Monday, March 31, 2014

The Week of March 31st

I N   M E M O R I A M
'Little Brother' remembers fallen Boston firefighter, Michael Kennedy, and shows us what a true hero he was.

The Boston Public Library unveils a new Netflix-like service. Now you can stream movies and tv shows with your library card!

The many faces of Gmail: A 10 year retrospective.

B U S I N E S S   &   N E T WO R K I N G
General Assembly is killing it with networking events! Join GA and Wonder Women of Boston for Thursday's event, Women in Design. The event will include food, drinks and a discussion with local women designers, from fashion to web, about challenges and milestones they've experienced over the course of their career.

F O O D   &   D R I N K
Charlestown's own cider house, Downeast Cider, is celebrating the launch of its first Spring seasonal, Hard Honey, with a party at their warehouse this Saturday. Get your tickets here to partake in the festivities.

The much anticipated Neapolitan pizza joint, Pastoral, opened last Friday in Fort Point.

H E A L T H   &   B E A U T Y
Decoding cosmetic labels - what the symbols really mean.

Lauren Conrad lists of 10  essential vitamins every gal should know about.

Emily of Shell Chic'd breaks down this seasons most gorgeous scalloped buys - I love this bikini!

Want to reupholster a chair but don't know where to start? Lonny's got your back.

A R T S   &   E N T E R T A I N M E N T
Funny gal Amy Schumer is back! Season 2 premiers Tuesday on Comedy Central.

Jason Sudeikis will start filming Tumbledown in Concord this month. Hopefully we'll see him and Olivia around town!

L I F E    H A C K S
Quality bargain shopping - it does exist! The Everygirl breaks down how to pick and choose bargain items that will really last.

Get me out of this rain! How to have a YOLO vacation, on the cheap.

Kelsey from Tickle Me Pink reveals a list of life hacks for the working girl with no time. Did you know honey can cure your champagne hangover?!

Have a great week!

- Suzanne

(Photo from the new Spring look book from Emerson Fry)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

Style Spotlight On: Mara Hoffman

One of my favorite designers as of late is Mara Hoffman.  The Buffalo, NY native started her education at Parsons and then to Central Saint Martins in London.  From simply visiting her e-commerce site, it is clear Mara is unlike many other designers despite her solid education and traditional path to the industry.  Her pieces have an obvious movement to them and they exhibit more than just a point of view.  Her earlier collections were a lot of hand-dyed fabrics and I love how her collections are not commercial.  The prints and colors she uses take the customer to an exotic land translated through each piece.

Between traveling for inspiration and showing at NYFW, she has a lot going on!  Mara recently told Refinery29 how she stays centered:

"Creating balance takes practice. It's work and it's not always easy.
Realizing when you are unbalanced and doing something about it is the most
important thing.  No one can be balanced 100% of the time though."

That is advice we can get on board with.  If you're not ready to pull the trigger on a statement bikini, dress or poncho, grab a geographic iPhone case!  You can find her items on her website, revolve and shopbop for starters.  We can't wait to see what Mara will be up to next!

- Meredith

photos from Mara's facebook, blog and pinterest

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Sometimes picking a location is just as important (and nerve-racking) as picking your mate. To help relieve you of your stress, Cam, Meredith and I sat down to pick our favorite JUGs Approved date spots. 

For more information on each location: 
Cam's Pick: Row 34
Meredith's Pick: The Salty Pig
Suzanne's Pick: East Coast Grill

Have another Boston date spot you'd like to suggest? Send it our way! We love finding new gems in and around the city of Boston! 

- Suzanne

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Who's That Gal: Tara & Holly of Follain

Some of you may have already caught wind of Follain, or maybe you've been wondering why we keep tweeting about it, but we honestly can't get enough of this healthy skincare store and the gals behind it all, Tara and Holly. We first heard about Follain from Cameron, our most environmentally driven author, who opened both Meredith and my eyes up to the complex issues with the cosmetic industry, especially in the U.S. market. Last week we were thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Tara and Holly of Follain, and to learn their story of bringing safe cosmetics to Boston.

