Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Oh the wonders of Thanksgiving!

I think I will very much look like the turkey leg (see above chart) after all the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie I eat, eat and repeat.

I hope you have a most wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones. I have so much to be thankful for. I know you do, too.

love, -j. 

Illustration by Gemma Correll via Pinterest.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Getting ready for a long winter

We got our first snow of the season yesterday.

I have to admit I'm dreading winter this go around. You would think I'd be used to it by now (my third in Cleveland) but I don't think one ever gets the hang of it. Snow during Christmastime is wonderful and celebratory (Snowflakes! Hot chocolate! Sitting by the fire!). But snow and slush and below-zero temps in mid-January and dragging into March? Misery!

As I take a deep breath and prepare myself for another long, dark winter perhaps I should take some sage advice from the Norwegians, who endure months and months of snow, ice and often no sunlight! 

This helpful article offers lessons from the Far North. 

Do as the Norwegians do: change the way you think of winter. Instead of lamenting, "Oh! How I hate winter! I am depressed! Woe is me!" I can celebrate the things I can only do in winter. Light a fire, drink warm beverages, snuggle under fuzzy blankets, go sledding, build a snowman, feel snowflakes on my tongue.

Norwegians also have this great word to describe a sense of coziness: koselig

As winter approaches, I'm going to embrace koselig. I'll let you know how it goes.    

Fast Company article via Kottke.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sex and the single girl (#GoodFirstDates)

4 Unexpected Qualities of a Good First Date
By Erika Abdelatif for love, -j.

Online dating is weird. Real weird.

Think about it: Previous generations learned to date by example, gleaning stories from their mothers and fathers, grandparents and so on. Online dating, however, has opened up our culture to a brand new form of relationship building with virtually no pre-established cultural norms. Anything goes. That’s nuts!

I love it, though.

Online dating has given me the chance to connect with a lot more people than I normally would otherwise. In the past year, I’ve gone out on a few dozen first dates. One thing I’ve learned is that good dates don’t have to look like the movies. In fact, there are times when certain unexpected qualities make a date stand out.

I recently launched a podcast called, I Met You on the Internet. It gives me a platform to interview other singles wading through apps and sites in search of love. Let’s just say the stories are amazing, and strange, and often hilarious. (Shameless plug: you can download     I Met You on the Internet on iTunes!)

Since I love sharing golden nuggets of wisdom with readers, here are a few on “unexpected qualities of a good first date” that I’ve dug up recently:

Silence is Golden

Fluid conversation is important, but can you handle some silence? Recently, after several hours of engaging conversation, my date stopped, took a breath, and said, "Let's just be quiet for a second." He was half joking, but we leaned into it. Surprisingly, it was great. It was a relief to let the moment breathe and to enjoy our surroundings without the pressure to manufacture conversation.

Agree to Disagree

Anyone who says online dating isn't hard is lying. Learning to gauge chemistry on a series of dates with strangers is challenging. You only have a small window of time to determine compatibility. There isn't much space to be inauthentic. That being said, I like when dates are open to raw conversation. I enjoy breaching difficult topics and observing how my date handles disagreement. 

For instance, on my last first date, we dove into conversation on the upcoming election. We didn't agree on everything and, at certain points, things got a little heated. It was great! You can learn a lot about someone when they're fired up. Does he shy away from conversation? Is he too aggressive? Or can he disagree with grace and curiosity? Points of conflict will come up sooner or later in any relationship. If we can agree to disagree early on, that's probably a good sign.

Embrace the Weird

A few months ago, I went out with a guy I was on the fence about. Our pre-date chats were pretty vanilla, but I thought I should give him a chance. Not everyone is a great online conversationalist. I get that. By the end of our date, I was stumped. Did I want a second date, or not? He was still pretty blasĂ©, but I couldn't tell if it was his personality or nerves. 

Maybe this is frowned upon, but I threw him a curveball. I brought up my love of multiverse conspiracies. (If you're unfamiliar, the multiverse is a hypothetical set of alternative universes. There are conspiracies that suggest our present day reality could be layered with an infinite number of other universes, each with their own physical laws and constraints.)

And you know what? It was a flop. He was pretty weirded out and I was turned off by his weirded-outness. We didn't talk again. What can I say? If  you're gonna get with this, you gotta be down with some multiverse discussion.

Move it

Why do we think sitting across from a stranger is a good way to get to know a person? For me, it's quite uncomfortable to muster up small talk with someone new with whom you have virtually no outside connection. And it only makes it worse when you're sitting right in front of him.

I find that dates that involve some kind of movement can help me shake off nerves and build a connection. Walk around a park. Go kayaking. Take a hike. If you have an activity you can half-focus on, you won't be forced to stare at each other weirdly when/if conversation runs out.

What unexpected qualities have you appreciated on a first date? 

Original illustration by Helena Kontos for love, -j.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Your kindergartener

Poem by David Tate for McSweeney's.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Paris, je t'aime

No adequate words to describe my feelings when I heard of the terror attacks in Paris. And just a day after the horrific suicide bombings in Beirut. And not to mention the systematic terror sweeping Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan...

My heart is heavy, once again.

