A lovely thing happened on the way to the beach…

Crystal Pier, San Diego, California… where this little princess became someone’s fiance.

Devoted readers, friends, family… everyone in Sparkle Land who has been wondering where the Hell I’ve gone… please FORGIVE me. In addition to a glorious full-time job that pushes a tad (or more than a tad) past the normal hourly range of “full-time,” and a blossoming freelance writing roster that keeps me busy, Joshy and I disappeared over the week of July 4th for a little R&R… and a BIG life change.

That’s right. After three and a half years of love, laughter, and even some major tears, the man I picked up in a bar in March of 2009 gave me the surprise of a lifetime of July 5, 2012. I thought it was an evening stroll pre-dinner, until he knelt down and shared some very special (private) words, and asked me to marry him. I’ve never known such joy!

Back to Brooklyn, back to reality. I’ve never known such chaos! Between the job and the after-hours job, the wedding planning, and another big announcement that’s in the works (NO, I’m not pregnant!), we’ve been running around like crazy people. We even ran ourselves right into Sinus Infection Land this week, and it’s been Hell climbing out.

This was taken on our vacation, but pretty much sums up what we look like around here most days. Working from home, wedding planning, and other exciting things lead to lazy haircare routines and sweatshirt re-runs.

In any case, I just wanted to remind you that I am still here, and Sparklier than ever! I have a new bridal blog, Born to be a Bride, which I hope you will check out. And I have new, happier outlook. I will not stop blogging about all things sparkly from summer dresses and lipglosses to the fall collections, as they roll out. But there are some big changes coming for this little bride-to-be, and I can’t wait to take you all along for the ride. Let’s go!

xxx, Jensy

One thing this super-blogger and bride is always armed with: a Venti. Keeps me sane, productive, and creative.

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New Obsession: Snapseed

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My Joshy and Me, post Snapseed manipulation. Cute right?

I am a massive Instragram fan and have been known to while away the hours manipulating my favorite photos into Instagram sensations. Recently I noticed that a friend had uploaded some seriously awesome photos onto Facebook via Snapseed, so I decided to give the app a try.

I’m very much for the free apps, but I found I was more than willing to pay the $5 fee for this app. Beyond the little tricks that Instagram uses, Snapseed lets you sharpen, adjust, and otherwise update your photos in ways that are not just gimicky but professional looking. I tried my hand at the app this week and am already thrilled with the results. Even though I haven’t had a ton of time to play with my photos, I’m already excited to flex my Snapseed skills. If you’re a photo buff, I suggest scoping out this not free–but cheap– app. Let me know what you think!

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I was very impressed by how professional I was able to make this one look. It was snapped with a cell phone in poor lighting!

Snowlove

Had the most delicious four days in Vermont with Joshy. From a glorious Middlebury campus visit to watching a football game in a dive bar, then stumbling home drunk in the snow, it’s amazing how some things change, and others stay the same. Photos and stories and musings to come, but for now–a word. Happy.

Photo borrowed from indiekidsmakemecry.blogspot.com

PS. Check out my recent piece on ski bunny beauty here. What do you think?

Post-Present Melancholy

Chrismy has come and gone, and I’m tired and a tad too “well-fed.” The good news is that I got some majorly great presents over the past few days, and I’m really excited about all of them. And while we’re no longer kids, there still is that deflated feeling lingering after all the packages have been opened, and the promise of Christmas morning is gone. How to beat the blues? Enjoy the stuff you have!

Ah, the glory of opening presents under the tree!

This morning I got my Kindle Fire (thank you, Joshy) all sorted out, buying a few books on there to keep me entertained on the train, starting some Words with Friends games, and so on. I’ve been wearing my new earrings and sweaters from Mom, and I put the cash from Dad toward the last bits of my debt. Everything else has been folded, organized, hung on the wall, or otherwise incorporated into my real life. This way, the presents have started to feel like things I own and not just items in boxes wrapped up in love.

The next step is creating a list of everyone who gifted you, and writing thank-you notes. Nothing says “I love you” like a hand-written card explaining how meaningful each individual gift was. Furthermore, you relive the opening of every present as you pen these notes. I find it very cathartic.

Finally, remember that the revelry is not over. New Year’s Eve will be here soon, and in the meantime, there are plenty of great sales and ample excuses to get manicures and other fun treats. Relax this week. Remember the true meaning behind all of this “holiday” madness–friends, family, and love. And enjoy those presents! They were given to you for a reason, and that reason also stems from love.

