Natural vs. Organic

  Choosing the foods that we feed our families can get very complicated. And sometimes it is even more complicated than we realize. There are so many options on the market, especially whenever it comes to natural and organic. We want to choose what's best, but there are a lot of factors that come into play when making these choices. It can be very hard currently to differentiate between different food labels, properly understand their meaning, and then make the right food choices for you and your family. "Natural" and "organic" are two words that we hear all the time that can play a key role in how healthy the food is that you are purchasing. A lot of people assume that there is no difference at all in these two labels, or that they only differ slightly. The truth is: there is a huge difference. What exactly do they mean? Foods that bare the “natural” sticker at the grocery store are simply items that have not been altered chemically. Organic on the other hand, is defined as any type of food that has been produced without “pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.” (2)  Simply speaking then, "natural" indicates no additives or alterations to the food itself, and "organic" refers to the growing and production techniques. What does the USDA Organic seal mean? The USDA Organic seal simply … [Read more...]

Fabulous Finds: Cristal Jewels

I'm not gonna lie... I love a good story! So, whenever I come across a product that has a great story behind it, I am instantaneously sucked in and yearning for more! (What Mama isn't? I know you all like to share stories about your fabulous finds with your gal pals!) Therefore, whenever the company Cristal Jewels (www.cristaljewels.com) was brought to my attention by an amazing connection that we have (my Father works with Noreen's hubby!), I knew that I needed to share the company plus the story behind the jewels with you all. Connected by a bond that is even stronger than their love for all things sparkly, business partners Cindy and Noreen met 10 years ago as mothers with children who both attended the same school--for children with special needs. Over the years, their friendship grew stronger, and they began to share business goals with one another. Cindy, who travels to Tel Aviv, Israel 2-3 times per month for work, had formed a bond with the amazing designers and artisans working along the Mediterranean Sea. She presented her ideas for a fabulous jewelry adventure with Noreen, and they never looked back! Together, they formed the company Cristal Jewels and have put together countless amazing pieces! All are constructed with the finest metals and made complete with the amazing Swarovski® crystals that we ALL know and love! The collections are separated into 3 main categories: Cosmopolitan, Mediterranean, and Metropolitan. Therefore, there is something for … [Read more...]

Spring Has Sprung!

  Spring has most definitely sprung here in the "Big Apple" and I am not complaining one bit! I am typically the kind of fashionista that leans more towards cold weather clothes and being bundled up in boots, the season's hottest coats, and cold weather accessories. But something has shifted inside of me this year. I don't know if it is all of this amazing warm weather fashion that I have been greatly anticipating (I've had color blocking pieces I'm in love with hanging in my closet since January!)  Or maybe it is something about how the sun hitting my skin has been making me feel inside. All fashion talk aside (I know, I know...is this possible?), all this sunshine is causing a motivation inside me that I haven't felt in a long time. I feel this constant yearning to be outside, active, and doing more. Overall, I feel excited for absolutely no reason! I suppose the experts would say that I was suffering from seasonal depression, and maybe there is a little truth to that for everyone, but something inside just feels different. WebMD describes Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as " a mood disorder that happens every year at the same time." Since I'm not a doctor, and WebMD put great emphasis on NOT diagnosing yourself, I decided to do a little research of another kind. This change in my mood has kept this recurring questions running through my mind, (as I have been running after my very active toddler at the park) : What effect does the sun have on our … [Read more...]

