Fresh Jess for University Village - Holiday Pinterest Boards

I've been pinning with University Village this holiday season, and I thought I'd share our boards! Now that Christmas is over, you can treat yourself to some of these winter collections, accessories and sparkly things. I'm pinning New Year's Eve style and party ideas this week. Enjoy!

Follow University Village's board A Holiday of Making Magic on Pinterest.

Follow University Village's board Santa Baby I'm on the Nice List on Pinterest.

Follow University Village's board Holiday Bits & Baubles on Pinterest.

Fresh Jess Holiday Picks for Gear Live

Last week, Andru of Gear Live invited me to be a part of their Holiday Bash in Seattle, and give my picks in fashion, beauty and fitness for the season. Gear Live is a big tech blog based here, and since its readers are mostly male, I wanted to highlight items not just because I'm into them myself, but because they're functional and approachable. I wanted these to be the kinds of gifts Gear Live fans could easily buy online and in local stores without the fear of it being too fashionable or irrelevant to the special someone they're shopping for. I am not much for holiday guides, but thought I should put this up for those who wanted to see them:

Fresh Jess Gear Live Holiday Picks

1. The search for a sustainable, zero-waste, grippy yoga mat is over. I have this Manduka pro Lite mat on my wish list for next year's burpees in the park.

2. Scotch & Soda skyrocketed high onto my favorite stores list after I hosted an event at their U-Village store earlier this fall. I've been wearing the Maison Scotch fluffy punk scarf with everything lately. It puts the definitive Seattle touch on my outfit :) 

3. I am not into wearing a ton of makeup and spend much more of my time and money on keeping my skin healthy. That includes regular facials at skoah - and at home I use many of their products! My favorite product is the skoah Hydra Dew Mask. It keeps your face & neck hydrated and moisturized and gentle enough to use everyday (and leave on all day if you forget.) I recommend this to everyone, for the plane, in desert heat and in the harsh winter temps. 

4. I'm not a trendy fragrance person and when I find one I like, I tend to stick to it for years. I've just added Oribe's Côte d'Azur eau de parfum to my boudoir. The sandalwood, jasmine & bergamot are the perfect notes. You can find it in Seattle at Robert Leonard Salon & Spa next to Jazz Alley!

5. I love my Converse rubber All-Star hi-tops - and they're a hit with men, women and kids! They're on sale at Nordstrom if you can get your hands on a pair. They're going fast!

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

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)!

A Few of My Favorite Things - Holiday 2012

Are you holiday gift guide-d out yet? I hope not! In case you are, I decided to make this a simple list of some of my favorite things that have added some extra sweetness to my life lately. You can use this as a resource for your holiday gift shopping, or just as a chance to meet some amazing independent or eco-friendly designers and products!

I'm loving what Hana has done with Craft & Culture this year. Hana carefully selects indie designers to showcase their wares on C&C. For shoppers like me, it's a handy site to read up on up & coming designers while choosing gifts that are limited or one-of-a-kind. There are a lot of Seattle designers featured on the site too!

These Harman London room diffusers ($32.99) have been filling my home with the most wonderful aromas this fall & winter. Based in Olympia, WA, Harman London specializes in eco-friendly skin care, candles as well as these lovely diffusers.

Ladies, you know how hard it can be to find the perfect lip products! I am madly in love with Seattle-based Kari Gran Skincare's Lip Whips ($15.) I had the opportunity to meet the lovely ladies behind Kari Gran this summer in their Lake Union studio where all of their products are made with love, care and special attention to ingredients that are as good for your skin & body as they are for the earth.

I'm so sad that Melvita has closed in Pacific Place. I went in for a facial earlier this year and absolutely adore their skincare line. Melvita sets the beauty bar for organic and sustainable products, fine-tuning most of their products in their home base in France. Do you see a trend here? I'm on a slow but steady path to being as eco-friendly as I can possibly be.

"Last night a Boostcase saved my life!"  No really, Boostcase has come in so clutch when I'm out all day in meetings, with clients then at events. I bought this hybrid case + battery pack ($79.95) from Nordstrom before New York Fashion Week in September, because I knew I'd be running around all day with very limited access to outlets. I came thisclose to getting a Mophie until I saw other fashion bloggers talking about their Boostcases. Once I took a look at the different colors and styles available, I was sold. Boostcase comes in a variety of colors and charges your iPhone back to full life, and only takes a couple of hours to recharge itself.

