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Fashion

Kohls, Back-to-school, school, shopping, sale, Carters

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. I received the included Carter’s clothes as compensation but all opinions are mine.

As I lay here in the sun poolside, it’s hard to imagine that it’s already time to get the girls ready to go back to school. How can it be? Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were celebrating the last day of school? Why do the summers keep flying by quicker the older my children get?

When the girls were little, a year felt like an eternity. Back in those days, I was so exhausted and overwhelmed, I wasn’t 100% sure that I was going to survive the year. Then, it passed and with each passing year, I got a little more sleep, they got a little easier and right at the time you really start to enjoy spending time talking to your little ones and being with them, the summers decide to go by at lightning speed. Not cool, time. Slow down.

Kohls, Back-to-school, school, shopping, sale, Carters

Anyways, my point is time speeds up when we least want it to and it doesn’t seem to care that I’m gripping on for dear life, pulling back while life’s propelling my babies forward. I loosen my grip but then they catapult away in every direction. So I grab hold at my first chance. This push and pull of parenting, like the ebb and flow of the surf against the shore. There’s a lot of bending and growing, the goal is to not break but to grow stronger through our intertwinement.

As the girls get older, we seem to be getting closer. My mom tells me that I’m “lucky” that my girls are “so good”. I tell her, “No, I’ve put in 12 years of hard time to get to this point.” Parenting has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with showing up every single day and being present. It’s hard work but it’s worth it and anyone who tells you it isn’t is either a liar or completely missing the point.

 

Kohls, Back-to-school, school, shopping, sale, Carters

As my girls get older, we actually have fun hanging out together; talking, sharing and keeping secrets, laughing and loving like there is no tomorrow. They are honestly two of my favorite people.

Kohls, Back-to-school, school, shopping, sale, Carters

One of our favorite things to do together is spend the day shopping and trying clothes on. This was a favorite pastime of my sisters and me in our teens. We could shop for hours without ever spending a dime. It was the time together that was important. It may sound cliché, but there truly is something kind of magical and wonderfully bonding about girls creating fashionable outfits together. It’s more than just spending money on clothes, it’s about the conversations, the honesty and the intimacy of sharing your personal style with someone else. It’s sharing a part of your soul and in the process, making memories.

Kohls, Back-to-school, school, shopping, sale, Carters

 

My girls have to wear uniforms to school and that leaves them feeling a bit fashionably and creatively stifled so shopping together for casual clothes is something they look forward to every single year. It transcends the act of shopping for clothing and the bonding experience, it is their chance to showcase who they are. Their casual clothes allow them the freedom to express who they are on the inside.

This week my sister and her son came to visit and we did something we haven’t had the chance to do in a really long time, we went shopping together. We had a blast loading our arms full of the latest Carter’s styles and mixing and matching different pieces and having a little fashion show.

Kohls, Back-to-school, school, shopping, sale, Carters

 

The kids were giggling and laughing and having so much fun together and, in that moment, my sister and I were those two teenagers again; hanging out in the dressing room, trying to find the cutest outfit for the roller dome, or the football game or whatever party we were going to.

In those moments, we all grew closer as we posed the kids and they made goofy faces. It was simple, nothing planned or fancy, just a couple sisters shopping for back-to-school with their children but those little moments, they are when the unforgettable glimpses of forever family begin to shine through. In those snapshots of hysterical laughing and smiling until your cheeks hurt, that’s when the bond is sealed and the love grows.

If you are looking for some seriously cute back-to-school fashion for boys and girls, look no further. Kohl’s Carter’s Department has you covered because August 4 thru August 20, 2017, Carter’s Playwear is 40%-50% off. Check out the Carter’s selection.

My blog may contain links to other websites. I am not responsible for the privacy policies of those other websites. When you click on a link, your information may be collected by those websites so I encourage you to read their privacy policies.

Affiliate links are not associated with Kohl’s.

There is a 40% – 50% off Carter’s Playwear sale from 8/4 – 8/20. Shoppers can also use the BTS10 code to get $10 off $50 spent on the back to school categories (which includes Carter’s clothing).

