Fresh Faves: Birthdays in Portland

So what do we do to celebrate my boyfriend's birthday? Take the pup with us down for an impromptu overnight trip to Portland, of course!

Portland is always so much fun to visit. Being a longtime Nike fan and former employee, I've always made a beeline straight to the Nike employee store in Beaverton, then spent most of my time near Downtown and the Pearl District. Only in the last couple of years have we really explored other parts of the city.

Do you have any favorite places to visit in Portland? Let me know in a comment! In the meantime, here's a photo diary of our brief trip. 

Family photo. Look at that tongue!

First stop: The Grotto, an amazing Catholic sanctuary in NE Portland. I hadn't been there since I was a child and have always wanted to show my boyfriend. Luckily, they allowed dogs (on the lower level only.)

Wassup Portland!

We were so happy to find out our favorite Portland hotel, the Jupiter Hotel, is also dog-friendly! Spike made himself at home there.

The parking lot of the Jupiter / Doug Fir Lounge documents the history of bands that have come through and played or stayed there.

The Jupiter Hotel's chalkboard doors are so fun!

Drinks at Doug Fir Lounge

Mmm...burgers & cheeseboards

Alive & Well beanie / Kelly Wearstler tank / TOMS sunnies (similar) / Forever 21 shorts / Zara boots (similar) / vintage cross-body bag (similar)

I asked him to take me to see the Cullen house from the first Twilight movie. At Twilight :)

Late night pizza at Sizzle Pie

Cooling off inside the Brooklyn Industries store in the Nob Hill/Alphabet District

Yummy beet & carrot juice from The Greenery

My finds from Redux & Sloan

When I asked my Twitter friends where to eat in Portland, Tasty & Sons got the most votes. Unfortunately, they don't allow dogs, so instead we found the new Alberta Food Pod - such a great concept! Chicken katsu curry, ube fries and mango shaved ice hit the spot.

Where are you traveling this summer?


Lookbook Love: Zara Women's

Oh Zara, how I love thee. Your coordinates make every girl, from the super stylish to the simplistic, swoon. I'm gonna need every single one of these pieces, but this red studded jacket most of all. One day you'll grace us with your presence in the Emerald City. For now, I'm happy shopping you online. xoxo,

Full lookbook at Zara.com


3 Rules for Social Media & a Happy Birthday

Everyone has their own reasons for being present and active in social media. For many, it's a source of entertainment. For others, it's also a distraction from their everyday routine. For me, social media has been an integral force in my life for almost five years. I took what I learned in high school & college, plus my internships & service jobs, and combined it with the quickly-evolving world of social media marketing. Thanks to this blog and Twitter, I have had countless opportunities come my way. I've met amazing people I'd never have the chance to meet in real life, gone to places and events I'd never know about otherwise, and had exposure in front of brands in a way I'd never be able to before. I have been extremely fortunate to forge the next steps in my career from social media, and I'm finding a lot of gratification in helping neighborhoods, small businesses and big brands alike realize their potential.

All that said, I operate with only three rules when it comes to social media (for myself, on my personal accounts.) These are the things I tell people when they ask me about best practices or how to be active on social. Though they're simple to understand, these rules can be some of the hardest to stick to. But just like anything else that's worth it, sticking to these rules takes focus, determination and hard work. I am far from perfect, but staying true to these rules has helped me pursue the opportunities and connections that've come my way.

#1: Don't be negative.
Open up Twitter or Facebook and scroll through your friends' latest updates. More than likely, there is a fair amount of complaining and criticism about something or someone in their life. Yes, it's easy and can be comforting to air your frustrations out on social media. Remember that anyone in the entire world can see that post and that's what they use to paint a first impression of you. Nobody wants to associate with the Negative Nancys out there. Would you want to be friends with you if you read through your last week's worth of status updates?

#2: Stay positive
Think of this as the flip side of my first rule. With this rule, I mean to focus on talking about the stuff you like. What makes you happy? What are you grateful for right now? Who's done something nice for you lately? Is there a new book/movie/song/etc. you're into? For some reason, people are more likely to tell you what they don't like or aren't into. It feels like a lot more work to stay positive, but it sure beats whining and complaining all the time. Oh, and do this without ulterior motives or in an ingenuine way. What you think might be positive may come across as a backhanded compliment, fake or even offensive.

