Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday's True Confession

Sometimes we just want to be someone else... when "that guy" hits on you at a bar, when the take-out person asks for your name before calling it out over the intercom, when that talkative cabbie wants to know information about you, we've all been there.  It can often be easiest to just use a fake name...

Even before these common occurrences, I adopted an alias for take out orders.  None of our names are difficult or uncommon in this country, but my name has constantly been butchered.  Going forward, I decided to be "Amy."  We all know an Amy, Amy is easy to pronounce no matter how it is spelled (Amy/Aimee/Amie).  It is short, simple, and pretty tough to screw up.  I decided Amy was going to be like my credit card:used sparingly, when needed.

Fast forward a decade or so into my adult life when I became a regular customer of Starbucks.  I now use my real name when at my neighborhood coffee shop and regular Starbucks locations on the way to work.  But, if I'm hitting a new venue or location for take out, I tend to be Amy.

For the record, I love my name and have no intention of ever actually being Amy.  But, truth be told, I just can't let her go quite yet.  I know I'm not alone, there are even blogs out there (here and here) with real life examples of this same pet peeve!  Do you ever use an alias?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Spring Cleaning Guide

Well, gals, spring has FINALLY arrived!  The sun is out and is staying out on our commutes home from work.  I’m ready to embrace this as much as any Bostonian, but before you open your windows to let the fresh air in, you need to conquer the clutter on the inside!  Of course, you should start with a digital clean-up, so you’re truly working from the inside > out.

There is no right way to go about this, so searching online for a “spring cleaning guide” is a great start.  This will help you tackle surfaces you may often forget about (e.g., dust on TV screen, crown moldings, shelving between books).  One of my all-time favorite sources for inspiration and instruction is the magazine Real Simple (thanks to my Secret Santa this year, I was gifted a subscription for 2013!), who breaks tasks down by their estimated time.  That way, you have NO excuse for leaving your space to look anything but an oasis.

One of my personal goals is to buy less.  Close friends of mine may laugh at this, but I have actually curbed my former shopaholic tendencies since college.  I really want to live with less and want what I have in my home to be meaningful and stay with me over time.  This is admittedly a slow process, and I will therefore be taking my own advice in the coming weeks as I pair down things in my city apartment during my annual spring cleaning purge.

I don’t follow a specific regimen, but I've noticed I've developed the following (successful) pattern for my spring cleaning:
  1. Minimize all of the STUFF (you no longer need used college notebooks or collection of candles you never use)
  2. Move everything off of the surface (place in different room and purge more if possible!)
  3. Use your guide for “how-to’s" on cleaning said surface (The Glitter Guide and Real Simple are my faves!)
  4. Put items back in the same vicinity, but in a new way that is visually appealing (Pinterest offers endless inspirational examples)

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

You may be wondering about what to do with your seasonal clothes.  Truth be told, a gal’s closet is a completely separate beast.  More on that in the coming weeks!  Now that your place is spic and span, get more out of your day while the sun is out.  Be sure to share your tips, we’d love to know what works for you!

- Meredith

Friday, March 29, 2013

JUGs in the Kitchen: Stuffed Night Potluck

The perfect way to do a fun dinner on a budget is to throw a potluck with your friends. It gives everyone a chance to try out a new recipe, without the pressure of hosting a full-on dinner party. Plus, not all us gals have enough space to host a real dinner party (I mean, seriously, North End and Beacon Hill apartments don’t often have enough room for a dining table that seats 4, not to mention one for 8 or 10!) So potlucks are perfect for setting up a buffet and letting guests wander and eat in a more parlor-esque setting.

Hosting a potluck sounds kind of drab, but there are a million ways to add flare to this age-old dinner tradition. For example, my friends and I recently held a “stuffed” themed potluck, and we all had to cook to the theme:

First course: sausage & cheese stuffed olives, goat cheese, almond, and walnut stuffed dates, stuffed mushrooms, and goat cheese & fig stuffed croissants.

Main course: stuffed peppers (vegetarian and meat varieties), stuffed shells, stuffed chicken breasts

Dessert: whoopie pies and lobster tails (both, obviously, stuffed.)

There was also plenty of wine, and a champagne toast for two gals that recently got engaged.

Needless to say, at the end of the meal, I was stuffed. It was a fabulous night and I’m already brainstorming ideas for the next potluck. Any suggestions?

