Guest Blogger: MontgomeryFest

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Montgomery Fest

While I’m traveling, I asked Annie of MontgomeryFest to guest post about her one of her favorite cities while living abroad. I love that she chose one of my favorites, Venice, Italy. Check out her blog to read more about her adventures abroad and now in San Francisco. Thanks for sharing Annie!

by annie
Four months after our “I do”s, my husband and I boarded a one-way flight to Brussels, Belgium, where we essentially had a two-year honeymoon. We enjoyed living in the capital of the European Union, but our priority was travel. Any chance we had, we were off exploring another part of the continent. Paris was our default if we found ourselves on Saturday morning with no weekend plans. Italy became my spirit country. And we felt it necessary to greet Croatia in person when they were welcomed into the EU in July 2013. Every city was an interview for where we plan to retire and every language became a door into another local’s home. To pick a favorite is quite easily the hardest thing I could do and the most prevalent question I receive. There’s a favorite for every category, season, sparkling wine. So, if I have to pick one to share with you, I wanted it to be dreamy. And the epitome of dreamy has to be Venice, Italy. This city with its pinks and deep turquoise waters and the gondolier characters straight out of story books – it’s the stuff of dreams, is what it is. I will tell you this – Italy is magnificent and it’s definitely no secret, so off-season is key. We went the first of November and enjoyed the fall breeze and crowds only the size of American tourist cities. The perfect itinerary includes getting lost through the narrow streets that dead end at waterways, catching vaporetti (or water buses) to tour other islands, and dining off the beaten path, that’s where you’ll find the most authentic hole-in-the-wall-best-meal-of-your-life restaurants. We heartily believe in dining where the locals dine, not the tourists. I’m still left in amazement over this incredible city, so I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking..

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photos by Annie Montgomery

Outstanding in the Field

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J for Jamie Blog | Outstanding in the Field

For our first wedding anniversary, I wanted to get Chris something fun and memorable. We like getting each other experiences over material things so when I saw Outstanding in the Field was coming to Big Sur, I had to get tickets. OITF is a traveling feast that brings a farm to table gourmet meal in an open-air setting, often in a field or on the beach. Each event is in a different location with a guest chef who cooks a meal using all local ingredients. Our dinner in Big Sur was in a secret location on a cliff side overlooking the ocean so while we ate, we watched the sunset on the horizon. It was one of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen. The guest chef was Clark Staub from Full of Life Flatbread in Santa Barbara. He brought his own outdoor pizza oven and of course, his flatbread was to die for. We also had amazing dishes like pork belly and mussels cooked in sea urchin, sea grass salad, abalone soup, sea bass and a live acorn cake for dessert. Each dish came with a wine pairing from a local winery. Aside from the food, the best part of OITF is the long table setting. One of the traditions is to bring your own plate so it makes a unique and colorful table setting, you sit anywhere you want so you end up having a delicious dinner and making some new friends. We sat next to a couple who has been going to OITF twice a year for years. We are definitely going to try to make this a tradition from now on, it was a wonderful experience that we’ll never forget and was the perfect way to celebrate our first married year together.

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photos by JforJamie

European Accommodations

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J for Jamie Blog | Airbnb

Chris and I are preparing for our trip to Europe and one thing that’s been fun to plan is where we’re going to stay. Since we’ve had good experiences with Airbnb, we decided to use it throughout our trip. I have to say, European cities really have a leg up on the apartment rental market. The options for bright, cozy and chic apartments to rent were endless. It was really hard to choose. I was in charge of picking neighborhoods and apartments for each city and I’m pretty content with our final itinerary. Have you had good experiences with Airbnb or other rental sites? Would love to hear them!

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photos by Airbnb

Samovar Tea

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J for Jamie Blog | Samovar Tea

My mom is a coffee addict and growing up, I remember waking up to the smell of hot coffee brewing in the pot every morning. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I’m not a big coffee drinker now. I mostly enjoy a hot cup of chai tea and Chris is the same. That’s why when we stumbled upon Samovar Tea while shopping in San Francisco, where they only serve fresh-brewed tea, it was the perfect afternoon refreshment. I love how simple Samovar is, with just a few options on the menu, some delicious treats and the wall bench seating. I got the traditional Matcha Chai Black Tea brewed all day in beautiful copper pots. It was creamy and kind of spicy and so so good. Highly recommend a stop at Samovar if you’re in the city!

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photos by JforJamie

iPad Mini Giveaway

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J for Jamie | Thou Swell

I’m helping my blogging friend, Kevin of Thou Swell, celebrate his 1 year blog birthday with a fabulous giveaway! Enter below for a chance to win one iPad Mini (16GB, Wifi) and one three-month subscription to NextIssue. Because who doesn’t love great design and a great giveaway? Open to international readers, enter until November 11, 2014. 

Brought to you by:
Buckets & Spades | Helarious | Of Trees & Hues | Cocorrina | Ex Vitae | Safaris & Sunsets | Lucky Number Seven | Pen & Peplum | Zoso Lights | Tara Victoria | Clear the Way | Nuance & Bubbles | Eavan Elizabeth | Oh I Design | Catalina Creative | Squirrelly Minds | The Golden Fig | J for Jamie | Hello Lidy

This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to the winner, Amy Kim!

