Monday, November 30, 2009
Is your man a fan of the green leafy stuff known as collard greens? While he may not like, or even know what this Southern goodness that tastes great when simmered with a little bacon fat is, he can certainly appreciate the finer aspects of Collared Greens. Crafted from the belief that elegance and eco-consciousness can coexist, Collared Greens has combined these ideals in an effort to redefine American fashion with forward-thinking and timeless style. The result is a premium collection of polo shirts made from 100% organic cotton and neckties crafted from premium silk and made with natural, low-impact dyes. But that's not all. Now with each purchase you make, a portion of your sale will be donated on behalf of "One Percent for the Planet" and another one percent on behalf of Collared Greens and Marvin Leopold, the green polar bear, to designated environmental organizations. So go ahead - tie one on!
There's something about tables that just brings people together. Whether it's the dining table, a train table, a game table or a play table, kids and adults alike seem to gravitate towards them. And with good reason. Tables help to create community, whether that means a group of toddlers finger painting or a couple of grown-ups immersed in a game of one of my favorites, Scrabble. Game tables make fabulous holiday gifts and are a wonderful way to keep the family entertained during the winter break (and over the summer, too!) when the weather outside is frightful. It's also a wonderful time to bond with your kids. My daughter and I love to play round after round of air hockey together and we get a kick out of being silly and laughing the whole time. Oh, and if you're shopping for a deal, this air hockey table is only $59 TODAY ONLY (I've seen it for upwards of $300 on other sites). I hope Santa will be leaving one at our house this year!
Another great type of table is the Little Tikes Easy Adjust Play Table ($74.99). Perfect for trains, finger painting or working puzzles, it gives kids of several ages a flat surface for imaginative play and also has room for storage underneath to keep it all out of sight. The adjustable height option allows it to grow as your kids do, ensuring they have a table that's the right height for several years.
Editor's Note: Congratulations to our winner, dad, Tim H.!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Shopping at Trader Joe’s can be an experience unto itself. The shelves of reasonably priced house-brand items are cleverly named and often organic, giving them great mom-appeal. In fact, two moms were so enamored with the findings at Trader Joe’s that they devoted an entire cookbook to Trader Joe’s offerings. Cooking With All Things Trader Joe’s is a unique book in that many of the ingredients are exclusive to Trader Joe’s stores. You’ll learn how to make scones using Buttermilk Pancake Mix, fish tacos from Oven Ready Breaded Cod Fillets, and the fusion dish, Saag Paneer Lasagna using Punjab Spinach Sauce. Recipes have a multi-cultural appeal and are fun and easy to prepare. Plus, all ingredients come from Trader Joe’s making this one-stop shopping at its finest. Get back in the kitchen with healthy and affordable dishes good enough to impress houseguests, yet easy enough for a weeknight dinner. Grab a copy for $19.77 at Amazon.com for the Trader Joe's afficionado on your Christmas list - and one for yourself, too!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Want to update your look this holiday season? One great way to get your holiday face on is with smokey eyes. It's a lovely look that creates drama and glamour - and is easier to achieve than you may think.
Celebrity makeup artist Christopher Drummond has worked with celebrities such as J. Lo, Brooke Shields, Jane Fonda, Glenn Close and Eve Ensler, and offers us his tips for looking fabulous this holiday season. According to Christopher, “A big trend both in fashion and in makeup for the holidays is the “moonstruck” look. Nothing says glamour like a gown and smokey eyes.” Ooh la la!
Here are Christopher’s tips for achieving the perfect smokey eye:
1. Start with a beige shadow base all over the entire lid
2. Take a gold shadow, and apply it 3/4 of the way up, not quite all the way up to the brow. Leave some space between where you stop and the brow
3. Apply a blue/grey shadow from the crease (middle) of the eye to the base of the lashes. Be sure to blend it well, back and forth. This helps the product adhere, and stay on longer
4. On the outer corner of the lid, blend in a purple eye shadow to give some extra “sizzle.” Blend well
5. Finally, use a black liner to line the base of the lashes. Follow with mascara.
To compliment smokey eyes, Christopher suggests lush lips and radiant cheeks. You'll look simply gorgeous!
It's that time of year where there's a chill in the air and football games abound. Whether you prefer high school, college or pro, dressing appropriately is one thing that can make the experience much more fun. But this can also pose many challenges. First of all, once the weather turns cold, as it is in many parts of the country, looking chic while sitting outdoors in freezing temps for several hours can seem next to impossible. But don't despair - with a few tricks up your sleeve you'll be looking fabulous at your next football game! Follow these simple steps and you'll create a look that's chic while keeping you warm and showing your team spirit!
