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Ask Jess–Where to give back, Home Design tips, my favorite winter pants + more!

Where to give back, Home Design tips, my favorite winter pants + more!

Hello hello! 

Here we are, almost to Friday again–another week of 2020 down! I hope you’re having a good week! It is an absolutely BEAUTIFUL day here! I hope it’s nice wherever you’re tuning in from, too! 

The other day I got asked via dm, “how are you constantly coming up with new content? How are you always creative?” The truth is–I’m not. There are many times where I’m not feeling creative AT ALL. And here’s a secret–during those times, I do Ask Jess posts. ???? Because it’s easy, and it’s fun, and it’s helpful for you, too! 

So that’s what we’re doing again today! I’m choosing a handful of questions submitted via Instagram stories today. (Thanks to all who submitted!) Let’s jump in! 

Ask Jess: Where to give back, Home Design tips, my favorite winter pants + more!

Reccos for where to give back this season? (Not brands that give back but actual orgs!) 

I listed a bunch of the awesome organizations we have personally donated to this year in this post, which shares more ways to give back and spread joy no matter what your budget! I highly recommend using that post as a guide–lots of great ways to help in there! 

Favorite long-sleeve workout tops? 

Lululemon makes my favorite workout tops. I pretty much exclusively wear two of their long sleeve shirts–the Swiftly Tech and the Breathe long sleeve tee! (Wearing the latter above!) Both are great. Size up–I usually like a size 6 in Lulu tops. (In the summer I wear the tank/short sleeve versions of each as well!) I know they’re pricey for workout tops. But when it comes to workout gear I’m in the camp of fewer better things. I have a whole drawer of workout clothes and I only reach for these two shirts every time. I have a few of each, and that works great for me! They’ve lasted for years. 

Curious about your home design process, your home seems “finished” and would love any tips! 

This made me LOL because our condo is so not remotely finished. (Remember, you really just see my living room on Instagram ????) I know what I like but I struggle with putting it all together because TBH I am lazy and the design process is very tedious to me. If I could wave a magic wand and just have it done, I would. But I also am very choosy about my pieces and I prefer a curated eclectic and “collected” look–which is why I basically have zero art on our walls–I don’t like “random” artwork, I want it all to have a backstory, a connection to us, and a meaning. I think every house of ours will always be a continuous work in progress! 

I think as far as tips go, my approach is to not buy everything at once. Take your time! I think having everything from the same place or design type takes the character out of your home–it shouldn’t all match, look like it’s all from the same decade, and all be in the same style, etc.

A lot of the items in our home are vintage, thrifted, mixed in with modern pieces. You always hear me talk about the “juxtaposition” rule, and that definitely comes into play when decorating a home, too! Something old, something new, something modern, something vintage, something traditional, something funky! I hope that helps 🙂 

Advice on what to get teenage nieces for Christmas? Trying to maintain my cool-aunt status! 

TBH I rarely buy gifts for family members without getting a specific wishlist first. I know this takes a bit of the sentimentality out of it but nobody needs more crap that they don’t actually use just for sentimentality’s sake. (Sorry, I’m such a realist. ????) Ask them or their mom for a few suggestions so you ensure you’re on the right track! (That or just give them money, which is what I started doing with my nephews a few years ago, haha!) 

Warm pants to walk the dog in that aren’t snow pants? 

I guess it depends on where you live, I don’t wear snow pants in Chicago but when I’m outside and need to be super warm I always go for my Old Navy warm jeans. I know you were probably hoping for something like leggings or joggers bc #2020 but the truth is those just aren’t going to be very warm since the fabric is on the thinner side/with a looser weave. The warm jeans are great because they’re denim and also fleece-lined, so they help keep the wind out AND keep you toasty at the same time! 

If you do want a pair of leggings, I know Lululemon makes winter running leggings, but I haven’t tried them personally so I’m not sure how warm they are! Uniqlo’s “Heattech” line is also awesome–they make tons of items with their heattech technology! 

What’s one movie you can watch on repeat without hesitation?

I’ll be honest, I don’t watch movies unless Neal begs me. He loves movies, I am not a movie person–I don’t have the attention span. I much prefer shows because they’re shorter and I think they end up being way more engaging since the episodes are bite sized but there is so much more opportunity for storytelling/character development! As far as easy shows to watch, I could watch Friends, Sex and the City, and Schitts Creek over and over and over. (I did NOT understand Schitts Creek for the longest time but we finally got into it and it’s our favorite show ever.) My new favorite is also Virgin River on Netflix, which I will watch hours of if left unattended on the weekends. ????

How to keep meal portion sizes reasonable being home all day every day!? 

I’m not really a big snacker or a grazer by nature, so I do feel like this comes a little bit easier to me than it does for others (I think it has to do with me being easily distracted so therefore I am constantly trying to focus during the day and therefore aren’t thinking about snacking as much ????)  But if this is something you struggle with, that’s totally okay and normal. And I have been through phases of life where it’s a big struggle for me too!

Overall though, I feel like my mom was really good at teaching me how to have a healthy relationship with food as I was growing up (and was also a leader by example), so I hope I can impart some of her learnings here! Please note I am not a nutritionist, I am not giving out health advice, rather just sharing what has worked for me. 

First things first–eat when you are hungry!

My go-to snacks when I’m hungry between meals are a few slices of apple with some peanut butter, some crackers with string cheese, or chopped veggies (Neal or I will chop them up every few days–carrots, celery, broccoli, bell peppers, cucumber, etc– and keep them in the fridge to make them easy to grab) with a healthy ranch. (I like Tessamae’s ranch or sometimes I make my own with greek yogurt instead of mayo! Ranch dressing is usually just herbs/spices, mayo or sour cream and milk. It’s easy to make at home! This blog has an example recipe!) If you fill yourself up with good snacks you’re less likely to overeat on less nutritious snacks. (Eating something with a bit of fat/protein/fiber or ideally all of the above and not just empty calories also is very helpful!) 

It also helps to only put a reasonable portion of whatever you’re eating on your plate.

If it’s on your plate, you’ll usually eat all of it, even if you aren’t hungry! So just be mindful of the portion size you’re serving yourself! Try to eat slowly, and once that portion is gone, if you’re still hungry, wait a few minutes for what you just ate to digest, and if you’re still hungry, have more! Often, for me, overeating is just out of boredom, not actual hunger, so when you’re cognizant of the difference, it gets easier to manage! I definitely would never recommend restricting yourself or not eating when you’re actually hungry! 

Also, I try not to buy too much “junk” food.

(My habits have gotten MUCH worse in quarantine though ???? I don’t want you thinking I’m over here eating light quinoa salads all day every day–I just ordered 2 dozen New York Bagels for goodness sake!) I think an important thing is that I don’t deprive myself of the things I love. I will have potato chips with a sandwich (I LOVE chips!) but I will have a small handful. And it’s easy to only eat a handful when you put a portion on your plate, seal the bag up, and put it back away in the cupboard! I think it’s just about balance and striking the best balance you can. Paying attention to how you feel after you eat a reasonable portion vs. how you feel after you eat too much also helps reign things in too. 

I hope this was helpful! 🙂 But also, remember, it’s a really hard year, go easy on yourself! 

That’s all for now! I’ll probably be answering more Q’s over on IG stories–so head over there for more! ???? I hope you have the best day!