Thursday, February 28, 2013

Blogger Networking Event: Alt Summit NYC 2013

We are overly joyous to announce that the Alt Summit NYC  dates have been set and tickets go on sale tomorrow here, so grab them quick! Alt (short for Altitude since it was started in Salt Lake City) is a conference put on by bloggers for bloggers to give us a chance to connect and learn from each other's struggles and triumphs. Creativity and Entrepreneurship are two daunting concepts, so why not learn how to master them together?  

This year the summit will once again be held at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia headquarters and though the speakers and schedule have yet to be announced, I'm sure it will be top notch, per usual. Tickets go for $250 but the rewards are priceless. I have to say, last year I was more than envious of my fellow bloggers as I read through their giddy re-caps, and can't wait to follow in their footsteps this summer (*fingers crossed we get tickets*). Now, who wants to go with us?!?

Need more motivation? Check out these 2012 re-caps by Design Darling and Note to Self.
- Suzanne

Image Sources: Alt Summit NYC 2012

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gal Gab! Is It Time to Change the Way We Ride?

Like in any city, thousands of Bostonians rely on public transportation on a daily basis.  It is our work commute, a way to visit friends and to responsibly get to an event without getting behind the wheel.  This morning, I came across this article, asking us the common question, "Should the T run later at night?"

Right now, the last train is at 12:35am.  Compared to other cities, this is pretty laughable.  We have done fine in getting around otherwise following our watering holes closing promptly at 2am, but many questions come to mind with this debate.  Talks of policy change seem to just be the start of a long-term discussion.

Without getting too political, would you want and take advantage of the "after-hours" service between 1am-5am?  Feel free to comment and/or take the survey here.

- Meredith

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Discussion Questions for Four Fish by Paul Greenberg

Book Clubs are a great way for gals of all ages to meet with friends and engage in intellectual discussions. All three of the Just Us Gals co-authors partake in book clubs, so we hope to share our reading suggestions and discussion ideas on this blog each month. Our current read is Four Fish by Paul Greenberg, and we will use the following questions to spark discussion/debate at our meeting (while stuffing our faces with wine and cheese of course!)

1. Lets start off with a softball: what is your favorite type of seafood? Was it addressed in the book?

2. If you were at a restaurant that only served salmon, bass, cod, and tuna, which would you order, and why?

3. If the same restaurant also offered tilapia, tra, pollock, barramundi, and Hawaiian kahala, would that change your order?

4. Do you go fishing? If so, do you eat what you catch?

5. Before reading the book, what did you think of farmed seafood? Has your opinion changed?

6. We’re not judging, (well, maybe we are a little...) but, have you ever eaten unethical seafoods like shark fin soup, whale, or bluefin tuna? What was the situation? Why do you think it was on the menu?

7. Did this book make you wonder about other food industries? Or would you rather not know?

8. Do you think economically developing countries should have higher catch allowances than richer countries?

9. Have you been following the current debate over commercial fishing on George’s Bank? Thoughts?

If you enjoy discussing these questions, there is also an upcoming opportunity to speak with Paul Greenberg as part of The Nature Conservacy’s Future of Food event. The event is a panel discussion about how food presents conservation issues. It will be on Monday, April 22, 2013 (Earth Day!) from 6 pm - 9:30 pm at
The Arts for Humanity EpiCenter, 100 West 2nd St., South Boston. Click here for more information and to register for the event.

- Cameron

Sunday, February 24, 2013

What to Bring on a Bus Back from NYC

This one seems obvious. You missed your train because you were too hung over and now you have to take the bus back. Basically you're in hell. Here's what to pack to make it somewhat less hellish:

1. A sweatshirt shield. You can use it to a) pretend you're still in college and it's acceptable that you look like this b) pretend to be someone else c) pretend you're in a Snuggie on your couch, not on a bus next to some weirdo.

2. No words please, just Riggins.

3. Fuel up - pretend you're gonna undo all the damage you've done with a water and caesar salad but then you add the wrap, the bagel on the side, the soda, and then the cheetos.

4. Sunglasses - hide me. Duh.

5. Seems obvious.

6. Also seems obvious.

- Suzanne

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Craigslist Hidden Treasures: Tables Under $70

I am pleased to announce a new series on the JUGs blog called "Craigslist Hidden Treasures." As our blog is still in the infant stages you probably don't know much about us. This will be one of my many posts about interior design, a particular passion and hobby of mine. As a young adult, interior design to me is often paired with the phrase "on a budget" and therefore involves reinvention and DIY.

