The Great Cover-Up

“Mom, did you know spiders don’t have butts?”

“No, Hayden, I did not know that. Or should I say I never thought about it.”

This is typical of any conversation with my 6-year-old boy. It involves body parts and/or going to the bathroom. The babycenter.com newsletter emails tell me it’s a normal phase. I hope for his future dating life it is.

Humans? We have butts. Raise you hand and give a whoop-whoop if you are excited about going to the beach in what is basically your underwear? No? No takers? If I was doing  cross-fit  I would be walking around naked just to show off my hard earned rockin’ bod. But I am doing wine-and-cookie-unfit these days and I do not get super-psyched about the idea of stripping down to my skivvies around fellow parents and neighbors. Bathing suit shopping and fitting is a whole another issue, one left best addressed when I have a psychologist on hand. In the meantime I prefer to focus on the abundance of cute-cover-up options. I get far more excited about wearing a new cute cover up than I do a bathing suit.

Here are some of my favorite places to find the perfect piece.

1.  Old Navy

They have tons of cute dresses you can slip on quickly that won’t break the bank.

Women's Jersey Tank DressesWomen's Jersey-Tube DressesWomen's Sleeveless Pocket-Tee DressesWomen's Elbow-Sleeved Gauze Dresses

I know, pants as a cover up? But I really hate to be cold at the beach or pool. These pull-on linen pants from Old Navy are the perfect low-key option to stay comfortable and chic. And I can slip a cute tank over the top and be ready for lunch or shopping.

2.  Surf Shops

Billabong 'Fan Fave' Multi Stripe Tube Cover-UpRaj Geo Print Cover Up TunicSweet Terrain Coverup

Don’t be intimidated or think you have to know how to surf  just to shop in a surf store.They have the best flip-flops and cutest beach accessories.  The original girl surfer brands like Roxy always make something that is just perfect for the beach because it is a little more funky and casual.

3. Vintage Stores

all pics below via Pinterest

White Eyelet Tunic.Tobago Cover Up by Ondademar Swimwear.⚓vacation style.boho

romp city⚓

I love any kind of global or international store. It just seems so much more fun to shop for that piece that looks so uniquely different. A vintage or resale shop gives you access to beautiful embroidered Indian made caftans and tunics.  So you can at least look the part of the world traveler even if you’ve never left your home state.

*Insider Tip –  

Want to get more bang for your buck? I recently attended a fashion show fundraiser for a local elementary school. One of the boutiques there that night was local favorite Ashley Austin. They showed the most beautiful cover-ups. They also showed how they can look equally as cute with leggings or with skinny jeans. So make sure to play around with your purchase and don’t just limit it to over your bathing suit.

* Insider Tip – 

Think out of the box. I found an adorable print on a sale rack in H&M. Turns out it was actually a maternity shirt. But I scored it for about $5 on clearance and the oversize fit was just what I was looking for in a cover-up.

* Insider Tip – 

Not in the mood to go trolling through the shops? Give me a call or shoot me an email and I will do the personal shopping for you. I can drop it off right to your doorstep and return what you don’t want.  I can also do an online shopping board for you and you can shop directly from my selections.

One last note. Please don’t get me wrong and think I have body issues. I think we all think we look much worse than we do. The truth is no matter how self conscious I feel I will go in the pool and to the beach. I am grateful for a healthy body that works just fine and lets me have fun with my kids. I am going to do my best to stop obsessing about what my body looks like in a bikini. Time in the water and in the sun nourishes my soul. I want my kids to remember me running around the beach playing with them, not hiding out for fear of putting my lumps and bumps on show.  However I will always do my best to take the steps when exiting a pool so I can avoid any potential awkward movements like the one below.

