Category

Fashion

Back to School Buying Guide: 3 Tips for Seamless Shopping

We’re well into August and let’s face it, you’re practically being hit in the face by back to school ads; in fact they started about a week after your kids got out of school if you live in the North East. As a former teacher, I loved this time of year; it signaled a new beginning, but as a parent I’ve come to find it to be among my most stressful times of the year.

I’ve been around the back to school block quite a few times and although I have not mastered the balance of enjoying this final month of freedom, I know a lot about how to make the leg work for the first day relatively seamless. If it’s your first go-round with the back to school shopping extravaganza or you could use a few tips to keep sane read on.

1. Stick to the list your teacher sends home

Seriously, buy what’s asked for and nothing more; you’re teachers know what your kids need and there’s no extra credit for extra stuff; in fact it may be prohibitive to your child’s organization as  more stuff = more mess and more mess means more chances of important items falling by the wayside.

So, put that cute package of Hello Kitty crayons back on the shelf, along with the really cool erasers for the pencils your kid does not need and move on.

2. Think practically & long term

Do not purchase expensive items covered in your kid’s favorite character. Today, my kindergarten age son loves Star Wars before that Super Heroes . Today, one of his best friend balked at taking his Ninja Turtles back pack to camp while my son insist the sports back pack that’s in perfectly good shape only be used for sports. Notice a trend, they are fickle little beings who commit to trends for short periods before moving on to the next super cool “it” thing.

Instead stay neutral, let your child choose a color, skip the flashy prints and buy a quality product with a great warranty. This way you won’t have to replace what they refuse to use because it is no longer cool come December; maybe it will even last more than one year.

And speaking of the following year… I’m a big fan of LL Bean: free shipping, fast product delivery and they offer hassle free returns if need be. Avoid the junior or x-small backpacks- nothing fits inside especially if you’ll need room for snow pants and boots.

3. Hold off on replenishing the wardrobe

Back to school is the worst time to buy clothes for your kids. You’ll find stores packed with fall attire that’s pretty much a month or more ahead of what your kids will need to wear. Wait until post Labor Day (or if you can Columbus Day) when prices fall before stocking up on cool weather wear. You’ll save and your kids will be wearing their new clothes when the weather is in line with the styles. My kids are still in summer clothes through most of September, so if you need something new and cute for the first day choose something summery that’s on sale because you can get it super cheap and they can still show off their new school clothes.

Then mix yourself a cocktail because you’ve mastered back to school shopping with 3 simple tips.

-Mastering the back to school mayhem, Jess

Share your back to school shopping tips with us via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us on social using#amazingmatriarch

Fashion: Taking On Nantucket Wine Festival One Style at a Time

Nantucket Wine Festival is an annual island highlight taking place every third weekend of May. A mature crowd flocks to the festivities surrounding the festival that brings winemakers from around the world, along with top notch chefs, to an extra long weekend focused on food, fashion and of course fabulous wine. Here’s a style-guide to help you pack your bags full of looks you’ll love when you’re headed to Nantucket’s next Wine Festival.

Island dwellers come prepped to the nines in brightly colored Lily Pulitzer attire easily found at just off Main Street’s, In the Pink and a bit more trendy, but just as colorful, recently opened Shift. Men tend to get in touch with their Vineyard Vines side; dressing in seersucker, salmon, colorful pants and prints you don’t often see in big cities.

Those from off-island may find it hard to find attire that works for the variety of events they plan to attend and treads the line between island fashion and personal expression.

If you find yourself flustered and shopping without finding something that works for you stick with what you know and love.

Surprisingly enough the most compliments came while wearing a pervious season’s BCBG maxi dress (in the featured image of this post) paired with a gap denim jacket. A huge hit with shop owners, wine fest attendees and friends found along the streets; I tossed this go to outfit in my bag last minute when nothing felt quite right while shopping for new special pieces.

