For the Mamas (and Nannies) of NYC

Do you have a curious kid on your hands? The world is an incredible place, and there is so much to learn. If your little one has ever asked you why the sky is blue or any related question, respect his or her inquiring mind and get some answers this weekend.

-2I always did science or history camps as a kid, and learning about the world around us made me one happy camper. This Saturday, Loomstate is bringing the children of New York a fun-filled afternoon where they’ll meet new people, do experiments, and learn about the earth under the direction of Loomstate’s Director of Sustainability. All this in the sunshine at Central Park!

Make sure to RSVP for your tike ASAP, because space is limited. Have fun! And send me a photo of those DIY construction paper heaters, too.

Advertisements

A Fashionable Fourth

If you’re like me, you love a theme party. And a Fourth of July barbecue, beach day, or potluck in the AC is a great opportunity to flex your sartorial chops while taking part in the good old, cheesy all-American fun. Get your stars, stripes, reds, whites and blues ready for a fun outfit opportunity no one wants to pass up.

Casual:
Having friends over or headed to a family BBQ? Keep it casual and comfy for maximum running-around-with-kids, dancing-under-the-stars, and munching-on-grilled-meats enjoyment. If you’ve been dying to try denim shorts and a midriff baring top, now’s your chance. Or keep it more girly in an open-back sundress with plenty of room to breathe.

shorts

I ask you: why the hell not? These cheerful, star-spangled denim cutoffs are super-cute and will look great no matter what you pair them with. $17.80, forever21.com

dropwaist

Kimchi Blue drop-waist white sundress is a no-brainer. Breezy and roomy but still flattering, this pairs well with a blue statement necklace. Add red lips and you’re perfectly on-theme. ON SALE for $19.99, urbanoutfitters.com

One Step Up:
So, your boyfriend’s boss (or grandma!) is throwing the shindig? Whatever the reason you might have to look more polished on the 4th, there are plenty of ways to do that while still feeling cute. Go for a slightly longer hemline or more classic silhouette in your party dress, or reach for red linen shorts instead of star-spangled cut-offs. Ballet flats, skimmers, or platforms are all great options.

jcrewshorts

These are great to have, anyway. Treat yourself to a structured pair of bright red shorts and you will live in them all summer long. ON SALE for $35, jcrew.com

crisscrosscorded

This lovely Crisscross Corded Perf dress from Saturday by Kate Spade is an absolute homerun. Bonus: you can totally wear this to a wedding later in the season. $160, saturday.com

Poolside:
There’s nothing that instills as much fear into the heart of the American woman as the swimsuit. But if you’re headed to a pool party, suck it up and tote one, or you’ll spend the afternoon feeling bored and sorry for yourself while everyone else frolicks around in the water. Word to the wise: there is not a person on earth who loves everything about themselves in a swimsuit, so you’re in good company. Leave your hangups at the door and cool off in something cute.

4thsuit

Underwire construction and a removable halter strap give you the support you need up top, while an adjustable tie cord on the bottom allows you to loosen things up if you need. $14.99 & $17.99 (sold separately), target.com

zinke

Craving more coverage? One-pieces are so cute these days! I adore the plunging, sexy neckline and ruffle detail on this one from Zinke. ON SALE for $106, asos.com

Fireworks:
Everyone knows that the best part of the day is the night, when the sky lights up in celebration of our beautiful country. But if you’re scantily clad and maybe even a little sunburnt, the change in temp can throw a wrench in your fashion plans. I always like to have a basic white cardi or really cute hoodie on hand for this moment. Then again, there’s nothing so romantic as stealing one off your man. Mine, however, is not big on sharing outerwear… he usually makes me bring my own!

rag&bone

Absolutely perfection selection, stylish yet laid back. Rag & Bone/JEAN cardigan with v-neck and artful hole detail throughout. $255, shopbop.com

