Tag Archives: Jordan Teske

Ode To Jordan’s Joe: The Sequel

Last December, “06880” reported on Jordan Teske’s blog, “365 Days With Joe.” For a full year, the 1999 Staples graduate promised daily posts about Trader Joe’s: her favorite store thing in the world.

She’s nearing the home stretch, with less than 50 days to go. As the year winds down, Jordan’s ardor for all things Joe has not waned.

If anything, it’s increased dramatically.

Last Valentine’s Day, Jordan’s home store — on 72nd and Broadway in New York — held a “Love Letter to Joe. contest” She won. The lovely prize: a love letter from Joe, flowers and chocolate.

Jordan Teske, outside her New York City Trader Joe's.

Jordan Teske, outside her New York City Trader Joe’s.

Waiting in line last month, she saw a sign for another contest. This was called “Kingdomwide King Joseph Fairy Tale.”

Crazy! Jordan writes children’s fairy tales or a living, and for the past year has been working on a documentary about royalty.

So she wrote a fairy tale called “King Joseph’s Magical Carrot Cake of Many Colors.” The moral of the story was that children should eat Trader Joe’s vegetables. The idea came from overhearing parents in line sharing secrets on how to disguise vegetables in their kids’ food.

Trader Joes logoThe fairy tale incorporated (of course) Trader Joe’s food throughout. She included a carrot cake recipe — all with TJ ingredients.

And even though the contest was technically for children — Jordan won. Again.

Also last month, Trader Joe’s Biggest Fan had her very own storytelling hour in “her” New York store.

Perched on (ahem) beer boxes, toddlers listened raptly to Jordan’s stories. The staff presented her with flowers, a card, and a Trader Joe’s gift card they labeled “manna.”

Employees called her their “Favorite Customer of All Time,” and named her the store’s “Official VIP Customer.” A flyer thanked Jordan for her commitment to the 72nd and Broadway store — which she walks to every day, a 3.2-mile round trip, from her Upper East Side apartment — and advertised her blog.

Jordan Teske with her carrot cake fairy tale, and a Trader Joe's flyer promoting her blog.

Jordan Teske with her carrot cake fairy tale, and a Trader Joe’s flyer promoting her blog.

“It was the best way to finish this year-long Trader Joe’s fete,” Jordan says.

“I’ve taught myself how to cook and eat. I’ve lost a bit of weight, and survived in the most expensive city on earth without a full-time job, solely on Trader Joe’s.”

Sounds like a good reason to celebrate.

Perhaps with a little King Joseph of Struedlburg’s plumcot pudding?

Ode To Joe: Jordan Teske’s All-Things-Trader Blog

Jordan Teske is a Trader Joe’s fan. (“Uber Enthusiast,” in fact — it says so right on her Blogger profile.)

Growing up in Westport near Turkey Hill, she was also well-versed in Martha Stewart-ness. (Like seeing her estate covered in snow in the middle of spring, for a magazine shoot.)

But, Jordan realized recently, in all her life she never saw Martha in Trader Joe’s. What a shame.

Trader Joes logo“She could have saved a fortune on all of her holiday dinner parties, baking garnishes, household foliage for late-night television recordings, and flowers for garden parties rivaling those at Buckingham Palace,” Jordan writes.

She writes a lot about Trader Joe’s. You could say Jordan is obsessed with the specialty grocery store chain. Since October, she’s blogged about it daily.

She’ll do so every day for the next 9 months, too. “365 Days With Joe” is the 1999 Staples graduate’s paean to her favorite store thing in the world.

Jordan writes about using Trader Joe’s melted mac and cheese to try to win a guy’s heart. (It didn’t work.) She delves into food history, and her food adventures when she lived overseas.

Mostly though, the blog is filled with recipes. Swiss Cowherd Roasted Raclette Potajoes. Joe’s Caught in a Nordic Blizzard French Toast. St. Joseph’s Gratefully Sweet Garlic Chicken.

It’s mouth-watering. It’s wide-ranging. And it’s limited entirely to ingredients bought at Trader Joe’s.

Jordan Teske, outside her New York City Trader Joe's.

Jordan Teske, outside her New York City Trader Joe’s.

For Jordan, those ingredients come not from the Post Road store where she first learned to love Joe. She now shops in New York City, at 72nd and Broadway. It’s super-sized (3 levels!). Despite 29 cashiers, it can still take half an hour to check out.