1/First, start with a good pair of jeans. I prefer dark-wash, trouser cut for women over 40 for the most flattering look. But whatever style you choose, make sure they fit well. You're going to want to be comfy as you indulge in hot dogs and nachos or tail-gate favorites such like fried chicken and barbecue (for us Southerners).
2/ Think layers. You're going to be outdoors where it may be chilly, but if you're in direct sunlight you may find yourself burning up. Also, if you're in a shady part of the stadium, or it's an evening game, bundle up. A long sleeve shirt, a sweater, and a very warm jacket will ensure that you're well insulated.
3/ Color: while bundling up may not easily lend itself to sporting your team's logo, you can wear their colors in multiple ways - think a scarf, gloves, hat, even pom poms. Or go for a jacket or boots in their color if you're feeling bold.
4/ Comfortable shoes that also look chic can really make your look. Why not try a pair of boots with a wedge heel? Boots come in all colors, textures and heights and are a wonderful way to be on trend while staying warm.
5/ Don't forget the sunscreen! Even if it's freezing outside, if you're attending a day game the sun will hopefully be shining. And that means sun-protection is essential! Yes, you can get sunburned even in November.
6/ If you're going to a game and the weather's not very cold, try wearing a lightweight neutral color jacket and boots with jeans and add in a top in your team's color, add a chic necklace or a scarf and you'll look elegantly appropriate for tailgating and enjoying the big day!
When it's time to kick-off, rest assured that you'll look chic, casual and oh-so-appropriate. Go Team!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Admit it. You enjoy watching the biggest loser because you love to see Jillian Michaels, that woman-of-steel trainer, push her subjects to the brink of success! She has a way to motivate that is in-your-face yet you know she really wants to see you win. She's rock solid and she's hot! Getting in shape never looked so good!
Now you can experience first-hand the hurts-so-good tactics of "America's toughest trainer" and whip yourself into shape before you even have a chance to list your New Year's resolutions. Sports Authority is teaming up with Nintendo to create a new way to experience fitness gaming. The collaboration will allow Sports Authority to sell Wii gaming consoles, Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus, as well as various accessories and games for the Wii, in its stores. To launch the product and to help customers get to know the Wii better, Sports Authority is hosting a "We know fit. We know fun." experience at 102 of their stores. Stores will feature a dedicated area where shoppers can try the Wii Fit Plus before they buy and is a great place for moms to trade in boring workouts for ones that involve fun and fitness for the whole family.
Where: Sports Authority store in Torrance, CA (located at 3610 Torrance Blvd.), just outside of Los Angeles.
· Jillian Michaels, from “The Biggest Loser,” will be in attendance.
· There will be the “world’s largest Wii Fit Plus” demonstration featuring 102 people. Jillian will be part of the demonstration, doing what she does best – showing folks how to get in shape!
· Lots of items to be given away, including copies of Jillian Michaels’ new Wii game "Fitness Ultimatum 2010" and Wii Fit Plus boards, as well as other prizes from Sports Authority, Nintendo and Nike. For more information visit WiiAuthority.com.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Thanksgiving is a time many of us look forward to. I know I enjoy this time of year, full of family, friends and good food. But bringing together many relatives who haven't seen each other for quite some time can often lead to a few disagreements, misunderstandings or even a case of the crankies! This Thanksgiving, why not use Feng Shui, the acient art of placement, to ensure a warm, happy and positive environment for you and your guests? Dr. Andie Pearson, DMD, of ChicagoHealers.com offers a few simple steps:
1/ Clean and Clear: No matter what the occasion, the first step in Feng Shui is clearing clutter and cleaning the area.
2/ Analyze: After you have cleared, cleaned and organized the area where you will be entertaining, you need to decided on themes, purpose, how many people will be invited, who will be there, and what activities and foods will you have. This should help you with the rest of your planning.
3/ Color It Warm: Plan the decorations with warm relaxing colors. Use goldenrod, earthy greens, tans, amber, deep rich reds or maroons etc. You want a color scheme that will be both relaxing and welcoming. Fall and Thanksgiving colors lend themselves to this very well.
4/ Traffic Flow - Create a good flow of traffic thru out. Ask yourself - Are you having an actual sit down event , buffet or cocktails with appetizers?