Nails:
Yay! Nail art, nail art, always so much fun. Get your digits decorated in a flag theme or just a fiery red for a fun, spirited look. Or you can board the Jensy train and go nuts doing your own at home. So, my stripes are not perfect and the paper stars I tried to affix fell off, but I’m loving this whacky manicure nonetheless. Have fun!IMG_1537 IMG_1539

When in Rome

972049_10152838907100051_982567853_n

The white lace dress I wore to my bridal shower is probably my current favorite. This is one that would work anywhere, I believe…

Have you ever been to a new city and felt like your clothing, while on-trend and perfectly suitable at home, made you stick out? I often find that no matter how extensive my research, I am in this predicament when I go somewhere new. Within the US, it always surprises me. I mean, we’re all reading the same magazines, right? But there are these fantastic cultural shifts from one city to the next, and from the city to the burbs, and so on, that fascinate me endlessly.

When we moved to Dallas, for example, I couldn’t believe how dressed everyone was. I was coming from Brooklyn where I donned lacy dresses sans bra, beat-up Ferragamo skimmers, and a distressed Commes de Garcon crossbody every time we hit the town in summer. We touched down in Dallas and went straight from the airport to a dinner at Del Frisco’s. In my black lace Betsey minidress and flat shoes, I felt dowdy as I looked out at a sea of bodycon mini’s and patent platforms.

I soon learned to marry my personal style to the locals, without losing my sense of self. I’m sure my sartorial choices still stick out a bit, but I’m fine with that. I do enjoy the occasional night on the town, though, in a short, tight dress that would be totally out of place on the pier in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge.

942918_728912401585_1203463504_n

This look from the ground up: Cole Haan beige suede Oxfords, Wolford cotton velvet tights, Catherine Malandrino pleated skirt, Marc Jacobs cotton blouse, Uniqlo black wool cardigan.
This look allover: American tourist!

The same thing happens when we travel. Josh and I headed off to Paris for a weekend this spring, and I was prepared for the ultimate in chic. What I was not prepared for, though, was the walking. Everywhere, walking. It was kind of chilly and I had no coat, so I purchased a white leather bomber on our first morning there. And my Cole Haan oxfords were my day wear, slightly loud for Paris, but cute nonetheless. At night, though?

For our big dinner out on the town, I wore a rainbow-hued, tie-dyed mini dress with sheer tiers of fabric cascading down each side. After much deliberation, I selected my peep-toe cork-bottomed platforms and we hit the avenue. Okay, here is the thing. It was Saturday night. In Paris, France. Picturing Carrie in all those couture ballgown-style skirts and Manolos from the final two episodes of Sex, I figured my colorful cocktail dress and heels were a great choice.

942460_728912960465_717800063_nNo.

Everywhere we went, incredibly chic women were buttoned up in black, black, black. Sweaters, leather jackets, long-sleeved tees. Black leggings or mini skirts to match. And flats. Mine were a lonely pair of heels in a sea of fabulous flats. And as my poor feet burned with each long step we took (did I mention Paris is a walking city??), I cursed myself for trying to be chic and ending up looking like exactly what I was — an American in Paris who was trying to look chic.

freepeople

My mom bought me this Free People slip dress to wear in Italy and I can’t wait! $88, freepeople.com

So, as we click about the internet lining up the spots we’ll visit on our incredible, two-week Italian honeymoon, I am torn. One part of me wants to hit the fashion blogs and the street style photos and curate the pieces of my own wardrobe into a suitcase packed with items that will have me looking like everyone else. And the rest of me says that’s crazy and I should bring the items that I love, that Josh loves, and that will make me feel like what I will truly be — an American in love on her honeymoon in Italy.

What could be better than that?

Put Your Makeup to Work

MAKE-UPIs your makeup working for you? Mine is, but it’s taken a while to get here. And I’m sure as the years go by, my routine will continue to evolve and improve. In any case, here are some quick fixes for the frazzled summer beauty. Whether you’re headed to the office, barbecue, or beach, an easy face is a pretty face this season. Here are the tricks:

IMG_1400

Today’s five-minute face was applied in the parking lot at Starbucks.