Couldn't have expressed it better than this. (Girls of a Certain Age)
Image from Birchbox via Twitter.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

See you in Chicago

On our way to Chicago to drop off fiberglass molds this handsome guy has painstakingly worked on for the past three months. Want to know how to build your own supercar? Follow #ProjectCaden's incredible journey.   

Making crazy dreams come true.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Illustration by Gemma Correll.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Who's that girl? (#DarlingMagazine)

Darling Magazine is one of my favorite publications in the world. It's smart, aims to empower women and is the ONLY fashion magazine that doesn't use Photoshop.

Imagine that!

I recently had an opportunity to write for Darling and wanted to share my article with you. "Who's That Girl?" is about how a woman can cultivate her allure, especially in today's selfie-loving, media-obsessed culture.

Instagram snaps can wait. Keep them wondering.


Who's That Girl? 
5 Ways to Cultivate Your Mystery
By Jennifer Cho Salaff for Darling Magazine

She is a mystery. Her only companion a cup of coffee and a copy of her favorite book. Though she sits alone at this sidewalk café, she savors the moment. She quietly delights in the sights and sounds of the scene unfolding before her. She has nowhere to be. No one is waiting for her elsewhere. She will stay as long as she likes. And only leave when she is ready. Who is this woman?

She leaves us wanting to know more.

In an age of social media, over-sharing has become an unfortunate by-product. But maintaining a mysterious element about oneself can leave people wanting more. Not to be mistaken with being stand-offish or aloof, cultivating one's allure -- when done with kindness, grace and authenticity -- is an empowering way to keep the people you meet fascinated by the person you are inside.

Consider the following five ways to cultivate the right kind of allure:

1. Less is more.

Leave things unsaid. When in conversation, resist the urge to share too many details or overwhelm your conversational partner with too much information (it's OK, we've all been guilty of TMI). It's a wonderful thing to be warm, honest and open, but the girl who talks incessantly can leave a person with nothing to ask.

2. Good listening

A nugget of wisdom from Plato, "Wise [wo]men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something." Hone your powers of observation. Draw people in with your genuine interest in them. This is a beautiful way to open up a new relationship or friendship -- slowly, like peeling an artichoke and getting to the heart of a person.

3. Off the radar

Practice restraint on social media, even if for only one day out of the week. Get off your Facebook feed. Refrain from posting your every thought on Twitter. Instagram snaps can wait. Keep them wondering.

4. Solitude

Revel in being alone. It can be fantastic for the soul. You are anonymous in your own city. No one knows your name, how old you are, what you do for a living. Enjoy sitting alone on a bench at your favorite park. Look around, observe the interesting people passing you by. Notice the different colors exploding in the sky, the delicious scents in the air, the feel of your hands folded in your lap. Take a deep breath. Breathe in. Breathe out. Cherish this moment.

5. Take time

Why in such a rush? Remember to daydream. Be in the moment. We live in such a fast-paced culture that we rarely take time to rest. Take the time to grow, to change and to invest in others. Take the time to stroll in a garden. Take the time to be quiet. Take the time to ask yourself who you are and what you want.

Do you think we need more "mysterious" women in our culture?

On clothing.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Love my Anthro girls

I've always been somewhat of a late bloomer.

Though I was never in a sorority during college I kinda feel like I'm getting a second chance at something I never knew I missed out on. I love my Anthro girls. I mean, I've never met a more kind, genuine, good-spirited group of women all working in the same place. 

At any given time our Cleveland store is represented by some 30 intelligent, engaging, fashion-forward ladies. We work hard to make our store the most beautiful place on earth. If you've ever stepped foot inside an Anthropologie, then you know what I'm talking about.

It's every woman's happy place.

Here are some of my lovely friends (aren't they just gorgeous?). And in case you were wondering, you can find (L to R) Jade's denim shift here, my polka dot dress here, Amy's LBD here, and Jen's striped sweater dress here.


Summer fashion show.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Cavs spirit

Our beloved Cleveland Cavaliers kicked off their regular season just a few weeks ago. All eyes are on LeBron, Kyrie, Kevin Love and company as the Cavs are the favorites to win the 2016 Finals. I'm so excited especially after last season's nail-biting, indigestion-inducing series.

And as you can see here, the kids are ready, too.

Game on!

That time we went crazy for basketball.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

All that jazz (#SopkoAtwalDuo)

Music is best listened to live.

A few nights ago, my ears had the pleasure of experiencing the Sopko/Atwal Duo at the BOP STOP here in Cleveland. It was an evening of badass improvisational jazz including one of the best interpretations of Amazing Grace I've ever heard.

Truly soulful.

The duo's last Midwest stop will be on November 11 at Erie Ale Works in Erie, PA. Check them out! 

39 things I love about CLE.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Me and books

Unfortunately such is the case with me... Each night before bed I look at the stack of wonderful books on my nightstand and instead of reaching for one, I get sucked into social media.


Illustration via Cup of Jo.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

More of the beast (#ProjectCaden)

Carlos shares everything you ever wanted to know about building your very own supercar. Read his interview about #ProjectCaden on design blog Core77.

Click here for the full story.


The future is now. 

Monday, November 2, 2015


Illustration by Gemma Correll via Instagram.