Archives for December 2013

Building new Holiday traditions

[slideshow_deploy id=’409′]Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year in part to the great memories I have as a kid from Christmas.  As a child Christmas brought the excitement of Santa Clause and presents, but in looking back as an adult what truly made the holidays specials were the laughs and joy that came from spending time with my crazy family.  From decorating the tree, to “This Christmas” blasting at seven in the morning, to midnight mass, Christmas has a special place in my heart and taught me a lot about the meaning of family.  As a parent myself, however, my challenge is not to just rehash my fond memories for my daughter, but to build new ones so she can cherish our modern Christmas traditions.

Moody Garden’s Festival of Lights has become one of the special experiences I share with my daughter in building our own Christmas memories.  Christmas presents a lot of challenges to really spending quality time with our families despite it being the holiday season.   Between shopping, cooking, and work Christmas time can be pretty stressful.  In building my new holiday traditions I really like to focus on doing things that really encourage conversation and a shared experience.  For several years now I have gone to the Festival of Lights not only because it is fun for young and old alike, but because in the hour long sightseeing tour you really get a chance to spend some quality time.   It’s a “bring your own fun” kind of setting that does not bring the thrill of a movie or the commercialism of Santa.  What it does bring is a chance to laugh and talk with the best ingredient of all, love and attention.  All of Moody Garden’s is beautifully decorated with scenes celebrating everything from the Nativity to Sponge Bob.   You can go your own paste and take time to talk about what you like and don’t like, take in the views, and snap some great pics of fun times.

The holiday attractions at Moody Gardens offer an array of activities that remind me it’s the little things that often stand the test of time in our memories on the things we love about the holidays.  One of the highlights for me every year is the s’more camp where you can roast your s’mores on an open fire.  There is something about warm marshmallows that melts my heart and the art of making s’mores is definitely a family competition in my house.  The Festival of Lights always has a wealth of entertainment options like jugglers to keep you laughing on your walk and the holiday treats to keep you warm inside out.  From young to old in between the 4D movies, IMAX, ice skating, sledding and Festival of Lights there is enough excitement for any age to choose their favorites and enjoy time with the family.  Taking time to really appreciate those small blessing really is what makes the season right for me.

Dress to Impress – New Year’s Celebration

[slideshow_deploy id=’405′]New Year’s is full of opportunities and possibilities as you transition from the lessons learned of the passing year to the endless potential of a new one.   The fashion of New Year’s Eve also has a wide array of possibilities as options on how you celebrate the night can go from a casual evening with friends to an elegant formal bash.   No matter how you choose to celebrate the New Year’s, you can always approach it as an opportunity to shine a little brighter on a special day and bring in the New Year’s with style!  I stopped by Chloe Dao to see what fashions can ensure you will be a shining star in your New Year’s celebrations.

Flora Print Formal Dress

Flora Print Formal Dress Front 1Flora Print Formal Dress

 

A Formal Affair

For a lot of us, our social calendar is not filled with formals so when they do come up it is a great opportunity to shed our normal façade and really shine.  I think long dresses and formals go hand and hand but it does not have to be void of personality.  This dress adds all the sparkle I like to see for special occasions with a pattern that both speaks to the season and can work as a distraction for some areas we don’t want highlighted.

 

 

Fun and Sophsiticated


Tatiana Dress FrontFun and Sophisticated

Upscale Revelry

Nothing says look at me like a real sense of confidence.  Whatever you best feature, find an outfit that highlights it so you feeling like a million bucks turn into a billion dollar look.  I am a legs girl myself so finding something short but class gives you a chance to feel confident about your assets while still preserving some mystery that adds complexity to a sophisticated night on the town.  A great dress like this gives several options on the level of sexy you choose for the night with some simple alterations to the waist and bust area while keep a fun and glamorous palate for New Years.

 

 

Shorts are a great option to get your boogie on!

Shorts are a great option to get your boogie on!

Dance Machine

Sometimes the only focus for New Year is the Turn Up.  If your focus this year is on pure fun then you want your outfit to be youthful and give the comfort needed to dance the night away.  Shorts are a great way to go.  They don’t have the access issues that come with short skirts, which is especially important when you are planning on a boogie night.  This look gives a business on the top, party on the bottom combo that screams dancing in the streets.

Put a fun spin on a traditional look for New Year's

Lace Insert Dress back 3Put a fun spin on a traditional look for New Year’s

Traditional Elegance

Being a little more conservative does not mean that you cannot still turn heads on New Year’s. Cut outs and sheer panels have been all the rave on the red carpet this year.  There is nothing like a surprise in your design to get people talking.  This lace cutout dress gives a chic look with a well-placed lace insert to turn up the heat and really showcase one’s shape.