A strong brow shapes your face and lessens the need for a ton of makeup elsewhere. My brows are pretty sparse, so I start every morning with a quick fill-in using this pencil, or this one. I don’t get my brows waxed because everyone is always tempted to make them too skinny; instead I pluck for maintenance once every ten days or so. To keep them looking full and defined, I apply pencil in a quick, sweeping motion to imitate the direction and length of brow hairs. Filling in too solidly can leave you looking drag queen-ish. Once your brows are done, the summer face is ready to show through. Let your bronzer do double-duty by applying it all over your eyelids in lieu of shadow. Then brush it across each cheek once, in an upward motion. If you use bb cream or foundation, put it on after your bronzer, letting skin appear to glow from within. I like to just blot an extra dab of my foundation on undereye circles and blemishes to cut the extra time of concealer.

Almost done!

A great eye for day that takes you right to happy hour is easy. You have your bronzer-shadow situation down, making your eyes really pop but so naturally. Now take a narrow black pencil and trace along the lash line top and bottom. Two sweeps of Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme mascara and a pop of lip color later, you’re ready to face the day.

IMG_1327

Stepping it up for evening is so easy. Just add a dab of shimmery white eye shadow at the outer edge of your tear ducts, line the inside of your under lids, and put a sweep of gloss on top of your lipstick. Done!

Maximize Your Options

whitemaxi

Definitely not for the office, but is this gorgeous or what? Love the cut-out back of the top and incredible draping on the hem of the skirt. Photo from lookbook.nu

In an effort to make the brutal Texas heat work for me this summer, especially while I’m working, I decided I needed to figure out the whole maxi thing. I’ve said it multiple times but I’ll mention once more: in general I find the maxi dress does not get the respect it deserves. Yours might be very cute from the front, but if you aren’t carefully selecting your undergarments and checking the ahem-rear view in the mirror before you leave the house, you might just be looking, well, less than fabulous from behind.

Paranoia aside, I decided it was time. My short dresses make me really happy but about a third of them are inappropriate to wear to the office, and once in the AC, I’m often cold. The maxi seems a great compromise, though not one to be over-utilized. I hereby vow to “max” it out at two per week.

I hit up the clearance section at Urban and scooped up three for 10 to 20 bucks apiece. I figured if I hated them, I could part with them at this price better than the $150 of the one I’d been lusting after at Bloomie’s. (Side note: Yes, this blogger has a serious addiction to Bloomingdales and she blames it on her mother. In Texas, a lack of the traditional department store matters not, because there is a Bloomie’s outlet about five miles from her home. This causes about 89.7% of the arguments she has with her fiance).

IMG_1320

Hunzy loved this one because unlike a lot of maxis, it shows the bod.

I rocked Josh’s favorite of the three, a form-fitting gray number with white splatter-paint print, to brunch on Sunday. Sitting outside in the 97 degree heat and eating eggs in a maxi made me want to run into the middle of the street and strip it off while guzzling a gallon of ice-cold Diet Coke. That will not be happening again.

IMG_1354

This tie dye number is extra loose and comfy; I wore it to our ballroom dance class on Sunday so Josh and I can get used to not stepping all over my dress on the big day!

And then Monday morning, I donned a soft chiffon style with a racerback and sweeping skirt to the office. I paired it with those gold bow sandals that seem to work their way into nearly every outfit these days. Not only was I comfy and cool on the walk from my car to the building, and vice versa, but in the frigid AC of the office, I did not need a cardigan. Bonus points go to the maxi for the fact that I did not have to shave my legs. But in case you were wondering, I not only laundered all of my nude thongs and strapless bras on Sunday night, I also inspected my rear-view in every mirror in our apartment before venturing out. A girl’s got to consider herself from every angle, after all.

