Tuesday, May 17, 2016

THIS BLOG HAS MOVED

This blog has moved to www.TheJenBrooks.com

Follow me on Instagram for your daily does of vintage joy! @MizJennyB

Monday, November 16, 2015

Friends, Foliage, Food and Fashion!

Dearest Kindred Spirits,

Fall has got to be the most magical season, and no one does fall like the east coast. There’s just something about the leaves, the colors, the sounds, and the smells that are otherworldly.

Before we moved west I made time to take a fall outing with my friends and enjoy all the Hudson Valley has to offer.

In this post I am going to share our route and details about where we stopped along the way, all while looking chic and autumnal. 

Kathleen’s Tea House in Peekskill, NY

Peak time for Hudson Valley foliage is between the second week of October and the second week of November.

We hopped in a Zipcar and used Waze to map out our points of interest starting in Astoria, NY.

Plug these points into your GPS:
-Astoria to State Line Lookout- 23 min
-State Line Lookout to Stony Point, NY -33 min (Waldron Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Cemetery)
-Stony Point to Bear Mountain Inn (and top of Bear Mountain)-18 min
-Bear Mountain Inn to Peekskill, NY (Kathleen’s Tea Room)- 20 min
-Peekskill to Astoria- 55 min

We had originally planned more stops but ran out of time. If you start earlier in the day (we left a little after noon), be sure to hit the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and light house between Peekskill and and Astoria. It’s breathtaking. I took a separate trip there, and I'll throw in some photos from that trip at the end of this post


First stop: an outlook off the Palisades Parkway. 

Just down the path behind us is a stunning look out.

The lookout.

Me and the hubby in an almost candid moment.

Hudson River View
Foliage and blue sky

My beautiful bestie, Kristen. Also our photographer for the day.

There are a number of these outlooks, but I have tried and failed to find the name of the one we stopped at. I’ll do my best to guide you. After you cross the GW Bridge and get onto the Parkway, it’s the second rest spot you’ll see on your right. However, any of the first three pull-off opportunities will be lovely. The views are just breathtaking. The last of the three is State Line Lookout, complete with a restroom and snack bar.






Not easy to find. The first time I visited this cemetery was a happy accident, when my husband and I headed up to Bear Mountain and did some exploring along the way. How to find: Use your GPS to get your from the Parkway to Stony Point via 9W. It’s a smaller highway that travels closer to the river. Great scenic route. It will turn into 202. Once you get to Stony Point, take a right on E Main Street. There will be a bridge that crosses over onto a small island. Don’t cross it. Instead park on the right hand side and look for this sign (right). There will be a gated drive. It looks like you shouldn’t go there...but go there. A three minute walk will take you to this peaceful spot beside the train tracks.


Next Stop: Top of Bear Mountain. If anywhere will make you feel like you have completely escaped the city, then the top of Bear Mountain will do it!

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Manhattan anymore.






It’s absolutely beautiful, and on a clear day you can see Manhattan in the distance, even though you feel like you're a million miles away.

Taking it all in.
Don’t forget to stop at the Bear Mountain Inn on your way down the mountain. It's a beautiful sight and another chance for restrooms. Check out the lake behind it.

L to R: Jeff, Me, Chris-Ian, Kyra, Juan Carlos and Kristen.

By now we were starving! So it was off to Peekskill for lunch at Kathleen’s Tea Room, a perfect little spot I found on Trip Advisor. My friends and I are all suckers for a quaint little tea spot.



The food was outstanding. Each dish, a work of art.

Pumpkin Chai Latte

Mac and Cheese
Minestrone soup and BLT with brie


Quiche
Peach Melba

A tea spot fit for Alice.

