Things the 18-year-olds sitting behind me on the train have discussed this morning.

1. Why their friend is talking to three guys and sleeping with a fourth.

2. Why their boyfriends’ moms hate them.

3. Why their hair gets oily.

4. Why people need to not get involved in their lives. (Here’s a hint: Don’t speak about your life at full volume on the 7 a.m. train.)

5. Why they don’t care what people think about their lives. (Noted.)

6. What they’re going to name their children (though one wasn’t sure how to spell the name she likes…).

7. Why secret Santas at work are awkward (“What if I get an old lady?”).

8. The pros and cons to big purses. (I can actually relate to this one.)

9. Whether or not one should pursue a relationship with the guy at Starbucks who talks to her.

10. A variety of other topics all punctuated with “see what I mean?”

And all without any transition. It’s too early for this.

UPDATE: “I was so sick, I like, turned my phone off. That’s how you know how bad I was.” <– ACTUAL QUOTE FROM ONE OF THEM.

I mean, seriously.

What to Wear During a New York Winter

It is officially really, really cold out. Bitterly cold, you might say.

It’s around this time of year, when the morning train platform starts to feel like its own form of torture, that I usually find myself thinking about the same kinds of things:

Is it going to get colder? Am I going to start hating my commute again? Is this the year I finally crack and buy a puffy winter coat?

I’m dangerously close to conceding on the last one. Sure, I would prefer not to look like a marshmallow, but these freezing temperatures aren’t messing around.

From there, I start making a list of all the cold-weather items I should probably add to my list. And since it has been a while since I blogged, I’m sharing it with you. I’m also hoping to hear your recommendations if you’ve purchased one if these items (or something similar) with great success. Most of my readers are in the Midwest or on the East Coast, so I know y’all have some winter wardrobe advice.

Must-Haves for a New York Winter

H m
$13 –

180s glove

Faux fur hat
$26 –


5 Entertaining Tips for Newbies


Yesterday, Joey and I had a few friends over for dinner and dessert. It was by no means the most elaborate or biggest party I’ve ever thrown — in fact, the whole thing came together spontaneously and in about six hours — but despite it’s simplicity, we had a lovely time with our friends eating, laughing, and catching up.

Because I grew up with a hostess-with-the-mostess mother then worked in the wedding industry and now work for one of the most famous hostesses in the world, I’ve always been fascinated by what details make a really great party. I still have a lot to learn, but I thought it could be fun (and helpful for anyone planning a party in the next few months) to share my favorite tips for planning a fun, stress-free event.

Here are my top five entertaining tip for newbies:

1. Set the table and make the salad ahead.

I always do these two tasks at least two hours before guests arrive. The table setting I might even do the day before if I have enough notice. For one, it forces you to start cleaning up. In my house, we use the dining room table to hold mail and other odds and ends that need to be put away. There’s usually a coat or two slung over a chair back. (I won’t name names as to whose coats they are…but they’re not mine.) The back corner of the room has also become an unofficial craft storage area. (Okay, that one’s on me.)

The point is, there’s quite a bit to be sorted out before it’s company-ready. All of which has to be done before the table can be set, so saying I’m going to set the table means I’m going to get the dining room ready. Plus, setting the table in advance means you can take your time, and the extra effort goes a long way. As for the salad, trust me when I say it will be the last thing you want to worry about when you’re trying to get dinner on the table. Make it early and keep it in the fridge.

2. Delegate, delegate, delegate.

I rarely make dessert or purchase wine for events in my own home. In my area, I rarely invite someone over who doesn’t accept with the phrase, “Sure, what can I bring?” Letting someone else bring a few drinks or a dessert lightens your load both physically and financially — let people help.

3. Presentation is everything.

There’s nothing wrong with serving something store-bought as long as no one ever sees the package. I’m not saying you should deceive your guests (if someone asks you for the recipe, ‘fess up), what I mean is that if you can’t be bothered to cook, the least you can do is serve the food on a pretty platter.

This goes for the table as well. Use place mats or a table cloth, and break out your nice dishes even if the meal isn’t all that fancy. (Hey, when else are you going to use them?) A pretty table sets a more festive mood even if the get-together is laid-back.

4. Two words: Cloth napkins.

Everyone feels a bit fancier and, at the end of the night, you just throw them all in the laundry hamper. Easy-peasy.

5. Clean up right after guests leave.

You will want to fight me on this one. After a day of cooking and cleaning and possibly a week of planning, at the end of the night you’ll want to put your feet up or answer your bed’s siren call while the dirty pots and dishes sulk in the sink. DO NOT DO IT. Believe me when I say there is nothing better than a successful night of hosting except the feeling you have when you wake up to a perfectly clean apartment. Odds are, the last time it was this clean was moments before your guest arrived. Don’t you want to revel in it a bit? So suck it up, wash the dishes (and dry if you’re feeling extra ambitious), clean the tabletop, swiff the floor, and take out the garbage. Then sit back with one last glass of wine before bed. You’ve earned it. (And you’ll thank me in the morning.)

Happy entertaining!

Weird for the win.

Do you ever sometimes randomly remember something about yourself as a child and think, “Why wasn’t I bullied more?”