Another simple and timeless piece that turned heads was a cream colored boho shift dress with lace detail; paired with the same demin jacket and wedges from the day before, this easy to pack, not in need of ironing staple transitioned from day to night without a hitch. The combo of these comfortable “just me” pieces that I often toss on at home made big waves at Nantucket Wine Festival.

Rocking the same seersucker blazer and an alternating selection of t-shirts with light-weight pale gray and navy pants, my husband fit right in. His navy Lacoste boat shoes pairing with each look and adding a prepped up edge to his regular look that allowed him to still be comfortable.

However, there’s one event you should put a bit more thought into, the Gala. This kick-off to the festivities takes place Thursday evening at  White Elephant Hotel’s Brant Point Grill and spills onto their lawn.The Gala sets the mood for the weekend, and introduces guests to what’s to come, offering an endless sampling of food and wine, this cocktail party is the most difficult event to dress for. The word gala implies a need for cocktail attire if not black tie, but on Nantucket things are little more laid back, and the combo of cobblestones and expansive lawns will leave you teetering on high heels.

Slightly overdressed for the Gala
Slightly overdressed for the Gala

Donning a black Monique Lhuiller knee length dress, paired with a Nantucket- esque bright green statement necklace and a pink pashmina, I felt confident that I’d fit in among a sea of revelers who embraced all aspects of fashion. And I did, falling somewhere in between the formal and casually dressed (some in sequenced gowns, others more casually elegant in trousers).

Men were dressed in everything from suits with ties to jeans and sneakers. The best looks on the men in attendance were from those who wore a suit or blazer and slacks and opted to go tieless.

Next time, I’ll put together a look that’s a bit less fancy and go for something a little more flouncy like this J Crew  fit flare in a bright color, and for sure I’d pair my dress with wedges to add height to my 5’1″ frame. I’ll let my hubby leave the tie behind in favor of a print button down to sport under his blazer.

As for a purse, this is true cocktail party with little bites you won’t want to miss doled out by top chefs from Nantucket, Boston and beyond and paired with wines served by winemakers from around the world. Make sure your evening bag has a handle so you can enjoy every sip and nibble sent your way.

Then feel confident that you look fabulous because how you feel is what really matters when you’re at Wine Festival or anywhere.

-Reminding you that fashion only makes sense when you feel fabulous, Jess

Have you been toNantucket Wine Festival? Share your favorite fashion  photos with us at Amazing Matriarch on Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us using#amazingmatriarch. 

Colorful Mommy & Me Boho Bracelets Tutorial

Create This Nordstrom Inspired, Mommy and Me Look with Our Amazing Matriarch How-To

The bohemian trend consistently reminds me of warmer weather.  I tend to stock my summer wardrobe with a lot of boho-esque pieces.  I love the comfort and  freedom of the loose, flowy fabrics when the temperatures soar.  With little effort, you can rock your inner bohemian goddess and look put together at the same time.  That’s a win win for any mom in a rush.

Recently, I came across some really fun, colorful, boho-chic bracelets at Nordstrom and I was inspired to recreate the look for less.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that these bracelets are very easy to make and look store bought. As I noticed my daughter picking them up and putting them on the moment each was completed, I decided to make her a matching set that fits perfectly.

Here’s what you need (all can be found at Michaels or your local arts and crafts store):

  • Different Variations of Colorful Beads
  • .5mm or 1mm Stretchy Elastic Cord or String (I prefer clear so you do not see the string when the bracelets stretch apart)
  • Closed Jump Ring in the Finish of your choice
  • Embroidery Floss in the Colors of your choice
  • Clear Glue

Step 1 – Stringing the Beads:

String the beads of your choice on the stretchy elastic cord.

**Tip**

Keep your string attached to the roll until you have completed stringing the beads.  This will help keep the bead in one place.  Once you have finished stringing the beads, tie a knot at the end where you inserted the beads, leaving about 1.5 inches from the knot until the end of the string so as to tie the sides together at the end.  It’s better to be generous and leave more string than less as you can always cut what you don’t use. If you don’t leave enough room at the ends then you will not be able to secure the beads properly.