Follain is at the cutting-edge of today's safe cosmetic retail, what sparked your interest in safe beauty products and inspired you to start Follain?

T A R A:
I was inspired to start the store about five years ago when I was living in New York City and working at a law firm. Outside of work, I became very passionate about my personal health and fitness. I practiced yoga everyday, I raced in triathlons, and I was very interested in what I was putting in my body and where my food was coming from.

I started to learn of all the unsafe ingredients in skincare products, and after a little research, I found that there are huge problems with the skin care industry in the US. That really freaked me out and I couldn't stop thinking or talking about it and eventually started a blog as an outlet.  I had a decent viewership, nothing crazy, but I noticed one post,  on where to buy healthy skin care items in the city, got tons of hits.  That's when I realized that people really cared about this, and I wanted to lead the charge on where to find these products.

So, I quit my day job and over the next few years tried to gain as much knowledge as I could. I moved to France to work on an organic lavender farm and then for a skin care manufacturer in Maine to learn about how products evolve - everything from ingredients to packaging. Then, I went to Babson to get my MBA and learn how to run a business.

While at Babson, I was advised against starting a brick and mortar since it has a high upfront cost. However, in my second year, I submitted my business plan to a business plan competition on a whim and ended up winning the regionals and the nationals against other MBA student's from schools like MIT Sloan and HBS. It was great because it not only gave me some business connections and a little bit of funding, but it validated the fact that people were interested in safe beauty and my concept.

I decided to take the risk and to just go for it. I graduated Babson in May 2013, signed the lease on our space that month and we opened in July 2013.

H O L L Y:
I went Boston University School of Public Health and my program was called Health Law, Bio-Ethics and Human Rights. I stumbled upon the issue of cosmetics when it came time to write my thesis and my professor told me to find a broad topic that I would eat, sleep, and breath for the next six months because that was all I’d be doing.

I started out researching food and drug regulation industries and their tie to health problems. As I was looking at the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Legislation of 1938 (it’s the same act that founded the FDA) I thought "this should be interesting, the European Union has so much regulation, surely the U.S. must be really strict."

I flipped to the the cosmetic section of the legislation - it was one page, half page of text that was three paragraphs each consisting of two sentences. That was it.

I was shocked. The U.S. cosmetic industry is a 50 billion dollar industry and is regulated by half a page!

All it says is the definition of a cosmetic, which is anything you put on your skin for hygienic or beautification purposes. I then started my thesis on the U.S. cosmetic industry.

When it came time to present my thesis, I was in front of people who presented on much heavier topics and I got grilled by my classmates. While it was intimidating, I got more questions, smiles, and overall responses than all my classmates and that's when it hit me. Everyone can relate to this because everyone uses cosmetics.

So I graduated and I knew this is what I wanted to do, I just didn't know how I was going to do it. I was fortunate to be set up with Mia Davis, a celebrity in the safe cosmetic world, and she gave me this one piece of advice: "Be the change you want to see. Tackle the industry from the inside outwards."

A few months passed by and I was working for another company thinking about what to do next and how to follow Mia's advice when I kept hearing this buzz about Follain. So, one day I decided to stop by and right away Tara started showing me around the store. I expressed my interest in the cosmetic regulations and we just hit it off. Right then and there we agreed we had the same goals and we had to do it together.

Your motto is “Healthy. Wholesome. Sound.” Can you tell us what that means and why is it important for women to pay attention to ingredients in their cosmetics?

We set health and safety standards that no one else has. We focus on safe. Everything in the store is safe and that is different from the term "organic."  You could put organic poison ivy on yourself and it wouldn’t be safe. In the cosmetic industry the words "eco" or "organic" oftentimes mean nothing, they are marketing terms. Along with choosing the right products based on ingredients, we really pride ourselves  on being stringent with the brands we bring in and in building relationships with those brands.

