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December 10, 2020

QUEBEC CITY: BEFORE 2020 BECAME THE WORST YEAR YET

I can’t believe it was this year, 2020, that Josh and I ventured to Quebec City with our friends Connor and Christina. It was back in January when everyone was anticipating fulfilling their New Year’s resolutions with more travel, detoxes, and perhaps a goal to socialize more. Boy were we in for a rude awakening. In the hopes that the world is on the track to healing, with the help of everyone’s favorite guy, Anthony Fauci, I decided to share more about our trip to Quebec City. I’ve got a great list of places to eat! See the videos below for a taste of the charming city that makes you feel like you’re in Europe.

As you saw, we stayed at a really cute VRBO in the center of the Nouvo St- Roch district, which is just a 10-minute walk from Old Quebec. It is super close to the grocery store (made a couple of pit stops there for wine and cheese). We spent most of our time in Old Quebec, but if we stayed longer than four days we would’ve explored closer to our apartment. Our apartment was near St. Joseph Street and is filled with a bunch of restaurants and boutiques. 

We drove to Quebec after work on a Friday night for a long weekend; it took us about 7-8ish hours to get there from Boston. As soon as we woke up in the morning we went to explore some places for brunch. After not being able to get a table at our desired spot, La Buche, without a reservation, we settled for a mediocre spot and I had a not-so-great crepe. Fortunately, that was the beginning and end of our bad restaurant experience in the city.

After our underwhelming brunch, we made our way to the Jardins des Gouverneurs. It’s essentially a small park that sits beside the stunning and historic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. The Wolfe-Montcalm Monument also sits in the center of the park and it overlooks the Saint Lawrence River.

Jardins des Gouverneurs
The Wolfe-Montcalm Monument

We made our way through the Old City, stopped at a few shops, and soaked in the rich culture and picturesque charm. It was time to stop and warm up a bit. Enter Sapristi! It was a sweet bistro-style restaurant with wine, beer, and cocktails. We didn’t eat, although I wish we had. They serve homemade pizza and pasta–my mouth is watering. 

Sapristi

After our first bar stop of the day, we did some more exploring and more eating. This was pretty much a common trend the entire trip. See below all of our stops throughout our trip: 

Le Chic Shack for THE best poutine. This place was crowded and it always seemed to be while we were there. We enjoyed some beer and a variety of poutine. If you go to one place on this list, let it be this one. 

Le Chic Shack

La Buche. La Buche offers traditional Quebec cuisine and I think my favorite part about this place is how warm and cozy it feels. They have these awesome wooden sleds on the ceilings and long family-style tables. It felt like home. While we were there, Bonhomme visited everyone at their tables. Bonhomme is a giant white cloud-like person with a red hat and he’s super creepy looking but seemingly friendly. Not my cup of tea, but everyone was excited to see him. It was the week before Quebec City’s winter carnival and he is the mascot from what I gathered. 

La Buche

Charming vibes leaving the restaurant to our next spot

Bonhomme. Not the same one from La Buche just a statue, if you couldn’t tell haha.

1608. Our nightcap spot every night. This cozy and intimate bar is located inside the incredible Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. We all agreed that if we were to visit Quebec again, we’d like to stay at this hotel for at least one or two nights. It’s amazing and it’s a relatively centralized area, making it easy to explore. Anyway, 1608 had awesome cocktails, the bartenders were super friendly and the views of the St. Lawrence River were incredible. 

1608

Chez Boulay.  We had brunch here and it was one of my favorite meals. I also loved the layout and aesthetic. 

La Citadelle de Quebec. Went on a little adventure, felt kind of like a hike, to La Citadelle de Quebec. It was pretty cool, but it was so cold and there weren’t many people touring it. I guess that’s a perk! The Citadelle de Quebec is the largest British fortress in North America and is an integral part of Quebec fortifications. 

La Citadelle de Quebec

Rue du Petite Champlain. More exploring of the Old City. Made our way to the famous street, Rue du Petit Champlain .  It as charming and beautiful as the photos you’ve seen. 