If you are having a formal dinner, serve it in a separate room, allowing the rest of the party area to be designated as the place for social gathering.
For a buffet-style Thanksgiving, have an area for the food and a section for drinks. You will also need to have seating scattered about in an organized fashion that doesn't block flow of traffic.
A Thanksgiving party that is just snacks, appetizers and cocktails has a bit of free flow. You can arrange several areas for food and drinks scattered through out the room so that people can stroll from place to place and socialize.
5/ Minimalist - Decorations should be pleasing to the eye, but kept to a minimum. Overly large or overwhelming items or too much clutter can create an environment of anxiety. The stimulation will be too much and will make it hard to relax into the party. Flower arrangements on the table or through out the room should be conservative and moderate to short. Anything big or tall will not allow for conversion across the table. Because people will be visiting and talking, music would be very nice, but needs to be low and soft so that it doesn't compete with everyone there.
If you stick to the basics of Feng Shui, your party will be a success. So remember, clear and clean, plan in detail, go low and conservative on decorations, and allow for good social flow patterns through out the party area.
* tablescape from MarthaStewart.com.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
All diaper bags are not created equal. Take the Baggino Junior ($49), for instance. This sporty bag includes a changing pad and has all the requisite pockets for diapers, wipes, bottles, etc. Yet the beauty of this lightweight bag is that it converts from a messenger-style bag to a hands-free changing belt, giving you everything you need within arms reach. Keep your diaper bag off unsanitary airport floors and have easy access to all the essentials while you change your baby. The Baggino Junior, available in black and lime green, is perfect for travel during the upcoming holiday season and keeps all your diaper changing needs right at your fingertips.
Friday, November 13, 2009
This season the one item you should add to your wardrobe to give you a chic, pulled-together look is a jacket. Jackets come in all shapes and sizes, making them right for everyone. A jacket is the one item that can take a simple outfit and make it greater than the sum of its parts.
Jackets are perfect for camouflaging a tummy or extra weight around your middle. Choose a fitted style that falls below your waistline.
Jackets can add structure to your shape. A curve-hugging jacket can make you appear slimmer and works to carve out a figure.
Don’t buy a jacket that stops at your widest point. If your lower hip is where you’re widest, opt for a jacket that falls above this area to avoid drawing attention to it.
Look for a jacket in a darker shade such as chocolate, navy, black or deep plum to make you appear smaller. Wear a pop of color underneath to keep it lively.
A great jacket will take your jeans and a t-shirt to the next level and will make your dresses look fabulous. Wear it as many ways as possible!
Belt your jacket to show off your waist (or make it look smaller). A belt adds another layer of charm. Wide or skinny, go for one that suits your shape.
A few great styles to choose from this season are the boyfriend blazer, the military-inspired jacket, jackets with peplums or ruffles, a leather motorcycle jacket or a chic trench coat to top everything off in style.
Sequin Boyfriend Blazer from Topshop.com.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Coco Chanel can easily be named one of the most influential women among fashion. She made fashionable the menswear look for women, suntans and the ubiquitous LBD*. But I'm here to tell you, ladies, that what was popular 100 years ago does not necessarily constitute a contemporary look that suits everyone. And it looks like I'm not alone in my thinking.
I have been passionate about color since I was a child. Wearing color has always brought me such joy, except during a few brief years in college when black became my uniform. Since then I relish the opportunity to step out in a bold and exciting hue and love the way it helps me to stand out from the crowd.
If there's one battle I'm constantly fighting with my clients is to get them to ditch the black and wear the colors that bring out their true selves. See, many of us like to use black as a security blanket of sorts and don't easily let go a color that, truth be told, can bring out the worst in us. Black is the absence of color, and when worn around the face or against pale legs can cast an unflattering pallor. It enhances not our eyes, but our wrinkles; not our creamy complexion but the dark circles under our eyes. It is not our friend. Black ages us before our time. Black can suck the life out of us before we're ready. But don't get me wrong, sometimes it's ok to wear black. Sometimes. And with intention.
When is it ok to wear black? Here are a few recommended ways for keeping a few black pieces still in rotation in your closet:
If you have pale skin/hair, black is not your best color. Sorry.
If you have dark coloring (dark hair and/or dark skin) then you're going to look better in black than your pale friends. But don't gloat. They won't like that. Just smile and ask them if you can borrow their brand new black cocktail dress. Bat your lashes if you have to.