- Cameron

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Interior Obession: Amanda Dawbarn's Wall Art

How amazing is this gallery wall? It belongs to none other than the Amanda Dawbarn, blogger behind the fabulous wedding resource and inspiration blog, 100 Layer Cake. For more images of her life at home check out The Glitter Guide.

PS - I want a fancy bar cart like this one (below) so bad.

- Suzanne

All images by Jessie Webster for The Glitter Guide

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

2013 Boston Concert Preview

Attending concerts is most definitely one of my favorite pastimes.  I've been an avid Dave Matthews Band fan for decades (up to eights shows so far) and just love their live performance and ever impressive set list.  As great as Dave & Co. are, I'm trying to add a bit more variety between both artists and venues whenever possible.  Last month, I saw Mumford & Sons, whose performance left me with chills.  This year, I feel lucky enough to attend two shows in the coming months that are both quite the commodity...
Although the band was formed in 1967, many of us '80s JUG babies are fans of the great Fleetwood Mac.  Earlier this winter, they recently announced a reunion tour and will be gracing Boston with their presence for ONE night only, April 18th at the Garden.
When it was announced that Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z were touring together, fans went wild.  As soon as I heard this show was at Fenway, I knew I had to be there with some fellow JUGs.  Fenway is an underrated venue for music lovers due to the park's intimacy.  I've seen DMB x2 and Bruce Springsteen here before.  JT & Hova together in our city is bound to be epic...legendary, indeed!
If you haven't already been, another great venue is the Pavillion on Northern Ave in the Seaport District.  A summer concert here is far better than the lawn out at the Comcast Center in Mansfield (formerly Great Woods).  There is no general admission (no thank you!) and you really can't have a bad view of the featured artist.  Worse case scenario, if you happen to be seated behind a pole, you're still seeing one of your favorite performers right on the water...truly perfect on a summer night!
If music festivals are more the thing for you and your gal pals, there are plenty of options this year in greater New England and beyondBoston Calling is a new event happening at the end of May right in City Hall Plaza.  Tickets are affordable and the medley of artists make this event pretty attractive!  Eventually, I'd love to attend Bonnaroo (TN), Coachella (CA) or Lollapalooza (IL) festivals.
Seeing some of my choice artists while also exploring a new US city would be great, too (Red Rocks is definitely on my bucket list!).  Who are you most looking forward to seeing on stage this year?  Any advice to those still trying to get tickets for a sold-out show?

- Meredith

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Night at the Museum: Isabella Stewart Gardner

Just last week, the FBI announced that it found the culprits of the 1990 heist in which $500 million in masterpieces were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. What better time to visit this historical Boston gem?!

When visiting art museums, it can be hard to concentrate. Instead of thinking of the purpose of an exhibit as a whole, it is easy to just go from piece to piece thinking of each one in its own context. So, to get the most out of a museum trip, it is fun to have questions to focus your visit (they can also be good group talking points for a post-museum cocktail).

Here are some basic questions for a trip to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum:

1. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum isn’t set up like a traditional art museum. What are the pros and cons of this layout? Have you been to other museums like it?

2. What does the museum tell you about Isabella’s taste? If you could ask her just one question, what would it be?

3. If your dream home was to be turned into a museum, what would it look like? What message would it portray to future generations?

4. Do you think the missing paintings from the infamous heist will ever be found? Why or for what purpose do you think someone would buy a famously stolen painting?

1 / 2 / 3

- Cameron

Monday, March 25, 2013

Pics from the Weekend

Hi gals, just wanted to share some of my photos from this weekend. On Saturday my friends and I took a sweet little stroll through one of my favorite Boston neighborhoods, Fort Point. My main attraction: the newly opened Trillium Brewing Company on Congress Street. Currently the company cannot serve visitors so be warned that the location is mainly the headquarters with retail (t-shirts, growlers, etc). Even if this saddens you as much as it does me, it's still worth a pop in to check out the modern industrial decor. Hopefully they'll be able to start serving soon...

Our Second Stop: Summertime favorite Barking Crab (made me so anxious to wear a summer dress). My favorite part of going to the Crab is the walk along the old pedestrian bridge where every time I stop and stare at my dream home (above). Can you imagine the views out the (*my*) kitchen window?! Sigh.

Last Stop: Once over the bridge and back downtown we settled in and wrapped up the afternoon / started the evening off right at Granary Tavern.