Detox cleanses freak me out. I think it's weird to not consume anything except for a weird powdered mix of things that may or may not be healthy for you. I did decide to give Kaeng Raeng a whirl because of its all-natural, vegan & gluten-free nature. You can eat raw fruits and veggies during the program too. I did the beginner 3-day course ($62.99), and definitely felt more energy while less bloated. Also, it tasted great to me, which is another risk factor in powdered mixes of any kind. If you're looking for a good start to refreshing your body after the holidays, this is an option!

I've been living in this J Project  scarf since I got it earlier this fall. I adore the fabulous Jaime Marie, founder of J Project too. Find her and the other mobile fashion trucks at the Fremont Market in Seattle. Find these scarves and the rest of Jaime's handmade creations online at

If you need help with finding a specific gift for a loved one, feel free to tweet me or shoot me an email at

I'd love to help you!

Infographic Fun with Guinness & St. Patrick's Day

What's nerdier than incorporating beer and St. Patrick's Day into some fun infographics? Luckily I'm a big nerd and never one to turn down an infographic :)

Here's a quick post with some fun facts for you as St. Patty's Day approaches:

Help GUINNESS® & Fresh Jess make this the biggest St. Patty's Day ever! Take the pledge & enter the code "JESS" over at For every pledge I bring in, I'm donating $1 to Bulldog Haven NW. It's totally free & takes just a minute. Thanks for your help!

Fresh Eats: A Guinness Feast

With St. Patrick's Day, fast approaching, I'm sure you're getting ready to indulge in a pint of Guinness or two. But did you know there are a ton of recipes you can make with the dry stout?

You may be familiar with the famous Guinness & steak pie already. I've pulled a few recipes from Guinness' site, but there are a couple of great ones over at AllRecipes and Endless Summer. From starters to desserts, you can infuse a bit of Guinness love into every part of your St. Patty's Day.

I present to you...the Fresh Jess St. Patty's Day feast, featuring Guinness!

Braised Beef w/Onions, Carrots & GUINNESS®

  • Serves 4
  • 2lb Boned stewing steak / 1 large onion / ½ lb carrots
  • 1 cup soaked prunes and hazelnuts (optional)
  • 3 bay leaves / 2 tbsp flour / 2 tbsp cooking oil / 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • ¼ pint GUINNESS® Draught
  • ¼ pint water / Salt and pepper

Trim the meat and cut into convenient serving pieces; do not make them too small. Heat the oil or fat and put in the bay leaves. Let them crackle, but put the lid on, then add the beef and fry on both sides. When half done, add sliced onions and let that gently colour to pale gold. Sprinkle the flour over and let it brown then add the GUINNESS® and water. A little more liquid may be needed, in which case make it water or stock to just cover the meat. Season to taste and add the parsley and carrots cut into circles. Put the lid on and braise in a slow to moderate oven 275°F – 300°F, gas 1 – 2, for about 2 hours. In the nineteenth century, soaked and stoned prunes (about 1 cup) stuffed with grilled hazelnuts were added half an hour before the meat was ready. They make a marvelously rich garnish.

Other great starter dishes: The Best Warm Oysters Ever & Mushrooms on Toast

Crispy GUINNESS® Battered Cod Fillet

Serves 3

  • 3 fresh fillets of cod
  • Batter:
  • ½ can of GUINNESS® Draught / 1 ½ cups of flour / ¼ cup of baking powder
  • Teaspoon of salt / ¼ teaspoon of pepper

Pour the GUINNESS® into a large bowl and add the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Then whisk until it is light and frothy. Let the batter sit for 15 minutes - remember good things come to those who wait! Meanwhile, heat a deep fryer to 180° C. When the batter is ready, dust the fish with flour and coat evenly with batter. Fry for 5 - 6 minutes turning once halfway. Then serve with chunky chips, salad and a cool GUINNESS®. Get your batter ready and then knock it up for the lads at half time. TIP To stop your batter sticking to the wire mesh of your deep fat fryer, simply take the mesh out and use a slotted spoon to lift your fish instead.