How to Find Cute Maternity Clothes That Actually Fit

  Shopping for cute maternity clothes is much different in the year 2012 than it was when my mother was having children. Things have definitely gotten much cuter and more shapely than they were 25 years ago. Today, women want to show off the bump, as they embrace the pregnancy, rather than hiding the bump with a tent-like dress. And if you are an active mama, there are even countless cute maternity clothes in the athletic category so that you don't need to miss out on anything you love and that is part of your normal healthy life during your pregnancy.  Now, I'm not currently expecting, but the fashionista side of me took lots of mental notes when I was pregnant 3 years ago with my little man. So now I've decided that its finally time to put it all into a post. After all, I'm sure that there are plenty of Mamas out there battling with their new little bulge (psst, it keeps getting bigger!) as they try to figure out what will look fabulous on them during this amazing and emotional time while your body is changing on a daily basis. How to Find Cute Maternity Clothes Start with the basics. Some of my must-haves during my recent pregnancy with Blake are:  the Bella band, the ah-mazing BDA leggings from Belly Bandit, Ingrid and Isabels's Everyday Camis, and if you need them - work clothes. Otherwise, maternity yoga pants are awesome! Separates are a great way to go. Then, buy new pieces periodically as needed. With a few key purchases, like skinny pants with a … [Read more...]

How to Find Your Personal Style

  I'm not going to lie...SOMETIMES style can be a tricky thing. Let's be honest here, we spend our lives going back and forth between runway shows, fashion magazine, and fashion blogs, all to be left wondering: what about my personal style? How do I remain true to myself, while still being considered to be fashionable by today's standards? So, let's look at two scenarios - Scenario 1: Walking into a room with all eyes on you hearing a constant buzz of "Wow! You look great!" and "Where have you been shopping lately? I need to take you along with me as my personal stylist." vs.  Scenario #2: Walking into a room and noticing that people are whispering about you. We all know we want to fall into Scenario 1, but it can be hard, since we have so many opposing fashion rules being thrown at us at all times. Plus, we dress differently for a variety of situations and events. For example, you dress much differently for the office or business meeting than you would to a charity event, or even yoga for that matter. So, lets take it step by step and figure out what works best for us. How to Find Your Personal Style Step #1: Body Shape First, you must learn your body shape and what type of clothing works well on your body shape. There are pros and cons of every body shape in existence, and knowing what works for you is key to knowing and expressing your personal style. (Refer to "Being Fashion Conscious: Dressing For Your Body Type" for more details on this … [Read more...]

This is the Day!

Editor's Post By Deborah Hetrick Catanese Ali’s recent post “What About Me?” stirred a recollection of an event from when my daughter was little that's had a lasting positive effect on me. I recall one lovely spring morning, after I had scurried down the corridor of my sweet little girl's elementary school to give her the gym bag she had left in my car. As I opened the door to her kindergarten classroom, I was met with unforgettable sights and sounds.  ALL the children - along with Mrs. Shanley, their larger than life white-blond haired teacher - were standing and swaying and waving their up-stretched arms back and forth in a “Hosanna”-like fashion, while singing at the top of their exuberant little voices… This is the Day, This is the Day! This is the Day that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made! Let us rejoice, let us rejoice! Let us rejoice and be glad in it, and be glad in it! It was the most beautiful, upbeat, joyful melody! And its essence just spoke the truth to me, almost like the effect that a particular hymn from my childhood or some of Bob Dylan’s songs can have. I literally stopped in my paces and watched and listened with a smile plastered all over my face. As the song ended and the children all settled down in their tiny little seats, their sweet little faces all flushed and happy, their teacher turned to me, beaming, and said, “Welcome, Mrs. Catanese.  Hope you enjoyed our morning wake up song!” This vibrant song was unfamiliar to … [Read more...]

Listen To Your Buds!

\ Being a Fashion Blogger allows me to talk about designers and runway shows as much as my heart desires, but being a Mama Blogger allows me take part in something much bigger than fashion by attending events that affect our future generations. Last week, I was invited to an event sponsored by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association that was held to raise awareness about an issue that I honestly haven't thought much about until lately. You see, my little man has recently started an obsession with playing NickJr.com on my laptop computer. Since he wants to be a part of what Mommy and Daddy are doing in the living room, we have taken to letting him use headphones while he plays the games so that we can use the television or focus on reading a book without hearing about Dora The Explorer's latest adventure. While this new computer phenomenon has lead to Branden sitting still for more than 10 minutes, it has also brought along a new argument, as he and I tussle it out over the volume. I don't want his little ears to get damaged from the head phones, but he of course likes to listen to it loudly. I knew that I wasn't the only Mama worried about my child listening to personal audio technology. Therefore, when I was invited to the "Listen To Your Buds" event, held in New York City on Friday May 4th to raise awareness of this issue, I jumped on the chance to learn everything I could.  I quickly sent my RSVP, grabbed one of my gal pals, and then decided what to wear … [Read more...]