When someone is totally new to safe beauty products, what product do you suggest they try first?

We teach people about their own skin. Every single person that walks in the store consult on their own personal needs. It's about catering to your own skin, it’s not about being brand loyal.

An easy first product we recommend is the deodorant, it’s our gateway product. There’s so much buzz around the toxins in deodorant and we did the homework. We tested 32 products and the one we sell is the one that works. 

If not deodorant, pick the thing that sits on you all day long - those are really important because you don’t wash them off. 

What is next for Follain? 

We’re growing! Our goal is to open many stores and educate as many people as we can. We’re doing a  pop up in D.C. April 4th through the 6th, and then we are opening up a store on Nantucket in May. Following the Nantucket store we will be launching our e-commerce shop. 

J U G S   F A V O R I T E   F O L L A I N   B U Y S

Cameron: Rica Butter All Over

Meredith: RMS Beauty Living Luminizer

Suzanne: Soap Soap Walla Deodorant Cream

F I N D  F O L L A I N
53 Dartmouth Street (At corner of Warren Avenue)
Boston's South End, 02116

Be sure to tell Tara and Holly, "The JUGs" sent you!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Chic on the Cheap


clockwise from top left: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 

New season, new bag, amiright?  I'm on the search for a new everyday purse.  I currently use a sturdy cognac Tory Burch doctor-type messenger bag that is almost too loved, so retirement is near.  The inspiration piece by Elizabeth and James has received a lot of exposure, but its price tag isn't something I can justify right now.  Yes, it's classic black, can be worn multiple ways, etc. etc., but I've just seen too many other options for a lower cost for something this trendy.  Which would you pick?

- Meredith

Monday, March 24, 2014

Week of March 24



Finally!!!!! Even though its not thaaaat warm yet, it may be time to start stocking up on sandals, sunglasses, and sunscreen. And, eeeek, maybe its also time to do a little spring cleaning? Here is some help to get that process started:

Oh, and ladies, don't forget to do your taxes!


So much is going on in Boston's music scene. After discovering Bearstronaut at We Are Music in February, the JUGs are hooked on their "tank top pop" sound. The awesome news is that they are having a show tomorrow night at TT and the Bears and tickets are only $9!

Also, keep your eyes peeled for tickets to the Hall & Oates show at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion (formerly the Bank of America Pavilion) this June. It is sure to be an epic show.

JUGs fav Lana Del Rey is also playing a show soon. You can find her at the House of Blues on May 6th


If you're on the job hunt, or just need some inspiration, there are a bunch of great networking events happening around this week. The BOS Lady Project is hosting a game of "networking bingo" at Whiskey Priest tomorrow night. This event should be great for those who have a little trouble coming out of their shell.

On Wednesday, Lux & Concord is hosting cocktails, shopping, and mingling at Cyntha Rowley on Newbury St. This might be the perfect time to pick up a cocktail dress for wedding season.

If you're into sports, maybe the #SBWeek Boston Sports Business Networking event on Tuesday is more your speed. 


This is the second week of Dine Out Boston! The JUGs are planning to check out Capital Grille, but there are tons of other options on the list. Did you go out last week? If so, would you recommend that restaurant?

We also can't wait to check out the South End's new hotspot, Merrill & Co. - gotta love a good raw bar!

W H A T ? !

By now you've all heard that Kimye is the cover of Vogue's April issue. Vom.

Luckily, there are also some good things going on in the world. Like, how these are probably the last few weeks you'll ever have to take a cab because the T will soon run until 3 am! And that Pharrell is now a warrior for eco-fasion. And that we can FINALLY buy a pair of white jeans! Life. is. good.

Have a great week!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Love it or Hate it: Mirrored Sunglasses

from left  >  right:  1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10

The latest item on my must-have list?  Mirrored sunglasses.  What do you think, love it?  Or hate it?

- Meredith

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring Fashion

Since yesterday officially marked the first day of Spring I thought I'd feature some more softer tones for this week's style post. After all, pastel yellows, pinks, purples, greens and oranges really know how to make a gal feel like it's warm outside!