Me every time I try to get out of a pool
image via Pinterest

Storm Prep

image via heavy.com

Here in the Northeast corridor of the country we are just coming up for air from Hurricane Sandy. Thankfully, the damages where we live were minimal but my heart goes out to those who suffered much worse. We did lose power, but only a little bit. Some local places were open so I was able to get out and get coffee this morning. This is good because it meant I did not kill anyone in my home due to lack of being caffeinated.

image via nomoredirtylooks.com

There was almost a trip to the ER in our house yesterday as I was convinced I was going to have a heart attack. The anxiety that goes along with what could happen and the waiting nearly killed me. I am not one of those people who acts calm, cool and collected. I am anxious, antsy and annoying to all of those around me. And even worse I tend to freeze in the face of fear, acting like a deer in headlights, waiting for the grown up in the room to come take care of it all, only to find out that is supposed to be me. Thank goodness for my hubby.

Pinned Image

Sadly but true to form the one area I was prepared in was in my wardrobe. I felt very capable to brave the elements this morning because I was wearing my grown-up rain boots. Just like the L.B.J. I think they are something every woman needs to have in their wardrobe. I have recommended them to almost all my clients, including a teenager I was helping to pack up for college, to a recent retiree whose lifestyle has just changed. When I say rain boots I think most people conjure up grotesque images in their mind like…

or

image via ebay.com

To me, the examples above are what I consider Galoshes aka Rubbers, and are not a cute look. Thankfully we have come a long way baby. Todays options are stylish and stunning. And faced with storms that can strike 4/4 seasons they are one of the most used pairs of shoes in my wardrobe. Sometimes when I wear my Hunter tall black gloss boots people will say stupid things like “Hey Noah! Where’s your ark?” But guess what? I don’t care. I am comfortable and dry while I go about my day, despite blowing rains and big puddles in parking lots.

image via polyvore.com

And the very best part? They allow me to walk our battered but still beautiful beaches, even in the dead of winter, and kick my feet through the water. That makes me very, very happy.

Avalon, NJ., post storm, image via seven mile times via Chris Collet

Since many of us are busy this week getting back to life after Sandy this post will be mostly visual, with some pics from Pinterest that I think are smashing. Some are practical, some are not (grosgrain ribbons on a rain boot? not completely practical but oh so cute!). Enjoy!

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

bright red rain boots

Leopard hunter wellies!

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

And I saved the best for last…available locally at Ashley Austin, these beauties are on my wishlist….

Pinned Image

*Insider Tip – As I have said before, try to buy the best QUALITY that you can afford. This does not mean the most expensive ones but the ones that, considering what you have paid, you will get equal payback in performance. My Hunter boots are worth every cent, considering how many times I have worn them over the last 2 years. Before that I had purchased an inexpensive pair that leaked and hurt my feet. Not worth it.

*Insider Tip – Vertically challenged and hate the look/feel of a too-tall boot? You have options!

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

*Insider Tip – I am adding this as an update in response to a couple of reader comments that brought up a great point!

Okay- I have BIG calves- are the Hunter boots REALLY wide? Because the cheap rain boots from Target are too tight on my calves.

Me too there where you got the big calves I need something easy to put on

GREAT QUESTION! I should have mentioned that Hunter makes a style of boots called The Huntress – described on their website as “The Huntress boot encompasses the style of the classic Hunter Original, but with a wider calf space and a shorter shaft height. Perfect for those seeking a roomier fit.” I have read reviews on this boot and talked to some clients and all are happy with the fit!

;

Got a little one in your life?

These are perfect for a wet Halloween!

image via Thestylecure.com

Happy Halloween to you all!!

;

*Insider Tip – I am adding this as an update in response to a couple of reader comments that brought up a great point!

Okay- I have BIG calves- are the Hunter boots REALLY wide? Because the cheap rain boots from Target are too tight on my calves.

Me too there where you got the big calves I need something easy to put on

GREAT QUESTION! I should have mentioned that Hunter makes a style of boots called The Huntress – described on their website as “The Huntress boot encompasses the style of the classic Hunter Original, but with a wider calf space and a shorter shaft height. Perfect for those seeking a roomier fit.” I have read reviews on this boot and talked to some clients and all are happy with the fit!

;

Life Lessons…Part 2

Life Lessons…Part 2

“Girl, you’ll be a woman ma’am soon…” Urge Overkill’s song from the movie Pulp Fiction

At the beach, forever young…and plastic.

