Monday, April 26, 2010
Inspired by travels around the globe Rickshaw Designs creates chic bedding for both grown-ups and babies alike. Using the Indian block-print method has become designer Catherine Fitzsimmons’ hallmarks. She “fell in love with the imperfections of a block print, the saturated colors, and the true artistry and dedication that it takes to finish just one meter of fabric.” All of Rickshaw Designs' bedding is made from lightweight cotton voile, and is comprised of mix and match prints, florals stripes and motifs in compelling color combinations that are guaranteed to give your room a little bohemian luxury and understated elegance.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
As spring just dawns on us, summer is right around the corner. That means it's time to start thinking about what we're going to do with the kids. I know as a working mom I need to make summer childcare plans in advance so that I'm not left with no childcare while I try to work - that makes for a very frustrating situation. I make sure we plan in plenty of downtime for trips to the beach and just to enjoy ourselves togther. As you plan your summer I'd like to offer up some great tips from Candi Wingate, an expert in the child care industry, for some very cost-effective child care options that won't break the bank.
Hire a Babysitter or Nanny
Nannies are no longer exclusive to the wealthy. If you have two children in full time daycare you can afford a nanny, and sites like Nannies4Hire cut out the high-priced fee of nanny agency. Whether you need a full time nanny or part time babysitter, trusted online sources provide a massive database of local care providers at your fingertips. You can find candidates quickly based on your personal requirements and budget.
It Takes a Village
There are likely multiple families in your neighborhood with young children. Get with these other parents and arrange shared childcare, in which two or more households take turns attending to the children. Parents might need to take time off work during their turn, but it should be minimal as other households are rotating turns as well.
Go Back to College
College students on summer break are ideal candidates for child care. They can be recruited through the on-campus career centers or through a parent network in your community. Many will be looking for jobs as resume builders, so their pay expectations might be lower for that purpose, and their schedules are typically very flexible during the summer months.
It’s all Relative
Enlisting the help of a relative this summer can be a win-win for everyone. Whether it is a teenage cousin or beloved grandma, your children can enjoy some quality bonding time. Your relative may not accept payment, but you should certainly offer. Treat him/her as you would a hired care provider: Negotiate pay, respect their schedule, keep lines of communication open, and be direct in your expectations.
It’s true that kids deserve a break from the intense learning schedules of the school year, but there is no reason the learning must stop completely. Half-day summer school can be a great option to keep your child mentally engaged. Summer schools may be available through your child’s regular school, an alternative school, civic organizations, or churches.
Summer Day Camp
Affordable day camps can range in activities from sports and science to fine arts. Local options might include science museums, arts centers, YMCA/YWCA, Boys & Girls Club, city parks & recreation, and nearby colleges where the Early Education students can gain experience working with children.
City recreational departments often offer a volunteer program for kids 13 and over. Volunteer opportunities can include office work, recreational centers, aquatics, senior citizens, and children’s summer programs. These volunteer programs are a unique way for kids to explore career opportunities, give back to the community, and receive school credit.
You might find that a combination of these options is most efficient and cost-effective. Take your time in selecting the option(s) that works best for your family and budget, and enjoy your summer!
By Candi Wingate
Editor's Note: Candi Wingate is an expert in the child care industry with over 20 years experience. She is the founder of Nannies4Hire.com and Care4Hire.com, and author of 100 Tips for Nannies & Families and mother of two.
Can I just tell you how much I love my FitFlops? I wore them all summer long last year, and now that warm weather is here and my feet have been treated to a lovely pedicure, they are already becoming my go-to shoes for the season. FitFlops are perfect for looking chic while spending a lot of time on your feet. I have walked miles in mine at amusement parks, the zoo, etc. and my feet have been quite happy. Which is why it makes me so happy to see the chic new styles added to the line this season. The Pietra Sandals ($59.99) are right on target with this seasons trend for embellished shoes and will help keep you looking great while still taking good care of your feet. Walk on!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Many of you have heard me talk about how much I love lingerie from Soma. It wears well, they have plenty of items that are perfect for my demographic (unlike another big lingerie chain) and the prices are good. But even better is their twice yearly Soma sale. With discounts up to 70% off it's a great time to restock your lingerie drawer and save a bundle!