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photos by Thou Swell

Meet Mike + Emily

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I came across Ilk Outerwear while perusing interesting projects on Kickstarter. I was so intrigued, I reached out and asked to feature them on J for Jamie. I’ve been on a mission to downsize my closet to own fewer clothes of higher quality that will remain classic staples forever. Mike and Emily Weiss are helping women do just that by uniting modern performance and wardrobe staples and I can’t wait to get my hands on a Hepburn cardigan! Meet Mike and Emily, founders of Ilk Outerwear.

Who they are / where they’re from / what inspires them by Mike Weiss

Ilk Outerwear is founded by Bay Area couple Mike Weiss and Emily Gill. Emily is a third generation San Franciscan who describes her style as classic. She was the gatekeeper throughout the development process who had to give it two enthusiastic thumbs up before we move’d on to the next step in the process. Mike is a transplant from Los Angeles with a background in marketing. It was during his time working for an outdoor apparel company in SF that he learned how an idea goes from a sketch to the retail store. 

Ilk Outerwear is inspired by the idea that you should be able to do more with less (ie #slowfashion). Why own 15 cardigans when you only wear 4 and then, with specific outfits in specific situations. We want to move away from this “bucket” philosophy and make pieces that you would never want to take off. Suddenly you have this piece like the Hepburn which can just as seamlessly be work appropriate as it is comfortable commuting to the office on your bike as it is lounging around on a lazy sunday at home.

J for Jamie Blog | Ilk Outerwear

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photos by Ilk Outerwear

Blog Party Blog + a Giveaway!

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J for Jamie Blog | Blog Party Giveaway

I’m so excited to share the launch of the official Blog Party Blog! It makes sense that Blog Party would have it’s own blog – where we highlight some of Blog Party’s favorite sponsors, bloggers, Blog Party moments and everything in between. Our very first post is up today and we’re sharing what was in the October Party Box for the Polyvore Blog Party.

To celebrate, we’re also giving away an October Party Box to one lucky winner! Head on over to the new Blog Party Blog to check out our first post and enter for a chance to win an October Party Box of your own. And feel free to spread the word to your readers, the giveaway is open worldwide. Thanks for reading, Blog Party on!

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photos by JforJamie

Must Have: a winter coat

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J for Jamie Blog | Winter Coat

We’re leaving for Europe in just few weeks! I’ve been looking for the perfect winter coat to take with me – one that’s warm, stylish and easy to travel with (like I can stuff it in my suitcase if needed). Do I go with a wool pea coat, a down parka, a military-chic jacket, or a light-weight jacket I can layer with? Choosing the right coat has been challenging but thankfully, sites like Pinterest and Polyvore provide endless ideas and options. I love the wool coat by J.Crew I’m wearing but I think it might too heavy to travel with. What do you think? Share your recommendations in the comments below or tag me on Instagram or Twitter!

J for Jamie Blog | Winter Coat

J for Jamie Blog | Winter Coat

J.Crew Melton Wool Duffle Coat

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photos by JforJamie

Framed Art

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J for Jamie Blog | Framebridge Feature

One thing Chris and I are trying to do is improve our art collection. We’ve graduated from movie posters and are moving on to selective art pieces that will make our living space more unique and colorful. When our artist friend, Jeff McMillan, put his Sloth Giclee up for sale, we had to have it. With our order, Jeff also included a beautiful pencil drawing. Framebridge sent us prepaid packaging to send back the prints to have them professionally framed. For the Sloth painting, we chose the Marin natural wood frame and for the pencil drawing, we went with the black Mercer frame. Our other friends also gifted us a custom illustration by Lisa of My Little Buffalo. We put that one in the Marin frame as well. The three prints came back professionally and beautifully framed. We are quite pleased with our art upgrade and they look even better in Framebridge frames, along side our wedding photos. J for Jamie readers, receive 15% off your entire Framebridge order until October 31st with code:FRAME15

I received custom framing and additional compensation in exchange for writing a review on J for Jamie. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions and photos are my own.

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As with all sponsored posts, I only partner with companies I personally endorse.
Framebridge is one of those companies.

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photos by JforJamie

Living Room Refresher

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One thing that’s been bothering me is that we haven’t had any of our wedding photos printed. Plus getting photos professionally framed is so expensive so it’s easy to put off. When I had the opportunity to partner with Framebridge, I knew this was the perfect time fix that problem. And, we just had our first our wedding anniversary so how better to celebrate than to finally hang up some photos of our special day? Framebridge made the process so easy – we chose our frames and sizes from over 25 options, uploaded our photos, then they were professionally framed and shipped directly to our home. It even came with all the tools to hang the frames, so easy! I’m truly so impressed with the quality, customer service and ease of Framebridge. For this project, we chose the clean and modern Irvine frame for all our wedding photos so we can easily transition them into a future home. I am so happy with how it turned out and how much it’s transformed our living room. I am excitedly awaiting some artwork I also had framed and can’t wait to share. Receive 15% off your entire Framebridge order until October 31st with code: FRAME15

I received custom framing and additional compensation in exchange for writing a review on J for Jamie. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions and photos are my own.

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As with all sponsored posts, I only partner with companies I personally endorse.
Framebridge is one of those companies.

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photos by JforJamie