From the left: Topshop Dress $40  //  Loft Ballet Flats $40  //   Forever21 Sandals $17  // Bobby Pins $20  //  Ralph Lauren Earrings $27  //  Urban Outfitters Headwrap $12  //  J.Crew Factory Maxi Skirt $75  //  Nasty Gal Blushing Out Clutch $48  //  J.Crew Factory Sweater $25  //  Essie Polish $9  //  Madewell Hepcat Shades $55

- Suzanne

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Self-Defense Tips for the City Gal

Living in a city is an exciting part of adulthood!  We should not let anyone threaten this for us.  With unfortunate reminders like the tragedy of Amy Lord's kidnapping last year and recent sexual assaults in the North End involving unknown perpetrators leaves us feeling anything but safe.  Common sense tells us that you need to be aware of your surroundings when heading home, but there is a harsh difference of a work night vs. a night out.


We need to remember that prevention is really the best self-defense.  Before you get over-confident in thinking you know what you're doing after watching a few videos, or took martial arts as a kid, get familiar with the harsh reality that an actual class is the way to go.  Lucky for us, there are a lot of options in the Boston area!

Are there any other resources you can share?  What do you think is the best method of self-defense?

- Meredith

*Please consult an expert before practicing self-defense moves.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Daily Read: After the Jump

For this Wednesday's Daily Read I am sharing a "daily listen." As a podcast lover that I am, I have to share with you one of my favorite non-comedic podcasts, After the Jump, brought to us from Grace Bonney, the well known blogger behind Design*Sponge.

Whether you are into blogging, you're an artist or working within a creative space, After the Jump is an excellent way to spend 30 minutes being inspired. Inspired mostly just by friendly and positive thinking creatives that spend the show opening up to Grace about the life experiences. Experiences that drove them past self-doubt, financial struggles and all the hurdles that could have prevented them from getting to where they are today. Along with their life stories they share helpful tidbits that may just apply to you and your personal business, doesn't that all sound refreshing? Most guests are independent artists and vary from well-known artists like Todd Selby or Genevieve Gorder to an up-and-coming or lesser known artist. 

As many of you know, I am one of the many bloggers that love Grace's work. Having been so lucky to see her speak at last Summer's Alt Summit, I can assure you that she is just as genuine in person as she is on the radio show. 

Some of my favorite After the Jump podcasts:

After the Jump airs every Thursday at 11 a.m. EST on Brooklyn's Heritage Radio Network, so mark you calendars for tomorrow's podcast! 

- Suzanne

Image source: Design*Sponge

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Book Club Discussion Questions for 'And The Mountains Echoed'

1. If you had to give this book a letter grade, what would you give?

2. Have you read Khaled Housseini's other books? What are the similarities and differences? What plot devices does the author continue to use throughout his work?

3. What would you say are the three main themes of the book?

4. How are the characters raised in Afghanistan different from those raised in the U.S.? France? Greece? Are these accurate representations?

5. Which character did you find the most sympathetic? Least?

6. The oak tree in Shadbagh plays an important role for many different characters. What is its significance in the story? What do its branches represent? Why do you think Saboor cuts it down? How does its stump come back as an important landmark later on?

7. Why is the book titled And the Mountains Echoed? Can you find examples of echoes or recurrences in the plot? In the structure of the storytelling?

8. The book describes the shades of right and wrong that people must sort through when making decisions. Are there any characters that made decisions that were 100% wrong? Are there some characters that feel they've "made" wrong decisions that you think were actually the "right" ones?

9. Many characters face heart-wrenching disabilities throughout the novel. What is Hosseini trying to convey? How do the other characters help/hurt those dealing with physical trauma?