With bras discounted from $42 to $16, it's a great opportunity to get rid of those old, dingy bras you've been tolerating and go in to be fitted for the correct size. I recommend that you buy at least one in a color close to your skintone to wear under your whites and lights this season. With these great prices, you just may have to stock up on some panties, thongs or other undergarments that will give you the perfect sleek look under your warm weather clothing this season. But hurry, there are just 48 hours left in the sale. See you there!
When working with clients, no matter what size they are, I generally offer the same piece of advice - show off your waist. Now for many women this runs counterintuitive to what we want to do when we are carrying a few extra pounds on our frames. Well, ladies, let me just tell you that by showing off your waist and creating definition, you visually whittle away inches and pounds! One of the easiest ways to create waist definition is to wear figure flattering clothing. Another is to add a belt.
Belts are huge this season and have never looked better! They're a fun addition to your arsenal of accessories and can take an outfit from bland to fab in a matter of seconds, adding color, texture and style! One of my favorite styles is the type that has some stretch to it. I've found that they stay in position easier than belts without stretch and are much more comfortable. If you're new to wearing a belt here are a few tips to help you get the look just right:
1/ Choose a belt that reflects your personal style. A belt, like your other accessories, is like the punctuation at the end of a sentence. It can change the look and really give you an edge. If you're classic, opt for a simple, elegant belt rather than going for the rocker-chic look.
2/ Choose a belt that is the right width for you. This has to do with your personal scale. Your goal is to create balance visually. If you're a goddess or a rock star, go for a big, bold 3 4" belt. If you're petite and delicate, opt for a smaller 1 1/2 - 2" belt. You want the belt to be noticable, but you don't want it to overpower you.
3/ A belt is a great addition to your favorite dress or sundress. Adding one can totally change the look of a simple cotton dress and help kick a dressy dress up to scorching hot!
4/ Your shoes and your belt do not have to match, but be sure that they relate. This is very important. You want to create a harmonious look, but wearing shoes and a belt that have absolutely nothing to do with each other will drive people to distraction.
5/ Fake a waist. If your natural waistline is high or low, play with the position of your belt, a la Michelle Obama. She wears hers on the high side, shortening a long waist. Find the best position that creates balance for your look and wear it well!
Belts come in all sizes, shapes and price points. When purchasing a belt you want to determine if it's more of a trendy belt or an item that will have longevity in your wardrobe. If it's something that will be worn for just a season or two, opt for a less expensive belt. If it has staying power and you can see yourself wearing it for years to come, you can feel confident spending a bit more.
Choosing the belt that best suits your wardrobe, or even just set off an outfit, can be a fun way to take your look to the next level. Try a belt and see how good it can make you look!
We all love the feeling of doing something good for our planet. Now Starbucks wants to reward us for doing just that. This Thursday, April 15, Starbucks is going to help us make tax day a little easier to swallow while making the Earth a better place to live. Simply show up at your local (or not so local, if traveling) Starbucks with a reusable tumbler in hand and they'll gladly fill it up with free coffee.
I'll admit that I stop at Starbucks almost every day after I drop the kids off at school. I love that I don't have to think about my drink (a Grande half-caf with 1" of skim milk and 1 raw sugar). Yes, this is my daily indulgence that makes my mornings a little sweeter and gets me pumped up for my action-packed day ahead. I do love my caffeine and while I limit my coffee consumption to 1 cup in the morning, I relish every sip of it.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Ok, ladies, let's talk. We all have our closets full of black shoes but this spring I'd like to ask you to set them aside for a few months. Black is such a harsh color and, although it theoretically does go with everything, what it really doesn't flatter quite so much is YOU! Black sandals, pumps or flats can look really harsh against pale bare skin and create a contrast that, especially for those of you with fair skin, hair and eyes, can be overpowering and downright ugly. Now if you're dark skinned they're going to look a little better, but I really want to encourage you to break out of the box so I'm here to offer an alternative - the nude shoe.
