Resolution Challenge: Embracing My Jessie Spano Moments

I know y'all know which Saved by the Bell episode I'm talking about. Bayside's class president, brainiac and resident overachiever Jessie Spano starts taking caffeine pills to deal with long days and lots of work. She quickly becomes addicted to the pills. The wheels come off, and the rest is history:

Now I've never had caffeine pills before, but I know where Ms. Spano is coming from. I have a lot to do and not enough hours in the day to do them, so I do what anyone under stress does - look for all the ways I can cut corners and still do it all. This is where the Resolution Challenge comes in.

I started this month, the second in our Challenge, with a trip to New York for Fashion Week. I was afraid I'd fall completely off the diet & workout wagon in the Big Apple, so I did what I could to prep for it. I packed superfood powder, Larabars, a Blender bottle and my motivation. When I got there, I insisted on a trip to Whole Foods for fruit, coconut water, Nature's Path cereal and almond milk to get me through the week. I enjoyed my vacation, but I didn't feel like I'd abandoned all the hard work I'd put in.

Then I came home.

I'd spent so much time thinking about how I'd keep up with the Resolution Challenge in New York that it never crossed my mind to think about how I'd balance it all when I got home. My email was piled up, I went right back into client work and things quickly started to overwhelm. I didn't have time to meal plan and barely had time to work out, so I ate bad and slept a lot instead. Last weekend, it all caught up to me and I caught a cold that's been slowing me down ever since. Ironically, this week is the busiest yet this month. Go figure!

Jessie Spano_Nathaniel James
Our trajectories are similar.

I always related to Jessie Spano back in the day. She and this episode taught me a couple of things:

Quick fixes catch up to you. 
These sodas and donuts were good but not worth how crappy I feel later.  Same thing goes for sloppy work or writing!

You can do it all. It's okay if you don't.
In fact, it's better if you don't. Some things can wait for a better day. Other things can get a "no, I can't make it." Remember what matters, and keep those priorities in check constantly.

Support systems are awesome.
Thank goodness for my accountability buddy AlixRose, my boyfriend and my best friend Paula to help keep me in check! You don't have to do everything alone. When the going gets tough, the ones who are there to help are true friends indeed. Shouts to Zack Morris.

When times get crazy, I call these my Jessie Spano moments. I'm slowly coming around to embracing them. I have absolutely loved the Resolution Challenge, but other obligations in life got in the way this month. And that's okay. Though I've only loosely been able to follow through on it this month, I'm not giving up. I'm gonna keep going after the Challenge technically ends. Superfoods will rule my diet one day. Workouts will be a regular part of my weeks. I can't afford not to have them there.

Until then, I'm going to get over this cold and do what I can each day. Then at the end of the day, I am going to let go of all of my guilt and anxiety over what I didn't get done.

Steve Jobs

Follow all of my Resolution Challenge posts here. Interested in learning more? Head over to Everyday Glow for the scoop.


Fresh Jess Loves Room & Board: #RoomToOutfit Giveaway!

There's nothing like a statement piece to really make an outfit stand out, right? 

The same can be said for a stellar piece of furniture to bring an entire room together. One of my goals this year (part of my 2013 theme, "Be Responsible") is to get more comfortable in the space I'm in. That includes my physical space, and dressing up my home a bit more. I am a tragic victim of a busy lifestyle in that my place doesn't have any kind of thoughtful decor theme to it. That's why I was delighted to work with Room & Board on a fun project to feature the 13 new products in their 2013 collection.

First off, a tour of their University Village location to see all of the new collection pieces up close and personal. I love walking through the store vignettes and seeing how certain pieces can come together. I may know my way around a closet, but I have no idea how to style a room quite like these!

So, what is this fun project Room & Board and I are doing? Well, Room & Board is partnering with bloggers on a #RoomToOutfit Pinterest board collection. After the tour, I went home and used the 13 new collection pieces as inspiration for the various outfits and fashion pieces featured on my board. 

Room & Board 2013
Some of the new 2013 collection. See them all on my Pinterest board!

Room & Board 2013
All of the outfits!

Now you know I always look out for my readers. Room & Board and I are giving you a chance to spice up your abode with a $500 gift card!   How do you enter?

1) Head to Pinterest and follow me:  Jess Estrada
2) Like, repin or comment on one of my #RoomToOutfit pins - one entry per action!

3) Not on Pinterest? Just leave a comment below and tell me what your favorite piece is from Room & Board's 2013 collection!