What did you do this weekend? We'd love to hear about your favorite neighborhood strolls in Boston!

- Suzanne

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday's True Confession

I'm on a budget.

When I need a quick trim for my long mane...(get ready for it)...I go to Super Cuts in Beacon Hill!!

And it's been great. Seriously, I've gone three times and I'm still alive. My hair was not shaped into a mullet.

Why do all city gals (at one point this included me) think it's always mandatory to pay $60 for a simple hair cut?*

Do you have any budget beauty secrets? Share them with us!

*When I do need anything but a quick trim, like an overhaul on my layers, I'll save up and go to the highly recommended gal, Jen, at Roffi Salon.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Get Networking with Boston Green Drinks

Boston gals are a lot of things: stylish, business savvy, fun, and of course eco-friendly. Even though we don’t all work for environmental companies or nonprofits, we still recycle, buy organic, and try to keep up with local eco events. One great way to stay in the know is by attending Boston Green Drinks. BGD is a monthly networking group open to anyone with an interest in sustainability. The group meets on the last Tuesday of each month and draws people from many different industries all looking to gain something different from BGD: career development, job opportunities, publicizing events/projects, and casual conversation. Each meeting draws about 50 people. Its a great way to meet new people and learn about what's going on in our beautiful city.

The next gathering of Boston Green Drinks is this Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at Whiskey Priest at 6pm. Boston Green Drinks is always free, but registration is required beforehand to guarantee the space at the bar. Hope to see all you JUGs there!

- Cameron

Friday, March 22, 2013

Recap: Designing Digital Content

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending an event hosted by the Boston division of Fashion Group International (FGI).  Do you gals know about FGI?  The Boston sector is a branch of a larger organization established in the 1920s.  It was started by women in the fashion industry looking to launch a platform in order to solidify one's role throughout the business world.  You may be familiar with a few founding FGI members, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and global beauty brand founder Elizabeth Arden.  FGI has clearly grown over the years and has since built a national presence.  Today, Diane Von Furstenberg and Anna Wintour are infamous members on the board.

This past Tuesday morning, the non-profit put on an intimate breakfast event at Copley Place about digital content and suggestions on promoting one's brand.  It was applicable for entrepreneurs and bloggers alike.  The event was moderated by Nash Yacoub, from PR powerhouse Succarra (has a showroom in Beacon Hill!) and featured commentary from blogger and Alex & Ani PR professional Sabrina Strelitz and founder Ben Jabbawy.  Topics spanned from personal organization, customer outreach and something most millenials can relate to, the balance of doing it all!

After meeting other attendees ("Hi" Marissa!) and just a few minutes soaking in the interesting commentary, I plan on joining FGI this year.  We all crave worldwide trend updates and should want to be a part of the ever-growing fashion world here in Boston.  NYC and LA can't have all of the attention!  Even if you don't join, be on the lookout for FGI's event announcements so you can still attend those offered to the public!

- Meredith

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dress Code: Work Attire

Is anyone else still feeling the effects of daylight savings, the weekend, and especially St. Patrick's Day? For the past two weeks I have felt like a slug at 8 a.m., making it nearly impossible to pick out an outfit and appear put together at work. While often I look to Pinterest or my favorite style blogs (this one, this one, and this one), sometimes I get so into the site I end up online shopping and not really focusing on what I'm trying to do - dress to impress.

When I do get around to focusing on dressing to impress, I am always reminded of the book Women, Work & the Art of Savoir Faire by Mireille Guiliano, author and former senior executive for Veuve Clicquot.

In her book Guiliano offers practical career advice for women, as well as stories from her own experience. 
In one of my favorite chapters (the one that discusses fashion and appropriate work attire), Guiliano addresses the important and ever awkward topic of office wardrobe. 
Key Points:

Do's: Establish a style for yourself, like your own personal brand; invest in the following staples: a little black dress, a neutral cardigan, trench coat, crewneck sweater, any and all black sweaters, a classic navy blazer and ballet flats or comfortable pumps; spice up outfits with accessories like scarves, belts, statement jewelry, and a must have statement bag.

Don'ts : Wear any sheer clothing, strapless tops or anything "beachy", super miniskirts, anything ragged or wrinkled, and especially don't sport anything overly branded.

