I Go For Mine: 2012 Resolutions

As I started thinking about my new year's resolutions, I decided to read over last year's resolutions to get my mind going. I'm still not a fan of all the hype around 'new year's resolutions', only because it's somewhat commonplace for people to create lofty goals at one time of the year, just to abandon them a few weeks later.

If you make resolutions or goals - no matter what time of the year - then great! Write them down. Break down your goals into tasks/baby steps. Revisit your list throughout the year to see how you're doing. Commit to them rather than making them for the sake of a new year ahead.

Taking great things from 2011 with me into the next year, and adding more!

I have a few goals in regards to my blog, my career and my life. Last year's resolutions actually helped me stick to reaching those goals, and I'll carry these into next year too. I just want to add a couple more this time around:

Be present in the moment
This is one thing Russell Simmons stresses in both of his books, Super Rich and Do You. In the age of social media, technology and multi-tasking, so many things fight for our attention at any given time. It's tough, but focusing on the task/conversation/moment at hand is something I'm really trying to work on this year! Hopefully this will lead to better productivity and less stress over time.

Be militant in avoiding distractions
I read this Inc. Magazine article on "7 Things Highly Productive People Do" recently and this point really stuck with me. It's amazing how one email can pop up in the middle of something I'm working on, and an hour later I'm so distracted and far removed from what I was doing. One of my biggest struggles this year has been being productive. Avoiding distractions from social tweeting & FBing (i.e. not for work) all the way up to too much partying will help keep me focused on the things I want to accomplish!

Respect the temple
My body, that is. Trading in that fast food & all those nights eating out for some clean food, juice and meals at home with my man and our dog. Getting that workout plan cemented and worked into my schedule better. Not working too hard. Not stressing too hard. Loving life!

Keep writing
Writing is one of my favorite things to do to channel back to myself when I'm getting too stressed or consumed by work & life. This year I'm committed to much more journaling and blogging. Also, it's a pleasure writing these posts for you :)

Giving is getting
Supporting what you're passionate in, whether that's a non-profit, a movement or your relationships, is one of the most fulfilling things you can do in life. For me, that means supporting Bulldog Haven NW and PAWS, and spending time with friends and family.

Stay organized
It's easy to pick an organization system and try it out. What's hard is sticking to that system and making it work over time. I've tried a lot of things and have yet to settle on a system that works for me. I will keep at it!

Grow continuously
There's a saying that "insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results." I'm devoted to staying motivated to reach my goals. I have the drive to learn and consistently strive to be better.

"I can't be stopped. Like nope, like nope!" - Jay-Z, "Who Gon' Stop Me" - Watch the Throne

Happy new year everyone!


The Freshest Sounds of 2011

Nothing impacts our lives quite like music does. Whether it brightens or sobers our mood, makes our heart race, fuels the fires of love and rage or simply makes us laugh or cry, music is powerful in connecting memories, experiences and emotions.

That being said, here are some of my absolute favorite songs, mixes & memories from 2011. My ears remind me that I had a great year :)

I almost cried a bit when I went looking for this video for this post. This song makes me so happy and reminds me of all of my happiest memories in 2011. This year was a big one for Ms. Nicki Minaj too - this song has been on the Billboard top pop singles chart all year. She's come a long way from when I wrote about her two years ago. I'm so proud to be a fan!

This is my favorite mix track of the year. It reminds me of all the girls' nights out this year getting sweaty & workin it out on the dance floor :)

Beyonce: Countdown (JACK BEATS REMIX) by Jack Beats

Frank Ocean burst on the scene this year, stole my heart & dominated my eardrums for most of the year!

Probably my most anticipated album of the year!

Who Gon' Stop Me - Jay-Z & Kanye West, Watch the Throne

There's nothing I love more than supporting hometown talent. These are my three favorite Seattle DJs (Scene's in Vegas now but still reps the 206!) and the mixes that stayed with me at the gym, at work, in the car, walking around downtown and everywhere in between.

The Suicide Squeeze by tigerbeat206

Heat Stroke by tigerbeat206

 (One of MTV Hive's Best Mixes of 2011 & recorded live at Seattle's Baltic Room!)