 

 

 

 

 

A fun shirt works as a chameleon for lots of New Year's options

Eliana Shirt Chloe DaoA fun shirt works as a chameleon for lots of New Year’s options

Fun with Friends

Choosing a smaller gathering with the ones you love does not mean you have to look the same you would any other night.  Mixing up jeans with a dramatic shirt helps set your New Year’s celebration apart.  Best of all it is probably the piece you are most likely to wear again throughout the year so you are not making a big investment just for one night’s celebrations.  I adore this dramatic shirt as the lay of the fabric is very forgiving and you get to really showcase your back in the sheer design.  It can easily transition you from a nice dinner to a house party for a New Year’s you won’t forget.

Dress to Impress – Holiday Accessories

[slideshow_deploy id=’373′]The holidays brings a lot of opportunities to ring in the bells and get out and showcase the best of your wardrobe.  That does not mean that you have to go out and get a whole new wardrobe to avoid second sighting of outfits or wearing a favorite outfit that to our friends and family looks like the ghost of Christmas past.  Accessories offer a great way to spruce up to old and breathe life into the new holiday celebrations.  Plus they are a great way to bring the spotlight to moments that our special in our lives and differentiate them from the regular flow of life.  Original necklaces offer a great opportunity to not only separate outfits from previous wears but also showcase and frame your face.  This combination gives them a lot of bang for your buck, check out some great necklaces that are perfect for the different opportunities to shine you will have during the holidays.

Formal necklace

Formal necklace

Formals

From fundraisers to the theater to celebrations, the holidays are hand over fist with occasions to break out formal gear and really make a statement.  Nothing goes better with making a real statement than a necklace that really makes the introduction for you.   This necklace can be paired with something simple or muted and transform it to a look people will remember.  The bold color contract and style assist you in getting notice, while carefully balancing a keen and youthful look.

Perfect Church Option with reversible pendant

Chan Luu Pendant Perfect Church Option with reversible pendant

Church

Even for those who skip church on a weekly basis, the holidays weigh more on the mandatory scheme of church attendance.  A great necklace such as this Chan Luu makes a statement while still being modest in the approach.  The piece is reversible so it can quickly help in the transition from church to brunch or wherever the day takes you.

 

 

 

 

 

Party time with Laili Gabriel

Party time with Laili Gabriel

Party, party, party

Perhaps my favorite category, the holidays are always fun.  Something about the mix of days off from work, gifts, and drinking makes parties a little more special than the rest of the year.  Why not capture all of the fun of the season with a piece that is a little different but still beautiful.  Laili Gabriel has a range of unique necklaces whose vibrant and distinctive style makes it a conversation piece for friends both new and old.

Gun Metal pearls and diamonds cross necklace

Gun Metal pearls and diamonds cross necklace

Hanging with friends

Let’s face it, these are the people who if not see you the most, then at least should know you the most.  The may be able to describe your style without even a twice over.  A piece that puts a modern twist on glitz sets the season apart from the other gatherings throughout the year.  This piece by Renee Shepard features real diamonds, but in a setting that both stands out and is relatable (a really rare combination).

Date Nigth with a Mystic Spiral

Date Night with a Mystic Spiral

Date Night

As much as I think women like the ornate, I find that most men are pretty simple.  Having a simple and a tad bit suggestive piece of jewelry can ensure all parties end up a date with a smile on their face.  This horn piece can be delicately used to suggest that naughty or nice the night will end with smiles.

All of the treasures listed can be found at Sam and Lilli.  Not to mention the ladies there are too much fun so you are guaranteed to walk out with a smile on face!

Expanding your horizons

 

Perrier Jouet tasting at Spec's Warehouse

Perrier Jouet tasting at Spec’s Warehouse

When you are short on free time it is easy to fall into a rather predictable trap of doing the same old things with your spare time.  Free time is a pretty valuable commodity and it is easy to spend it doing the things we know we like to do instead of the things we are unsure about or have never done before.  Trying new things, however, opens a big door not just to get a new perspective but also to open up your network to people you may have never encountered if you always stick to the same people, places and events that are routine in your life. 

I always have my eye out for new things and as I love to learn. Often these events give me some insight on things I am not an expert on.  Most recently I attended a Champagne tasting at Spec’s Warehouse that not only offered complimentary delicious champagne but also really schooled me on champagnes in the company of some great people.  Champagne is definitely something I like and enjoy but honestly I am no connoisseur.  The champagne tasting presented by Perrier Jouet took me on a tour of not only great champagne but the history and care that goes into making an exclusive bottle of champagne.  Believe me it the care makes the price seem insignificant when you hear about the quality, care and exclusive waits and standards that go into every bottle of their Champagne.  Not to mention the discount on purchases as an attendee. 