Because of my budget restraints I frequently find myself browsing Craigslist and looking for ways to spruce up my interiors for cheap. As my apartment if not the size I wish it was, most often I have to let "unnecessary" items on Craigslist slip away...until now! Now with our new blog I am very happy to pass along my hidden treasures to others, along with suggestions to help get your interiors in tip top shape.

To kick-off the series off I am starting with tables - large and practical items that in some cases require no work at all. However, if you do want to spice up your space and makes these tables statement pieces, my suggestions are below.


I think this piece is an absolute great find. It could also be used in a variety of ways such as in an entryway, as a vanity or as a sofa table. It's tough to tell from the pictures but it appears to have a fresh stain and be in good condition. It could easily just be styled and voila!

If you want to get adventurous with the table and transform it into a statement piece, I think a high gloss black would be stunning. I also like the idea of highlighting the grooves and details with gold.

I also am a huge fan of bright colors, and a bold purple could be a great pop if you want to explore a more funky and eclectic route. Or maybe another jewel tone like jade. What's great about paint is that it is always changeable - maybe next year you could paint it orange!


The curves on these tables scream feminine and romantic. They are in great condition, though I don't love the stain.  

I'd recommend painting them and then flanking your bed. If you have extra money to spend you could always change out the hardware with pieces found at Anthropologie or your local hardware store.

I had to take the opportunity to say it, the three drawers really make me want to try an ombre affect. I love the idea of using blush tones like the example above, but when it comes down to it I am always weary of trends. Luckily you could always paint over it when you're sick of ombre! 
- Suzanne

 Image Sources:
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7

Friday, February 22, 2013

Monogram Mania

Fellow JUGs who know me best can confirm that I have always believed that the more monograms, the merrier!  These days, trendy items seem to be less individual and more for the masses.  So how does a gal put her personal stamp on an item she loves to wear or feature in her home?  Enter: the monogram.
One of my favorite online (green) magazines, Matchbook Magazine, featured a succinct story on the monogram last month, including a timeline of its history to various uses present-day.  It was not until the victorian times that the monogram/signature was used for personal use, mostly by upper class citizens.  Now, the number of items one can monogram seems to multiply by the thousands each time I'm browsing retail options out there.  A monogrammed item can be a great gift for the single gal looking for something material to stand out (agenda, handbag, necklace), to a gift for newlyweds to show off their newly shared surname (sheets, towels, ice bucket), and (really) anything in between.  Monograms do not just scream "preppy" anymore, they're purely key when looking to create a personal touch!
Monogram sources these days seem endless (LL Bean, J.Crew, Mark & Graham and C.Wonder, just to name a few).  When in doubt, ask your favorite retailer if monogramming is possible.  Cost can be low, especially if you're brave enough for DIY stamping or stitching!  Personally, I know my collection of monograms will be growing over time (maybe one day, a pair of monogrammed Stubbs)!

What is your suggestion for using a monogram?  Do you think a gal can go too far?

- Meredith

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wanderlust. Warning: Contagious!

Given the frigid temperatures the northeast has presented these last few weeks, my mind has been wandering to a warmer climate.  I am one who was born with the "travel bug."  For me, it has been SIX years since I studied abroad.  I miss it all on a daily basis... just deciding on a whim to weekend in another European country, try the local delicacies, see the sights and party with locals.  Lately, more than ever, I have been yearning to hop on a plane and go pretty much anywhere my imagination [read: imaginary unlimited budget] would take me.  Anyone down for a tropical escape?  Anyone?
At any rate, it sure is fun to daydream!  I tend to start my days in bringing my Tervis cup to Starbucks to be filled with their crack-like coffee.  In addition to getting a whopping $0.10 off each drink for being green and bringing a reusable cup, it always yields a smile when the message on it sinks in for the reader: Quit your job/Buy a ticket/Get a tan/Fall in love/Never return.  I couldn't help but buying something with this slogan on it last summer when on the Vineyard. (FYI, it supports hot & cold drinks and is 24 oz, while the typical "venti" is 20 oz., so you get more bang for your 'buck without questioning by your barista!) 
This post is not sponsored by The Island Company, but Spencer's mantra is one everyone should adopt! I have a cut-out of it on my desk whenever I need a minute to mentally escape.  It may help you get through the New England winters like it does me, looking forward to escapes of any kind, especially with NYC up this weekend!