The-Dream 30 Mins Live (4.29.11) by fourcolorzack

Weekday Warrior Pt. 3 (for Kicks Hawaii) by fourcolorzack

The Mint ruled my summer for real.

The Mint (full mix) by DJ Scene

Rihanna was everywhere this year. This is a dancehall take on my favorite track from "Loud."

Rihanna-Whats My Name Federation Remix Feat: Vybz Kartel

Coachella and all of my time spent in L.A. this year were definitely 2011 highlights. I had the pleasure of seeing Ellie Goulding for the first time.

I went to Vegas with some of my favorite girls in May and we had a blast, even during the rapture :) This was an appropriate theme song for the weekend:

Other bangers on heavy rotation:

The Weeknd - The Birds (Part 1) by The_Weeknd

I make a lot of fun of Drizzy Drake but in all honesty, his Take Care album has been on repeat for the last few weeks!

The S.O.U.L. Tapes - Fabolous

Leaving You - Fabolous


Action Jackson - Body Work Mix (November 2010) by DJActionJackson

What were some of your favorite songs this year? Let me know!


Fresh Jess Loves Uber (Special discount for you!)

I'm 5'1". While I love a great pair of Nikes, TOMS or studded flats, I am usually wearing some kind of heel when I'm out and about. I also live in the city and spend a fair amount of time walking and sometimes catching buses or cabs to get around downtown. As most Seattleites know, getting a cab can be spotty and downright difficult at times. Unlike cities where cabs are prevalent, we call for cabs here in Seattle only to see they never show up on time, and sometimes don't show up at all. For these reasons, I'm so happy to have Uber in town!

Uber is a private towncar service available via mobile app. While some might argue for its premium price, the ease of requesting a car on the app, seeing where my car is on its way to get me and while I'm in it, super friendly service and the ability to call my driver if needed make it worth that extra couple of dollars. Oh, and no money is exchanged in the whole process so you don't have to worry about cash. Just input your card info in the app and you're ready to go!

Uber is so perfect for a date night, girls' night, fancy event, birthday or just a nice ride to a night out dancing with friends. I'm thankful I'm not trudging around town ruining my heels :)

Haven't tried Uber yet and want to give it a go? 

Sign up with the Fresh Jess code and get $15 credit for your account!

You can use Uber now in Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Boston and Paris. More cities soon!

Happy Uber-ing!


Stay Giving: Meet AlixRose & Clutch 22

Christmas might be behind us now, but the giving spirit never leaves me! I love this week's project over at the Independent Fashion Bloggers - Give Your Favorite Blogger a Gift Post!

You've read about AlixRose & Clutch 22 here on Fresh Jess before, but when I think of my favorite bloggers, they are the first to pop in my mind. I love telling the people the story of how I met these Alix, Jordana & Sara at a private party hosted by Darnell Sue for Glamour Magazine back in 2009. Since then, these ladies have been among the strongest forces in my life and I am incredibly fortunate to call them my friends.

AlixRose has all that it takes to be amazing at whatever she puts her mind to. I admire her dedication to the things that are important to her, whether that be friends, family, blogging or her career. She's taught me a lot about nurturing your blog community, thinking up content ideas and taking my blog to the next level. She is diligent about posting regularly to AlixRose.com despite a busy schedule and a really demanding job in social media. We experience very similar struggles with balancing everything, and it's great to have a friend and peer to talk things through with. You have no idea how lucky you are, Seattle! If you haven't perused AlixRose.com yet, bookmark it for her unique perspective on fashion trends, outfit styling and general musings on what makes her tick.

If you've ever had the pleasure of talking with Jordana of Clutch 22 in real life, then you know how infectious her energy and tenacity are. Get her talking about something she's passionate about and she is absolutely untouchable! When I first met her, I could not believe this chick was talking to me. "I am not cool enough to hang and my little blog is just getting off the ground!" was all I could think while I read through her thoughtful takes on outfits and shopping. Clutch 22 now features more of her life in NYC and affinity for digital everything, but the smart, sassy, confident spirit is all the same. She was featured as DList Magazine's Young Northwest Blogger in 2009, and I was lucky enough to follow in her footsteps two years later. She's responsible for introducing me to the Independent Fashion Bloggers and so much more! 

Thanks you two for making a blogger's life beautiful! WOO!