10. Why did Nabi wait so long to try to mend his broken family?

Have any other questions to share? Comment and join our discussion!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week of March 17th


Rise and shine, readers!  We hope you were smart enough to take today off, like St. Patrick would want you to.  If not, surely you learned your lesson for next year!  I just got back from an amazing weekend in Chicago, and they sure give Bostonians a run for their money in Irish pride!  Here are your must-knows for the week ahead:

Did you catch the Vogue "interview" with SJP?  Although she's not my favorite, I like this style in learning more about how the other half lives.  I mean, that brownstone?!  Come. On.  Hopefully there is more to this series with others!

Like we needed more proof that Jimmy is the parody king.  I need all of these puppies, now.

Sure, the north east is known for our brains, but sometimes I wish we'd be a bit more proactive with change.  San Francisco recently made an epic move in eco change.  They're the first in the country to ban water bottles, which will hopefully transpire to other cities soon.

New Yorkers, rejoice! JetBlue has started a seasonal service to Cape Cod.  Fares start at $99/way, would you take advantage of that?

Mayor Walsh is off to an impressive start for our great city.  Sure, Government Center is closing for their two-year overhaul soon, but by the end of the month, the T will be running later on weekends!  This year-long trial means less Uber/cab fares, but all the more reason to be alert at night.

If you don't already know the name Erin Gates, she's coming to a coffee table near you!  I already preordered the design book by our favorite local interior genius.  It's already one of the top sellers and doesn't even release until October.  Grab yours today!

It is always a helpful tip to know what to keep at work to curb those likely breaks to the vending machine.

I caved and bought a new pair of kicks, can you guess which pair?

The fee for Amazon Prime is on its way up, but you get so much for their service that it seems worthwhile.  DVDs featuring your favorite dude or movie shipping for free in under 2 days?  YUP.

Let's hope Old Man Winter's cold spell is over soon.  Spring officially starts on Thursday, after all!  Have a great week!

- Meredith

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Boston in the Springtime

Boston is always a gorgeous city, but especially on a day like today!  If today is ANY sign, spring has arrived!  Tell us, what do you have planned in this glorious weather?!

- Meredith

all photos via pinterest

Friday, March 14, 2014

Stocking Up for Southie

Its here! The annual St. Patrick's Day celebration is on Sunday, so its time to start getting prepared for the mayhem.

  • The forecast says it will be in the mid-30's and cloudy on Sunday, so I highly recommend layering up with a green cardigan (or two, or three), green mittens, and most importantly, bean boots, since you'll likely be standing outside for much of the day. 
  • Unfortunately, this year's parade has been tainted with scandal, as the parade committee does not want the LGBT community to march in the event. Show your support for our LGBT friends and family by rocking a rainbow pin or carrying a flag!
  • Also, make sure to bring cash. Southie is crowdeddddd on St. Paddy's, so bring cash to ensure fast transactions. You're also sure to see a few fundraisers going on, especially for the upcoming Boston Marathon, and cash is the quickest way to contribute.
  • Finally, bring your host a delicious and theme-appropriate gift, like Jameson!

Be safe and enjoy the day!

- Cameron

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Local Gem: Union Bar & Grille

This winter my goal was to finally cross off some restaurants I had been dying try, for years. As someone who is more of a saver than a foodie or fine diner, it's been a little challenging, but I'm working on it!

Last week I checked off another on my list when I strolled over to the South End's Union Bar and Grille. With gorgeous oversized chandeliers, wrought iron windows, and leather banquettes, this spot is cozy, warm and romantic.

Added perk - it's an easy spot to bring anyone as the American style menu has something for everyone including the vegetarian, the picky eater or that person with the adventurous palate. Every month they even have a special themed prix fixe menu to change things up for their regular customers. In favor of Louisiana's Mardi Gras celebration, this months special menu is right up any southern gumbo or shrimp creole lovers alley. I got the chicken under a steps, ok?

Being a sister restaurant of Gaslight and Aquitaine, you can expect a lovely dining experience with fair priced meals and an excellent beer menu. I highly recommend you add it to your own restaurant list!

For other JUGs Approved Local Gem dining spots, check out our list here.

