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Ask Jess–Splitting holidays as a couple, skincare for men, winter layering and more!

Oct 11, 2018

Ask Jess

Hi guys!

Happy Thursday–this week has really flown! Blair and I have been working on a big project behind the scenes for Blogging For Keeps–if you’re a blogger, you might be interested in it! We’re launching our first group coaching program all about monetizing your blog this holiday season–click here for more details and sign up to learn more about it! 🙂

Anyway, on to a few more reader questions in this week’s Ask Jess series!

How do you divide holidays now that you’re married?

Because Neal’s family is all in Chicago, we spend pretty much every holiday with them. I have always lived far away from my family since college, so I haven’t been home for a holiday other than Christmas since I was 18. Even Thanksgiving in college I wouldn’t always go home–so I’m pretty used to that.

My family is very far away in Oregon–it’s about a day’s worth of travel and tickets typically cost about $600 (on a really good non-holiday time) to $900 per person–so sadly, we don’t really get out there very much. I typically would always go home for Christmas for a week or so, but the past couple of years I’ve spent with Neal’s family.

Last year and this year, my mom is coming out here for Thanksgiving (my parents aren’t together) and we all spend it with Neal’s side–it’s a big holiday for the Loftus crew and it’s always so much fun. Neal’s family has totally welcomed my mom with open arms (as they lovingly do with everyone) and it’s really special to get to spend time all together!

This year…

I’m planning to go home a day or so before Christmas Eve, with Neal coming Christmas night. In previous years my nephews have all gotten older, so Christmas is less of a big deal, but this year my youngest niece, Ashlynn, is now old enough to get really excited about Christmas and I really want to be there with her on Christmas morning to see her little face light up! Neal is planning to celebrate Christmas Eve with the Loftus side (which I am also REALLY sad about missing–it’s one of my favorite days of the year ?) and will take a redeye on Christmas day to hopefully make it to my family by Christmas dinner.

Some people might think this is weird–but I think every couple should do what’s best for them. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you have to do things one way or another. I don’t want him to miss Christmas Eve with his family and he doesn’t want me to miss Christmas morning with mine. We know there will be lot’s of holidays where we have to miss one or the other, and it will only get harder eventually when we have kids–so right now, we don’t mind separating for part of the holiday.

Basically, we’re taking it a year at a time. We don’t have any strict rules. Luckily we’re both very close with both sides of our family, so that huge feeling of “sacrifice” that a lot of couples have isn’t really there for us.

If both of our families were close, we would probably alternate holidays every other year!

Does Neal have any skincare tips I can get my husband to use? He needs to moisturize and exfoliate!

Haha! Yes! I am so fortunate that Neal embraces good skincare ? Here’s what we’d recommend:

For cleanser: This charcoal bar. Charcoal is naturally cleansing (and great for oily or blemish prone skin) without being over drying. It’s just a bar of soap–so if you’re worried about him thinking certain products aren’t “manly” enough–it’s about non-descript as you can get–doesn’t look girly at all, and will last a long time! It also works as body soap too, so you can put one next to the sink and one in the shower!

Face + Eye cream: Neal loves these products from Brickell! They’re an all-natural mens line and because it’s on Amazon he won’t feel weird ordering it from some specialty store ? He uses both of them at night, and for moisturizer during the day, he just uses CereVe lotion from the drugstore!

For exfoliation: I HIGHLY recommend the Peter Thomas Roth Enzyme Peeling Gel–it’s expensive but it lasts forever and he only has to use it once or twice a week! It’s great for both men and women (technically it’s mine but Neal uses it when he needs it!) It also makes your makeup go on SO smoothly and is a staple of mine all year long but especially in winter.

Do you have a 24 hour layover guide to Chicago?

I do not (that’s a pretty specific request I’ve never received before –but a very good one! ) but I do have a whole Chicago section that you can peruse that is full of tons of reccos so you can put together your own layover guide!

Far in advance, but any ideas on what to wear to my boyfriend’s office holiday party? I plan ahead!

Lot’s of ideas! Assuming this is a dressy holiday party–this dress is my #1 recommendation! You can also head over to this post for more ideas. (Technically it’s regarding what to wear to a fall wedding, but there are so many dresses that are perfect for holiday parties in there, too!)

If it’s more casual, I would suggest this dress–it’s so cute, super flattering, looks cute with booties to dress it up or add a scarf for a good dressy-casual balance.

Rounding up my favorite dresses here: 

I need major layering lessons–it’s my first Chicago winter–help!

Don’t worry! You’ll get the hang of it in no time ? I have a couple posts dedicated to this–this one and this one! They’re both from last year, so I need to update the links as most of the products are old now but the core lessons are very much the same!

My biggest tips are to buy some thin base layers (these tissue turtlenecks are my #1 favorite) and invest in a REALLY good coat–my Canada Goose parka is my lifeline in the winter and granted, it’s crazy expensive–I wear it so much and it makes the biggest difference–I will have it for at least a decade–so paying $100 a year for a coat that keeps me as warm as possible is a no-brainer. North Face also makes great parkas–but they aren’t AS warm. (The higher the power fill count, the warmer it is–so North Face’s are typically 550–Canada Goose is 625!) I plan to do more research on these though and do a post on winter coats at all price points!


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