Wear your LBD with a cardigan or jacket in one of your best brights. Your eyecolor or a pretty metallic would make sophisticated statement as well.
Wear something around your face in your eyecolor - a sapphire necklace would surely pick up your sparkling blue peepers, citrine would bring out your hazel eyes or emeralds would make your green eyes really pop. A scarf can do the same trick.
Wear black on your bottom half with a bright top. It'll make you look slimmer and won't be near your face.
If you have pale legs and want to wear black shoes, use a self tanner. Otherwise, the look will be harsh.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not out to educate the world on wearing bold, bright, juicy colors in place of flat and drab black...oh, wait, yes I am! Wear color and wear it with intention. When you set out for holiday parties this season you'll be so excited to walk into a sea of little black dresses knowing that you look so individual and so fabulous in a dress of a gorgeous amethyst, blue or teal. All eyes will be on you because you look so amazing! So if you can't muster the courage to throw out all your black, at least bring a few brights to the forefront and make a promise to yourself to wear them. They'll help you bring out your very best.
*LBD = little black dress
Sure, you love your local CVS because you can stock up on personal care items, medicine, makeup and other essentials. Heck, I love it because the one I frequent has a drive through for prescription refills and to me, that's huge (as a mom, I think ALL businesses should have a drive-through). CVS is dependable for great prices, quality merchandise and good customer service. Sounds like enough to me. But wait, there's more! Aside from all the bathroom essentials CVS carries you can now stock up on school and office supplies. As a small business owner this is a big boost for me because it's not really convenient to make a special trip to an office supply store. I mean, sometimes I just run out of staples (ever since my kids discovered how much fun stapling can be!) and need to grab a package while I pick up Tylenol and pull-ups, no special trip necessary.
CVS has created their new Caliber line just for moms like me who want to streamline our lives. The wonderful Caliber items I got to try out included paper clips, rubber bands, a coupon file, a recylcled pencil box (my daughter just loves this) and even a 3-hole punch, among other things. All are good quality and the prices are what you'd expect from CVS - affordable. So next time I run out of something in my home office, you can bet I'll pick it up on my regular stop at CVS.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
This fall, why not top your look off with an accessory that adds a touch of chic and keeps you warm, too? The Aubrey hat ($40), from Wallaroo Hat Company, brings an air of feminine sophistication and classic styling to your look. The 3-inch brim on this fedora shields your face from the elements while framing it in a flattering way. Crafted in a tweed weave and trimmed in suede, the Aubrey gives a nod to retro glamour while bringing your look right up to speed.
You've probably heard the term "attitude adjustment," but I'd like to suggest a "gratitude adjustment!"
As an image consultant, one of the first things I often hear from a new client is a list of what she considers to be her "flaws":
I still need to lose 10 pounds
I can't wear skirts because my legs are ugly
I don't wear sleeveless tops because I don't have Michelle Obama's arms
Some of these might even sound familiar to you. We women are so used to feeling judged on how we look as compared to the airbrushed models in the fashion magazines. We often focus on what's "wrong" with us instead of all the wonderful gifts and assets we do have.
I prefer to look at assets. Remember the lyrics to that old song "Accentuate the Positive" -- you've got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative? Let that be your theme song for the month! Unfortunately, too many of us focus far too much on what we don't have instead of what we do have. I say be GRATEFUL for your FABULOUS DIVA self! Look in the mirror every day and be thankful for all that you do have!
Take a few minutes to write yourself a mantra about one thing you love about you. Something like ...
"I am grateful for my gorgeous brown eyes that allow me to see all of nature's beauty"
"I am grateful for my healthy body, and I practice extreme self care to keep it strong"
"I am grateful for my arms that let me give warm, loving hugs to my family and friends"
Now, post that mantra somewhere you'll see it often throughout the day and say it out loud to yourself every chance you get.
Once you start thinking differently about how you view yourself, many shifts start to occur. Your outlook will brighten, and you'll start to focus on your gifts and assets instead of what you might think of as "flaws."
Next, start dressing to accentuate your assets. When you dress with intention, your confidence level will soar and you will look and feel fabulous. You may have heard me talk about my favorite style system Fashion Feng Shui®. It teaches you to dress authentically, paying attention to your true essence -- who you really are. Based on the five elements of nature, FFS coordinates colors, textures and shapes with each element. Once we determine what your essence is, we use that information to bring out and enhance it with your clothing so that you are dressing the inside and the outside -- everything in alignment. Your image starts to match your message.
