Happy 4th of July! (Happy Birthday Meatball!)

Happy 4th of July!

The Independence Day holiday is always about time with the family to me. There have been a couple of years where Jacob and I stuck to ourselves but it never really felt right. It's not the Fourth unless we're with family, enjoying BBQ & other good food, lighting or watching fireworks, and just chillin'. 

For me, it's also a time to celebrate our angel. Our first bulldog, Meatball would have been nine today. What an old man! We miss and love him so much; while Spike is the light of our lives, there's always more than enough room in my heart for that immense love and sorrow for Meaty Pie. Hope he's enjoying birthday cookies and squeaky toy hamburgers in heaven!

Friendly reminder to take care of your pets on this holiday! They're not fans of big noises (like fireworks) and I can't believe I have to state this, but don't leave them in hot cars. Just don't. Don't be that asshole. 

More about 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!

Happy birthday, Spike & Meatball!

Happy 4th of July to you! Hope you're somewhere sunny and warm eating good food with family and friends, celebrating all that we are blessed to have in this free country. I'll be with my family today, and I'm whipping up a few superfood recipes to balance some of the other food we'll be eating.

We're also celebrating our babies' birthdays! Yesterday was Spike's birthday, we think. Haha! When we adopted him, we got all his papers; read through all of his medical records and found four different birthdates. Awesome! We decided July 3rd would be the one since today is his big brother in heaven Meatball's birthday. Spike is now 6, while Meatball would've been 8. Time flies and so does bulldog slobber!

Spike reflecting on life as the sun sets on Alki - one of his favorite drives.

Yung Meatball in my tiny studio apartment back in my UW days.

Spike trying to get to the Ministry of Magic :)

Meatball inspecting his birthday cake, which he decided not to eat.

Spike practicing butterfly guard with dad

Meatball was Georges St. Pierre for Halloween one year.

Hanging with my boo Spike at Greenlake.

Meatball getting some quality time with dad.

More about 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!

Meeting Buddha

Remember Buddha, the english bulldog who went missing in Seattle back in February? By the grace of your favorite higher power, he was found relatively safe and sound, returned to his family three weeks later.

Today we met Buddha & family at a thank you/birthday celebration for the little guy. I cannot imagine losing Spike, so I didn't hesitate to help however I could despite being in the midst of the IFB conference during New York Fashion Week. It was so great to meet Buddha and his family in person to exchange hugs, stories and slobbery doggy kisses in the cold rain. Buddha's mom also remembered meeting Meatball a long time ago and gave me a pic of him with their Frenchie! It is truly a small world. Bulldog life is grand.

Happy birthday Buddha, and welcome home!

30Fresh30 days of posts celebrating 30 years - and 5 of Fresh Jess!

Happy Independence Day!

I am a huge fan of hip-hop. Whether you know much or little about the music and culture, you know it's incredibly difficult to be as honest, transparent and open as Frank Ocean was last night in sharing his sexuality with the world via his Tumblr. I've talked about and shared Frank's music here several times over the last two years, and when I saw this I was just so...proud. So happy to be a fan of this man who not only found the courage to do this, but to write about it in a way that seemed so natural. So easy. Most of all, so beautifully. I am sure there is already a maelstrom of emotion and opinion among his fan base and hip-hop in general. I'm just excited to see how this declaration of freedom will add a new dimension to his depth in voice, lyrics and production for himself and other artists. 

This is definitely one of the coolest things I have ever seen a popular artist do.

Happy Independence Day to you, Frank.

Today is special in another way to me. It's my angel baby Meatball's birthday today. He would have been seven today. He is probably in heaven enjoying a buffet of raw bones and doggie cookies. I love you with all of my heart, Meaty pie. Your brother Spike couldn't be any more different and yet so much the same. You both make me whole. I love you.

To all of you lovely readers, have a safe 4th of July if you are celebrating it. I wish you lots of love and fun today with friends, family, BBQ, fireworks and sunshine!

Find these Bulldog Haven NW foster dogs a home!

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

If you're interested in adopting one of these bullies, please look over their information carefully and fill out an application at BulldogHavenNW.org.

Meet Diesel, a soon-to-be 3 year old. He is an affectionate bullie who likes to play, go for a walk and get lots of attention. He needs to be an only pet and does well with older children. A fenced yard will be best and he is house and crate trained.

Gus Gus is a character. He is 5 and likes alot of attention and can be very vocal when he's not getting it. He does get along with other dogs and cats but can be over zealous with smaller dogs. He would do best with a strong personality with training knowledge who is home most of the day.

