instead.
2. Ceiling Fan. A ceiling fan makes a world of difference in terms of the feel of your apartment, and isn’t all that difficult to install as long as you already have a central light fixture.
3. Pendant Lighting Fixture. I never wanted to invest in one of these because I thought, you know, how annoying to have to a) install and b) take with you when you move…but I put one in our nursery, and boom: the room instantly looked more finished and like an actual home that actual people lived in. And these can be more affordable than you think: I love the options from West Elm and, of course, the Mason Jar Pendant Lighting Fixture from Pottery Barn (100% putting one in our kitchen in the new place).
Not that I’m the most talented person in the world at DIY French manicures - I used to do them all the time and was pretty good at them, but this one, as you can see, was a rush job completed during a much-shorter-than-I-expected-it-to-be nap - but there are a few little tricks that make them way easier:
1. Start with very little polish on the brush - you don’t want any rolling down and glopping onto your nail.
2. Begin the line at the halfway point and go to one edge of the nail, then return to the halfway point and draw the other side of the line.
3. Don’t worry about getting polish on the tips of your fingers - you probably will, especially if your nails are as short as mine. Just let it happen, and then run a Q-tip dipped in polish remover over any wayward spots after you’re done.
When you’re headed over to see a couple of friends who just brought a brand-new person into the world, it’s nice to tote along a small gift, no? Two of our very close friends just had their baby, and I got to thinking about what I’d like to bring them (in addition to Insomnia Cookies). The answer was one or more of these:
A bottle of Hi! Prosecco (from $9.49), because, you know: Hi, baby!
No, I’m totally lying about this last one. Do not get a new parent a mozzarella-making kit, because new parents do not have time to make mozzarella. But I had to show you this (one of Georgia Pellegrini’s picks on OpenSky) anyway, because seriously, that looks like so much fun.