Daydreaming is the first step toward our plan of following this and retiring to an island by age 30 (err...40?)!  Read up on the story behind the company's mantra here


Wishing wanderlust upon all of you, gals!  Tell us, where does your mind wander?

p.s. Check out our ever-growing Pinterest boards for more visual inspiration!! 

- Meredith

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Painting at the Urban Art Bar

Over the past two months or so, "paint nights" have taken Boston by storm. Whether the popularity of these events can be attributed to Heather's painting party on The Real Housewives of Orange County, or our obsession with the ICA which was the first new art museum to open in Boston in over 100 years in 2006, or just another excuse to drink wine on a weekday - the result is the same - we LOVE paint nights! I recently bought a deal on LivingSocial for a night at Urban Art Bar in Andrew Square, and tried it out last week. The class was so fun! I would do another one in a heartbeat. The whole event was about 1.5/2 hours and was a step-by-step guide to painting a replica of the sample painting, but there was also plenty of room to add your own flare!

Quick Tips for Your First Paint Night

  1. Check for deals before you purchase a full price ticket. Paint nights have been all over Groupon, LivingSocial, Ruelala, etc.
  2. If you are taking the T to Urban Art Bar, make sure to travel with a friend because the walk from the T to the venue goes behind a warehouse and is kind of sketchy.
  3. Don't wear your fav clothes. The paint is acrylic which doesn't wash out very easily (although you do wear an apron while painting).
  4. Call ahead and ask if they will be serving beer & wine - not all venues have a license yet!
  5. Get creative. I worked so hard on the background of my painting that I was reluctant to paint much over it, which made my painting more boring than the when in doubt, GO FOR IT! 
  6. Have fun!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Us...Featured on The Everygirl!


One of our daily reads, The Everygirl, is based in Chicago, IL (a favorite city of JUGs) and launched last February.  This lifestyle website is the product of friends with a similar voice joining forces...sound familiar?!  Co-founders Alaina and Danielle have done wonders as inspiration for all looking for a little guidance, whether it be in areas of personal finance, career, gift guides or the latest paleo recipe!  Their team provides practical advice and suggestions for attainable goals, something that every girl truly needs.

While browsing a few weeks back during a morning latte and blog catch-up session, a feature was noticed and seemed like the perfect opportunity to contribute.  To celebrate their anniversary week, just one year young, The Everygirl team asked how they have inspired us.  Of course, as a trio with a similar vision, we wanted them to know that they absolutely did!

(One week later...)  

If you haven't already seen our announcement on twitter, our submission was featured on The Everygirl this morning!  We are sure they were inundated with responses and are beyond thrilled that are submission was chosen.  We hope to one day meet the co-founders, in their city or ours!

Be sure to add TEG to your e-reader and explore the multifaceted platform you just can't help but return to check out daily to apply everyday to your [Everygirl] life.  We will be spending time reading other submissions, so fellow readers/bloggers, please feel free to reach out and introduce yourselves!  We plan to do the same!

Thank you again, fellow gals at TEG!

- Meredith

Monday, February 18, 2013

What to Bring on a Train to NYC

Only 4 hours away from Boston, New York City has proved to be one of the most favorite weekend destinations for us JUGs. While we'd all prefer to do some sort of time warp travel there, we all must face the music, aka the dreaded bus or, if we're lucky, the Acela.

This weekend many of us are headed towards the city for the 2nd annual Gold Gala, a benefit put on by our friends for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Whether you're traveling by train or by bus here are a few my "essentials" that I recommend you pack in order to start the weekend off right:

1. Book club reading material - this month we are reading Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food by Paul Greenberg
2. An eco-friendly way to pack multiple magazines in one device
3. Replenishing snacks after a long day at work and something to hold you over till you meet the NYC gals for a late dinner
4. A cozy scarf that can double as as a blanket and a pillow (I love my scarf from Cuyana)
5. Any sort of emergency caffeine to get you through the "Are you here yet? We're all getting ready to go out immediately..." texts
6. Fake it till you make it - a quick make up fix and off you go!

- Suzanne

Saturday, February 16, 2013

J.Crew's Very Personal Stylist App

Looks like J.Crew is getting on the app train. This week Refinery29 revealed J.Crew's collaborative work with Gin Lane Media and Partners & Spade, which is already out in beta (test) mode. The app, Very Personal Stylist, is currently only available in New York and LA (sigh, when will Boston be at the top?), and is expected to reach other cities later in 2013.