Amelia Island

This is only my second time in Florida (insane, I know). And once again, Joshy and I are here for a wedding. The bride is a beautiful and dear friend of mine, and I know the weekend will be incredible.

Thus far, we can tell you this. Amelia Island is a delicious place off the coast of Jacksonville. My bratty boyfriend insisted that we stay at the Ritz, and as always, he was right. The view from our lovely room is breathtaking. The service is beyond, the frozen cocktails divine. More from Amelia Island to come! Happy weekend, loves.

Simply sizzling

Pair your pretty face with a simple dress for weekend fun

Josh and I are headed out of town with a couple we love, and I am so excited! A weekend in Connecticut, with Blackberry (and Droid!) tucked away, and a glass of chilled wine in hand is going to be quite welcome. This particular couple is very lowkey, and we all know I’m a bit high-maintenance in the upkeep department. How to fit in on a comfy-casual weekend but make sure no photo opp is unwelcome? You have to take care of your face!

You shouldn’t wear too much makeup on a weekend by the lake. That said, summer skin woes like acne bumps, oil shine, and sunburn can make for a less-than-camera-ready appearance. The best way to be ready for your close-up is to care for your skin morning and night. Wash with a gently exfoliating cleanser like Yes to Carrots!, soap.com, $9.99. An oil-free moisturizer will do wonders, too. Make sure to reach for one with SPF like Clean & Clear morning glow with SPF 15, soap.com, $5.49. Bonus: these drugstore brands blend in with everyday cosmetics and don’t make you look like a total diva next to your weekend bunkmates.

This stuff is amazing!

Make sure to pack a great all-purpose concealer like Stila cover-up stick, (beauty.com, $20), to nix undereye circles and blemishes. Add a quick brush-over with a pink-toned bronzer like Tarte’s matte waterproof bronzer in Park Avenue Princess (sephora.com, $29) and voila! Ready to glow.

Game Day Chic

If you hadn’t guessed, I’m not a huge sports girl. But I do love to rally around with the crew once a year and watch (or at least drink my way through) the Superbowl. Last year I felt like a fish out of water in a little brown Calypso dress, black tights and Frye boots –I was trying to be “rustic”– when the other girls were rocking jerseys and *gasp* in some cases, even sweats.

This year I decided to throw in the towel and wear something team-themed (even though my team is not in the game), and was especially inclined to do so in honor of the Packers after catching a matinee of “Lombardi” today. I wanted a great little top like the ones they carry on the NFL website, but nothing was to be found. Josh and I roamed the streets from west to east and stopped into every appropriate store in on the way. We almost hopped in a cab and headed all the way down but after calling our desired spot, it was determined that no Packers gear existed–especially in small, cute sizes–anywhere. In the end, Josh found me a cute kid’s tee at Modell’s and tomorrow I’ll rock it with some black leggings. Not a bad solution!

Victoria’s Secret PINK carries the cutest NFL gear and I wanted one of their bedazzled jerseys or fitted little pants with “Packers” written across the tush. After trying the location near Josh, we did journey to the 34th Street location but they had niente for tomorrow. But I did pick up a great pair of comfy blue Giants sweatpants that will come in handy next year 😉

Don’t Get Ahead of Yourself…

Truth time. I had a moment the other day while leisurely spending an hour or so in front of the bathroom mirror analyzing the state of things. Pores, lines, irritations, split ends, etc. I found something deeply disturbing and I am sharing it with you now, dear readers, because the goal of this blog is to be honest. Three sad little hairs poked out at the crown among the deeper browns, the ash browns, and the few precious golden strands. They were not brown or blond or even amber… they were silver. A color I love so dearly in any other context, now rendered gut-wrenching, shocking, and tragic. Taken over by vanity and impulsiveness, I reached for my tweezer and took care of the situation instantly, at least for now. The most troubling thing is not that I found a few gray hairs. I am 26 and it could be a lot worse. But what really gets me is my golden rule about hair accessories, and I’m concerned I might have to rethink it, or sadly start to follow it.