Step 2:

Once you have finished stringing your beads, double knot the cord on one side (so the beads are held together).  Next, take the pair of scissors and cut the other side of the cord that is still attached to the rope.  Be sure to leave at least 1.5 inches from the end of the knot to the end of the string for the final tie.  Double knot that side of the cord so the beads do not slide and are held in place.

Step 3 – Making the Tassel:

Take an embroidery floss color of choice, that is already looped (most already come this way).  Grab your scissors and cut the floss in the middle of the loop.  Take one end of the floss bunch and wrap some clear tape around the tips.  Insert the taped side of floss through the middle of a closed jump ring.  Once the floss is inside the ring, cut a 3 inch piece of floss and wrap it around the nape of the thread (below the ring), securing with a double knot.  Next, remove the tape at the end of the tips and cut the tassel to your desired length. 

Step 4:

Once the tassel is complete, take one end of the clear cord and insert it into the middle of the tassel closed jump ring.  Finish your bracelet by securing with a surgical knot.  I like to apply 2 surgical knots and finish off the bracelet with some clear super glue to insure that the knot does not slip out of place.

These bracelets are perfect for infusing a little boho into your summer wardrobe or accentuating your swimsuit while sitting on the beach or by the pool.  Plus, they attract lots of compliments.  Make this your next mother and daughter project on a rainy day, not only will you love them but your daughters will be so excited to have a matching pair!

If you love these boho bracelets but don’t have the patience to try the look for less, here are a few of my favorites:

Just one Bohemian bringing colorful accessories to your summer wardrobe, Thia

Try this project at home with your mini me and share your experience with us via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us using#amazingmatriarch. 

“Indulge, Fashion + Fun for Moms” at Simon Malls Thursday, 5/7/15

This Thursday get set to to shop at Simon Malls. Greater Boston area malls are eager to offer mom a little FREE Mother’s Day pampering at their  Indulge, Fashion + Fun for Moms events taking place at malls across the Commonwealth. Each event has a donation component supporting causes that benefit women in need.

Events include:

Burlington Mall, 75 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington, MA  from 6:00 – 8:00pm (Center Court, level 1)

You’ll find inspiring fashion displays by Burlington Mall Retailers, making it easy to recreate the look that night by buying at the the stores within their roof, beauty tips and tricks to make you feel like the Amazing Matriarch you are, food and drinks samples, live entertainment and giveaways. Feel good by donating to a worthy cause, as The American Cancer Society will be onsite promoting their Burlington’s Relay for Life, Making Strides website and “Look Good Feel Better” program which offers assistance to women who are undergoing cancer treatment to help make them feel beautiful. A $5 + donation lets you leave with a Simon Mall cosmetic case complete with a passport entitling you to samples from on-site retailers.      

Emerald Square Mall, 999 South Washington Street, North Attleboro, MA from 5:00 – 7:00pm (Center Court, level 1)

Check out the fashion displays set up by  Macy’s, JCPenney, LOFT, and New York & Company then tag along on a  guided “Mommy Crawl” that will bring you to participating retailers throughout the mall where you can update your look for less by enjoying  special offers each retailer is offering for this event only. Nibble and sip on  the food and beverages out for sampling.

The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Research Foundation will be at Emerald Square to promote GloriDays, a 44-mile, multi-day journey through scenic East Bay, Rhode Island. All money raised at Indulge will be used to support the foundation’s future Survivorship & Wellness Center. For a minimum donation of $5, you gain access to the Mommy Spa along with spa swag, mini massages, manicures and special surprises. Any mom spending $100 gets a Simon  insulated wine tote. Cheers!

