The best writers tend to have the most interesting and unexpected backgrounds. Before Jennifer Nachshen became the Digital Content Manager at UrbanExpressions.ca, she was a clinical psychologist. These days, whether she’s writing about the latest trends in fashion or the latest restaurants to open in Montreal, she always has an “insider” edge that could only come only from a trained psychologist. We caught up with the digital era superstar to find out what she’s currently obsessed with and how her fascinating career switch came to be.
Give us a snippet about you. What should people know?
I’m the Digital Content Manager at UrbanExpressions.ca, the Montreal Gazette’s online magazine celebrating Montreal lifestyle. It’s actually only my second job in writing and editing. My first was for VitaminDaily.com as their Montreal blogger, then Editor. Before that I was a clinical psychologist teaching Child Development at Concordia University and working with children with developmental disabilities and autism. I made a huge career switch in my mid-thirties and consider myself living proof that you can do anything you want with a little patience and hard work. And a whole lot of outright insanity. Looking back I realize how nuts I was, but I still feel I did the right thing. I’m happier now than ever.
People think the life I lead is very glamorous, and sometimes it is; but most of the time I’m just typing at home in my pajamas and making up songs about my cat, who can be the only living thing I interact with for hours at a time. I know it’s time to see real people when I start to think he’s singing along.
What are three things you simply cannot live without?
My family. Between my boyfriend, my parents, my brother, my sister-in-law and my nieces and nephew, as well as my huge troupe of extended family, I have constant inspiration for my writing and support for my career, as well as plenty of laughs.
My book club. Every month I surround myself with a dozen brilliant women from varying backgrounds and we discuss literature, life and love fueled by a meal with “no carb left behind.”
My Vitamix. I do very little cooking that does not involve pulverizing something to smithereens. If it wasn’t for drinking, I’d barely eat. I feel like dark chocolate covered almonds deserve an honorary mention here somewhere.
What’s your favourite restaurant and why?
I have a soft spot for the Taverne on the Square in Westmount. It’s where I had my first blind date with my boyfriend and we go back frequently. For a decadent experience I go to any restaurant in the Joe Beef family. For a quick bite, I love Aux Vivres, a vegan resto in the Plateau. For brunch, Prohibition on Monkland and Café Aléatoire in St. Henri serves up some good eggs. I could list on and on… Did I mention that I don’t cook much?
What’s your favourite drink/cocktail and where do you go to get it?
I’ve been on a health kick recently, so I satisfy my craving for Kermit-coloured juices at a juice bar at the Atwater Market that boasts a vast menu of fruit and veg juices. For a cocktail I’m usually a vodka martini gal, but I love the Royal Gin Fizz at Dominion Square Taverne if I want something sweeter. But in the end, it’s all about enjoying a glass of good red wine with a side order of interesting conversation.
Who’s your favourite designer/brand and why do you sport their fashions?
If I was rich girl… I’d wear rag&bone from head to toe. As it stands, I wait until their Newbury boots go on sale on SSense and pounce. For what I actually wear, I love Rebecca Minkoff bags, jbrand jeans (the high-waisted Marias are a closet staple) and this summer I went kookoo for kimonos from Zara. I find my accessories at Banana Republic, H&M and Joe Fresh. My new top shop is HR2, Holt Renfrew’s more accessible sister store, where you can get amazing labels for a steal.
What’s in your beauty bag?
I’m loving Guerlain’s Tenue de Perfection foundation, which is coming out this fall, and I don’t leave the house without a layer of Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense to protect me from the sun and prevent an explosion of freckles. I’m obsessed with NARS Pure Matte lipsticks, in Carthage when I’m feeling bold. Chanel’s waterproof eyeliner in ébène is the only one that doesn’t crawl down onto my cheeks. I’ve smelled like 360° by Perry Ellis since I was in my twenties, though recently I’m cheating with Figue de Vigne by Caudalie. My curly, “assisted-blond” hair behaves best when I use Pureology’s Highlight Stylist line. But really, as long as I have a toothbrush, some toothpaste and deodorant, I’m good to go.