“Excuse me, Ma’am? Any games of catch must be played up higher on the beach,” said the lifeguard from his perch. I looked around for a granny with a bathing cap to see who he was talking to. “Ma’am?” Oh no, he was talking to me. I became a ma’am. Granted, I was technically old enough to probably be his mother (teen mother),  but I still felt like throwing a fist full of wet sand at him.

Oh no you didn't!
image via pinterest

Why should this make me angry? He was being polite. My 7-year-old tried to console me after I kept screaming OH MY GOD I AM OLD! by pointing out that he could have called me Man, which would have been far worse  It’s just that Miss would have sounded better to my ears. I think one of the hardest parts of getting older is that our internal thoughts don’t reflect our aging bodies. Sometimes I still feel like I’m not supposed to be the grownup. You know when you go to the doctor’s office and they put you back in the room on the table and the nurse leaves and tells you the doctor will be with you shortly? I hate that because I never know if it is going to be 5 minutes or 30 minutes. And for some reason, (please tell me I am not the only one that does this), I will sit there like a child, afraid to get up to even get my phone out of my purse or get a magazine, for fear of being “caught” awkwardly off of the table where I am supposed to be sitting. It’s not like I am going to get up and start playing with the tools in the room (although that would make for an interesting explanation) but for some reason I fear getting caught off of the table. I don’t know what I am afraid of, there is no rule that says you can’t get up. Yet I sit there as if there is a hidden camera on me. This is the part of me inside that still feels like a little kid.

image via fodrizzle.com

The truth is I wouldn’t go back to my 20’s. Okay maybe for one crazy weekend. But I feel much happier now with who I am in my mid-thirties. However this is where our image and our outfits do come into play. There is a fine line between looking like a Real Housewife from the tv shows and keeping a youthful look. It is flattering to get carded but another thing to look like you are the babysitter.  Conversely, I see many women who sort of give up and age themselves by their clothing choices. The balance requires some finesse on our part in choosing our outfits and how we want to convey ourselves to the world. It is important to edit our wardrobes as we grow and age with grace and dignity.

Michelle Pfeiffer – she is 53!
image via peoplestylewatch.com
Tamra Barney of The Real Housewives of Orange County – age 43
image via starcasm.net

It always surprises me when I find out the age of certain celebrities. Emma Stone has headlined some pretty heavy hitter movies. When she attends events she needs to really balance that line between looking old enough and but not too young. She pretty much always nails it. Oh and she is only 23 years old.

image via pointytoeshoecrew.com

I know the Olsen twins are a fashion power house with their Elizabeth and James fashion line but their frequent frumpy look is just so unflattering.

When they dress to fit their age (they are 26) and their petite size they look stunning.

Pinned Image
image via pinterest

 I love the ensemble below.  In my opinion it is wearable at any age. The sweater is fabulous in the animal print yet covers up anything you are not comfortable with. The top is not too clingy and not too big, and there is a healthy dose of sunshiny yellow with the jewelry and the denim. It is youthful yet timeless and classic all at the same time.

Leopard + Green
image via pinterest

*Insider Tip – Wear COLOR.

Listen I loooooooovvvvvvveeeee black. It makes up a staggering percentage of my wardrobe. But when I look haggard, tired, and just blah it is like a fresh coat of makeup when I put on something with a bright color near my face. It is more youthful. This past season there were so many options as color blocking  itself became a trend. Don’t be afraid of it. It can be purchased at almost any price point and looks chic when paired with a solid white, black or denim. Take your favorite cut or material and turn up the volume but purchasing the color that looks best near your face. If you are stressing over what accessories go with color remember to keep it simple. And color absolutely continues into fall.

image via pinterest

I have a wonderful client who is a busy working mom. She was hosting an event and needed something that she felt fabulous in. Like a lot women she always wants to lose those last couple pounds so she puts off buying anything new and hides in darker colors. I purchased her this dress in a vibrant blue with stretch and ruffles.