Black Sequin Beret: Vintage*
Cloak: Modcloth
Mustard Knit Top with Zippers*: Poshmark
Owl Necklace: Handmade 
Jeans: Gap
Boots: Michael Kors*

*Denotes pieces that were purchased secondhand

Steal This Look


Darling Detective Work Cape in Paprika: Modcloth $$$
Fearless Footing Boot in black: Modcloth $$$
Mustard Sweater with Zippers: Nordstom $$
Sequin Beret: Amazon $



All in all, it was a perfect day! If you don’t drive you can certainly get a wonderful dose of foliage by taking the Metro North up the Hudson to Peekskill, Tarry Town/Sleepy Hollow, Philipse Manor, or Cold Spring.

These pictures were from a separate trip to Sleepy Hollow for the Pumpkin Blaze, something you MUST go do if you are ever near NYC during Halloween. You get to see more than 7000 individually hand-carved, illuminated jack-o'-lanterns in an elaborate walk-through experience.

Near Tarry Town/Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse, accessible by the Metro North to Philipse Manor...and a bit a walking.
Me, Jonathan and Juan Carlos.
Van Cortlandt Manor, a-blaze with pumpkins

Dinosaurs made entirely of carved pumpkins.

Headless Horseman Bridge made entirely of pumpkins

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery was one of the most peaceful places I have ever been. So beautiful in the fall.


Kyra and the Tarry Town Lighthouse


Jonathan and I. Foliage makes us happy!


The End




Thursday, November 12, 2015

Closet Play Date

Hi Kindred Spirits,

I am coming to you LIVE for the very first time from California. In case you missed my post about my big decision to move west, you can get caught up to speed HERE.

Today I am super thrilled to present my very first VLOG. Subject: Closet organization and outfit pairing...or as I like to call it: A closet play date! If your wardrobe is a mess and you feel overwhelmed at the thought of putting outfits together, then this post is for you!



I have become known among my friends (and friends of friends) for being an expert on cleaning closets, 1.) because I am a Virgo and nothing pleases me more than cleaning and organizing other people's messes (it’s weird, I know. Just call me Monica Geller); and 2.) because I strongly believe that having a clean and organized closet, room, house helps you feel calm and grounded and ready to tackle life’s other messes.

The way you keep your living space can set the tone for your day. Simplification and organization can work wonders for your mood and it only takes a little planning.

I promise you, if you set aside half a day to organize your closet and create some go-to outfits, your day will already be off to a great start. This might not seem like a high priority, but trust me - it is!
It’s so much more than just a fun project to do with your friends. It’s important to take time for yourself and make sure that you feel awesome.

You know how on airplanes, during the safety routine, they tell you to put on your own mask before assisting others? There’s a good reason for that. If you don’t take care of YOU first, you’ll be in no condition to take care of anyone else. You see where I am going with this?

Take care of YOU first. Organizing your closet and pre-planning outfits will take some chaos out of your morning which buys you time. Extra time equals less frustration. Less frustration equals better mood. Better mood equals a better you.

Special thanks to my bestie Bianca Jamotte, a super woman who juggles two kids, a dog, a husband while also pursuing her own projects, goals and dreams. You inspire me.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Coffee Shop Chic

Happy Fall, Kindred Spirits, 

Coffee Shop Chic...It’s not just for Seattle.
Fall has arrived and it’s time for warm drinks and cozy sweaters.
As some of you know, the hubby and I are getting ready for the big move back to the west coast. 
So this post will be a love letter to fall, fashion, and our favorite coffee shop!

Fall Outfit- Anthopologie Coat, Burnt Orange Skirt, Coffee Shop Fashion


Caffino is located on Crescent Street in Astoria, between 30th Ave and 29th Ave.



This coat is one of my favorite pieces. Found second hand in a Buffalo Exchange in Astoria.
I freaked out when I saw it because one of my best friends had also found it second hand a while back and I was so jealous. Wait 'til you see the lining...


There it is! I love it. Burnt orange satin lining. I can’t. I love.


I love Caffino’s decor and the joyful colors inside. It’s a small but welcoming little spot in an area where coffee shops are almost non-existent. Save us from bodega coffee!  I myself can no longer drink coffee because I am a migraine sufferer and I will stop you before you even start to say “But I thought caffeine helps migraines.” False. I’ll save you from my migraine education rant and just say this. If you suffer from them..Read this Book NOW! 
Get off the meds and change your diet...is my short summary. It’s changed my quality of life. I went from week long headache events monthly, to the occasional headache every now and then.