But what really proves Jordan’s Joe-love is that the store is a 3.2-mile roundtrip — through Central Park — from her Upper East Side apartment.

She makes the daily walk partly to burn off calories. And partly because Trader Joe’s prices are half what she’d pay in a neighborhood store.

Saving money is important. Right now Jordan is working on children’s books, so she’s not exactly rolling in (Trader Joe’s phyllo) dough.

In fact, what jump-started her New York obsession with the store was that a family friend — Westporter Nancy Brown — sends her Trader Joe’s gift cards. “Manna from heaven,” Jordan calls them.

She pays the gift cards forward, too. Earlier this fall, at a low point in her life, one of Nancy’s cards appeared. Jordan used some of it to buy food for homeless people.

Jordan Teske, walking home past Bethesda Fountain in Central Park.

Jordan Teske, walking home past Bethesda Fountain in Central Park.

I wondered whether — with her daily treks to the store — employees didn’t regard her as a bit, well, stalker-ish.

No way. “I see the same people there every morning,” Jordan says. “I’m not the only one.”

The Upper West Side staff is as friendly as those in the Westport store, she adds. People who work at Trader Joe’s are “passionate about the brand.”

Of course, they get paid for their passion.

Jordan earns not a penny for blogging about Trader Joe’s Heart of Darkness Mango Passion Fruit Blend.

Trader Joes Mango Passion Fruit Juice

Jordan’s Story

Westport is a town of remarkable people, doing amazing things.

But this might be the most inspiring story of all.

Jordan Teske

Jordan Teske

Jordan Teske grew up in Westport.  After graduating from Staples in 1999, she studied business at SMU.  Junior year in Madrid, Copenhagen and London (interning at Parliament) whetted her appetite for international travel and world service.

Returning home, she interned in Washington for Congressman Chris Shays.  But paying jobs were tough to find.  She needed money, so she cleaned bathrooms at the Ritz-Carlton.

“That was the most humbling experience,” Jordan recalls.  “I had a business degree, but I was the lowest paid employee.  But I loved getting to know the staff in the basement.”  She worked from the ground up — literally.

She worked 3 jobs at once, biking everywhere because she could not afford public transportation.

Somehow, Jordan found time to volunteer at a Virginia center for abused children.  She asked why she had been lucky enough to be born into a loving home, while these kids had so little.  Her dad said:  “Don’t ask why.  Ask what you can do about it.”

Meanwhile, in a pawn shop, she fell in love with a gorgeous necklace.  But it cost $100, and she did not have that.  On the advice of a friend, she began making her own jewelry.

Her designs were successful.  Friends bought them; then strangers.  Jordan developed a girls’ jewelry line — and created a fictional character to go along with it.

Soon she had Jordanka, a plucky heroine who is adopted by royalty, and saves the orphanage in the Czech Republic where she once lived.

On a trip to Romania, Jordan realized the extent of the Eastern European orphan crisis.  She met a doctor and his wife who help gypsy orphans, and incorporated their story into her next project:  a children’s book.

More trips — to Zambia and Uganda — opened her eyes to the needs of orphans.  Jordan had found her passion.

“We all have a mission here on earth,” she says.  “I’m not an artist, but I couldn’t afford an illustrator so I drew my own illustrations.”  They’re bright, beautiful — and 3-dimensional, incorporating fabric and jewelry.

"The Adventures of Jordanka"

"The Adventures of Jordanka"

Jordan is not a writer either, but she wrote a book that will spark children’s imaginations, challenge them to think of the plight of others, teach them the importance of kindess and determination, and educate them about the world.

The Adventures of Jordanka — 70 pages, with more than 100 illustrations — is now on sale.  Proceeds will help orphaned, abandoned and institutionalized children living in the Czech Republic.

And Jordan will be there to help too.

Just before Christmas, she lost her job with a film production company.  She sold virtually all her belongings, and this week moves to Prague.  Her dream is to actually open an orphanage there.

“You have to follow your dream, no matter what it is,” Jordan says.  “I believe in this so strongly.  I know it’s going to work.”

(The Adventures of Jordana is available at www.jordanka.com.  Jordan can be emailed directly:  info@jordanka.com.)