Adore this sequined wrap
from Eugenia King, $99,
shopbop.com

Headwear is an essential part of my wardrobe. It’s the accessory I love more than anything. Belts are great but leave me frustrated and uncomfortable by day’s end, and look simply awkard if loosened. Bags are wonderful but don’t remain a part of the outfit once you’ve sat down at the desk or the dinner table. Shoes are sexy but seasonal and (sometimes) painful after a while. But the headband, the glorious headband, is the perfect accessory to polish off any look. It can hide day-old hair, masque roots, and elevate any outfit to a new level. I have so many and am always acquiring more. Just last weekend in Utah I picked up a fabulous one with a huge rabbit fur bow on it. As someone who doesn’t typically sway toward the avant garde in clothing items, I like using headwear to make a statement, without having to reach too far outside of my comfort zone. What’s the problem, then?

With Pookie at a casual engagement party
last summer… this is a favorite of mine in
mint green glass beads. Etsy.com

About a year ago I saw a woman on the subway who was starting to turn gray. Her outfit was chic but she wore a headband–complete with a large side bow–and with those gray streaks poking through, the look was just off. Something about it made me sort of sad. It was an attempt at a youthful look, I think, and it just was not working. I vowed then and there that if ever (!) my hair should turn in that direction, I would ditch the headbands. But I never imagined I would find myself at the crossroads so early in my fashion journey. Three measly strands is nothing to head to the colorist over, right? But if I reach the point where I need to start coloring to cover, what of it then? In short, I am bringing out the headgear in full effect while I still can. Sprinkled throughout this post are some of my favorites from my own collection. And some you need to get to the store and purchase ASAP.

 

Sometimes the simple addition of a
satin ribbon as headband is perfect
This is a big, floppy cotton bow and it always yields compliments…

 

 

And here is Pookie in my big, floppy bow

 

New Year’s Eve 2009 in a net-ribbon-bead-pearl extravaganza
nabbed at Nordstrom’s (and my friend’s hat was pretty
great too, right?) What a night!

 

Juicy Couture now ON SALE for $29
revolveclothing.com

 

What’s a lonely girl to do?

Josh left for a two-week vacation in Asia–much deserved! He works harder than anyone I know, and hasn’t had a long, luxurious trip in so long. However, Jensy remained in New York, with work commitments piling up and not enough dough to travel. Two weeks is a long time for me! I love having him around, and I get bored without my best bud. In summer months, I would be camped out on the roof of my apartment building with an ice cold can of Diet Coke and a pile of fashion magazines by my side and I would be content there for hours. But in the harsh and whipping cold, where no coat seems warm enough and a two-block walk to the drug store makes my eyes tear and the hem of my pants muddy, I need an indoor itinerary to keep me busy and entertained, yet warm.
Books
My favorite way to pass the time is reading. I love to go for classics but recently have been on a kick with newly released fiction. Something about reading things written in and about the decades and places that are familiar to me just makes me feel at ease. I picked up “Life in Miniature” by Linda Schlossberg the other night. It’s her debut novel, and I see great things from her in the future. I am very into her unique style–this novel is written from the perspective of a pre-adolescent whose mother suffers from mental illness, giving an interesting view of this complicated topic. I’m only about halfway through, but obsessed! Check it out.
Museums
I totally play favorites with museums. It seems that no matter how many times I go to the Met, the Modern, or the Guggenheim, I am never bored, and I always find something new and exciting to enjoy. But I really am looking to head outside of my comfort zone and check out something new. I haven’t been to the Frick since I was eleven or twelve, and I remember it feeling a bit stodgy and too, well, museum-y, but maybe with new eyes and several years distance it will be a different experience? My mom adores the Frick. Adding it to the list! I am also chomping at the bit to see the Hopper exhibit at the Whitney, so that might be the first stop. Also thinking of finally heading to the Jewish museum; it seems high time.
Movies
The two movies I am absolutely dying to see are so indicative of the two sides of my personality. Black Swan and Country Strong. I know what you’re thinking. Dark psychological thriller vs. fluffy romance set against the backdrop of the corniest music genre out there. I know I am going to love both. There’s been so much press on Black Swan but I still feel like everyone I’ve spoken to has had a totally different and reaction to, and experience with, the film. I know its impact will probably earn another blog entry once I’ve seen it.
Country Strong I haven’t actually read anything about yet; I’ve only seen the trailers. I’m a total sucker for love and I know it’s going to make me cry. Pookie and I have always loved country music. I remember so vividly driving around the mountains of Vermont with the local country station blasting through the speakers of her Ford Explorer or my VW Bug and singing along to every sad, silly, and true word. I feel like seeing this movie will bring me right back.
Girl Time
Admittedly, aside from reading half a book, the only thing I’ve really done on my hit list is grab some wine with a girl friend. Monique and I have a new office in midtown and we set out on foot Monday night to check out the ‘hood. We googled “wine bar” in the west 40’s and found Gallo Nero, an absolutely lovely little tapas place with a wine list from here to heaven. We tucked ourselves into a corner table in the dark and intimate spot and stayed for hours, sharing the prosciutto and mozzerella plate, the roasted chicken with mashed potatoes, and a few glasses of wine–hers red, mine white. I have a feeling many more of these nights lie ahead. I am looking for sweet little spots to try where the wine flows and the food is yummy yet I don’t leave feeling so broke I could cry.
Mom Time
Mom is heading into the city at some point to help me organize the apartment–which has grown quite scary with heaps of clothes that don’t fit into closets and bags of Christmas presents searching for a home. I will post photos and tips on the reorganization once it is finished. Nothing like having Mom around to help keep you busy!