Northshore Mall, 210 Andover Street, Peabody, MA, 5:00 – 8:00pm  (Lower Level Nordstrom Wing)

Take in the fashion Show emceed by Aricia Symes-Elmer along with local moms from North Shore Modeling. They’ll be wearing looks from Northshore Mall retailers.  Take advantage of beauty tips & mini makeovers from Northshore Mall retailers, dig into food and drinks out for sampling, take advantage of  in-store events & sales with Northshore Mall retailers, admire the live entertainment. Those who want to up the fun factor and get creative can register for a VIP Glass Painting Class with The Painter’s Pub for $20! $5 from every painter’s ticket will be donated to several local families to support their fight against breast cancer, use the links provided to sign up:  5:30p.m. Session: http://bit.ly/1JbQ0b or 7:00p.m. Session: http://bit.ly/1PYtBnq. Drawings and giveaways will be taking place throughout the night. And those who spend $150 in the Northshore Mall or with local vendors during the event should bring their receipts to Guest Services to receive an exciting gift!

South Shore Plaza, 250 Granite Street, Braintree, MA, 5:00 – 8:00pm (Lower level Nordstrom Wing)

Make your way to the South Shore Plaza for Freeze Modeling Fashion displays by mall retailers, beauty tips, live entertainment and giveaways. Sip, and savor the food and drink samples while socializing at this great event. And for those who can’t make it but want in on the freebies, spend $150 between May 4 and May 7th for a free gift bag. The American Cancer Society will be hosting a VIP Entertainment Center – Make a donation to The American Cancer Society for access into the VIP Entertainment Center which will include a Fortune Teller, a photo booth and make your own wine glass charm! 

Solomon Pond Mall, 601 Donald Lynch Boulevard,Marlborough, MA, 4:30-7:30 (JC Penney Court)

Peruse the fashion displays featuring seasonal  must haves for mom’s closet while enjoying the tasty treats, wine and beer samples. Make time for a beauty session; hair, nail and skin consultants will be happening on-site. Look into your future with a Tarot card reading and be ready to win because Solomon Pond Mall will be giving away prizes at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30. If you find great goods and spend $100 or more Thursday, May 7 thru Sunday, May 10 at Solomon Pond Mall retailers you’ll be eligible for a free cosmetic bag filled with goodies with valid receipts from Guest Services. 

Square One Mall, 1201 Broadway, Saugus, MA, 6:00-8:00pm (Center Court)

Check out the fashion displays by Square One Mall Retailers, get complimentary beauty and fashion tips, and enjoy live entertainment. $100 in purchases gets you a Simon-branded insulated wine tote. Bring receipts to the Indulge Registration Table between 6:00 – 8:00p.m. on Thursday, May 7.

The Mall at Chestnut Hill, 199 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, MA, 5:00-8:00pm (Bloomingdales Fashion Court)
Along with  fashion displays by The Mall at Chestnut Hill Retailers you’ll find beauty tips including a “Mini Class” on Botox and Wrinkle Fillers by Newton’s La Residencia. There’ll be plenty of food and drinks for sampling, live entertainment and giveaways.

Not to be forgotten, Simon’s New Hampshire Malls are also offering Indulge events on Thursday:

Pheasant Lane Mall5:00 – 8:00p.m. Center Court, 310 Daniel Webster Highway, Nashua, NH

The Mall at Fox Run, 4:00 – 7:00p.m., Sears Center Court, 50 Fox Run Rd, Newington, NH

The Mall at Rockingham Park,  4:00 – 7:00pm, Lord & Taylor Court, Level 2, 99 Rockingham Park Boulevard, Salem, NH

The Mall of New Hampshire4:00 – 7:00pm, Macy’s Court, 1500 South Willow Street, Manchester, NH

Each New Hampshire location is offering a variety of fashion, beauty, food, and other exciting activities, entertainment and giveaways and details can be found on each mall’s Facebook page.

In addition to the Indulge festivities every mall is offering moms and moms-to-be across New England the chance to enter to win 1 of 5 spa packages valued at $500.

Simon’s Indulge events are free and open to women of all ages. For more information, visit the participating properties Facebook pages.

“Simon has had a longstanding tradition of celebrating Moms and the important roles they play in our lives,” said Brian Nelson, Regional Vice President of New England. “Held right before Mother’s Day, Indulge events create a perfect opportunity for Moms – who always think of others first – to focus on themselves and enjoy a social evening of fashion, food and fun.” 