Here's the info they are giving out so far:
"Very Personal Stylist offers twelve stories in all; six for men, and six for women. Each story is told through a unique and playful series of interactions, inviting the user to slide, tap, swipe, and spin through each chapter of style tips. A consistent and fixed UI offers quick hints for operating the app. This menu bar also empowers the customer to summon an expertly trained stylist immediately, or book an appointment for a later date. Alerted with a quick push notification on their own device, the Very Personal Stylist employee can offer advice, field questions, and provide a more intimate shopping experience overall."

I searched the App Store to see if I could get a peek at the interface and functionality (nerd alert), even if I couldn't technically book anything, but came up with zilch. Sigh.

In the meantime I have one real girl question:

Will the stylist honestly tell you that an item does not look as good on you as it does pinned back on the model??


Source: J.Crew Very Personal Stylist's Instore App Experience from Gin Lane Media on Vimeo.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Harpoon's Beer Hall is Now Open!

One of my best friends and a fellow Boston gal, Liz, told me that Harpoon Brewery just opened a Beer Hall last week! It is located at the brewery in the Seaport District and is open  2pm - 9pm Sunday - Wednesday, and 12pm - 11pm Thursday - Saturday. I am super excited to check it out and try Harpoon's freshest draft beers with a tasty soft pretzel. Back in 2008, I studied abroad in northern Europe (Copenhagen) where beer halls and beer gardens are the norm, and I am thrilled that we now have a taste of this culture right in our own backyard!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

TODAY, in Boston!


Like most, I tend to start my day in catching up on world news and anchor antics in catching the Today Show on NBC.  The fabulous foursome made up of Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Natalie Morales and Savannah Guthrie are both informative and entertaining, exactly what you need during your morning routine.  Tomorrow, the show’s “Friday Field Trip” series will be held in OUR great city!  We are sure they will highlight our city’s renowned history, beautiful sites and controversial accents.  Be sure to contribute to the show in telling them what to see via twitter, using #TODAYinBoston! 

The JUGs welcome Matt and Savannah with an infamous “Hi, how ah yah?!”

Tell us, Gals, which aspects of Boston do you think should be featured?  Is anyone heading there tomorrow (with homemade poster in tow) morning before work?  Or will you be watching from home? We have our DVRs set!

You can find out more here:

- Meredith

Happy Valentine's Day, Jugs!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How to Choose the Healthiest Makeup

As city ladies we always try to look our best, so we use all sorts of cleansers, moisturizers, and makeup in our daily routine to stay looking fresh. But did you know that your skin absorbs about 60% of topically applied products? And since the skin is the body's largest organ, that ends up being a lot of stuff heading straight for the bloodstream!

With that in mind, it is a good idea to avoid any ingredients in cosmetics that are linked to cancer, allergies, or hormone disruption. But how can you tell if something contains toxins? Sure, cosmetics are required to list their ingredients by the FDA (except for perfume), but its hard to tell from ingredient lists if something is bad for you. I mean, what is cyclotetrasiloxane anyway?!

To quickly find out if a product has toxic ingredients, I consult the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database. All you have to do is type in the name or maker of the product and the site gives you a rating.

EWG rates all products on a 0 -10 scale, with 0 being absolutely harmless, and 10 being a high hazard. The site also gives you a breakdown of what ingredients account for the overall score and what hazards are associated with each ingredient.

You might be surprised what you find when you look up some of your favorite products. For example, Covergirl Natureluxe Foundation (sounds safe right? I mean the word nature is in it....) is rated a 7! It has ingredients that are associated with endocrine disruption (aka estrogen mimics that could potentially lead to breast cancer or birth defects)!

Scary isn't it?

- Cameron

p.s. Cameron  is the founder of Boston Green Blog and a contributor to Merida, the premier source for natural rugs with a conscience for sustainability.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Recap: A Stylish Evening with Mr. & Mrs. Elements of Style

Andrew & Erin Gates 

The vibe at Twelve Chairs set the mood for a good discussion on style.

Last night, the JUGs co-authors (Meredith, Suzanne, and I) went to a fabulous event featuring one of our blog-idols, Erin Gates of Elements of Style. The event was hosted by Boston Design Salon at Twelve Chairs shop in the up-and-coming Seaport District. Not only were we thrilled to hear Erin speak, we were also excited to meet the other ladies of the Boston Design Salon, which is an all female monthly networking group of design professionals. Since starting Boston Green Blog three years ago, I've been to quite a few  networking events in Boston, but this was my first one focused on design. Last night's audience included quite a range of experience; there were wedding photographers, interior designers, graphic designers, shop owners, scarf/handbag designers and more. It was so cool to be immersed in such a diverse group of artists and businesswomen.