I Resolve To…

It is the second of January and I can hardly believe we are here again. Embarking on a new year, a new chapter, a time to change and to grow and to examine. 2010 brought a multitude of opportunities and challenges to me personally and I am sure to many of you as well.

With the changing economy, some of us who thought our jobs were secure ended up being slapped in the face by unemployment in 2010–I was among them. Being laid off from my magazine job was one of the darkest hours I have experienced. I was scared, defeated, and hurt. I don’t mean to get religious, or philosophical, or to subscribe to what my mother calls “magical thinking” [insert negative connotation here], but I turned out even luckier than not. By the grace of something, I ended up finding a job I love more, that challenges and excites me daily, and working for a team of people who care about the work and about each other.

Most importantly, I have a family, friends, and wonderful boyfriend who make every day count. 2010 rocked me to my core, but pulled me back up to the top again, and for that I am very grateful.

A new year is upon us and it is time to take a close look at the mistakes we have made historically and those that have turned into patterns. It is time to think about the people in our lives who deserve certain things from us that they may not already be receiving. It is time to look in the mirror and figure out what that person needs, too. Bring on the resolutions!

This year, I resolve to:

-Be healthier. There is the whole losing and/or maintaining weight factor but this year the goal is much larger than that. I want to eat more green foods and whole grains, less sugar and salt, and ingest more vitamins and water and less fat and toxins because my body needs this. As much as I’d love to pretend I am still a teenager whose complexion, muscles, eyes, etc. will just continue to bounce back after the abuse cycle, this is not so. More sleep, less stress. More exercise, less partying.

-Listen better. I am a very chatty girl. I know this not only because people are always telling me to “calm down,” or “give them a minute,” or “shh,” but also because I hear myself doing it! If there is a lull in conversation, I feel the need to fill it. Sometimes with meaningful tidbits but most often with anything that will cancel the void. I do this with the most genuine of intentions–I don’t want anyone (myself included) to experience an awkward silence. However, sometimes it proves to be at the detriment to those around me, because my mindless chatter can eliminate others’ abilities to tell me things. I love finding out more about other people, and in 2011 I resolve to shut my mouth more often to let everyone else get a word in.

Searching for things to worry about…

-Worry less. I am the original worrier. Watching home movies from the ’80s and early ’90s, it is almost comical to observe. Everyone in the scene is laughing, munching on birthday cake, throwing a two-year-old tantrum, or playing a game. I am the four-year-old in the corner with the crumpled brow, anxiously preoccupied by what my brothers are up to, worrying that I might trip and fall, that I will miss my friends when they go home. To this day, I spend an inordinate amount of time each day worrying about my family, my boyfriend, the cat. Worrying that some horrible tragedy might befall us but also that I have left the hair straightener plugged in, or I have not charged my cell for long enough. Worrying that the subway will take too long to get here or that I might miss an important call. The madness distresses me and those around me, and it needs to come to an end, or at least to recede somewhat. I am so tired of allowing unnecessary worries to consume the good time I could be having.

-Get more pedicures. I need them, they make me feel great, and it is a luxury that takes half an hour and a chunk of change small enough that there will be no more excuses not to do it.
That’s all I’ve got for now. What about you guys?
Happy New Year! May 2011 bring love, glamour, and joy to you all. 
Starting 2011 on the right note