Hi! I'm Jess! It's so nice to meet you, and welcome! I live in Chicago with my husband Neal, and our baby girl, June. We're so glad you're here!
Many years ago, I found myself stalking my favorite blogs–as one does–and feeling a sense of inadequacy. I didn’t have a perfectly pinnable home (far from it, it was furnished with hand me downs and very disorganized), I couldn’t afford designer clothing (nor did I have any interest in it) and honestly, I just felt like everywhere I looked on the internet–everyone had this perfect life that seemed very far out of reach.
So–I started my own imperfect corner of the internet. A place where real women can go to feel inspired, not inadequate.
While I’ve grown up (alongside many of you who have been here for years ♥️) and a lot of things have changed since I started this blog–that principle has always remained the same. And sure, while the pictures you see here might be "pretty" (it took a long time to figure out how to make ’em that way! They started out looking like this 😆) the content you’ll find here is very much real life. Nothing here should leave you playing the “comparison game." Rather, I hope it can remind you to prioritize progress over perfection, embrace balance and boundaries, to order fries with your salad and know that a messy life is a fun, fulfilled life.
Get to know me a little bit more!
I'm an Enneagram 7 wing 8. My husband Neal and pandemic baby girl, June, are my two favorite sidekicks. We live in Chicago and love to travel. I worked in advertising before leaping into the world of self-employment, and many years of lost sleep and ramen noodles later–my hard work paid off, and this blog is my full time gig. I wouldn't have it any other way!
I’ve never met a french fry I didn’t like. (Unless, of course, it was soggy.) I love cooking, reading, singing, playing the ukulele, and if I had endless funds and spare time, I would use it all to travel to as many places as I could! (And maybe buy a flat in Paris.)
Connecting with you–my readers! Helping you and bringing people together through the content on this blog is a big driver in why I enjoy getting up everyday. It truly makes my day when I get messages from you all saying that a product I turned you onto, or a blog post you read, has improved your life in some small way.
You’ll find a lot of different types of content on this blog, but it all ladders up to this: the content here is a real girl approach to living your best life.
I share my absolute favorite products I love and stand behind, style tips that make you feel confident instead of self conscious (no 90’s dad sneakers here, no way), practical (and quick) beauty favorites, and just general LIFE stuff–from travel to relationships, motherhood, and more–coming from a girl with personal experience, just living through it. If I can help someone else along the way by sharing what I've learned–I'll consider it a success!
Basically, if it’s something we’re all going through–we’re talking about it here!
This is more than a blog–it’s a community–and it’s my hope that with every visit, you’ll learn something useful, have a laugh, and above all, leave feeling brighter, lighter, and most importantly, inspired rather than inadequate.
I grew up in Corbett, Oregon and we moved to Scottsdale, Arizona when I was in 5th grade. Spent summers growing up in Lexington Kentucky, went to college in Bloomington Indiana, studied abroad in Florence Italy, moved to Chicago after college and I'm still here 10 years later! My family currently lives in Bend, Oregon, so when I go "home" to visit family, it's there!
Omg. So hard to choose. Welcome to New York! Give it Up by the Format. Dani California by RHCP. Tiny Little Bows by Carly Rae Jepsen. My Church by Maren Morris. Any classic Celine Dion, obviously, even if I don't know all the words.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I still think about it ALL the time.
I was very influenced by Elle Woods when Legally Blonde came out. 😂 On my Freshman orientation day of high school I wore super tall wedges, a tight denim pencil skirt, and a glittery Michael Kors tank top–and lucked out to be in the tour group of the most popular, cutest senior boy. I was walking and talking with him and then tripped and fell flat on my face going down the steps. My Elle Woods phase wasn't meant to be.
I love a really good, gourmet cheddar. And Boursin. Not a fan of goat cheese. It tastes like smelly goats!?
I don't love movies, I much prefer books! But I love The Family Stone and Father of the Bride. (Actually anything with Diane Keaton!)
I majored in Journalism and graduated from Indiana University Bloomington! I planned to go into Advertising after college, and ended up doing that for four years before leaving to pursue freelance writing and blogging. (I now blog full time!) However, I didn't get a job in advertising right away and ended up at a temp agency, which is where I met Neal! More on that here.
OK this is REALLY hard as chips are one of my favorite food groups. I would say I love a classic original Lays potato chip (an essential part of apertivo) and the most classic pairing for a sandwich. However, I think a Lays BBQ chip is the best with a chip dip. (Especially onion dip.) I also love Cape Cod kettle chips. I would be remiss not to mention Cool Ranch Doritos although I usually save those for special occasions/gas station runs. And the dark horse award goes to Jays Hot potato chips, because once you eat one you must finish the whole bag.
Pretty much the same reason everyone has when starting a blog–I was looking for a creative outlet! I loved reading blogs and though it would be fun to start my own. As a journalism major, I also missed writing! When I first started, I hid it and didn't tell anyone because I was embarrassed about it, but when I finally told Neal he encouraged me to own it and go for it! You probably wouldn't be reading this if not for him!
The Spice Girls!
Well, it's important to remember that when I'm not in a good mood or having a hard time, I don't often post it on Instagram! Just like everyone, I have hard days and hard times! That being said, I shared about my positive mindset trick in this post, and it's truly life changing.
It's not hidden, but I learned how to play the Ukulele during quarantine and I LOVE it. Makes me so happy!
Honestly I have a lot of them. 😬 Neal would say it's biting (not stringing) string cheese (who has time to STRING string cheese?) and placing the toilet paper "under" not "over."
I have a lot but the first one that comes to mind is when you go to a Chinese restaurant with someone and they order one entree for themselves and don't want to share. 😆
I do! I have one sister named Alissa! We're 10 years apart, and I have 4 nephews and 1 niece! 🥰 They all live in Oregon.
I had a great aunt June! I have always loved her name and thought it was so beautiful and classic. I always hoped I would have a little girl one day and that I would name her June, and I started wearing Neal down on the name YEARS ago. Luckily, he came around to love it too, but he said he only wanted to name her June if she was born in June. When we found out we were expecting, I did the math and could NOT believe it–and knew if we had a girl, she would be a June born in June. I guess you could say I manifested this child. 😂 We cut it very close though–her due date was June 28th–not a lot of room there. Neal joked that of course, a child of mine WOULD be late and end up being June born in July. (Luckily she came early on June 23rd, so Neal got his wish after all! And as it happens, she shares a birthday with June Carter Cash! How is that for fate?)
Honestly, it's so much more fun than I thought it would be. I knew I would love her from day one, obviously, but was fully prepared to just "gut out" the baby phase–I thought it wouldn't get fun until she could talk, walk, and until she had a fully developed personality. Turns out, that's not true at all! She's had so much personality from day one, and it comes out more and more every day. She's just so much fun and she makes every day so much more meaningful than it was before!
Grey goose martini, shaken, very slightly dirty, blue cheese olives, vermouth rinse!