Because, seriously you guys, I was a weird little kid. For about a six-year stretch, I had braces and then glasses and then braces again. (By some miracle, however, the two never coincided. God isn’t that cruel.) I played the flute. I was in show choir. I was in the theater group. I was in the top mock trial team. (#mocktrialnerds4life)

In fact, if I stopped to think about it, I’m not sure I could point to a singular moment in my adolescence that I was like, “Yup, that was a cool moment right there. So smooth.”


But the thing that I just remembered? In middle school, though I always had nice clothes (courtesy of my stylish mother) and was always dressed in something different every day, I would go weeks at a time wearing the same over-sized sweatshirt over whatever I had on. And not just any sweatshirt.

I was just sitting here eating my favorite pre-race breakfast (Nutella on toast with coffee, inspired by my runner friend Emilia) before my 5-mile turkey trot later this morning, drinking out of my hilarious “duck tape” mug:

…when I had the following thought process:

“I love this mug. Where did I get it again? Oh right, my childhood bestie Jackie bought it for me because I had a sweatshirt with the same thing one it. …that I used to wear EVERY DAY in middle school. A middle school that I had just moved to. …Why the heck did no one pick on me in middle school?”

Because, for realz, you guys. Every day. I don’t even know why I thought that was socially acceptable. (Though, looking back, there were a lot of things I did that now I’m like, “Yeah….okay, baby Justine. Ya weirdo.”)

But then I started thinking, “Well…but I wasn’t bullied. Like, at all. I was very fortunate that way. My middle school days were fairly blissful. In fact, that is probably the weirdest part about my middle school experience.”

So what was the difference? Maybe I wasn’t quite as crippled by my fear of embarrassment back then? Maybe I was even more accepting of my weirdness, delighted by it, in fact, and that inner peace and happiness somehow warded off any cruelty?

I really don’t know.

The point is (I think?), that I was the weird little kid who wore the forest green (ohhh, baby Justine…) “duck tape” sweatshirt every day for weeks. And I was so, so happy. And I turned out just fine. So maybe, even if I’m weird and embarrassing occasionally now, I’ll turn out even more fine in another twelve years.

I mean, it is a pretty snazzy coffee mug. #weirdkids4life

The Ultimate Gift Guide for Teenage Girls

I make no secret of the fact that, in general, teenagers scare me. They’re usually loud, obnoxious, and rude. THEY DON’T ANSWER TO ANYONE, YOU GUYS.

But seriously. I avoid most of them.

There are, however, exceptions to the rule. One of my favorite exceptions? My adorable niece Cameron.

Cams is 14, but still sweet, smart, and friendly — not to mention incredibly polite. (She’ll write a thank-you note that can break your heart.)

And she has a really big event coming up that I wanted to send her a present for. But when I went to buy something, I found myself a little stumped. I mean, my other nieces and nephews are pretty easy — the infant-to-six crowd is not hard to please. But a 14-year-old that I don’t hang out with nearly as often as I’d like? That’s a little tougher.

I finally found what I think is the perfect gift, but it occurred to me that I might not be the only one who struggles with buying for the tween/teen crowd. (I mean, sure, we all know they probably just want money, but I like to put a bit more effort into gifts.) So I put together a little gift guide to get you inspired.

And, yes, Cameron’s real gift is on here. But I’m not telling which one!

Gift Guide for Teenage Girls

J Crew knit top

Juicy Couture yellow gold bracelet
$81 –

Kate spade

Essie nail polish


What do you think? It also occurred to me that I would happily accept any of these gifts. So…I’m a teen girl. I can deal with that.

Hope everyone enjoys their time off of work and school!

Holiday catch-up.

First things first, it’s time to announce the winner of the Printcopia giveaway!

Drum roll, please…..

It’s Kayla!

I just emailed you about the prize. Congratulations, and thanks to everyone who entered!

Now, the matter at hand.

I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten how to work a normal full work week.

Between the storm(s), our California trip, and Thanksgiving, I’ll have Gina e full month since my last complete week of work by the end of this week.

I mean, I’m not really complaining. I enjoy working for home, even just a few days a week, and obviously everyone lives vacation and time off of work. I love my job, but it still provides me with just enough stress that I look forward to days when I don’t have to worry about it.

Thins are still going well, though. A few big projects that I’ve been working on are finally coming to fruition, and I’m even interviewing a couple of people today for an assistant position under me.

My very own assistant: every girl’s dream, right?

Plus, the partial week before a holiday is always pleasant to work. Sure, there’s a but more pressure to get the same a amount of work done in a shorter period of time, but everyone is usually caught up enough in festivities that the atmosphere is pleasant and no one is overly stressed.

Though this will be my first holiday at the current job, so maybe I’m entirely wrong about that. In that case…at least it’s only a 3-day week!

In other news, I’m running a 5-mile turkey trot on Thursday, but my left heel started really aching a couple of days ago. Not cool. My plan is to take it easy until Thursday, and then I might have to take a couple of weeks off of running. I’m already miserable at the prospect, but I think it’s my only option. Sigh.

Anyway. Enough about me. How is everyone else doing?