Honor YOUR essence, and remember to say thank you for all that you have. Focus on the positive, your natural gifts and assets. When you change your outlook, you change your life as natural shifts start to occur. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and grow. Make a "gratitude adjustment," and I promise you will feel the difference!
This article was written by Laurie Mandato of Imaging Joy.
Monday, November 09, 2009
As a style expert and image consultant I am often dismayed at the lack of chic clothing available for women above a size 8 or 10. Seriously, do designers really think that women who are above a ten won't look good in their clothes? Personally, I'm a size 10 or 12, so don't even get me started! Especially since the average size woman in the US is a 12 to 14. That's a lot of women to dress, and a niche that is wide open for fabulous, stylish apparel.
Enter Gayla Bentley, a real woman who spent ten years working at Saks Fifth Avenue in Houston, TX, as a personal shopper. She saw first-hand that women of all ages and sizes want great looking clothes, so she set about to create a line of chic clothing to fill this overlooked niche. Gayla's philosophy is "It's Not About Size, It's About Style" and I couldn't agree more!
Gayla, aka Dr. Styles, has been in the fashion industry for more than 30 years and now creates a wonderful line of clothing designed to help bridge the gap between size and style. Her line fits women sized 2 to 28 (4X), making room for just about everyone! Gayla has created a capsule collection of contemporary basics, a grouping of traditional styles and seasonal collections that currently features this versatile and stylish Ballet Neck Dress ($285).
Now great style comes in all sizes thanks to Gayla. Designers, take note and get ready to add more sizes to your next collection!
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Want to know what's hot in nailcolor this fall? Then go gray! While you may be working to fight all that gray hair coming in, gray nails are very on trend right now.
Shades of gray nailcolor range from the palest icy hues to the deepest charcoal, and come in matte, gloss or with some shimmer for a festive update to even your most simple jeans and a tee shirt ensemble.
Think you're too old for gray nails? Think again! When shopping in Saks Fifth Avenue the other day I was stuck by the sales associates' lovely pewter nails. They repeated the color of her glasses and made a striking combination on this stylish woman who was well over the age of 50! So trust me when I say there is a shade of gray for all ages.
I love this pretty gray polish from Zoya in Harley. It's soft and would work well with just about anything without drawing too much attention to itself. So don't be afraid to go gray!
Sunday, November 01, 2009
This season belts are all the rage and have never looked better! This is exciting news because it now means that you don't have to pay a fortune to get a great looking belt. Good looking belts are widely available in all price ranges - and some of the least expensive belts may very well fool you! The belts for Autumn/Winter 2009 are a bit different from what we've seen in past years. The hottest looks feature textures ranging from studs to animal prints and come in widths to suit all shapes and sizes.
The belts of the season are worn right at your natural waist, or perhaps even higher. Many of them feature elastic in the back, which I am a big fan of because it helps wide belts to stay in place and fit your body like a glove. It also helps to make them more comfortable to wear.
A belt can be a wonderful way to update items that are in your closet right now. Add a textured belt to your cardigan for instant update. A belt worn with your simple shift dress is a great way to accessorise your look in a new way. Or belt your fitted blazer for a current look. There isn't much that doesn't look good with a belt, so don't be afraid to experiment and step outside your box.
If you haven't worn belts and aren't sure how to find the best one for you, here are a few tips for finding the right belt:
1/ Choose a belt that is in proportion with you. If you are tall and have a substantial shape, choosing a belt in a wider width (3" or more) should work well for you.
2/ If you're on the shorter or more petite side, choose a belt no wider than 2" to keep your look in balance.
3/ Opt for a belt in a color that is one of your most flattering neutrals. Black isn't always best, so don't overlook brown, camel or an animal print.
4/ Wearing a belt at your waist can visually cut you in half so try to coordinate the color of the belt to the color of what you're wearing. It doesn't have to match exactly, but a belt that is in high contrast will stand out as opposed to one that subtly coordinates with your top/jacket, etc.
5/ To give the appearance of a longer legline, belt your dresses above your waist (a la Michelle Obama). It'll make your legs look longer and help to create a slimmer silhouette.
6/ Wearing a belt helps to create a waistline which can make you look slimmer - hooray!
So find your favorite belt and don't be afraid to experiment. You may find some great new ways to update your look with just a simple accessory.