#3: Keep your relationships to yourself
In conversation, I say this rule as "Never indulge about your close friends, dating/relationships & family." This might be more of a personal preference for me, but I just don't like to share too much about those closest to me. Most of my loved ones are barely on social media as it is! If you care about someone, it's good to respect their attitudes and perspective about social media. If my boyfriend and I have an argument, fine. Y'all don't need to be part of it. If there's conflict with a friend or family member, that's to be resolved offline. Hardly anything is sacred anymore, and it's nice to have those parts of my life kept private.

Why am I sharing these with you? I hope you find these useful if you're wondering how to create your personal brand and reputation through social media. Another reason is because I don't normally talk about my boyfriend, but today is his birthday and I want to wish him a happy day!

Thank you for always telling it like it is, for saying things I don't want to hear but need to, and for always challenging me to be better. I might have done some cool things in life, but I'm just trying to keep up with you :) Love you. Happy birthday!


Fresh Style: A gla.MAR.ous Night Out

The sweethearts at gla.MAR.ous sent me the Meadow chain headband from their new Pink Label collection, and I decided to take it out for a night out on the city!

gla.MAR.ous is a fun, playful, exhilarating fashion line created by designer Mary Beirne. I met Mary and her dear friend Nubia at IFB con in 2011 and we've kept in touch ever since. Mary gets her inspiration anywhere from classic movies to the pinup and bohemian eras. She also patented the gla.MAR.ous zipper headband in 2009, which can be worn in at least 7 different ways & are comfortable (i.e. prevents headaches!)

gla.MAR.ous is made for the chic, versatile girl, that not only turns heads but breaks necks while she's at it. As Mary puts it, "No one covers classy - fierce - fresh like us!" I'm down with that!

My Meadow headband came the same day as another sweet gift. Sneak preview here, and style post coming soon! :)

AlixRose and I drove out to Tacoma to celebrate our girl Nicole's birthday. This picture doesn't do justice to the birthday girl's dress & tan. She looked radiant!

Afterwards, we headed back to Seattle to dance the night away at Trashed, the monthly electro party at Baltic Room. This month's Trashed featured two of my favorite DJs, Four Color Zack & Tigerbeat

This is Brian Oh, a regular feature on Fresh Jess & official photographer for Trashed.

The Meadow stuck with me all night long with no problems. It was easy to adjust but didn't fall off my head, even with wearing it on sleek, long hair. I love the chain style, too. It fits perfectly with almost everything in my closet right now, so you'll probably see this a lot this summer. 

You can find gla.MAR.ous and the Meadow headband ($26) online, Twitter, and Facebook. Thanks ladies!


Thrift Shopping Tips from a Value Village Fashion Ambassador

Hi, I'm Jess, and I'm a thrift-a-holic!

Five years ago, you couldn't pay me to go thrift shopping alone. Even though some of those closest to me are lifelong fans, I got easily overwhelmed every time I set foot into a thrift store. Thanks to the rise of fashion blogging, I figured out a way to organize my thoughts and get my mind in the right place for my thrifting outings. Over time, I've mixed thrifted pieces into more and more of my wardrobe, and now, it's a mainstay in my "West Coast fresh" style.

Value Village reached out to me in the spring about becoming one of their Fashion Ambassadors. Even though I'd only been to one in the area, I was excited to see what I could find at other Value Villages around the region. I've made my way to almost all of them in the Puget Sound.

Value Village is great, because they partner with a non-profit close to each store and support that versus a big national one. So even though VV may not be Seattle-grown, they make sure to plant roots in each community they're part of. That means a lot to me.

So what are my tips for shopping smart at your favorite thrift store? 

Know what you want. I made the choice to use this spring & summer trend reports as a guide to the things I wanted to buy at Value Village this season. I purposefully looked for lots of bright colors, prints and patterns, flowy shirts and denim that could be a DIY project for summer cutoffs.

Favor organic fibers. I picked this tip up from Tina at GlamSpoon (check out her tips here.) Sticking to cotton, silk and wool will help you weed out the clothes without the staying power of natural fabrics. These are easier to clean and repair if needed.