While Guiliano's work attire advice may not always fit your needs (for example I work in a very relaxed creative design studio and would rather die than wear a pant suit), elements of her advice do transfer to all work realms, and really all aspects of your daily fashion. I strongly believe that staples like dark denim, black skinny jeans, and a blazer can be rotated over and over and be reinvented with a fun accessory. In all honesty she might be a little afraid of how willing I am to step outside my "usual brand" and try any latest trend, but who cares! 

Now, with all this in mind, above are some ways I plan to get myself together and implement pieces of Guiliano's pointers, along with my own personal "do's and don'ts" over the upcoming weeks, if the snow ever freakin' goes away. Did you notice that by Friday I anticipate looking a little dishelved? 

True Confession: I don't wear heels to work. Ever.

- Suzanne

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Just Hukk It

A few months ago, my friend Zoe told me about Hukkster. Have you guys heard about this? Its amaze!  I don't like paying full price. Like many of  gals, I find shopping to be a sport. How can I get the best deal on my "must-have" item? There is now a web site that helps monitor my "wish list" and alerts me when an item goes on sale. Hukkster, allows you to "hukk" items that you would like to buy, but not until they are on sale. Simply sign up, install the "hukk it" button in your browser, visit your favorite web site and "hukk it!"


- Cameron

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day JUGs! Hopefully you are all waking up early and heading over to Southie today! Here is a delicious recipe from sweetsimplestuff for a big breakfast to help soak up all those festive drinks before you go!


Green Velvet Waffles with Cream Cheese Topping

  • 8 ounces light cream cheese (or regular) slightly softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  1. In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar.
  2. Add vanilla and cream, beat well, until very creamy and thickened.  Place in fridge until ready to use.
  • 2 cups  unbleached flour (or all-purpose)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon aluminum free baking powder (or regular)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-3/4 cups reduced fat milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • green food coloring
  1. Place all dry ingredients in medium-large mixing bowl and whisk together.
  2. Place all wet ingredients (except food coloring) in a small bowl and mix well.
  3. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix until combined, some small lumps will remain.
  4. Add green food coloring as desired.
  5. Cook according to waffle iron directions.  Serve with cream cheese topping and maple syrup.
Makes 6-8  7-inch round waffles.

- Suzanne

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Must-Have on Your Weekend Playlist

picture and clip via soundcloud
This is undoubtedly one of the biggest party weekends our beloved city sees throughout the year.  Be sure to include this song on your playlist for tomorrow's parties.  We will be sure to request this from our DJ!  There are many remixes online, but I can't help but love the original the most!

- Meredith

Friday, March 15, 2013

North End Namaste

As I mentioned earlier this week, its time to start getting in shape for bikini season. Ugh. Luckily, North End Yoga is currently running a promotion, during which new members can sign up for 30 days of unlimited classes for just $30!

I signed up for the deal at the beginning of February (note: I had NEVER taken a yoga class before) and I became so obsessed that after my 30 days were up, I signed up for a full membership. North End Yoga caters to all ability levels and offers a variety of class times 7 days a week. The teachers are approachable and truly care about what they do. And, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually like the spiritual qualities of yoga. I feel so completely relaxed after each class. Plus, yoga is a full body workout that is both cardiovascular and weight-bearing (which means, you don’t need to do much else!) I suggest signing up on Monday - yoga would be the perfect post-St. Patrick's Day detox.


- Cameron

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Essentials

Gals, my favorite day of the year is ALMOST here!  My Birthday, Christmas... The celebration of my (and most Bostonians’) ancestors.  St. Patrick’s Day was originally the feast day of Saint Patrick, a commemoration of the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.  As much as I respect our patron saint and the Irish heritage, let’s face it; over the last few hundred years, the holiday has become a celebration of... debauchery.  Although we do not dye our river green, Boston does this holiday the best.

Myself and other Boston JUGs are veterans in the St. Patty’s Day sport.  Whether you have grown up in the area or recently moved to our great city (only one of two where the 17th is considered a legal holiday), here are the essentials you will need for a fun, celebratory day with your favorite guys and gals for the ultimate Sunday Funday!

1.  If it is still possible, take off Monday the 18th.  You earn vacation days for a reason, right?!  Luckily, here in MA, Evacuation Day is often a gift from employers.  If you do have to work, take it easy and consider this a lesson learned for next year!

2.  Don’t overdo it on Friday/Saturday.  You and your out-of-state guest(s) of honor will need to save that energy for the actual day!  Although, be sure to head to Jackie’s Packy or other local package store on these days since business hours shortened on Sundays.