If you want a very loyal, affectionate, lively, energetic, and great guard dog then Portis is your man. He would be best suited with a strong and loving owner without young children. He can be dog aggressive at times and should be the only dog in the house (mostly because he loves all the attention for himself). He humps when happy and excited and he loves pull toys and chew toys. He likes to sleep on the bed with his people and ride in the front seat of the car. Once he likes you he wants to go everywhere with you. He`s a great walker, but he can be selective about where he wants to walk. Portis' allergies are currently under control in his new foster home and he has grown his coat back nicely. It appears that his skin issues were primarily environmental. It is possible he could breakout in sores again in a different environment, but preventing this can be discussed with his current foster dad. Portis will make a lucky person a wonderful companion.

Precious is a 5 yr old sweetheart. She loves children but needs to be an only pet. She can test her parents to see who is in charge, so a good pack leader would be best for her. She likes to play and get rowdy but also chills and likes to hang out.

Sadie is a 4 yr old Olde English Bulldogge. She can go for a good walk and likes to sleep with you and hang on the couch. She will allow you to rub her belly for an indefinite amount of time and gladly gives kisses. She needs to be an only dog, older children and fence required.

If you have any questions on fostering a bulldog, please feel free to reach out to me! jess(at)freshjess.com

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 BloggersProject 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 ZivJennine 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!

Love & Meatball

I lost my baby a year ago today.

A friend of mine recently asked if anyone believed in love anymore. I said, "I do." I absolutely do. Love is an overwhelming, unconditional, unyielding motivation to care and be there for someone. Simply put, they somehow have the power to make you do things for them even if you don't want to! Most people experience this when they have their first human child. Mine just happened to come in the form of the most handsome bulldog of all time:

Love is the memories I'll hold onto forever, so that even if Meatball isn't physically here with me, I can go to them when I'm tired, having a bad day or just want to channel comfort, peace and warmth. I'll remember the tickle of his fur when I snuggled him, the sound of his snoring and the smell he protruded whenever he needed a bath. It's like corn chips and soy sauce I swear. These are things that stay with me every moment of my life. This is love.

Love is also the sound of my friends and family's voices when I called them in a blind shock that day. I didn't know what to do or what to say, and I'm sure they didn't either. But I needed them and they sat with me, sharing their own loss, words of comfort, or just silence while I sobbed and tried to process what was happening. Love is being there for me while we hibernated from the world that week, doing what we could to cope.

Finally, love is the drive that Meatball fuels within me. His spirit is laced in everything I do. When I am totally stressed out, doing too many things and find it difficult to focus, I know I am never alone. It might sound weird, but I just remember how I used to come home each day to his loving, often sleepy face. The look in his eyes and the feeling of coming home to that big ol' face is like a sea of calm to me. Everything is better already.

I tell people that we probably won't get another bulldog until we have a house. Since his passing, I've devoted most of my philanthropic efforts to animal safety and rights. I donate to ASPCA monthly, volunteer with Bullldog Haven NW & Cascade Bulldog Rescue, and contribute my time, money and energy to PAWS on a regular basis (including participating in PAWSwalk, a tradition started when Meaty was 3.)

More than anything, love is knowing that Meatball's passing will never be something to get over. Rather, Meatball's spirit, light and amazing presence courses through my veins and will illuminate the rest of my life.



Mamas and Meatballs make my world go 'round

Mama & me at my 28th birthday at HollyHood! Yeah she came to the club!

My mom is amazing. She has dedicated her life to making sure her children are happy and taken care of. She gives so much to us and asks for little to nothing in return. She is never one to stir the pot, always minding her own business and keeping to herself. Sometimes I think we are so different, but then I remember one of my favorite things she's ever said to me. It was when I was about to leave the house for good, heading to my first year of college. Everybody was telling me what to major in and why. All she said was, "I don't care what you decide to go to school for. Whatever it is, just make sure you don't have to depend on anyone else to make you happy."

I don't think she knows how valuable her words (not just those, but all) have been to me. I've taken that piece of advice far beyond choosing my major and navigating my career. That's a life lesson for me.

I love you so much Mama. Thank you for everything.

She loves this song :)

My angel babe 

I know you're shining down on me from heaven my sweet Meatball. I miss you every single day and if I could give up everything to be your mama here on earth again I would in half a heartbeat. My whole soul revolves around you still. I think about you all the time and I hope you are okay, and that you are happy. You live in my heart baby lovebug. You always have and you always will. MOMMY LOVES YOU! <3