Rue du Petit Champlain

Paillard, for a chocolate croissant! It’s necessary.

Paillard

Pub St. Alexandre for some live music. It is such a cozy, casual Irish bar. We were tempted to cancel our reservations at another restaurant and stay there all night. 

Pub Saint-Alexandre

Sam Bistro. It’s inside of the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. We by the windows, overlooking the St. Lawrence River. One of my favorite dinners in Quebec City. It is definitely on the fancier side, but I think we ate here on our last night so we were going out with a bang.

Sam Bistro
Sam Bistro

Old Quebec Funicular. This was SO cool. We took the funicular up to the top of the city. It links the Haute-Ville to the Basse-Ville. It’s a quick little trip, but if you’re afraid of heights it may not be for you.

Funicular

Made it to the top!

This was truly one of my favorite trips! I loved exploring this city and hoping to get back there soon. There were a few other places on our list that we didn’t get a chance to visit. 

May 21, 2020

QUARANTINE MADE ME BUY IT..

We’ve been stuck safe inside for about two months now, the weather is getting warmer and the temptation to go outside and see friends is high. I get it, and I also understand that there needs to be some kind of balance, at least for me. I’ll elaborate more on my feelings around this in a later post, but I will say while my wine intake has been higher than pre coronavirus days, so is my workout regimen. The sculpt society’s at-home workouts have absolutely saved me from multiple mental breakdowns. I digress. What I’m here to talk about is my online shopping habit which has also increased a bit in the past two months. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has indulged in some retail therapy. Don’t get me wrong I haven’t loved or kept ALL of my online purchases, but there are a few that will remain a lifelong staple for me and I feel compelled to share. See below. 

