The Birth of the Fashion Blogger

As an awkward, boyfriendless and bracefaced preteen, I pored over trashy fashion magazines. I lived for the day when I would walk up the outrageous hill that was my driveway from my bus stop, pull open the rusty mailbox, and reach in to find a brightly colored magazine featuring someone unfairly beautiful.

I used to spend hours combing through the pages, studying the lame articles on what was in for the summer or what new lip gloss to try out. By nightlight, I read my magazines like my very own middle school girl bible and then I hoarded them in drawers to read back through later, over and over again. I really didn’t buy any of the products in them – I was a kid with no allowance and no job, for Christ’s sake – but I watched them like works of art.

This is a pretty stark difference to who I am today, the Jenna that cancelled her Cosmo subscription, her second fashion magazine to go behind Glamour.

Back in the day, fashion magazines were the only monthly update available to the masses, especially those living in rural New Jersey (yes, it exists). Surrounded by boring Abercrombie baby tees and bell-buttoned Hollister jeans, the only way for me to even find a smidgen of creativity in my small town was to head to the newsstand.

These were the glory days of my once-beloved magazines – when they were the only experts and the only aggregation of what was going on in the cultural hubs like Milan, Paris and New York. However, with the advent of the Internet, other quirky fashion lovers and forward-thinking websites popped up all over the map and suddenly, there were quite a few competing voices against the publishing media giants.


Blogger on

Against only last year, Teen Vogue, People Style Watch and Vogue newsstand sales all plummeted by 20 percent. Hope obviously isn’t lost – as with all print publications, the focus is now on digital subscribers, and although there is clearly a learning curve in the publishing world, there is possibly growth ahead. The magazine giant Cosmopolitan boasted  a 33 percent increase in digital subscribers going into 2013.

Even though I like my news online, I’ve always preferred my books and my magazines in their classic print forms, a hands-on way for me to peruse them over and over again wherever I happen to be. I’m not sure if I changed, my magazines changed, or the industry changed, but I don’t think that these magazines can claim to be the best and biggest resource any longer.

I often find that it’s these little bloggers that are taking over on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with their interesting outfit ideas, wise words, and even advertising deals with retail stores. Bloggers are heading to Fashion Week, huge opening events, and other cool stuff that the average person with a laptop wouldn’t have been able to do ten years ago. Today, bloggers and independent websites are taking over the web and making their mark on fashion without hundreds of pages of ads to back them up.


10 Things You’re Doing That Are Ruining Your Skin

My mother is always au naturale. It’s a major struggle to get the woman to do her hair, put on an outfit not from the consignment shop, and spread some makeup on her face. Comparatively, I drive her nuts too by constantly needing crisp clothes fit to the occasion and fresh makeup.

On one of our weekends away, she spotted me putting makeup on for the second time that day and she immediately made a horrified face. “You know,” she said, “It’s the makeup that is clogging up your pores and making your skin need makeup to begin with.”

Puh-lease. This is also the lady that has worshiping the sun since 1975. However, regardless of her poor sun habits, I started to really think – am I wearing makeup too much? If I curbed it a little, sporting makeup-free days or even immediately washing it off when I got home from work, would my face look less like a pizza? 

I decided to give it a try and I’ve been washing my face immediately at 7:00 pm when I walk in the door as well as wearing makeup less on the weekends. But, as OCD as I am, I’m now on a kick and I’m going to get you on one too. Read one for these things to avoid to get your skin looking a little clearer, too. 


Photo Courtesy of Anna De Bartoli

1. Not exercising is not only bad for your overall health, but bad for your skin, too. Exercise increases blood flow which will give your skin a healthy glow. Also, in perspiration, you are eliminating your body of toxins and dead skin cells. 

2. Hard water is often present for homes that are out in the boondocks (like mine). You’ll know you have hard water if you find your hair to be much drier and unpleasant and if it is difficult to get soap to really sud up in the shower. To make your water softer beyond a water softener in the pump, invest in a filtering shower head such as Aquasana

3. Long, hot showers actually break down the outer layer of the epidermis which can make your skin drier. If you feel like your shower may be too long, it probably is. Also watch out for reddening skin or an itch to know when it’s time to step out.

4. Not drinking water is probably the easiest way to dry out your skin and age it prematurely. Not only does drinking water energize you and keep you generally healthy, but keeping to about a cup of water an hour will hydrate you.

5. Talking on your cell phone is something we all need to do but can also cause breakouts. A cell phone has more germs on it than a toilet seat, and you probably only put your face to the toilet seat when you’re praying to the porcelein gods after a long night out. To combat this, regularly clean your phone with antibacterial wipes. 