maxi

Monday’s dress, Pins and Needles Breezy chiffon maxi from Urban, on sale from $69 for 19$… hurry, they are running out of sizes! urbanoutfitters.com

Erin Fetherston Sample Sale: NYC

If you are a lover of feminine details, exquisite structure, and clothes that are comfortable and eye-catching at once, it’s time you discover Erin Fetherston. But if your seasonal clothing budget is lacking and you’re in serious need of easy-chic, you’re in luck. The Erin Fetherston sample sale, one of my personal faves, is happening this week in NYC and the pieces are to die for. These incredible designs from recent collections and the archives are priced up to 80% off retail. Your friends will be jealous. Trust.

Examples? How about a stunning ice blue cocktail dress that’s perfect for wedding season, complete with bow-back and pockets. Formerly $375 and now $100…-1 -2I’m also ridiculously excited about this rhinestone encrusted boyfriend cardi, originally $325 and now a mere $50.-3Ladies, that’s just the beginning. Vintage inspiration samples are starting at $30 and there is so much more to gush over and fill up that shopping bag.

Deets:
225 West Broadway between White and Franklin Street, street level entrance.
Thursday June 27th from 12pm-8pm
Friday June 28th from 12pm-8pm
Saturday June 29th 10am-3pm
Transport/Contact:
Take the 1 train to the Franklin Street stop or the A,C,E to Canal Street
Tel. 212-643-7537, http://www.erinfetherston.com

Easy Tip: Book Art

bookshelfAre you a book worm? A magazine fanatic? An avid journal scribe? If you’ve got a ton of books lying around taking up space, I suggest a quick fix. If you don’t have a great bookshelf, you can build one like this with the help of a friend or parent, some white scrap wood, and a rainy afternoon. Otherwise, IKEA has nice options. Think white, simple, structurally sound. Then place all your books together by color, creating a unified look and an impressive piece of wall art, at once.

As you see above, I also strung flower-shaped Christmas lights and added picture frames and a vase for a mixed media feel.

Fight the Frizz

A friend recently asked me if I had any newly minted advice on frizzy hair. Well! I had wrongly assumed that Texas, while hot, would be less humid than New York. Any difference is marginal at best; in fact, the Keratin smoothing treatment that I had done last August failed me after living in Dallas for a mere two weeks. Yikes!

straighthair

Here’s a little office selfie for you, taken an hour or so after yoga. I just brushed it and added another spritz of shine spray. Voila!

My first word to the wise is that you should not wash your hair every day. Doing so dries it out, making you more susceptible to frizz. Also, day-two hair utilizes more of its natural oils, meaning you have a built-in defense. Keep hair from looking greasy by flipping your head upside down and brushing vigorously from roots to tips with a boar bristle brush. Then, apply a small amount of dry shampoo or baby powder to the roots, working it through with your fingertips or a comb. Still not happy? Headbands are still in, girl. Get some.

Now, for the products…

My strange hair has no true identity; it is sometimes close to curly, most often a mess of waves, and occasionally quite straight–right out of the shower. So, I have some options on how I style it, and I like to mix things up depending on my mood, outfit, etc.

moroccanoil

15% off now at fragrancenet.com

If you prefer to wear your hair straight and need an absolutely frizz-free look, the best product suite I’ve used is Kerastase. While pricey, this powerhouse shampoo and conditioner really tame your locks into submission, leaving you with hair that’s soft, easy to blow-dry straight, and without a halo of frizz for up to three days. A less expensive option is L’Oreal’s Ever Sleek, and at a mere $6.99 each for shampoo and conditioner, this is a golden steal. Whatever your shampoo of choice, reach for a de-frizz styling product like Moroccan oil Frizz Controlor Organix nourishing coconut oil. Apply generously to towel-tousled locks, let it soak in for up to five minutes, then blow-dry with a paddle brush.