Don't discriminate! Not your size? Not a problem. The beauty of thrift shopping is the hunt for great finds. That means being as open-minded as possible. Look in size racks that aren't normally your sizes. You never know what might actually be a great fit - or a fun DIY project!

Try everything on. This one's a no-brainer, but if you're going to be shopping for all kinds of sizes, it helps to try everything on before you decide what to buy. You'll get the best idea of how to style pieces, what needs to be cleaned, and if there are any stains, rips or other defects that are beyond repair. Oh yeah - make sure all of your zippers and buttons work properly, and repair them immediately if not.

Take risks. When I'm thrift shopping, I love to try trends and pieces I'd never otherwise try. I even brought home a pair of sheer palazzo pants for the summer! It could be a sleeper hit for your wardrobe, and if it's not, at least you won't have the guilt of having spent cheese on it.

Know when to go. Ask the store when they get their shipments and how often they restock. Check the website or sign up for their newsletter to get an idea of their sales schedules. What's better than a $4.99 Escada top? One that's half-off of that!

Take notes. Hopefully you will be thrift shopping more than once if you're reading these. Take notes of what your experience is like. Which stores do you like and why? What do you tend to gravitate towards when you're buying thrifted pieces? I know now that my favorite Value Village is the Ballard/Crown Hill location, and that I tend to buy more knitwear and button-downs when I'm thrift shopping. This way, you can be more conscious of how your style is evolving and incorporate thrifted pieces that much more easily.

Recognize this? It's my LuckyFABB outfit!

I recently took my girl & fellow thrifty fashion blogger, AlixRose with me to Value Village's Memorial Day sale. EVERYTHING you can wear was half-off! Needless to say, we went crazy at the Ballard store and came out with bags full of new pieces.

My Memorial Day Sale haul included: tons of knitwear and brand-names like: Pendleton, Escada, Calvin Klein, J.Crew, American Eagle Outfitters & its now-defunct brand Martin + Osa & more. All for $56!

This particular cardigan has seen a lot of play lately. The striped cardi goes with everything and is light enough, but warm enough for Seattle grey days.

Thanks so much to Value Village for their generous offer to be a VV Fashion Ambassador! What an easy & simple way to update my wardrobe for such a great deal.


Vodka & More at the Glass Distillery tasting room

On Friday, I was invited in for a sneak preview of the Glass Distillery located next to Showbox down in SoDo. Fellow food & lifestyle journalists & bloggers and I enjoyed a tour of the city's newest distillery & tasting room, while lunching on the finest appetizers from El Gaucho and sampling Glass Distillery's flagship spirit, Glass Vodka. What a fun way to start the weekend!

The sign is in place for Glass Distillery's public opening today, Monday, June 11th!

Desserts, caprese & carpaccio by El Gaucho

Co-founder Ian McNeil & famous wine aficionado Mark Oldman told us the story of Glass Vodka & how Glass Distillery came to be. A partnership between McNeil and Adrian Higginbotham, Glass Distillery is a tasting room that's home to their Glass Vodka. Under the careful eye of architect Kate Cudney, the Distillery repurposed a lot of the building's original materials, including a 16' tall wood & glass door separating the tasting room from the distillery itself. Art by McNeil himself adorns the walls, and blown glass art - the inspiration for the spirit & distillery's name - decorate the space.

McNeil (r) & Mark Oldman (l)

Learning about the copper manufacturing completed in Germany and custom-made for the Distillery.

McNeil & team have put so much thoughtful care into each detail of their product. The Glass Vodka bottle was made for keepsake, and the decanter is specially shaped to prevent spillage like others!
 Glass Vodka itself is 80 proof/ 40% ABV and is available via 750ml bottle.

The original building's wood & glass door. Architect Kate Cudney of Hinge Studio restored much of the building's materials into the Distillery.

Copper accents in the distillery room

McNeil & Oldman treat us to a Glass Mule, a new take on the Moscow variety

Custom-made copper stills!

Enjoying lunch with Cassandra LaValle of Coco+Kelley

Thanks so much for having me! Glass Distillery is open to the public today. Glass Vodka is available at El Gaucho and other fine restaurants in the city.