6. Dirty pillowcases are a huge culprit of bad skin. Change your pillowcases once every two weeks to eliminate buildup on them and also consider investing in silk pillowcases, which are easier on your skin and your hair. 

7. Sodium, which is in sodas and junk foods, will dry and dull out your skin. Everyone eats this stuff once in a while, but get in the habit of eating healthier foods and fruits and veggies to not only hydrate your skin but make you healthier overall. 

8. Wearing sunglasses is up there with yapping on the cell phone. Remember, those sunglasses that lay on the floor of your car and in the bottom of your bag also go on your face. Keep these clean with antibacterial wipes as well. 

9. Not sleeping will dull your skin and clog your pores. I’m not sure why you would want to skip your eight hours anyway but get a good night’s sleep to ensure a better face for the next day. 

10. Chlorine, even if you take a shower following your summer dip, can hang out and react unpleasantly with various lotions and cleansers. To combat this, simply take extra care when washing after the pool and use extra sudsy soap or clean deeper than you normally do.






The Thrill of the Chase

My closet makes me feel guilty.

When I open it in the morning, although I’m surrounded by pieces that I love, I’m underwhelmed by the amount of items in there. Now that I have a double closet, this feeling is all the more evident, especially considering that I (thankfully) always have a full wallet.

Even though when shopping I’m commonly presented with clothing that I adore, I’m easily deterred by price tags. More than $20 for a dress or a pair of shoes? I figure I can find it cheaper elsewhere. I’m a creature of the hunt and I love the thrill of coming home and being presented with my bargain finds after a long journey to the mall.

However, more often than not, I leave empty handed instead, which has brought me to my bare closet. This has always made me feel kind of bad, especially when less financially savvy friends have wardrobes full of designer clothes that I crave. Always, until a funny experience in the odd world of advertising.

Before I transitioned to the editorial world, I took on a brief stint in the advertising department where I met all sorts of funny characters. One day, a large, pinky-ringed ad agency man came in to speak with an advertising rep and I. He was a boisterous, sleazy man with a bad reputation for never buying anything. Time after time, we snickered when he asked for pricing, pricing we had gave him countless times before, certainly hoping this time, he could be inclined to save just a few dollars. He never spent even one.

When he came in that day, though, he said something quite revealing: “I love the chase of a good bargain. I need to feel like I won.” 

Who knows if this guy famous for getting ad reps fired was telling the truth or just trying to deter the advertising department from figuring out sooner that the dude was never even going to buy a banner ad. Nevertheless, after that, I didn’t feel so guilty – I, too, wanted to feel like I won something from the corporate giants that are retail stores. I wanted to come home with something I had sought out and would be proud of not only for its look, but for its captured price.

I am a product of the chase, and even if it keeps my closet bare, it’ll also keep my mind at ease.


Photo Courtesy of Fashion Over Reason

Overdress for Success

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with my mother frantically getting ready for a graduation party. We had to choose our heels (and debate on if flats were the better choice being that there would be an abundance of alcohol), iron our dresses, straighten our hair, choose our bags, belts, jewelry and other accessories, and paste on our faces. Upon arriving and quickly realizing most other people were in tops and shorts, my mother wallowed that she had committed the seeming sin of being overdressed. 

Before she had said it (and scolded me for pushing her to wear the heels in the first place), I actually hadn’t even noticed that most other attendees had not strapped on their party dresses alongside my mother and I. And even still, I didn’t really care.

Obviously, it’s not exactly pleasant to be overdressed for any occasion, but it’s not nearly as uncomfortable as being the one who shows up looking like a schlub to a fancy event, instantly reverting you back to your sad days of a middle-schooler at a wedding. As Tom Ford has said, “Dressing well is a form of good manners.” He couldn’t have been more correct.

When you take the time to dress well, you’re saying to the world that you take your life seriously and you take the world seriously. You’re saying that besides doing the job you set out to do well you also plan to look good doing it. You’re saying that you care and you don’t mind waking up 45 minutes earlier than the other slovenly people.

I once went to a friend’s family party and saw quite a few people that I hadn’t seen in years. Upon seeing a cousin or aunt or something, she promptly said to me, “Oh I remember you. You wore the dress to the birthday party.” Not in a you-were-obviously-overdressed way or how-stuck-up-of-you way but in a there’s-something-about-you-that-I-like way.

So take that extra time. If you’re not sure exactly sure on how to dress for an event, err on the side of caution and imagine what you would like to be seen in if you were to meet a future employer, future business partner, or future love.

Plus, it’s usually the places you show up to in sweats where you’ll see your ex-boyfriend.


 Photo Courtesy