Luckily, Caffino has more to offer than just coffee: tea, delicious sandwiches, and snacks. 
And right now they have Apple Cider Donuts! Nom, nom, nom.

I had the Open-Faced Salmon Sandwich. I’m a sucker for dill and capers. 
Caffino, Astoria, Sandwich



Caffino, Astoria



Fall Outfit, Coat, Burnt Orange Skirt, Black Clogs--Fall Outfit- Anthopologie Coat, Burnt Orange Skirt, Coffee Shop Fashion

Caffino, Astoria, Decor




Fall Outfit, Coat, Burnt Orange Skirt, Black Clogs--Fall Outfit- Anthopologie Coat, Burnt Orange Skirt, Coffee Shop Fashion
Husko (pictured left) & Sija Celic are the owners of this little coffee nook and the rest of the staff is incredibly wonderful as well. So stop on by. You won’t be sorry.

Caffino, Astoria, Staff and Owner

If Brooklyn is closer to your neighborhood, swing by my bestie’s coffee shop in Williamsburg.
Cup Coffe Shop in Brooklyn

Coat: Tabitha/Anthropologie*
Glasses: Aldo Accessories
Top: Mouchette/Urban Outfitters
Skirt: Express
Shoes: Dansko
Tights: Hue
Necklace: Amazon
Watch: Target
Earrings: Michael’s Crafts
Vegan Handbag: Urban Expressions/TJ Maxx

*Denotes pieces that were purchased secondhand

Fall Accessories


Steal This Look:

Steal This Look Collage

Shoes: Gainrel $$$
Coat: Modcloth  $$$
Top: Her Room $$
Skirt: Express $$
Necklace: Amazon $
Earrings: Amazon $
Watch: (Not Pictured) Target
Glasses:  Torrid $




Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Rainy Day Comfort

Hey there kindred spirits,

This weather blows! No, literally. It blows. The wind almost blew my precious new vintage hat away. 

Fall Fashion

Sometimes...who are we kidding...all the time, when cold weather hits, I do NOT want to get dressed up at all. My fashion sense goes right out the window and chances are, I can be spotted wearing my fleece robe down at the bodega. #FashionistaFail

Fall Fashion

I think most of us lose a little of our fashion inspiration when cold weather comes. I’m not talking about fall. No, Saturday felt like winter! Cold, damp winter. It was gross.


Fall Fashion 2015

I encourage you to plan this winter’s go-to outfits in advance. Come up with 5-7 cold weather outfits that you don’t even have to think about. When it’s cold in the morning we tend to make quick choices, just to get anything on our bodies. Often times, by noon, this makes me wish I hadn’t worn what I’d so hastily picked out. Cold weather fashion doesn’t have to be complicated. Just simple and warm. I am a huge fan of stretch pants in winter with over-sized sweaters. Layer up the socks and boots and add a sensible scarf and hat. Make sure one of these items has a colorful pop. Grey days are grey enough. Be the sunshine in the storm.

Fall Fashion 2015

Fall Fashion 2015

Fall Fashion Accessories


Fall Fashion 2015

Hat: Vintage*
Earrings: H&M
Necklace: Prima Donna, Astoria
Sweater: Yellow Bird/ Anthropologie *
Scarf/Stretch Pants: PinkyOtto Sample Sale
Coat: Diane Von Furstenburg*
Booties: Dansko

*Denotes pieces that were purchased secondhand

Steal This Look:

Steal This Look
Sweater: ASOS $
Houndstooth Stretch Pants: Style & Co. @ Macy’s $
Feather Boho Hat: Lola’s Closet $$
Scarf: Kohls $
Booties: Jellypop @ Online Shoes $$
Earrings: SBYourself @ Etsy $
Coat: Modcloth  $$$