The Moving Truck Bells Are Ringing!

  The moving truck bells are definitely ringing--in our heads that is, but unfortunately NOT honking in the streets. When did it become so difficult to find an apartment?! I don't feel like I'm being super picky or looking for anything that is so particular that it is impossible to find, so this situation has me completely perplexed. Whenever we lived in Virginia, apartment hunting was no problem at all. I did a search online, we spent a couple days viewing about 6 different places, picked the one we liked the best and called up the moving trucks. I assumed when I moved to a city where you can get McDonald's delivered at 3 am that I would have an easy time finding a 2 bedroom apartment in the borough of our choice, but apparently this is much easier said than done. Word on the street from EVERYONE that I talk to is that hiring a broker is the ONLY way to go. At the beginning, whenever I got this response, I quickly assured them: "Oh no, we aren't buying yet, just renting." "Yes, that doesn't matter. Brokers have access to everything that you can't see online, even rentals; it's as if they magically have your dream apartment waiting for you as soon as you tell them what you want. I know its expensive, but sooo worth it in the end." "Crap!" being my typical response, as I envision ever more money flying out of our pockets! I was resistant at first, and kept trying to search on my own online, but continued to experience one dead end after the next. It was … [Read more...]

What About Me?

  Earlier this week I had a very long and stressful day at work.  I'm sure everyone has experienced it. No time to run and get coffee or even lunch, for that matter.  Everyone is demanding something from you all at once, and your stress level is rising. You do everything possible not to scream, and try as hard as you can to keep a well poised smile upon your face. Once the day was finally through, my co-worker suggested that we run somewhere to get a drink and relax a little bit before heading home. I couldn't help but accept the invitation. I knew that I needed to unwind a bit, and the thought of walking in the door and dealing with the bedtime battle seemed too grueling to pile on top of my frazzled state. I quickly texted my husband to let him know that I would be home late, as my friend and I turned to our phones to find the closest Upper East Side bar that wouldn't cost us an arm and a leg to get a martini. After a couple of much appreciated drinks and a yummy appetizer, we parted ways, and I headed towards the 4 train to get home. During my 45 minute commute on the train, I had a lot of time to sit and think.  Quiet reflection was a good choice, since not only was I was a little buzzed and still fatigued from the long day, and the thought of searching through my over-sized bag for my iPod was too much.  (We have all been there, one way or another, right?) And then I realized how long it had been since I had gone out without my husband or had done something … [Read more...]

Copyright Laws Vs. The Fashion Industry

  After an overly productive day off from work, when I went running around the city doing all sorts of errands with my boys, I found myself in a very unique situation. It was 8pm and Branden had asked to go to bed earlyand my hubby was finishing up some school work, giving me some dah dah dah...FREE TIME! Gleefully, I grabbed my computer and decided to do some online shopping for spring dresses, since spring/summer in the city is awfully sticky and I want to be wearing the least amount of clothing that I can get away with in public! I started by doing a general search and quickly received a plethora of results, so I started skimming for something that would flatter my figure while remaining within my price range. I stumbled upon a cute Marc Jacobs option that looked quite familiar. Sure enough, as I ran to my closet, I could see that I had a dress that looked identical hanging next to my Banana Republic trench coat. I grabbed the tag thinking "I don't remember spending that much money on this dress" and saw that the tag read H&M. This really upset me because I personally refuse to buy pieces that I consciously know are knock offs, so I am careful about what I select in stores like H&M or Forever 21. But this surprise knock off really got me to thinking...what role do copyright laws play on the fashion industry? It is obviously a HUGE fashion NO NO to go to Canal Street and buy knock off handbags, sunglasses, wallets, etc...but that's a WHOLE different … [Read more...]