We say, Thank you Simon Malls for recognizing and celebrating the Amazing in every Matriarch!

-A mom who feels good when she looks good, Jess

Fill us in on your Simon Mall shopping adventures at Indulge, Fashion + Fun for Moms, or any day! Send us comments and pictures at: Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us using #amazingmatriarch and Simon Malls using #SimonIndulge

The Fishtail Braid: A How-To for the Hair-Phobic

Chic Hairstyles in Under 10 Minutes, A Series

Part 1 of 6- The Fishtail Braid

As a mom always on the go, my appearance is the first thing that suffers from my lack of time in the morning.  My go-to hairstyle for a good amount of years has been a soaking wet head of hair thrown up into a messy bun. As a woman in envy of the put together appearances of other moms at school drop off, I decided it was time to seek out some guidance from a hair professional.

Determined to find a solution for my neglected tresses, I turned to my trusted hairstylist for many years, Moselle Sath at Shag in South Boston for advice.  As a hairstylist rock star in her own right, Moselle quickly came to the rescue. Her simple, trendy hairstyles can be achieved in under 10 minutes for a final look that will leave you the envy of your friends.

A favorite that works on those with medium to long hair is the Fishtail Braid. The fishtail braid looks like a complicated style to produce, but in reality this polished look is quite simple.

What you need:

  • Comb or Brush
  • 2 elastics (clear are best)
  • Scissors

2 sectionsStep 1:

Decide if you want your fishtail in back or to the side. Comb your hair to the side of your head (or back) and secure it in a ponytail with one of the elastics.


Step 2:

Separate your ponytail into 2 sections.

 

take small section to crossStep 3:

Working with small strands of hair from the outer portion of each side you’ll pass thin strands from one to the other.

 

 

 

small section crossing 2Take a small piece of hair from the outside of section 1 and cross it over the top of the pony passing it to section 2.  Now take a small piece of hair from section 2 and cross it over the top of the pony passing it to section 1.  You will notice the x pattern that you created in the middle.  Repeat this process while maintaining a tight hold and continue until
you reach your desired braid length.  I like to braid until I am only left with an inch of hair at the bottom.

 

past the middle***Note – If you have layers in your hair, a full braid may cause the smaller layers to come out, adding a messy effect to the overall look.  If you have layers and prefer a more composed look, end the braid at your shortest layer.   ****                                                                                                                                                                

 

 


widening the braid before elastic cutStep 4:

Once you have reached your desired length secure the end of the braid with a clear elastic.  With both of your hands, gently stretch out the fishtail to give it a little width.

 

elastic cut

 

 

Step 5:

Grab a pair of scissors and carefully cut the  elastic that held your ponytail in place at the top.  Once cut, remove the elastic and finish the look by again gently stretching the fishtail out to give it some width.

 

The fishtail braid really is an easy style to recreate and it looks fabulous dressed up or down.  There is something about a great braid that is chic and elegant but innocent at the same time.

Try this look for yourself and send us your pictures.

We want to hear from you!  Find Amazing Matriarch on Social Media- Facebook: Amazing Matriarch; Instagram: amazingamtriarch orTwitter:@AMatriarch and fill us in on your adventures using #amazingmatriarch

Beautify, Buy & Grab a Bite at Chestnut Hill Square

When style means more than shopping (but that’s a must too) head on over to Chestnut Hill Square where you can style yourself from head to toe. One of Boston’s best lifestyle Centers, Chestnut Hill Square has a little something for everyone in a town square environment that offers plenty of parking.

Start with your body by booking yourself a class at Soul Cycle where you’ll be bouncing to the beats and getting a high spirit, full body workout without hopping off your bicycle. Take advantage of the on-site showers, complete with soap, shampoo, toiletries, hair dryers and towels, then dress yourself in something other than sweats to move on with your day.