3.  On Sunday, head to Southie.  Even if you have never been, don’t let these characters deter you.  This mostly-Irish neighborhood is THE place to be.

pepperoni dip
4.  Be green!  Wear green (duh), bring your hostess a snack in a reusable container and hold onto that water bottle for you to refill throughout the day with your pick of poison.

5.  View the one of the oldest parades around (unless the DJ at your party is spinning jams so great you just can’t leave the yard/yahd), see the parade route prior to choosing your spot.

author's favorite
6.  Socialize!  Put those phones away, embrace the start of spring (fingers crossed for good weather!), mingle with other party guests and thank those hosting the party, it’s more work than one may think!  Tomorrow we'll have suggestions on Boston guys you should be on the lookout for!

7.  Make sure you get home safely, whether it is walking with a group, taking public transportation or cabbing it.

How do you plan to honor the homeland?  Be sure to follow up on twitter and instagram for updates from our weekend of celebrating!  

- Meredith

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

JUGs in the Kitchen: Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

The good news: two months until Memorial Day Weekend (aka summer kickoff). The bad news: two months until bikini season begins. I'm trying to get in shape this year - for real. I've been doing yoga almost every day, but my diet of buffalo wings and mac'n'cheese isn't going to cut it much longer. Luckily I found an awesome low-cal recipe that satisfies that buffalo wing craving: buffalo cauliflower bites (try it before you judge!) The recipe is from, and I am looking forward to trying more recipes from the site because this one is a winner in my book!

1 cup water
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp garlic powder
22 oz (6 1/2 cups) cauliflower florets
3/4 cup Franks Hot Sauce
1 tbsp melted unsalted butter


1) Preheat the oven to 450°F. Lightly spray a large non-stick baking sheet with oil.

2) Combine the water, flour, and garlic powder in a bowl and stir until well combined.

3) Coat the cauliflower pieces with the flour mixture and place on the baking sheet; bake for 20 minutes.

4) While the cauliflower is baking, combine the hot sauce and butter in a small bowl.

5) Pour the hot sauce mixture over the baked cauliflower and continue baking for an additional 5 minutes. Serve with skinny blue cheese dressing if desired and celery sticks.

Servings: 6 • Size: about 1 cup cauliflower • Old Points: 2 pts • Points+: 3 pts
Calories: 119.4 • Fat: 2 g • Protein: 4 g • Carb: 21.4 g • Fiber: 3 g • Sugar: 0.2 g
Sodium: 1172 mg

- Cameron

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mexico Re-Cap

Hi JUGs!

Last week I was lucky enough to escape the winter weather and head south to Baja Sur, Mexico with a few of my friends. Here are some of the highlights from the trip including some scenic shots, local products and fresh food. Enoy!

- Suzanne

Saturday, March 9, 2013

What's the deal with Grouper?

I was accidentally one of the first Bostonians to join Grouper, and now I’m constantly asked “so what is the deal with Grouper anyway?” Its time to get all the info out in the open once and for all.

I first heard about the dating site Grouper from an old boyfriend (seriously) who had gone on a couple Groupers in NYC and loved it. The idea of the site is that you sign up and a matchmaker is assigned to check you out on Facebook. The matchmaker confidentially looks through your profile and matches you up with a guy who seems like he’d be a good fit, and then the matchmaker picks a place and time for you to meet. You and your match are both required to bring two friends, then you meet for drinks as a group of six.

I know the thought of someone you don’t know going through your facebook profile seems weird, but I actually think the grouper method is great: First, its not like other dating sites where you have a to create a facebook-esque profile that the dudes will judge you on, instead, your potential matches know absolutely nothing about you beforehand which gives you the total freedom to never see them again if you don’t exchange information on the Grouper. Secondly, the matchmaker will do their best to pick a guy that is at your level with looks, education, interests, etc., so its their job to make sure you don’t end up with a bunch of freaks - not yours.

I’ve been on four Groupers now, and I’ve had a blast. I haven’t found a love connection, but its been fun getting to know different people throughout the city. Grouper has the adrenaline rush of a blind date but lets you lean on your friends, which is key. The only issue I’ve run into is that sometimes only one or two guys show up. It isn’t fair to anyone if there is only one guy and three (disappointed) girls. So guys, if you sign up for one, get your act together!

- Cameron