  1. Jouer’s Soft Focus and Hydrate + Set Powder $38 I will not lie, the reason I purchased this is because Cameran Wimberly from Bravo’s reality show Southern Charm was raving about it on her IG story. I typically don’t use a foundation regularly, but I do like the evenness it gives so I decided to give this a try because it claims it’s lightweight, not drying or cakey. It is safe to say I am OBSESSED. I don’t even understand how it works, but it’s incredible. It’s a packed powder, I use a normal powder foundation brush and it feels like a light dewy liquid foundation, but without the heaviness. I can’t get over it. I am STUNNED. It’s a keeper for me. 
  2. Apostrophe Tretinoin Next up is THE holy grail of skincare products for me, Tretinoin. My work husband has been talking about Tretinoin as long as I’ve known him, but with skincare products like this one, there is that whole “it gets worse before it gets better” process that I didn’t want to deal with. However, since no one but Josh was going to see my face, I decided to give it a shot. I went to Apostrophe because they provide prescriptions online. It’s super easy. You take photos of your skin at different angles, submit it on their platform and a dermatologist gets back to you in a day with a treatment plan. I already knew what I wanted so I mentioned that in my “appointment” and I received a prescription almost immediately, ordered directly through them, and got it within 5 days. I’ve been using it for over a month now and my skin has seen SUCH a difference. The redness and breakout phase wasn’t so bad either. My skin is smoother, clearer and I noticed some fine lines around my eyes and forehead are less deep. My pores appear smaller, too. I just can’t say enough about it and I regret not doing it sooner. Tretinoin: is a medication used to treat acne and sun-damaged skin. It can’t erase deep wrinkles, but it can help improve the appearance of surface wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots. Tretinoin is also known as retinoic acid. It’s the generic name for synthetic vitamin A. 
  3.  L.L. Bean Women’s Daybreak Scuff, Motif                                           Full transparency, I did not purchase these during quarantine, I got them for Christmas, but I have not stopped wearing them since, and especially now more than ever. Not only are they adorable, but they are so comfortable and the soles are rubber and are super solid and durable. I don’t like getting out of my bed if my slippers aren’t right at my side to greet me. That’s how obsessed I am about these.
  4.   Aerie Chill Ribbed Longline Bralette $14.97  So, I’ll start by saying I’m not one who LOVES wearing a bra. It’s safe to say I don’t really need one LOL, they’re very hideable, but there’s something about WFH and being on zoom calls with your coworkers and not wearing a bra that feels…wrong. I also feel even less “together” than I already feel. I did some digging and found this ribbed longline bralette as well as this seamless padded bralette, also from Aerie which I haven’t stopped wearing but they have been completely sold out of it so I only have one. I love both of them because they are super comfortable, not restricting and I feel more like a productive human wearing them. 🙂 
  5. Olay Fresh Reset Clay Mask Stick $10.12 I’ve used a ton of different masks, but since starting Tretinoin, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t overdrying my skin. So, instead of a clarifying, tingling mask like the Aztec clay one we all know and love, I opted to try this Olay pink clay mask stick. First of all, I love that it’s a stick because it eliminates the mess, glides on smoothly, and quite frankly it’s fun to apply. I leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes and after my skin looks so dewy and feels SO clean. I highly recommend this, especially for the summer months when you aim to do everything quickly so you can get outside and enjoy the warm weather. 
  6. CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream $13.98 I’ve been using CeraVe products for five years now because they are super gentle on my skin and not overdrying. I use the hydrating cleanser and daily moisturizer. More recently, I started using the night cream since my Apostrophe dermatologist recommended it and I wish I had started sooner. It’s a thicker cream so I usually put it on before I apply Tretinoin and after. When I wake up, my skin feels so hydrated and smooth. It really seeps into your skin, giving you the ultimate moisture. 
  7. Artis Oval 3 Makeup Brush $42 ($30 with 30% discount code) In all honesty, I’m not a makeup brush person. I don’t like beauty blenders, I have powder brush for my foundation and bronzer, but that’s it. I saw the Artis Oval 3 makeup brush on Paige from Summer House’s IG story and she had a 30% discount code so I felt compelled to give it a try. The way her concealer glided on so smoothly, it felt like a no brainer to try. I’ve also been feeling that when I apply concealer with my fingers, I lose some of the coverage. I LOVE this brush. It helps me get the most out of my concealer and it does glide on as perfectly as Paige demonstrated in her IG story.
  8. Supergoop SuperScreen Daily Moisturizer$38 and Bright-Eyed Mineral Eye Cream $36 (both SPF 40) I’ve used Supergoop’s unseen sunscreen in the past and while I liked it, I started to hate how mattifying it was. I was losing some dew and my skin felt dry so when I discovered their superscreen daily moisturizer I was THRILLED. It is the best of both worlds, a good strength SPF and not overly greasy or heavy–perfect dewiness. I absolutely love this moisturizer and feel as though I’ve finally found a daily sunscreen that truly works for me and my skin type. I’m also super sensitive about my under eyes because they do appear darker than they once did when I was in my 20s and they don’t often get the love and attention they deserve. This mineral cream is a gamechanger. It’s thicker than I thought it would be, which I love because I feel like it really sinks into my skin and acts as a primer for my concealer. Also IN love with the fact that it contains SPF 40 as well. 
  9. Aerie New Love Corded Oversized Sweatshirt $37.46 And finally, I have been LIVING in these corded oversized sweatshirts. I actually purchased one well before quarantine days and loved it so much that I felt like I needed another. It’s so cozy, but not overly warm there’s no fleece lining or anything it’s just a thicker sweatshirt. I also love the look of it because it gives a more polished appearance in my opinion. It goes great with leggings or even bike shorts now that the weather is warmer. 

So….that’s about all I’ve been doing during quarantine, how about you?

Stay safe out there and STAY HOME!

xx

Jackie

December 8, 2019

STOP & SMELL THE…POTHOLE STEAM?

Lately, I’ve been opting for my favorite pair of jeans and sneakers. It’s easy. It’s comfortable. It’s simple. The winter weather in Boston can be uncomfortable to commute in so when I can control something that makes my commute easier and more comfortable, I’ll do just that. However, I often get bored of wearing a similar outfit every day, so when I have the courage to get uncomfortable, I’ll start with this leopard overall dress. It’s easy to wear apart from the fact that I have to accompany it with tights, but it’s got that touch of sass that you know I love. This ribbed long sleeve is so cozy and I slid on my favorite black booties–ready to go!