It's that simple! Contest closes Monday, March 4th at 11:59p.m. PDT

This is probably the sweetest prize I've given away so far. $500 to spend at Room & Board? Are you kidding me? You'd be crazy NOT to enter! Multiple times!

Room & Board 2013

Room & Board 2013

Follow Room & Board on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.


Valentine's Day: Ode to the Real Ones

Happy Valentine's Day!

I wanted to dedicate today's post to everyone who's putting hard work into their relationships, whether that's with your significant other or your friends and family. Like with many holidays, sometimes V-Day seems to have an emphasis on its commercialization or the unhappy perspectives on the relationships you have or don't have in your life (i.e. Singles' Awareness Day :)) Instead of focusing on what you don't like or don't have, take some time today to reflect on the people in your life who've made you that much more whole. Or even better, take some time to treat yourself to something nice!

I'm eternally grateful for the love, support and inspiration from my best friend and boyfriend Jacob. He holds down a demanding job at one of the largest non-profits in the world and still makes it a priority to further his professional MMA career by training at one of his four gyms every single day. He's a great bulldog dad! Together, we support PAWS, Bulldog Haven NW (from which we adopted our Spike) and other non-profits.

Together, we keep each other on the healthy eating tip daily - he on Paleo, me on my superfood Resolution Challenge diet. Living near both of our families means making time for Filipino family parties (a.k.a. all-day fiesta siestas) or weekends down at his family's farm. With all of that, he remains my biggest supporter in everything I'm doing, from starting my own business to blogging all the time to speaking gigs and my various projects for Fresh Jess. Our lives aren't easy, but we both work to maintain a good balance as a duo while pursuing our individual dreams.

I'm just trying to stay on his level! :)

Who are you grateful for on this day of love? Tell me in the comments!


New York Photo Recap

I come out to New York at least twice a year, coinciding with Fashion Week. I come here to attend the blogger conferences (IFBcon, Lucky FABB) that happen right before Fashion Week, take meetings and occasionally attend a NYFW show or two. My readers have never responded much to Fashion Week recaps, so it's not a huge deal for me to cover them. 

They do, however, respond to my perspective on personal style, inspiration, and local culture. So that's the main reason I like to come out to NYC. Here's a photo diary of restaurants we tried, time spent with phenomenal friends, and a healthy dose of networking and shopping worked in :) 

This is how I do NYC!

There is nothing like catching up with friends you consider family. I spent most of my week with AlixRose & David. We got some work done (here at WeWork Labs coworking space) and some play too!

Feelin' on top of the world! At the Top of the Standard for Poshmark's happy hour.

So many new Poshmarker friends! (L) with Jessica of Domesticated Me & Naty of A Love Affair with Fashion

I love Maria of Poshmark & Kitties + Couture! Alix and I had fun dressing up at the Bollare showroom with Maria and Paulina :)

A sneak peek of our dress-up fun at Bollare! Haute Hippie & Marchesa

Planning some awesomeness with Gilt Groupe!

Nemo didn't ruin any of our fun!

Hanging out in Williamsburg and losing our minds thrifting at Beacon's Closet

Took a small break from the Resolution Challenge. Clockwise from top left: Totto Ramen, Banana Nutella crepe & mimosa at Station in Williamsburg; Maison Laduree macarons; the Nelly bathroom at VYNL (where I had the 'Beyonce' drink :))

An NYC must for me! Brooklyn Flea with my girls and David rounded out a wonderful Sunday.

Jordana of Clutch 22 was our lovely hostess!


IFB Conference Photo Diary

The Independent Fashion Bloggers (IFB) team put on another great conference last week, kicking off New York Fashion Week at the Altman Building in Chelsea. IFBcon is a great anchor for my week-long Fashion Week visits to NYC for so many reasons. It's a way for me to support IFB in one more way, giving thanks for the invaluable resource they provide us with this community. 

I always meet new amazing bloggers, catch up with other blogging friends and discover new fashion startups or up-and-coming bloggers when I attend. IFBcon's content is great if you are a casual or beginning blogger, with a variety of topics ranging from affiliate marketing, the future of blogging, social media and the business of blogging as a career.