The icing on the cake of the fantastic night of education and champagne is really the setting, however.  Taking something you like and transitioning it into something you love can lead on you a path to find like-minded individuals.  It’s amazing what can happen when you have something in common!  Despite going alone I was quickly able to learn and laugh from the others at my table.  Let’s face it, you are in a better mood and likely more approachable when you are doing something you actually like to do and that sets the mood for introducing others to the real you.  Instead of having to make a hard sell on yourself it becomes a natural evolution of conversation and possibility friendship.  This opportunity to network makes it fun instead of seeming like a chore and care really forge some genuine relationships.  I was even able to connect with another solo attorney.  Opportunities can abound when you are being yourself and doing something you enjoy (even if you are a novice). 

Big Hair, Don’t Care

Nzuri Natural Hair show

Honestly I love big hair but when it comes to my natural hair, I really didn’t have much of a choice.  I think everyone’s hair exploration is different and for many of us it starts with envy: Loving the hair that we don’t have. If your hair is curly, then you want straight hair, if your hair is thin then you want it thick.  A classic the grass is always greener situation.  For me it was just looking at the positives of a different hair time instead of the negatives I chose to emphasis in the reality of dealing with my hair.  After many years of experimenting with products, colors and styles I am at a point where I love the versatility that comes with my natural hair.  Getting to this point has been a real process so here are some steps that where important for me to get to the love I have today.

  • Be realistic.  I come from a family where my grandmother has beautiful bone straight hair.  I could spend a lifetime wondering what I did not pull that out of the genetic grab bag or just get realistic about the positives and negatives of the hair I was blessed with.   The fact is no one in your family may have hair just like you but no matter what time of hair you have there are some benefits.  Being realistic about what you are working with will keep you away from things that are damaging to your hair type, like perms or coloring.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment.  The world is the limit when it comes to products for your hair.   I have never found there to be a pre-packaged perfect mix, however, when it comes to hair products.  That is because it was not made custom for you.  It takes a while to really develop the cocktail of products that work perfect for your hair and with the style you want to achieve.  Having your hair curly vs. straight vs. braided all takes a different regimen to maintain.  The great thing is that a lot of manufactures are now making travel size.  Try a smaller size or bottle so you don’t have to commit and keep notes of what it does to your hair.  After a while it is easy to forget and although it may not work on one style, it may be perfect for another.
  • Ask around to others who have your same hair type.  This does not automatically mean to a friend or family member.  Having curly hair does not make all hair types the same.  The curl pattern and thickness can be really different.  I recently saw someone with hair that looked like mine and we actually wound up touching each other’s hair to really see if it’s similar.  You can also get some hands on experience at a natural hair show where you can really find a great match.

 You can check out the Nzuri Hair Show this weekend if you want to start your own hair exploration.  

Perfectly Polished with the Clarisonic Mia

 Mia_White_Front_1000x1000One of Me sans make upmy favorite things about the holidays is all the opportunities to make some memories with friends and family and of course to take lots and lots of pictures.  This of course means that you must be camera ready so the memories you are making are actually ones that become wall worthy.  My friend and beauty guru, Chanta Jones, made a great recommendation for me in getting ready this holiday season (AKA The picture season), the Clarisonic Mia.  It can be really easy to just make focus on makeup and accessories, but as with all holiday decorating, you have to clean up first before you start decking the halls.  Making sure your face is as flawless as you can make it ensures you are ready for memory making from when you first wake up to when you doze off on the couch after your third glass of egg nog. 

I have heard about the Clarisonic Mia for a while and in short I have been reluctant to try because I am skeptical and a little cheap.  I have had super oily skin and the problems that come along with it since puberty struck.  As far as the technical reasons as to why this brush works better I am not sure but as a practical user my bet is on the vibrations.  As a user of the brush, however, I will say that it’s not just the movement of the bristles, it’s the vibrations that make me feel like I am getting my skin super clean and ready for my close up.  It is already programmed to stop after one minute so less time cleaning plus a better clean should be a win in anyone’s book.  As far as the results, well the proof is in the pudding and I am here at work blemish free with no make-up on.   I am definitely a fan of Christmas make up but taking time to take care of the basics makes me feel good no matter what the occasion.  Dare I say even ready to take on the world sans make up!