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...]

The Tango of the Unwanted Parenting Advice

Since Branden was first born, I have been in many different situations where I look at people as if they had four heads while thinking to myself, "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know this was your child!" Last I checked, I gave birth to Branden, and the only names on his birth certificate are mine, his, and my husband's. I'm sure that all of you Mamas know exactly what I am talking about! I have come to refer to this awkward situation as The Tango of the Unwanted Parenting Advice. Let's face it, this title is quite fitting. It really is a dance around the subject of what is right for MY child, and what someone else THINKS is right for MY child. We have all been in this situation where people come out of the woodwork to offer parenting advice, leaving you to wonder silently, "Did I ask you for your opinion?" It is just plain miserable, awkward, and humiliating, whether it comes from friends, family, or strangers. (By the way, what is up with strangers who approach you and think they instantly know what is best for you and your situation? Kind of presumptuous, right? I will never understand.) Dealing With Unwanted Parenting Advice Let's be real here for a second (as if I'm not being real enough already!). Each generation has their own debates about child rearing issues (ie. circumcision, breast-feeding, immunizations) that must be decided upon. Due to medical and technological advances, additional research, and current trends, there seems to be an ever … [Read more...]

Thank You Very Much, But My Plate is Full!

  Normally my motto is "pile it on", but today my plate is full.  OVERWHELMED is my all-encompassing word of the day (possibly the week), and I need a break! I usually tend to be the kind of person wh0 needs to have a million things on my to-do list, or else I get bored. I find extreme amounts of satisfaction as I successfully complete tasks and cross them off my list.  I love watching the list get smaller and smaller, until I add more, of course.  But every once in a while, there comes a time when adding that last item to the very bottom of my list can really push me over the edge. I normally don't know when it's coming; this feeling seems to just creep up upon me. It's like I hit my breaking point, and there is no turning back. This poses the question : How does a Fashion Forward Mama know when it's just too much? According to kidshealth.org: "Stress is a feeling that's created when we react to particular events. It's the body's way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet a tough situation with focus, strength, stamina, and heightened alertness." It is important to note that there are such things as 'good stress' and 'bad stress', and even more important to know how to tell the difference. Good stress gives us the motivation to do something really well through practice and planning, or to react in a certain manner during emergency situations. Bad stress stays with us for the long term and can have negative effects on our overall health. After … [Read more...]

Being Fashion Conscious: Dressing For Your Body Shape

Dear Diary, While turning my apartment completely upside down yesterday to find a matching shoe to one that I had lost, I came across some pictures of myself from high school. I couldn't help but cringe whenever I looked at what I was wearing. Obviously fashion has gone through quite a transition since then, but it wasn't necessarily the fashion that bothered me. What stood out to me like a misplaced accessory was the fact that I was wearing the wrong cut of clothing in absolutely every picture! It became so apparent to me at that moment how important it is to always be fashion conscious and dressing for your body shape. At this point in my life, I can walk into almost any store and know right away before trying something on if it is going to be a good fit for my body type or not. But back then, I was in a quandry about how in the world to dress for my body shape. Even though I have thinned out a bit since high school, I still consider myself to be an apple body shape, in that I carry my extra weight in my mid-section. In order to hide this, my family and friends often suggested that I should wear things oversized to hide the problem area. Now, considering everything I've learned about my body, and shopping, and fashion as a whole, I know differently. So, I thought that it would be beneficial for my lovely readers if I explained the different body types and how to identify where you fit in, and then point out some key pieces that are more likely to work with your … [Read more...]

“But…I Don’t Like This”

  It's official! My little guy has developed a taste palate that is identical to his father's, which translates into PICKY! PICKY! PICKY! I feel like I am one tired Mama who is sick and tired of hearing Branden's infamous words: "But...I don't like this." Since my meat and potatoes husband is set in his ways, I feel like I still have some time to turn my little man's dislikes into likes. In the meantime, I have found that I have developed many tricks of the trades to get Branden to make healthier choices and learn about nutrition from a young age. Whenever I make vegetables such as broccoli, squash, carrots (really anything that can easily soften) for dinner, I set a little bit aside and overcook so that I can form a paste out of it. The next day, whenever I am making Branden something like grilled cheese or a cheese quesadilla, I smooth the paste onto the sandwich and (most of the time) he doesn't notice the difference! So that we can get away from drinking so much juice (even though I always use the half juice/half water method), I have taken to having Branden help me freeze pieces of fruit inside ice cubes. Once they are frozen, we place these frozen nuggets inside juice cups filled with water so that he's a little bit more eager to drink it versus plain juice. We also freeze yogurt in between vanilla wafer cookies for bedtime snacks. You can even freeze yogurt or organic fruit juices in ice cube trays as well. I know that Popsicles and Go-gurt exist, but … [Read more...]