The Freshest Posts of 2011

The holidays are times for family, food, fun and love. It's also a great time of reflection, and for me, 2011 has been definitely been a ride. While it's easy to describe it as a roller coaster, I don't want to call them "ups and downs." Instead, my experiences this year are all lessons learned and opportunities to grow.

Inspired by the recent Independent Fashion Bloggers' Project of the Week, this post features ten of my favorite posts from this past year. It was a trip down not-too-distant memory lane, but also a way to start reflecting on my life as it was in 2011.

Like to hear it? Here it goes... (in chronological order)

Exploring NYC
1) IFB Evolving Influence: What I Learned
They say that if you feel you're the smartest one in the room, it's time to find a different room. Part of a series of posts highlighting my trip to NYC in February for Fashion Week, this one recapped the amazing sessions at the IFB Evolving Influence conference. Milk Studios was that room for me - being there and hearing from the likes of everyone from Yuli Ziv, Jennine Jacob and the gentlemen behind Proenza Schouler showed me that I have so much to learn as a blogger. Though I always stress that I categorize myself as a Seattle lifestyle blogger and not strictly a fashion blogger, style is definitely a huge part of my blog. IFB has been so helpful in being a peer-to-peer knowledge base and sounding board for thousands of bloggers like me.

2) Mamas & Meatballs Make My World Go 'Round
As I chose these posts, it became clear to me that the personal ones - the glimpses into the inner workings of my life - are the ones that would make it in this top ten. 'Mamas & Meatballs' was written on Mother's Day, thanking my mother for always being there for me, and thanking my dearly departed bulldog baby, Meatball for giving me life. They are my everything.

3) Coolin' at Coachella
2011 was my first time at the annual festival, and I loved it! This post brought back countless memories of a couple of weeks in L.A. with the love of my life, capped off with a trip to the desert with my awesome Anisa Leyla to meet up with Andy Fortson and friends for an amazing weekend filled with music, art and the most gorgeous and stylish people I've ever seen in my life. One of my favorite trips of all time.

At my photoshoot for #8

4) Showing Up for Life - Bill Gates Sr.
I traveled a lot in the first half of this year and though I don't regret any of it, I barely did anything to nourish myself. Too much indulging and toxic people. No working out, reading, writing, eating that well or blogging. Come summer, I decided this needed to change immediately. I turned to a book I'd read before, by one of my heroes, Bill Gates Sr. Showing Up for Life is a quick read on exactly that - showing up. One of the hardest things to learn is how to say "no," whether that be to attending an event, a new opportunity or to having too much fun as I was doing. This book is a great reminder to me about remembering your passions and your priorities, then choosing to "show up" for those things that matter to you - consistently.

5) Fresh Eats: Revel
I am fortunate to know many of the talented foodies in the city, but that's always kept me from writing about food here on Fresh Jess. I don't consider myself on their level! I do, however, love going out for a  delicious dinner and checking out new restaurants in town. In July, I launched my "Fresh Eats" series, highlighting my experiences at various Seattle establishments. I am not a food critic by any means, so you won't see any of my personal dislikes here on the blog. I simply enjoy sharing my meals and featuring a small business while I'm at it!

6) Seattle Style: Bianca Casimes
Another regular feature I introduced this summer is my "Seattle Style" series. Believe it or not, there are a lot of style mavens roaming the streets of the Emerald City. Seattle Style is a monthly feature on FreshJess, giving you a look at some of the city's most stylish - who they are, what they do, and some of the very best out of their closet! It's another way for me to give back to my city, and the people who make it stylish.

New beginnings... #9

7) Love & Meatball
Losing a pet is so hard. Blogging about my dear Meatball has helped me focus my grief and turn it into thankfulness and positivity. It's also been a way for you, amazing readers and social media friends, to share your own pain and loss with me. Thank you! Meatball may be gone physically, but his love and energy course through my soul always. Thank you Meaty pie for showing me what it's like to love like a mama.

8) Meet the DList Magazine "Young Northwest" 2011 Honorees!
It still humbles me every day that people read and listen to what I have to say, not just here on Fresh Jess, but on Twitter, Facebook, now Pinterest and everywhere else. I was floored when Seattle's DList Magazine selected me as their Young Northwest Blogger for their annual issue. Let me tell you, the nominations for this really kicked my butt back into gear and blogging on the regular! Thank you so, so much. If there's ever anything you want to see on here, please let me know! Email me at jess(at)freshjess.com. Take a look at the rest of the Young Northwest 2011 talent in this post!