Aside from today’s outfit, I can’t even believe how quickly the holiday season is flying by. We’re two weeks ago from Christmas and I feel like we’re still easing our way into December. I’m excited to get home to New Jersey for the holidays and take part in my family’s Christmas traditions. My nieces and nephews have made this holiday season so much fun. There’s nothing quite like seeing Christmas through the eyes of little ones. It brings me back to my younger days and how absolutely thrilled I would be leading up to Christmas and especially waking up on Christmas morning. Ahhh! I’m smiling thinking about it. Recently, I’ve been reminding myself to remain in the moment. Stop worrying about things you can’t control. Enjoy the little things, even your commute to work. We spend our days hustling to get from point A to point B, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t always stop and smell the… steam from the pothole covers LOL. Seriously though. Try to enjoy the little things. The things you don’t even think should bring you joy but are a part of your life. They’re the everyday aspects of your life that remind you that you are alive and well. Enjoy it.

That’s all I got. I hope you’re enjoying this beautiful and charming season with the ones you love the most.

xx

Jackie

 
December 6, 2019

‘TIS THE SEASON FOR FESTIVE PLAID

Details: Banana Republic Factory Hayden Pull-On Tartan Plaid Flannel Ankle Pants (sold out!), similar styles below | Tommy Hilfiger One-Strap Pump | J. Crew Tissue Turtleneck in Grey Dusk |

‘Tis the season for holiday parties! Whether it’s a party with work, family, friends or a casual holiday dinner, it’s always fun to get dressed with some holiday flair. I’m really big on comfort, especially when the weather is so unpredictable and we go from crisp blue skies to sleet and snow in a matter of 12 hours. When I was visiting my parents in Connecticut a few weeks ago, we obviously made a stop at the outlets and I ran straight to Banana Republic Factory. I LOVE the BR Factory store in Clinton, CT because they have a huge selection of petite styles and it’s important to me to find pants that I don’t have to roll up or get tailored. Not only are these Hayden Pull-On Tartan Plaid pants fun and festive, but they are also SO comfortable. I mean, it’s in the name…”pull-on”. They have an elastic waist and the material is soft and cozy, not stiff or scratchy. I could see myself wearing this to a casual dinner with friends or even at a work holiday party. Dress it up with a pair of pumps and you’re ready to go. The more I think about it, the more I can see these being my favorite Christmas Day pants. They make you look sophisticated but also allow for endless eating without feeling like a stuffed sausage. Win, win. What are you guys thinking of wearing for your upcoming holiday gatherings?

xx

Jackie

December 3, 2019

LET’S HEAR IT FOR FLANNELS

‘Tis the season for snowstorms and flannels. I’m a little disappointed that we’ve experienced a considerable amount of snow this early in the winter season, but there’s literally nothing we can do about that–haha! Every fall/winter season, I always try to find key staples that I can wear anytime and anywhere. From Monday bowling league nights to a casual Friday out with friends, I need a few pieces that help make getting out of the house comfortable. And I’ll admit, I’ve had my fair share of flannels, BUT this Bromley flannel from Madewell makes other flannels look like bad. It’s SO soft and so comfy. I love the black, white and beige colors. It makes it easy to style; you can wear it open or buttoned up and it looks just as good both ways. Next up on my clothing staples list are these Classic Femme Mini UGGs. I’m 5’1″ so having shoes that give me some height is extremely important to me, as is feeling comfortable. These booties check both of those boxes. The only downfall is I’m not sure how good they look with dresses. Perhaps it depends on the dress, but I don’t know if I’d be able to pull them off with my current dress collection. That’s it for my top two Fall/Winter staples. There are definitely more to come, but it’s a process.

What are your favorite winter pieces?