While wearing a nude colored shoe may not seem like an earth-shattering revalation, you may not yet realize just how fabulous they can be! First, when you wear a shoe that's close to the color of your very own skin, it can elongate your legs and make you look taller. Really, ladies, this is a very simple trick. But the best part is that they will go with literally everything in your closet! My favorite pair of nude shoes is a fabulous pair of platforms with gold studs and I am hard pressed to find an outfit they don't make more chic. Who doesn't need more items like that in their closet? Here are my best tips for wearing nude shoes and looking your best:
1/ Keep the shade close to your natural skintone for best effect, whether light or dark. If your skintone is cool, opt for a cool shade. If you're more warm, go for a warmer tone. Opting for a shade or two darker can give the same effect, so if you're on the pale side, go for something that's just slightly darker to ground the look.
2/ To continue the elongating effect of nude shoes, wear a shoe with a wedge or heel. Sure, flats and flat sandals will give a similar effect but if you want to kick that effect up a notch, a couple extra inches does make a difference.
3/ For a contemporary effect opt for a nude metallic or patent leather shoe, or a shoe with these as accents. It will give your look a boost and take it to the next level.
4/ Play peekaboo. It's fun to show some skin and have your nude shoes be open-weave sandals, have cut outs or be open-toe for a sexy look.
5/ Your nude shoes can complete an entire nude look, or be the balancing point to a bright and colorful top or dress.
Whether dressed up or dressed down, nude shoes have a definite place in your wardrobe and, if you're willing to let them, will become your new go-to shoes. You'll soon wonder what you did without them!
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Spring has sprung, which means summer is just around the corner. That's right, swimwuit season will be her before you know it! Time to get moving and work your body into shape. Whatever size you may be, exercise is one of the best things you can do for both your body and your mind. I know I begin to feel a little out of balance if I skip more than a day or two at the gym.
One of the best things I did for myself recently to help myself stay motivated for my workouts was treat myself to some chic new exercise wear. It's hard to get too excited to work out when wearing baggy sweat pants and a shapeless tee shirt. But it may not be in your budget to splurge on clothes that you don't wear anywhere but the gym. That's why I'm happy to spread the word about Gilt Group's “Get Fit” weekend coming up this weekend, Friday April 9th to Sunday April 12th. It's a rare opportunity to save on some cutting-edge workout apparel and shoes from Y-3 Adidas, Gola, be present, NaLa Seattle, New Balance and Reebok. Plus, Crunch will be offering classes and training sessions for 20 - 45% off, as well as memberships at select Crunch locations. You'll also have the chance to save on strollers, spa packages and many more things to make your workout and self-care days complete.
If you're not yet a Gilt Group member, you can register for a membership here. You'll love the great daily online sample sales, and even better, the prices!
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Spring is here and it's time for clingy knits and body conscious clothing. No, you don’t have to starve yourself to look sleek and slim under your tops and dresses, you just need a few tricks up your sleeve! One great way to create a smooth silhouette is with the new Skinny Tank from Yummie Tummie. Made from stretch cotton it has a raised neckline in back to give you a sleek line all-over. Try it in a neutral or a pretty teal green to layer under a low-cut dress or in the sassy python print to add interest to a solid cardigan. Get the Skinny Tank for $62-$76.
Thursday, April 01, 2010
You may already know and love Jack Rogers eponymous line of Navajo sandals, but did you know the line has expanded? With all the same styling of the beloved classics, the line has risen to new heights with the addition of an adorable line of flats, handbags, totes and cosmetic bags. In yummy colors such as seafoam, lilac and platinum, these are the perfect accent to give your wardrobe a fresh edge for spring!
These stylish and functional Dakota Slim Flats (above) in seafoam ($188) add just the right pop of color to your pale neutrals this spring and look chic with khaki, white and much more.
For just the right finishing touch to a bold print dress, these Hamptons Navajo Hi Wedge Platform Sandals in platinum ($148, right) provide the right balance of punch with practicality. These work just as well with a boho maxi dress as with a tailored sheath dress.
So if you're looking for a great pair of shoes that give you a new twist on an old beloved favorite, look no further than Jack Rogers.