9) The Newest Member of the Family
After a summer and fall full of self-reflection and tons of work, my life has changed radically in just the past couple of months. One of those changes is a new bulldog in our home. Meet Spike, our 4-year-old rescue from Bulldog Haven NW! I'm so thrilled to be a bulldog mama again and Spike's consumed my life. I love him :)

10) Fresh Faves: Brian Oh, Photographer
One of my favorite experiences is featuring someone on Fresh Jess and getting their reaction - from them and from their own friends and fans. Brian Oh's been so thankful and appreciative of this feature I did earlier this month, and his friends from the team at Seattle lifestyle brand Rich Kids Clothing to the party rockers of Trashed have also shown their love and support. Nothing is greater than the feeling of good people helping good people!

There you have it. Ten of my favorite posts this year. Looking forward to bring you some heaters in 2012!


Merry Christmas & happy holidays from Fresh Jess!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all of you!

Hope you are enjoying the season with people, food, movies, places and things you love! 

Thank you so, so much for reading Fresh Jess. You have no idea the magnitude of the gift you've given me to continue posting things that I genuinely love and find interesting here.

Have a great one!

All images of Philippine parols via Google.


How to Tie a Tie - Alexander Olch

This is awesome. And so handy!

Knot Yourself from Alexander Olch on Vimeo.


English Bulldog Tucker's Surgical Adventure

Brave bulldog Tucker has been in the care of Bulldog Haven NW, where we recently adopted Spike. Last week, Tucker underwent surgery to correct a tethered spinal cord, which would have rendered his back legs completely useless. Thanks to the generous support of Bulldog Haven NW's fans, the $5500 surgery has been paid for, AND Tucker's raised BHNW's Facebook fan count to over 2000!

Congratulations to BHNW and so much love and luck for Tucker as he begins his road to recovery. I'm so proud to be among this group of supporters for this great non-profit!

Happy holidays everyone!


Lil Woody's open til 3am Friday & Saturday!

All that holiday shopping eating up the hours in your day & leaving you famished at night? Never fear - Seattle burger joint darling Lil Woody's is now open til 3:00a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights!

After all, what's a more perfect holiday burger than a Fig in the Pig?

Check out more burger porn on my Fresh Eats: Lil Woody's post from their pre-opening!


Fresh Faves: Brian Oh, Photographer

It's always really great to meet talented people who are humble, down-to-earth and passionate about putting Seattle on the map in their own way. Photographer Brian Oh is all of those things, and for that, I'd like all of you to meet him!

If you've read a DList Magazine, been to a Trashed party or been around the Frye Museum and Henry Art Gallery recently, chances are you've seen Brian's work. A trained fine arts photographer, Brian stays true to his film roots and strives to capture images right from the start. He rarely uses PhotoShop and much of his work is published with little to no editing.

Brian is resident photographer for my favorite dance party in the city, Moe Bar Mondays. A freelance photographer for hire, he also works regularly with DList Magazine on various fashion, music, food and event editorials for the publication. He even shot yours truly in my photoshoot for the Young Northwest issue :)

Brian also shoots at the monthly Trashed parties, which brings in global acts like RAC and The Twelves to the Emerald City. One of his biggest passions is shooting fashion lookbooks, with recent projects for Seattle brands Cake Face Clothing and Rich Kids.

Brian counts the Rich Kids team, including Lee Smith, Kristen Puckhaber & Michael McClarron among his biggest supporters - like family who've always believed in his talent and work.
 "With so much going on in this town I feel blessed to be a part of the culture here." 

Look out for Brian's upcoming projects, including a sculptural piece consisting of doll heads used as pin hole cameras, and a book called “arcana obscura,” which means "secrets of the dark." arcana obscura will be a black and white image collection shot with a Polaroid Land Camera, and depicts people in their living environment with their darkest secrets covering their faces to conceal their identity.

Check out Brian's work in the video below, and find him at BrianPhotoh.com, weekly Moe Bar Mondays pics and more on Facebook.