The stretch will work if she goes up or down a size and the ruffles are wonderful at camouflaging any insecurities. The best part is that she looked great and felt fabulous the night of her event.

*Insider Tip –  Watch your fit.

I think we all want to look sophisticated, more polished and put-together. Proper fit is the key. Not too tight, not too big.  Too tight and it looks cheap and cheesy. Too big looks sloppy. As our bodies change we have to re-evaluate our sizes. Sometimes we go up, sometimes we go down. The number inside on the tag is just that, a number. What matters is the fit. If you are not familiar with a brand’s fit take a range of sizes inside to the fitting room.  The proper fit might even require extra tailoring but it is worth it in the end.  I had a client take her brand new pair of shorts and have the side slit pockets (an awful, horrible thing anyway) stitched down by her tailor. It provides a smoother fit with non of that awkward gaping at the side of your hips.

The hemlines of shorts and skirts makes a huge difference between tacky and timeless. You need to consider the shape or your own legs. For some women their legs are their best asset. Hello Tina Turner and Jennifer Lopez. If you are unsure of the right length stand up straight with your hands down by your sides. A good rule of thumb is that your hemline should not be shorter than your middle finger at your sides. On the opposite end too long past the knees and you veer dangerously into Queen Elizabeth territory. Even if you do not like your legs aim for a skirt or dress to be tailored right to the top or middle of your knees.  I fall into this category as my legs look like  pieces of chicken waiting to be cooked. Thank God for the pencil skirt.

The Queen and The Duchess – two takes on hemlines
image via yuku.com

Stay tuned for the final Part 3 of what I learned at the beach. In the mean time the next time someone calls me ma’am I can thank them.   After all I have earned every line and wrinkle and I have to sometimes be reminded how lucky I am to have that opportunity. I may not love my legs but they are healthy enough to take me where I want to go, especially out shopping!

Pinned Image
image via pinterest

Life lessons…Part 1.

Life lessons…Part 1.

Summer is going by so fast and I have been so very lucky to be able to spend a huge part of it at my parents’ beach house. I thought I’d share with you some new things I learned while I was away.

Lesson 1 –

Don’t paint your nails after drinking martinis with your mom.

Pinterest (www.pinterest.com) is a fabulous site. I mean it has to be good if I will sit at the computer until I start to drool while on it, ignoring my kids, my house, my own personal hygiene. It makes me laugh, it inspires me, it connects me with beautiful photos. Like a gorgeous glossy magazine with no ads that just goes on and on. Recently I had been inspired to do the glitter french manicure. Yes, I do realize that sounds ridiculous even before I had a sip of alcohol.  I went out with my mom to her favorite destination – her “Cheers” at the beach. We both agreed the first drink seemed strong, really strong. The waitress told us with a wink that they were “extra special” and prepared by one of the bartenders that my parents know well. I swear my parents are not big drinkers but because they go to their shore house all year, even in the dead of winter, they know the staff at this restaurant well. My parents consider themselves locals, prompting my mom to dismiss the rest of us as “shoobies.”

Shoobie

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Shoobie is a term used in South Jersey to describe a tourist who visits the seashore for a day (a daytripper), primarily to use the beach during the summer months.

image via mybigsabanadventure.blogspot.com

Okay so after the first martini and an intense game of “I spy” with the kids we felt great so we decided to have just one more.

Pinned Image
If we’d stayed and had a third…image via pinterest

When we came home I was inspired by pinterest to do my nails like this.

Pinned Image
image via pinterest

Something subtle, and pretty. Just a smidge of my 7 year old’s glitter along the tips.

What I did was this.

Yes, I know hard to look at. Grotesque. The picture above was actually a better version of what happened, taken in the morning after I peeled off the clear coat painted almost to my knuckle. There were 3 coats of light blue,  gold glitter on the tips, with about 4 globs of clear sealing the deal and running all over the tips of my fingers, not just the nails. The glitter itself was not just on the tips of my nails but halfway down the nail bed, and under my nails cementing itself to the skin on my fingertips. I had heinous sheet marks embedded into the thick coats of clear. The purple blue color was even painted on the back of my iphone case. Oh and I did not have any remover with me. Oh and I also thought I would do my toes to match.