More delicious main dishes: Beef & Guinness Pancakes w/Smoked Cheddar & Rack of Lamb w/Guinness & Mustard


Serves 6

  • 8oz. butter / 8oz. brown sugar / 4 eggs lightly beaten
  • 10oz plain flour & 2 level tsps of mixed spice sieved together
  • 8oz seedless raisins / 8oz sultanas / 4oz mixed peel
  • 8-12 tsps of GUINNESS Draught
  • 4oz walnuts

Cream butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Gradually beat in eggs. Fold in the flour and mixed spice. Then add the raisins, sultanas, mixed peel and walnuts. Mix well together. Stir 4tbps of GUINNESS® into the mixture. Mix to a soft dropping consistency. Turn into a prepared 7 inch cake tin. Bake in a very moderate oven, Gas mark 3 / 300° F for 1 hour. Then reduce and cook for another one and a half hours. Allow it to become cool. Remove from cake tin. Prick the base of the cake with a skewer and spoon over the remaining 4-8 tsps of GUINNESS®. Keep the cake for 1 week before eating.

Additional delectable desserts: Irish Cake Bombs & Guinness Brownies

Check all the recipes at the GUINNESS® Good Food Guide, plus 100 Ways to Cook w/Guinness

Help GUINNESS® & Fresh Jess make this the biggest St. Patty's Day ever! Take the pledge & enter the code "JESS" over at For every pledge I bring in, I'm donating $1 to Bulldog Haven NW. It's totally free & takes just a minute. Thanks for your help!

Guinness & FreshJess = The Largest St. Patty's Day Celebration Ever!

What's a holiday like St. Patty's Day without a little fun & games? 

This year, Guinness is setting its sights high with a mission to set a Guinness World Record for The Largest St. Patty's Day Celebration Ever. They've partnered with me to lead the efforts here in Washington State!

How can you help make this The Largest St. Patty's Day Celebration Ever?

It's easy:

1) Head over to

2) Fill out the form to confirm you're over 21 (sorry kiddos)

3) Click "Join the Party"

4) Fill out the pledge form enter "JESS" in the optional code

5) Share it on Facebook

Simple as that!

Master Brewer Fergal Murray

For each pledge made that includes code "JESS", I'm donating a dollar to my dear Bulldog Haven NW in support of their efforts to provide better lives to rescued bulldogs.

Drink responsibly - it's for a good cause this time!

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.

Giving Thanks...Making Transitions (Allow me to reintroduce myself...)

No one who achieves success does so without the help of others.
The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.
-Alfred North Whitehead

I have a lot to be thankful for this year! As always I am eternally grateful for my giant family and all of my friends, colleagues and mentors who've contributed positively to my life. I can only find success knowing you are there for me. I am healthy and have a wonderful home. I count my blessings every day for this beautiful life!

I am thankful for social media. What started out as a fun hobby has turned into my most powerful networking tool; has brought me a ton of new friends who I would've never met otherwise; and has also opened doors I never would have known were there to open had I not put myself out there on TwitterFacebook and here on my blog.

Now, I can add that social media has officially gotten me to my next chapter in my professional life!

I wasn't actively looking for a job. Knowing what the job market is like for a lot of people out there, I didn't think it'd be worth my time when I was still in a job I got a lot out of. You can imagine my surprise when Banyan Branch approached me about joining their team. Come mid-December, my time at the Chamber is coming to a close.

I have learned so much in my ascent to events director for the chamber, meeting so many different kinds of people in every kind of business you can imagine. I was given an incredible amount of creative freedom and independence to grow the Chamber's body of networking events and professional development programming thanks to a fabulous boss who really believed in my potential. I've grown immensely in my public speaking, networking and problem solving having had every type of problem and public speaking situation thrown at me there. Countless opportunities have been afforded me through my work and the network I've built there. I got a lot of praise and a lot of criticism too - both have helped me grow. They say to never forget where you came from and I have the Chamber forever imprinted in my life. Thank you for shaping a part of me!

I'm SO excited to make a career change into a field I LOVE (marketing & social media), with the skills I've honed at the Chamber to help me excel in what I've been brought on to do.

I don't talk about work much on but making this transition has dominated my mind the past few weeks and I'm delighted to share the decisions I've made with you. Not to worry, FreshJess readers; though I know I'll be puttin in work in my new role, I'm going to do my best to keep this blog updated with fresh content as much as possible.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Peace, love & happiness to you & yours.