Pop on over to Drybar where their cocktail inspired hair styles will have you looking fresh and fabulous. Their expert hair styling mavens will wash and blow your locks to perfection. They’ll even straighten or curl for no additional fee. Freshly coifed, head out for a bit of shopping at the high demand retailers who call Chestnut Hill Square home.

Courtesy of Chestnut Hill Square
Courtesy of Chestnut Hill Square

Favorites like White House Black MarketFrancesca’s and Anthropologie have stores set up to provide you with an experience you won’t find just anywhere. Home to one of the few Anthropologie retail stores offering their bridal line, you can find the dress to make your special day perfect (or score one of their bridesmaid dresses to wear to a cocktail party, this line really can do double duty) as well as enjoy the eclectic housewares and everyday fashion inside.

Once you’ve filled you shopping bags to the brim, it’s time for some sustenance and maybe even a cocktail or two. Check out Season 52 for a sit down experience with their  fresh seasonal cuisine. The menu is calorie conscious ensuring you won’t toss your weight loss plan out the window with one meal. If your doing your day solo, have a relaxing drink and bite at their spacious bar. If you prefer to grab something quick and light then check out Sweet Green where the salads are simply superb.

Courtesy of Chestnut Hill Square
Courtesy of Chestnut Hill Square

If you find yourself in need of filling your own fridge before heading home, Wegman’s makes it easy. With a location right in Chestnut Hill Square, you can stay within this one property, fill your cart, then head home ready to face reality with a fresh outlook.

-Busy mom 1, setbacks 0; a way to sneak a treat mid-week,  Jess

Want more Boston shopping?

Check out Jessica’s picks for Boston’s best Shopping Malls and Centers on USA TODAY’s 10best

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I Tried It: Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix is a subscription fashion service that sends you a box filled with 5 “hand-picked” items from their team of stylists that you can keep or return. Keep all 5 and save 25%, keep 1 and save the $20 styling service fee, send them all back and you’ll be charged $20 for your stylist’s time.

Is Stitch Fix your clothing solution to staying on trend without ever having to enter a store?

The Good:

Boyfriend Jeans & Blazer
Boyfriend Jeans & Blazer
  • Stitch Fix asks detailed questions about your size and style in preparation for assembling your personal box
  • Stitch Fix sends 5 items in each box; these items include clothing, and accessories to pair together
  • Stitch Fix requests a budget from you and sticks with items within that budget
  • Stitch Fix sends styling cards, with lots of photos and a detailed note on ways to wear the items sent
  • The items are on-trend
  • To return items, you simply put in the enclosed bag and drop in a mailbox, easy,  quick and free
  • You get a $25 credit if friends sign up and order a box using your code
  • It’s fun to get a box of clothes

The Bad:

Stitch Fix summer 2014, maxi dress & 3/4 length top
Stitch Fix summer 2014, maxi dress & 3/4 length top
  • Stitch Fix sizing is inconsistent: those who do not fall into an average height, weight and build may find they receive many items that do not fit
  • You must be very aware of colors and styles that look good on you, as at times boxes come color and style  focused; you may find multiple items in one box of a  color/fit that does not work for you
  • It took a full month to receive the first box from time of order
  • Find nothing of your liking and  you’re out $20; making choosing 1 item a better deal, even if you don’t love it
  • You may find your best friend, neighbor, random gym member wearing the same item, possibly in another color (that happened to me twice)
  • Stitch Fix has certain items and can’t always meet your needs (a request for a simple item, a black pencil skirt, was not an option, but a nice note was included in the box about the inability to meet my request)
  • Even when you’re very specific about your size ( I often stressed how petite I am and how narrow my shoulders are) you may not receive items that fit well; many of  those I kept had to be tailored.
  • Stylists vary from box to box; I found the same styles in varying colors arriving in various boxes (se photos of white top and orange top in this post)
  • It did not seem that all the stylists who pulled together boxes for me took into account the notes I made about sizing

The Verdict:

Dark Skinny Kensie Jeans and Orange 3/4 top
Dark Skinny Kensie Jeans and Orange 3/4 top
  • Although Stitch Fix is not for me (I’m 5’1″, 100 lbs, with really narrow shoulders and a 32 D bust; they had trouble nailing my fit) it is a fun idea for those of average height, weight and build who don’t have time to to shop or feel they’re not style savvy.
  • Don’t rely on Stitch Fix for certain items you want or needs as they may not be available in their warehouse.
  • It could be a nice way to add a few different items to your wardrobe as long as you’re ok with tossing $20 away if boxes arrive without styles you like or items that fit.