- Suzanne

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Who's That Gal: Summer Forest Hoeckel

We are so glad that Summer Forest relocated her East Coast home from New York to Boston last year. (She also has a home in Los Angeles). Not only does she plan epic, mission-oriented concerts with her brand, We Are  Music,  she is also  brings  to the table an incredible background in media production, magazine editing, and even electronic music.  The JUGs were thrilled to sit down with this former-raver and jill-of-all-trades at Sweetgreen on Boyleston St. to talk about how Bostonians can use music to reduce human impact on climate change.

Tell us a little bit about We Are Music. What are you hoping to accomplish with this brand?

We Are Music is the platform I am using to put together a series of climate change awareness concerts and music festivals around the country - with a big focus on Boston and Los Angeles. Our first show was in February and featured  musical acts including Escort, Bearstronaut, DJ Ryan Brown and DJ Juan MacLean. We were also honored to have some really prestigious climate change speakers including Michael Mann, Cameron Wake, Jack Healy, and Dan Schrag. It was such a fun night that got a really wide variety of people involved in the issue.

Why do you think music is such a good method for inspiring political and social action?

Music is the universal language. Its accessible to all people and draws them together, especially young people. I’ve been going to music festivals, pretty obsessively, for almost 20 years, and it is part of my lifestyle. I've seen that music is a great way to bring people together for a larger cause. From Tibetan Freedom Concerts to Live Aid, there is a long, inspiring history of music and causes being paired in a very powerful way.

Its also a great way to reach young people. Electronic music is definitely my preferred medium for We Are Music. EDM is so massive and kids pretty much worship these artists. Not only do kids trust the ideas of their music idols, the artists themselves want to use their platform to do something good. I had a conversation with one of the biggest artists in EDM last year, and he was so in to the concept of putting EDM to work for making positive change in the world, and wanted to know what he could do to help. He, and so many other artists, managers, agents and promoters around the country want to contribute. So now, I am trying to cobble together this movement of Climate Change awareness through electronic music.

So, why electronic music, of all genres?

Electronic music in its early days was all about peace, love, unity, respect. Everyone - freaks, geeks, and oddballs- all had their place in the electronic music world. And thats why EDM has gotten so big: because “inclusion” is really in its DNA. Its easy for people to find their place in it. Sure, the genre has gotten more commercial over the years, but the essential principles are still there. This is the formula for people to get involved. The key to solving climate change is recognizing that we are all in it together, and this can be a powerful path.

What sparked your interest and passion for climate change action?

This is the issue of our time. This is it. Its right there in front of us. Its hard to talk about it without sounding cliche because it's so obvious. For me, this issue also reeks of opportunity. I get excited because I believe this is our generation’s version of the Peace Movement and the Civil Rights Movement. This is the moment for people power and to take to the streets for an issue we care about. Its exciting to think how people might come together over Climate Change. Rallying around big positive change really makes people feel a sense of purpose in their lives. And if they can do it in a context of joy and togetherness it’s all that more life-affirming.

Are you a musician? 

Haha, no. I occasionally DJ, but mostly, I am a dancer.

Best concert or social/political event you’ve ever been to?

The Tibetan Freedom Concerts are really close to my heart. I’m a practicing Buddhist, and Tibetan Freedom is a really important cause for me. I also love Burning Man - it is the epitome of human beings just being awesome. I’ve been 8 years in a row!

Favorite Boston hangout?

I live in Cambridge so most of my hangouts are there, though I’d love to explore other parts of the city.

 Last book you read?

This is hard because I’m always reading 3 or 4 books at a time! But one of the main books I’m drawing inspiration from right now is Joanna Macy’s World as Lover, World as Self: Courage for Global Justice and Ecological Renewal

That's all for this month's installment of Who's That Gal. We can't wait to go to We Are Music's next event!

- Cameron

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

JUGs Book Club List

Join along with our book club, and check back each month for discussion questions, character style guides, movie comparisons, and more!

- Cameron