Erin and her husband Andrew spoke about "selling" a brand without being pushy or overly salesman-like. The couple have very different perspectives on what makes a successful startup business, and it was great to hear the well rounded he said/she said discussion and debate. Seeing how the two meld their perspectives was a great way to start Valentines week! Here are the top five entrepreneurial sales tips we took away from the event:

1. Be honest in order to gain your (potential) client's trust.

2. Don't read sales books, read business and marketing books.

3. Know your audience.

4. Find a balance of humility and confidence.

5. Be good at what you do; become an expert. 

Checking out the Boston Design Salon was a great way to kick-off the new Just Us Gals brand! We look forward to attending more events and bringing more of Boston's style & culture to you!

- Cameron

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sneak Preview: A Stylish Evening with Mr. & Mrs. Elements of Style

photo sources
Happy Monday, JUGs!

This evening, Cameron, Suzanne and I (Meredith) will be attending an event featuring one of our favorite bloggers, Erin Gates of Elements of Style.  Erin and her husband, Andrew, will be speaking about the business world, specifically the effectiveness of sales from both the female and male perspectives.  Talk about a 2-for-1!  Erin has truly mastered this aspect of her business empire.  Her blog posts are always fresh and have a humbling tone, making it one of our daily (usually more often than just daily) read!  As newbies to the blog-o-sphere, we are greatly looking forward to hearing any and all advice Erin and Andrew have to offer.

The event is being held at Twelve Chairs, in Boston's Fort Point neighborhood.  Aside from having this boutique on our Boston "bucket list," we are looking forward to supporting local businesswomen Roisin Giese and Miggy Mason in checking out out their LEED-certified, eco-friendly store!  Our interior design adrenaline is already rushing!

We will be sure to post an update following this much anticipated event.  Stay tuned!

For those going, see you there!  Here are the deets:
When: 6:30pm, Monday, February 11th
Where: 319 A Street
RSVP: (fellow [just-gals] blogger we'd love to meet!)

- Meredith

Sunday, February 10, 2013

New Beginnings in 2013

In just a few days our blog, Just Us Gals, will officially be five months old. The time seems to have gone by in a flash but we cannot deny what a rewarding learning experience it has been for us JUGs. Together we oriented ourselves beyond the reading side of the blog world and dipped our toes into content generation, blog management, image sourcing and all the nitty gritty little details in between.  We started out without much concern as we aimed to solely be a means to end chain emails amongst our friends as we constantly shared information on books, meetups, sales, excursions, crafts and the like. Just as our book club has evolved not only in size but also from monthly book discussions to weekly museum visits, DIY craft nights, networking events, to neighborhood excursions and much more, so has our feeling that we shouldn't be keeping our posts to ourselves.

Starting as of February 2013 Cameron, Meredith and myself (Suzanne) will aim to inform the girls of Boston on all the happenings going on in and around our beloved city. Constantly frustrated by the lack of credit Boston receives in terms of style and culture, we aim to prove that a girl in Boston can have just as much, if not more fun and more style than a girl living in the applauded cities like New York City or San Francisco.

Please join us as we discuss books, cooking, art, culture, music, style, green living, and the overal joys of being a young 20-something girl living in Boston just like us, just like you, just like us gals.

PS - Going forward we will be cleaning out old posts from our testing stage but will re-upload the ones that received the highest hits and still contain pertinent information.

- Suzanne

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Museum of the Month Series

After two successful art museum trips in the first month of 2013, I've decided to plan a monthly museum trip open to all JUGs! Boston is a small city, but it has an infinite amount of art, science, and cultural events to experience, and it would be a shame not to take advantage of these wonderful opportunities.

Tentative list of museums to visit in 2013 include:

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Busch-Reisinger Museum at Harvard
Peabody Essex Museum
Omni Theater Show
MIT List Visual Arts Center
Harvard Museum of Natural History
New England Aquarium
Newport Mansion Tour (day trip)
Gloucester Artists' Colony
Boston Tea Party Museum
Paul Revere House Tour

Feel free to share other suggestions!

Dream Big Boston Art Print
image courtesy of