If you’re someone  who can assemble an outfit quite easily, has time to shop in store (some department stores offer free styling services, others offer free tailoring), or have lots of friends who use Stitch Fix, you may want to pass and buy what it is you really want. Otherwise, give it a shot, all you’ve got to lose is $20.

 

 

-One savvy shopper choosing to be her own personal stylist, Jess

Fashion Find – Super Cute, Winterproof Sorel Wedges

Once upon a time, my feet were adorned in the highest of heels. Each day I’d pair my of the moment outfit with a coordinating member of the two to three inch collection that took over my closet. But that was when I had a corporate job, and I could not even imagine Pirate Booty fingerprints smeared on my designer duds, or breaking into a full sprint after a toddler to keep him from running rampant in a parking lot.  Since my kids came along my feet have found a new home, a not so fun selection of sneakers, riding boots and hideous, but warm, boots for arctic days standing around ice rinks, and ski slopes while my kids take lessons.  Notice the trend? Not a lovely pair of heels in sight.

As winter is the absolute worst footwear season (most days I dress for comfort and warmth, not to look stylish, and that includes my footwear), I was determined to solve my footwear conundrum and get back to my previously taller self.  I started seeking a pair of winter wedges. After a lot of research, I found myself circling back to Sorel’s new winter boot line.

I bought the Joan of Arctic Wedge Ankle Boot, and after a few moments of skepticism, and a walk two doors down to Jess’s house without even a single stumble on our slightly snow covered street, I decided that these are the most AMAZING shoes in my entire (not just mom) collection!

An ankle height bootie,  this treasure has everything you could ever possibly want or need in a winter boot.  They are stylish, comfortable, waterproof and extremely warm. These booties are really versatile, you can dress them up or dress them down; great with skinny jeans (my choice most days), casual winter dresses, a black mini skirt and tights, or leggings. They also have really good traction if you are walking on ice and I can easily bust into a full on sprint after my kids when needed.

They are my new go-to boots for winter; unless I am trudging through 4+ feet of snow playing with my kids.  If you are looking for a boot that’s fashionable, comfortable and waterproof, that you can wear out at night or on the playground by day, check out Sorel’s winter boot line.

– Delivering style, comfort and warmth one step at a time, Thia

Winter Attire Tip: Layer Up & Embrace the Cold

IMG_3766
Bundled up to brave the elements

I was once winter phobic, self diagnosing myself with “seasonal affective disorder” the second I heard it was a thing, and hibernating until the last bit of snow had melted. I was mostly miserable from November until April, and really unsure of why I lived in Boston (in truth, I like to be able to see my family, and that’s the reason I never left). Fast-forward to my mid-thirties, 2 kids and a job that has me traveling to check out winter activities, and my outlook has totally changed; I’ve learned to embrace winter and it’s made me a better person.

Bundled up, in every warm layer I own, with a value pack of hand and foot warmers in my bag for “just in case”, I have fun, outdoors, all winter long.

My new found love affair with winter started when my son began ice skating and my husband built him an ice rink in our back yard (a city kid myself, I still think this is the most amazing thing I’d ever seen). I wanted to be out there so badly that I’d toss my figure skates and ski pants with a cute little hat and fashionable wool coat to take a few twirls before finding myself frozen and begging my then two year old to come in.