Day 1 outfit: Crooks & Castles varsity jacket (similar) / Madewell Heartstripe sweater / Zara corduroy trousers & boots / Barney's Co-op collared sleeveless blouse

Seattle in full effect at IFB! Andrea of SkinnyPurse, AlixRose and Sydney of Sydney Loves Fashion

Blogger bestie Alix and I had so much fun in the Alex & Ani photo booth :)

I was so excited to meet one of my favorite bloggers in the game! Rachel Seville of Pizza Rulez & Four Pins

With my NYC blogger bestie Vintage Vandalizm; the lovely Poshmark girls and Jennine, founder of IFB

More fun in the photobooth

Oh hey Tyson Beckford!

Day 2 outfit: Thrifted ASOS romper (similar) / Uniqlo Heat-Tech tights (fleece tights were a must this week! Similar here) / Zara boots

Couldn't resist :)


Nike's Find Your Greatness Video

Another motivational gem from NikeWomen's fantastic YouTube channel.

The truth is greatness is for all of us...it is not in one special person. It is wherever somebody is trying to find it.



Resolution Challenge: The Illusion of Balance

It's been awhile since my last Resolution Challenge post! We are in Phase 4: Lifestyle now, focused on incorporating everything we've learned in the past month into our "normal" lives.

Jenn Jordan has turned my world upside down in the greatest way these last few weeks. She's filled my life with a diversity of healthy foods I find tasty and filling; put me in the kitchen voluntarily preparing healthy meals for myself and my (very happy) boyfriend; got me back in the gym with regular but different workouts; and most of all, pumped my brain with new ways of looking at eating, grocery shopping, making food choices, workouts and how all of this affects my body and mind.

Image via Pinterest

The biggest lesson of this phase in the Resolution Challenge is learning how to balance it all. It is not easy to eat healthy, work out at least once, go to work, blog and do all of the other things I need to do in any given day. During this Challenge, I've gone out of town a couple of times, had a few big deliverables for my clients, spoke on a panel talk and attended a few events for my blog. The last thing I want to do on a busy day is get home and make dinner. I'm not a morning person, so I've had to figure in time for working out at night too. I also need to get my sleep in every night, and am not one to sacrifice that for the illusion of getting more done. I am not at my best when I don't get enough sleep!

It's tough to stay on top of it all, but I am absolutely committed to seeing this Resolution Challenge to the finish line and working all of these things into my life. I have to. I've made health, wellness & fitness priorities this year. I am also learning how to be okay with not doing everything I need to in a day. I just do all that I can, and stay rooted to what my goals and priorities are.

It's amazing how commitment and persistence can make for the perfect cocktail of motivation. On my busiest days, it's my strongest supporter in trudging through the day.

Follow all of my Resolution Challenge posts here. Interested in learning more? Head over to Everyday Glow for the scoop.


Resolution Challenge: Keyword: Made

I went to a panel talk featuring women CEOs and entrepreneurs talking about work/life balance. Now that I'm older, balance seems more of an unattainable illusion. I mean, at any given time, there are certain things that take priority over others. It's more about learning how to ride the ebb and flow of things and understanding what's important and not-so-important to you. Anyway, one of the panelists told the audience she'd turned her kitchen cupboards into storage for her bags and shoes since she's never home and doesn't cook. This was me until the Resolution Challenge!

Resolution Challenge
Stocking my fridge with goodies that are good for me!

If you'd told me that I'd be making meals for myself and my boyfriend regularly, I might've laughed. Now that I've expanded my knowledge of healthy foods I enjoy, being in the kitchen has become a welcome, necessary part of my day.

Resolution Challenge
Super Bowl Superfoods: flatbread pizza w/organic mushrooms & olives; goat cheese, vegan mozzarella and homemade tomato sauce; homemade spinach artichoke dip; homemade guacamole

Most of the recipes Jenn's shared with us require very little time prepping, and not much (if any) time in the oven or on the stove. This is great for someone like me who sometimes comes home late or is working with little time to prep everything.

Resolution Challenge
Salmon sesame kale

Grocery shopping is a weekly necessity for me now. No more cereal and milk or leftovers for days :) I am learning how to really pay attention to the kinds of foods I'm bringing home, and trying to adhere to the rule of buying things with 5 or less things I recognize on the ingredient list.

Portage Bay Cafe Seattle
Quinoa cake benedict at Portage Bay Cafe Seattle

Okay, I didn't make this dish, but I did want to mention how my eating out habits have changed during the Resolution Challenge as well. While I might not always be in a restaurant with something healthy, I try to find ones that serve at least some organic, locally-sourced foods. After that, it's really been all about moderation. One taco instead of two. Skipping the side dishes. Just water instead of soda, thai iced tea or drinks. Opting for salad instead. Not eating 'til I'm stuffed. 