September 9, 2019

ANIMAL PRINT: THE SEASONLESS GEM

Details: Primark animal print drawstring tie top, similar here | J. Crew Toothpick denim pants, here |

I told you I wasn’t letting go of white pants. The mornings have been crisp and the afternoons have been warm. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but I walked out in a full-on sweatsuit Sunday morning to run errands and by the time I got home, I was sweaty and cranky. I feel like they say this every season, but animal print is in fact BACK. That is if it ever went away. The verdict is still out on that. Anyway, as I was running errands I obviously purchased some fall staples, one of which ended up being a leopard print turtleneck. I think what I love most about animal prints is that they’re typically the perfect combination of neutral colors: black and white, brown and beige, light brown and black…the list goes on. I got this black and white animal print top earlier in the summer and I think it can transition well into the fall months. Just swap out the white denim and open-toe sandals with a dark wash denim pant and thigh-suede boots, and throw on a chunky black coatigan, voila! Instant fall look.

This weekend I’m planning to go through my closet and evaluate the joy each of my garments has brought to me this summer season, and if there’s anything that can transition as flawlessly into fall and winter as this top. I think the only word I have left for this post is RAWR!

Happy Monday! Stay sassy.

xx

Jackie

September 6, 2019

ME & MY CORE COMFORTS

Details: TopShop Rip Elbow Denim Jacket via Nordstrom, here| Aerie Oversized Nomad Pants, here|Converse slip-on sneakers, here |

I love trying out different fashion trends and stocking my closet with clothes, that much you can tell. However, I’ve never been one to sacrifice comfort for fashion. That’s not entirely true. I’ve done that a couple of times, and it’s not worth it. You don’t look cute when you’re uncomfortable. Wobbling around in 6-inch pumps that are cutting into your heels, what’s the point? I always do like to get a couple of garments that are a bit different from the rest of my closet and have that “outshine” factor, but mostly I stick with what’s comfortable and fits well.

I’m not sure what next week looks like, but the mornings have been a bit cooler than usual, and I’m more than okay with that. This weekend looks fairly mild, and today I woke up to crisp cool brink of fall weather…DELIGHTFUL! So, in the spirit of comfort and a new season, I’m sharing one of my favorite outfits. We’ve got, what I like to call, my core comforts: slouchy Nomad pants from Aerie (available in 4 different colors), a sleeveless sweater top, and my oversized denim TopShop jacket…oooh and can’t forget my slip-on converse sneaks! Which way to the apple cider, pumpkin patch, farmers market, (insert most basic fall activity here)?!?

Since comfort and athleisure have become more commonplace and accepted by major retailers, it’s so easy to find clothing that is not only comfy and cozy but looks good too. Take a look at your closet and identify your most comfortable pieces and see how you can elevate them with accessories, a blazer, you name it, it’s possible!

xx

Jackie

September 4, 2019

ENJOYING THE RIDE, ONE KICKBALL GAME AT A TIME

Details: Gap Striped Tee Shirt, similar-ish here | American Eagle Mom Shorts, here (they’re on sale!)| Timberland Violet Marsh Cross Band Sandal, here

I’d love to tell you that I wore floral flowy dresses all summer with sun hats, but that would be a bold lie. Instead, I wore these high waisted mom jeans and a comfy tee pretty much every other day.  I feel like I always have such high expectations for what I’m going to wear during the summer. I typically stock my closet with romantic maxi dresses and strappy tops, and only end up wearing them once or twice during the season. This summer, I tried to be way more reasonable and practical. And even though my focus is currently on chunky knits and cozy sweatpants, I’m still keeping my summer favorites well within reach.

Enough about my summer clothing choices. Recently, I joined a kickball league with some of my friends, as well as Josh and his friends. It has been so much fun! I’ve never been a sports person, by ANY means. I was always the one in gym class who convinced my gym teacher to let me be the score keeper during floor hockey. The competition intimidated me and I lacked confidence and… coordination. Not much has changed regarding the coordination, but I do have way more confidence in owning what I don’t know and giving the game of kickball my best shot. It has been a blast, and it doesn’t hurt that there’s a free party trolley and a weekly team pregame to calm my nerves. It’s so fun supporting your friends on the field and working as a team. I’ve learned more about myself and made some friends along the way.