hbz-BEACHY-WAVES-Rosie-Huntington-Whiteley-053012-deFor wavy hair that would make Brigitte Bardot jeal, reach for wave-specific products from the shower to the shelf. I love Sally Hersberger‘s wavy hair shampoo and conditioner, and they’re each only about ten or eleven dollars a bottle. Use your de-frizz spray of choice and let your hair air-dry for ten or fifteen minutes. Then section it off and blow out with a medium-sized round brush. If you’re not getting enough beachy waves, you can try what I like to call the Twist. Separate your hair as if you were going to make pigtails, pull one side straight out from your head, and twist it tightly around itself. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat on the other side. Flip hair upside down, spray with long-hold hairspray, and flip it back up for gorgeous waves like those pictured above.

6bf0abfc07793ca4a0a4f47d7aa68aeaWant it curlier still? Meet my friend the WAND. My friend Lindsay turned me on to this incredible device and I’ve since let my mom and other friends in on the secret. A clipless curling iron does the work of making those gorgeous waves you love, without the risk of looking Shirley Temple-ish in the least. I like to wrap one-inch sections around the second-to-smallest barrel and then piece them through with my fingertips and some smoothing balm like BioSilk’s top-rated option, pictured below.

biosilk

$14, folica.com

No matter the desired volume of your tresses, top off every look with a spritz (or three!) of shine spray. This will reflect light, making your hair look shiny and giving a polished texture that acts as an extra safeguard against the dreaded frizz factor.

Outfit Ideas: A Black Dress in Summer

There’s nothing I love more than a sweet black dress with black tights and low heels on a crisp fall day. But with the onset of summer, I’ve been all about pastels, florals, neons and whites. However, last week’s Target visit led me to purchase this unnecessary but adorable, little black dress. Its white metallic pattern and Peter Pan collar made it simply irresistible. And while it’s an easy sell for any cocktail party, black doesn’t necessarily work in a day dress this time of year. Wait four months to rock this one before 5pm? No way!

IMG_1262

Please excuse the lack of makeup; I do mine in the car on the way to work.

Tuesday morning, I pulled it on and actually liked the way it looked with bare legs. First envisioning flats, I soon decided that sandals were wrong and my go-to Ferragamo’s made the look too “cool-weather.” Alas! Out came the cork-bottomed peep-toe Cole Haan’s I scored recently, followed by some dangling silver earrings and a pop of red lipstick. (Maybelline Color Sensational in Neon Red, if you’re curious).

redThe look earned multiple compliments and definitely made me feel secure that the little black dress can, in fact, do double-duty for day…even under the Texan sun.

shoes

Cole Haan Mariela pump, on sale now for $169 at zappos.com

 

New Obsession: Ettika Bracelets

35059_548376207565_7083956_n

There’s my bestie and me two summers ago with our silly band-filled stacks. This summer, let’s step our game up, ladies!

Stacking bracelets, especially mixed media varieties full of sparkles and rope and other pretty things, are a standing favorite of mine. The more colorful, the better. If you’ve ever had a yearning to re-enter childhood for a while, just so you could stack your wrists up with symbols of friendship, now is your moment, with a grown-up twist. Ettika jewelry is durable but graceful, on-trend but classic. The only problem you’ll have as you scroll through their lovely site, is how to choose what you want.

I’ll likely devote an entire post on Born… to their exquisite bridal collection with an emphasis on the headpieces, but felt that Sparkles really needed a blast of these summery wrap bracelets today. Without further adieu, here come the favorites:

rockwrap

Blend pretty pastels with badass spikes on this Rock Wrap bracelet in Disco Queen, $88, ettika.com

satincord

Worn alone or in a stack, these satin cord woven chain bracelets are the punchy pop of color every outfit could use. $38, ettika.com

friendship

A vast selection of friendship bracelets has you and your girls covered. I love that these incorporate rhinestones for extra shine. $40, ettika.com

roses

Everything’s coming up roses with this “Holiday Sparkle Stack” bursting with blooms and other girly details. $326, ettika.com