It's all about the little steps to making big changes!

Follow all of my Resolution Challenge posts here. Interested in learning more? Head over to Everyday Glow for the scoop.


Seattle: Please Help Find Buddha!

Seattle/Burien! Please help find this handsome young gent and return him to his worried family!

I'm helping spread the word for a fellow bulldog lover who's working diligently to find their beloved Buddha. 

Last seen in Burien on 2/4/13 along
SW 160th & 4th Ave SW/Sylvester Rd. SW
Red-brindled intact male puppy
PLEASE CALL (206) 851 7645

Please help spread the word using the share buttons below. Thanks so much!

Share the Love with Fresh Jess & Blue Nile (Giveaway!)

Fresh Jess and Blue Nile are Sharing the Love this Valentine's Day!

Starting today, you can Share the Love with a special Valentine’s Day message to your friends via Blue Nile's Facebook page and receive a $10 off coupon for you and your friend for your next Blue Nile purchases. You’ll also be entered to win a Pink Morganite & Diamond Ring, as seen on Blake Lively on Gossip Girl (ARV $1750)

Sweet, right? We're not done!

I've got a pair of sterling silver Leaf Chandelier Earrings to give away also! To win these:

1) Tell me what you love in a comment below

2) Tweet me!

I will draw a winner on Friday, February 15th at 5:00p.m. PDT.

Good luck!


Fresh Jess in NYC!

I'm bundled up in New York this week for the Independent Fashion Bloggers (IFB) conference, a few meetings and quality time with some of my favorite New Yorkers!

Follow me (@JessEstrada) & #FJinNY on Twitter & Instagram as I document the fun in the Big Apple. I'd love your suggestions on food, shopping and other things you like to do in NYC!

Spiewak long puffer coat / H&M sweater / AllSaints tank / Levi's / Vintage bag from Sustalux / Zara boots / Nike SB beanie / Vintage Pendelton scarf

Adopt From Bulldog Haven NW!

Bulldog Haven NW has a number of sweet foster bullies waiting for their "fur-ever" home! As regular Fresh Jess readers know, I am a big supporter of Bulldog Haven NW & PAWS, with one bulldog angel in the sky and one adopted from BHNW. Look at those faces! I'm helping BHNW spread the word in hopes of finding these sweetie pies a new home.

Bulldog Haven NW

Bulldog Haven NW

Bulldog Haven NW

Bulldog Haven NW

Bulldog Haven NW

A list of available dogs can be found at Bulldog Haven NW's adoption page.  If you're interested in adopting one of these bullies, please look over their information carefully and fill out an application at BulldogHavenNW.org.

Not wanting to adopt, but still want to help out? 
BHNW welcomes donations at anytime! Visit their homepage for benefit online auctions too.

For the most up-to-date info on BHNW, check their Facebook page!

Want to talk more about adopting a bulldog from someone who's been there? Email me at jess(at)freshjess.com!


Pre-Game Beyonce

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

If you're a football fan, a Beyonce fan or just a fan of Sundays in general, I hope you have a wonderful day. I'm prepping a few Resolution Challenge-friendly superfood dishes for the game. Beyonce's been prepping all week for her Halftime Show performance, and that's what I'm really looking forward to! 

I wanted to share this clip Jay-Z took of Beyonce backstage at American Idol, rehearsing for her performance of "1+1" a little over a year ago. Gives me chills every time.

Enjoy the game!

Originally posted on Life + Times


T by Alexander Wang Loves Bon Qui Qui

The latest T by Alexander Wang collection video is just wonderful. If you've never seen Anjelah Johnson's original Bon Qui Qui skits, you most definitely should!


Happy Anniversary, Alive and Well!

Alive and Well has had one hell of a first year! After coming on the scene early last year, they quickly grew their social media and online following. With limited runs of exclusive and in-house collections, people hang onto their every Instagram and Facebook update for the first chance to scoop up the latest gear. 

Though they don't carry much for the ladies, I'm a fan of their logo beanies & sweatshirts. It's become a tradition for me to wear Alive and Well on my flights from Seattle so I can fly with some comfort from home. A & W loves to support local hustlers, from skaters and musicians, and supporting Jacob in his professional MMA fights too.

Come celebrate their one-year anniversary party tonight starting at 10:00p.m. across the street at 95 Slide. The anniversary collection launches tomorrow morning in-store. 

Happy anniversary A&W!