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Ask Jess: Where to buy plants, job hunting tips, and more.


Why didn’t I start this series sooner? GREAT question. I literally have no idea. How silly of me!

But I get a lot of fantastic questions from you guys and instead of just replying to you individually, I thought it would be fun to start a recurring post series called “Ask Jess.” Think of this as a “coffee talk” of sorts, where you can ask me literally anything you’d like, and I will answer it in an “Ask Jess” post!

No topic is off-limits! From clothing to beauty, if you’re just curious about something random in general–please, ask away. You can do so in the easy question submission form I’ve created right here!

Earlier this week, I went to–where else? Instagram stories, and asked you to submit your questions! So, without further ado, let’s jump into our first set of questions, shall we?

Q: “I love off the shoulder tops, but I’ve yet to find a good strapless bra! Do you have any favorites?”

A: Bah! Why is it so hard to find a good strapless bra?! This is a tough feat, but I have found one favorite that stands out. (Actually, that reminds me, I really need to order another one!) It’s called the NuBra. It’s a sticky bra, but not the sticky kind that look like chicken cutlets (those are terrifying) and its made of regular bra material (whatever that is? I know I’m getting REALLY technical here.)  I think also think this version sticks better than other brands! I also like that they don’t add any extra bulk, as I don’t like extra padding in my bras. (That’s just a personal preference though. TMI?)

Q: “I love all of your plants and the baskets you put them in. Where are they from?”

A: I typically get my plants at both Home Depot and IKEA! IKEA is definitely the best place to go for plants–they are DIRT CHEAP there. (Which is great when you kill them every 6 months.) Also, stock up on pots while you’re there too! Same goes for my plant baskets. I get oversized baskets (I have two of this one!) and just set the pots inside of them. Works like a charm!

Q: “I’m graduating from college this year–do you have any tips on landing a PR/Advertising job in Chicago?”

A: This is definitely a loaded question! I definitely think networking is a huge part of it, and also being extremely proactive. Breaking into the industry is the hardest part, so to do that, I’d recommend making a list of all the possible connections you can leverage, and reaching out to them and asking for guidance. (And if you don’t have any connections, get on LinkedIn and start connecting that way!)

Also, this goes for pretty much anyone in any industry these days, but before you start reaching out to people–I wrote a post awhile back called, “Stop asking people to coffee” where I shared a bunch of helpful networking tips (gathered from both personal experience as well as friends I have in different industries!) and that’s definitely worth giving that a read beforehand.

Additionally, figure out what you can do to set yourself apart from the pack! For example, when I worked in advertising, I once made a Pinterest resume (this was right when Pinterest was the hottest thing in social media. Yes, it was before Instagram. #TheGoodOldDays.) for a job interview, and this really impressed my interviewers. (It’s super old now, but you can still find it here, haha! It was way more impressive at the time than it is now!)

As I moved up the ranks in Advertising, the tables were turned and I was the one interviewing people, so I got some good perspective on what makes a great interview. The guaranteed way to impress an interviewer? Ask good questions.

When your interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” that’s a trap. Saying, “no! I’m all good!” is telling your interviewer that you’re not smart enough or interested enough in the position to ask good questions. (Which, of course, isn’t true at all, is it? Of course not!) I didn’t realize this until I was the one who was on the other side of the table, but this is the biggest piece of advice that I give people, and it works EVERY time!

Treat any interview as a two-way street. They should be working to impress you just as much as you’re working to impress them!

Ask questions like, “When you started working here, what was your biggest challenge when you joined the team? What surprised you most about this position that you hadn’t anticipated going into it?” or “What is your favorite part about working here? What is your least favorite part?” and “Can you describe in more detail the role of everyone on the team and how you see me fitting into the equation?” It’s also important to ask why they are hiring for your role. Is it because someone got promoted and you’re replacing them? (That’s a great sign!) Or is it because someone left for a new company (not the best sign). If it’s the latter–you should be asking why things didn’t work out with that person, and what qualities they’re looking for in a new hire that will be a better fit for the role and the team!

Q: “What method do you use to curl your hair?”

A: I used to use a few different methods, but most recently I’ve stuck to one that I really love. I wrap strands of hair around my curling iron (like you would with a wand) and hold for a few seconds (I demonstrated that in this post) then catch the curl and pin it to cool. Your hair holds in the shape that it cools in, so if you let your curls cool before you take them down, they’ll last a lot longer! (I walked through the method I use in this post!) Sounds time consuming, but it’s not really any more time-consuming than curling your hair the old-fashioned way, and it stays put way longer! For beachy waves, curl away from your face, for more sleek curls, curl toward your face.

In terms of curling irons, my favorite prized beauty possession was my Beach Waver curling iron. I LOVED it. However, sadly, it died an early and violent death when I went to London with a crappy converter. I plugged it in and it blew sky-high–even the BUTTONS flew off! (SADDDD). I actually started laughing at first, because it was straight of a movie. (And then I started mourning soon after.)

I’ve been getting by with a cheap drugstore curling iron since (and I hate it!) but I’ve recently started working with T3 and they’re sending me the T3 whirl rotating curling iron with interchangeable barrels. I’m really excited to test that out to see if it lives up to the hype! (Specifically, I know it’s what Liz uses and she’s the best, so anything she recommends I’m like, “I’ll take one of those please!”) I’ll keep you posted!

Q: “I’m moving to Chicago soon–what neighborhoods would you recommend living in?”

A: This is such a hard question! So, Chicago has 77 different neighborhoods (WOW) so narrowing down just one can be a little overwhelming! The main factors I tend to weigh are: location (proximity to good restaurants, grocery store, downtown if that’s necessary, and how easy it is to get from where you live to where your friends live), how much you get for your money, and overall vibe. I think this has also changed with age, so that will also factor into your equation. With that all being said, here are my personal recommendations:

Wicker Park/Bucktown: Where I live now, so I’m biased, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard anyone say a bad thing about living here. I’ve lived in Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, Lakeshore East and West Loop before moving here, and this is by far my favorite. I don’t ever have to leave my neighborhood if I don’t actually want to. They have everything here, it has an awesome vibe–it’s laid back, not too uppity and there are none of the frat boy party bars you find elsewhere. (However, in my earlier years, I was frequenting those frat boy bars, so that’s something that I would’ve wanted!) There is also way better street parking than in any other neighborhood.

Lincoln Park: Where I lived for the first 4 years living in Chicago and I wouldn’t have changed it for anything. There are a ton of young people who live there and it’s great for making friends. The further north you move, the better price you’ll get for the money. If you live in East LP, you can go running on the lakefront path and it’s one of the most beautiful areas of Chicago. My favorite part of LP is near Sheffield and Armitage, and also near the LP zoo! (Running through the zoo is the best! You know, when I used to run.)

Lakeview: Like I said, the further north you go, the more you’ll get for your money. However, this comes with a price, and the price is that you’re very far from downtown. That was always a deal breaker for me when I worked downtown because I couldn’t stand the though of a 40 minute commute on public transportation, but everyone is different! Lakeview is a really diverse neighborhood (it’s really big, so it has several sub-neighborhoods that all have their own unique charm!) and it offers something for everyone!

Gold Coast: If you like being closer to downtown and near the lake, the Gold Coast is worth looking into! Here you’ll find a lot of high-rises, which is a plus if you prefer the added security of a doorman and more amenities like community BBQ’s and a gym! I lived here for two years and really liked it! The rent can get expensive though, and the buildings are a lot older and sometimes have janky elevators. But hey, you pay for the location, friends!

What other questions do you have? Remember, you can click here to submit them! I’ll answer them in the next edition of Ask Jess 🙂