So whether it’s playing a sport you’ve never played, being challenged at work with a new project, or learning a new skillset, you’ll never know until you give it your best shot. Never let fear get in the way of trying something new. Even if you fail, an experience is an experience. There are valuable lessons that come out of failure. And I’m so grateful and fortunate to have people in my life who challenge and empower me to go outside my comfort zone. It makes my life so much more interesting and entertaining. The quote below is a gentle reminder to remember what is truly important: 

“Your mission: Be so busy loving your life that you have no time for hate, regret or fear.” – Karen Salmansohn

Hate, regret and fear require so much energy. Energy that can be much better spent on healing yourself, empowering others and enjoying the ride. I know that I won’t be the next national kickball champion (if there even is one), but I do have some funny stories to share with new friends and old ones. Enjoy your journey and quit thinking about that ideal destination, outcome or expectation. Everything will land where it’s meant to lay. 

Happy Wednesday my friends!

xx

Jackie

August 30, 2019

ALWAYS WEAR WHITE AFTER LABOR DAY

Details: (old) Free People red polka dot long sleeve blouse via Nordstrom Rack, similar here| Bleecker & Bond Elise Sandals via DSW, here | J. Crew white Toothpick denim pants, here |

I’m not one for following rules when it comes to fashion. This whole not wearing white after Labor Day is a “rule” I choose not to follow, simply because it doesn’t make sense. I did some research to figure out the origin of this silly rule, and here’s what I found via Good:

  1. The rule came to the fashion scene at the turn of the 20th Century. It was when the duration of the summer scene was from Memorial Day to Labor Day. (As we know, summer weather can creep well into the beginning of October, even in Boston!)
  2. Snobby New England elitists used the rule to keep the new and upcoming middle class from creeping in on their turf. This was a way to tell old money from new money.
  3. Why, would we still follow this rule 100 years later? We wouldn’t and we shouldn’t. The end. So go wear white.

Now, this goes without saying but it’s important to wear white, or any color for that matter, when and where appropriate. For instance, don’t show up to a wedding in your favorite white dress. Not cute. Missed mark. And, maybe it’s not super smart to wear white to a funeral. I absolutely support wearing white in the winter months, but if we’re talking white linen in the dead of winter… then we need to chat. White pants with your favorite chunky sweater, go for it! I would be more than comfortable wearing my current outfit (red blouse and white denim pants) in the middle of October. Why the hell not!?

Let me know if you want to chat more about this topic! I could go on all day.

xx

Jackie

August 28, 2019

ONE LAST CROP TOP TO CLOSE OUT THE SUMMER

Details: Lace Crop Top via Amazon, here |Levi’s Ribcage Super High Waist Ankle Straight Leg Jeans via Nordstrom, here

Summer is slowly coming to a close and I’m over here trying to get in my last few warm weather looks. I’m very aware that we can expect a heatwave or two in October. It always seems to work like that, but I want to make sure I’m bearing as much skin now before I’m cloaked in oversized knits, jackets and scarves. Layering is so much fun until it’s April and it’s just…not.

It really has been a great summer, though. I felt like I was busy nearly every weekend. I enjoyed a trip to colorado, joined a kickball league with friends, and spent many weekends soaking up the sun at my family’s beach house in CT. Every summer seems to go by so fast, I just don’t expect anything less anymore. This way, I’m less disappointed when it flies by. 

I think I’m just in the season of strolling down memory lane, but sometimes I miss the summer days of aimlessly laying by a pool or on a beach. The days when I would make meatballs out of the perfect combination of dry and wet sand, or when I would spend my nights hanging out in the town beach parking lot doused in Bath & Body Works body spray and with a Maybeline JUICY lipgloss in my back pocket. I spent so many summers wishing I was old enough to drive or old enough to stay out past 11pm. Truth be told, young little Jackie, driving is overrated and being in bed before 11pm is a blessing. There were so many great memories and there are so many more to be made. Enjoy every bit of it. 

So, to celebrate the conclusion of another summer, wear your favorite summer top and those perfect blue jeans and enjoy the sun shining on your face. Oh, and to pregame fall, grab a fall scented candle…or five. 

xx

Jackie

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