Friends don’t let friends drink and paint their nails.

Pinned Image

*Insider Tip – Do join pinterest! It is free and it is easy. And no you don’t have to have everyone on Facebook know every time you want to pin something – unless you want to share. I just don’t want everyone to know I pinned 200 items at 2 in the morning. You don’t have to pin anything yourself if you don’t want to. You can sign up and just play around and explore. It is great for recipes, decorating, great quotes, helpful household hints, kid stuff. Pretty much everything. Obviously my favorites are the clothing. There is never anything wrong with being inspired by someone’s look and recreating it on your own. Now I don’t mean single white female style where you go out and get the haircut too, but feel free to try a similar look. I have a friend who is slightly embarrassed that she always buys the complete display look on the mannequin. That is actually great! That is what they are there for! Take it from someone like me who has worked in retail for a long time and dressed hundreds of mannequins, it is a compliment to me if someone buys the outfit I put on display. You can link to my pinterest right here and see if it is something you like. http://pinterest.com/sefg/

HOWEVER, A HUGE CAVEAT, DO NOT LET IT BUM YOU OUT, IF IT DOES IT IS NOT FOR YOU!

Pinned Image

If you do like it be prepared to not brush your hair, your teeth or sleep for a while…

Pinned Image

Check back this week for more lessons from the beach!

The Official Start of Summer

american flag scarf!
image via pinterest.com

Some say it is memorial day weekend. Others stick with the very official summer solstice in June. Since I have children I think of it when the kids have completed the school year.   I think the same applies to my friends who are teachers as well! Given this  upcoming date I might not be able to post as much. My son said to me just this morning that he thinks I want to “marry my computer.” My daughter said she wished she could invite a robot that would do my work for me so I could just play with them. Such a flattering comment but it also felt like a punch in the gut.  I have been very busy trying to multi-task but I don’t ever want for them to feel like they are the ones that have to lose out. My family and my husband have been so supportive. I just don’t want to take any of this time for granted. At their ages (they will be 8 and 6 at the end of the summer) time seems to go by so fast.

I will still be writing. You would think I was nuts if I told you all the ideas I had related to shopping, closets, and your wardrobe rattling around in my head.  My goal is to write about every other week. You can on  my web page where it says Follow Blog via Email  and it will automatically send you an email when a new post has been published. But I love to hear new ideas so please feel free to email or comment me suggestions or ideas you would like to read about.

I also want to take this time to thank all of you who are reading. When I started this I really wanted it to be an online billboard of sorts for my business. I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy the writing aspect as well. I also didn’t realize that people would actually read it! I’ve experienced some amazing compliments and feedback from people. The best ones have been those of you that said you have applied some of the advice from the blog and were happy with the results.  If I can write something that makes you laugh, is relatable, and inspires you then I have accomplished my goal.

Thank you again for all of your support! A huge thank you again for Whitney Hoffman for your start-up help and for my “editor” in Atlanta, Erin. I owe you both shopping trips. Another thank you for to my ultra-fab clients. You are all so beautiful inside and out, you just needed someone to prove it to you. Thanks for letting me invade your home and more specifically the deep dark depths of your closet (and your psyche??)

C.J. Laing Boutique
Just lie down here and we can talk about it….image via cjlaingshop.com

The most important thank-you of all is to our troops past and present. The sacrifices made by them and their families back home  make it possible to celebrate this holiday by wearing whatever we want wherever we want to.  Although I am not sure it should always be that way.

image via peopleofwalmart.com

I hope you all have a great holiday.   We will be shoving as much dysfunction as we can into my parents beach house that they so graciously let us invade. 6 adults (if you classify me as one), 4 children, and 2 dogs. I’m praying for good weather.

The kids at Mimi and Poppy’s beach house. Yes the underwear was clean (we were unpacking), and no I don’t know what is wrong with them.