Mommy & Marcus hockey in our yard
Mommy & Marcus hockey in our yard

I was so disappointed, I turned to my winter expert, my husband (who has not bought himself an article of clothing since before we met, and has me choose his suit daily)  for winter fashion tips. And although I really did not like what I heard, I slowly succumbed to his suggestions, and as much as I hate to admit it; his tips are 100% responsible for making me a winter warrior.

He taught me how to dress for warmth (rather than style), and layer myself into a nice cocoon of warmth that can get me through a few slope-side hours in the (sunny, windless) single digits. I replaced my Ugg boots with REI recommended warm, waterproof  Vasque  boots, traded my dress socks for Smartwool socks (snag for less at Nordstrom Rack where they’re often only $10/pair) and layered the crap out of my clothes. I’ve been known to pile 5 (thin) layers beneath my coat and three beneath my snow pants (Under Armour & The North Face are my favorite layering brands). I bought thick, insulated, waterproof, $70 winter gloves (because I lost one of mine enroute to Stowe last weekend) and a hat I hate being seen in, but love on my head on a cold winter day. And when the cold takes my breath away I turn to Turtle Fur to protect my neck and face.

And I’m warm.

Skiing at Stowe this past weekend, the weather was frigid, the staff of locals at the Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa, where I was staying, made it clear they would not be visiting the mountain that day, the room on the shuttle, short lift lines, and crowd in the lodge confirmed it was a crazy cold day. But we were determined to brave it.

Snow Shoeing home from Thia's
Snow Shoeing home from Thia’s

Truth is, dressed for the weather, we hardly noticed the sub-zero temps, making my first time on skis in five years, the best ski day skiing I’ve ever had.

Not only was I toasty warm, but I got to enjoy my daughter’s first day skiing, my son’s first time on the chairlift and my husband’s ability to make even the coldest outing fun.

So, I’ll keep the layers on, forget how silly I look, skate, ski, snowshoe, build snowmen all winter long, and enjoy every moment of fun that winter has to offer- with or without my kids by my side.

People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.Anton Chekhov

LASH L’AMOUR = INSTANT (EYE) APPEAL

Interior of Lash L'Amour

When I met Cynthia Tsang, owner of Lash L’Amour, I was curious about her lash spa, and a bit skeptical. I could not see how false lashes would be worth the time for application, the bi-weekly touch ups, be comfortable, look natural or fit my lifestyle, or work with my sensitive eyes. I stashed her card amongst the others I had built up in my wallet and waited before reaching out. I attended the opening party of her Newbury Street location, watched a friend get a half hour sample of lashes, and quizzed both my friend and the lash technician endlessly about every step of the process. But I saw an instant transformation- a brightness to my friend’s eyes that made me envious of her expertly applied false lashes. I promptly reached out to Cynthia and set up an appointment.

Entering Lash L’Amour’s second floor, Newbury Street, location I was greeted not only by Cynthia, but also by a gorgeous spa atmosphere that welcomed relaxation. The waiting area is one that I could sit in to escape my everyday for hours and the lash room, lined with beds adorned with plush silver and purple linens, was ready to comfort me.

lash extension prep

Cynthia treated me to the lash experience herself and explained the process to me as she applied my lashes; she applied enough to make a noticeable difference, but not too many lashes that I looked overdone. She explained the training process to me and how she occasionally has to let a trainee go because she expects her lash technicians to be as expert in lash application as she is, ensuring every customer receives expert service.  Entering thinking this would be a one time thing, I left with another appointment to fill in any that had fallen out (lashes come out as your natural lashes do- in 2-4 weeks and not at the same time), and an addiction to lash extensions.

I looked amazing, my blue/green eyes popped in a way they only normally do with a heavy handed application of make-up. A pony tail, BB Cream and sweats was all I needed to get noticed. My son’s preschool teacher commented on how great I lookA healthy dose of extensions from Lash L'Amoured; my husband asked how much make-up I applied; my mother offered to babysit so I could continue this indulgence. But most importantly, I felt beautiful, something I had not felt in quite a while without a quite a bit of effort.

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