$10 off $50 spent  – Sales Date: 8/4 – 8/20 (Promo code: BTS10)

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Linda Fairstein, Killer Look, Swarovski, Touchstone crystal,fashion

It’s Friday! Summer is winding down but we’ve got a few lazy weekends left until the leaves start changing color. I don’t know about you but I am looking more forward to this long weekend than I used to look forward to Friday nights when I was in my 20’s.

I can’t wait to sleep in and have no place to be. Sure, I’d love to be lounging on a beach somewhere but to be honest, after the week we’ve had, that even sounds like too much effort. I just want to relax and enjoy my family. I’m thinking sleeping in, lounging by the pool, cooking out, an outdoor movie and s’mores and wine sound like the plan for me this weekend. Maybe even sneak in a little reading of something other than work related reading.

Linda Fairstein has a new novel KILLER LOOK and it is page-turner, crime, mystery set in NYC in the fashion world. Anyone who really knows me knows that I have a fashion addiction and a minor in criminology, so this is right up my alley.

A little bit about Killer Look, New York City is one of the fashion capitals of the world, well-known for its glamour and style. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the runway, where American haute couture continually astounds with its creativity, daring, and innovation in the name of beauty. Yet high fashion means high stakes, as Alex Cooper quickly discovers when businessman and designer Wolf Savage is found dead in an apparent suicide, mere days before the biggest show of his career. When the man’s daughter insists Savage’s death was murder, the case becomes more than a media sensation: It is a race to find a killer in a world created entirely out of fantasy and illusion.
With her own job at the DA’s office in jeopardy, and the temptation to self-medicate her PTSD with alcohol almost too strong to resist, Alex is not anyone’s first choice for help. But she is determined to uncover the grime—and the possible homicide—beneath the glitz. Along with detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace, Alex must penetrate the twisted roots and mixed motives among the high-profile players in the Garment District. The investigation takes the trio from the missing money in Wolf Savage’s international fashion house to his own recovery from addiction; from the role of Louisiana Voodoo in his life to his excessive womanizing; and to the family secrets he kept so well-hidden, even from those closest to him—just as things are about to get deadly on the catwalk.

I don’t know about you but even the synopsis has me on the edge of my seat. With Killer Look, Linda Fairstein proves once again why she is the “Queen of Intelligent Suspense.” And why shouldn’t she be? Linda Fairstein was chief of the Sex Crimes Unit of the district attorney’s office in Manhattan for more than two decades and is America’s foremost legal expert on sexual assault and domestic violence. She, herself, is the inspiration for Mariska Hargitay’s character on Law and Order SVU! Her Alexandra Cooper novels are international bestsellers and have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

What makes a book about fashion and suspense even better? Getting to wear a little fashion bling yourself while engrossing yourself in a great book!

Linda Fairstein, Killer Look, Swarovski, Touchstone crystal,fashion

Thanks to Touchstone and Linda Fairstein, I’m giving away a Swarovski’s Touchstone Crystal Chanelle necklace, a special necklace that is modeled on a famous Swarovski Coco Chanel necklace that was “brought back from the Swarovski archives” by Touchstone Crystal and a copy of Killer Look for one lucky reader!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter by telling me what your favorite Killer Look Touchstone piece is and why.

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tieks, day time, casual, work outfit

Since breaking my leg, I’ve had to make a lot of changes especially since, you know, the leg is not what it once was. It has been through quite the ordeal and once you get broken, shattered and dislocated all in one trip, well, it takes time to recover but I don’t want to be doomed to a life of ugly shoes.

I get it, heels are not really an option when you are still in physical therapy and still learning to not walk like a pirate. To be honest, I am a little terrified to put my heels back on. In fact, I may have a little PTSD. Not joking. I mean, I fell, JUST.WALKING! It’s been a hard road to recovery.

So I’ve decided since my orthopedic surgeon has told me that it will probably take at least 6- 9 months for the swelling to go down and a total recovery time of 12-18 months, I am going to live in the now. Life is too short for only wearing ugly shoes. I need something fashionable and cute yet comfortable. As if that’s not too much to ask, I want a pair of shoes that can easily transition from day to night; from the office to a night out on the town. I want shoes that can go from casual chic to night time sophistication, plus I want them to be pretty. I want these shoes to be everything plus comfortable. Can I get an amen?

I don’t think it’s too much to ask and I think I found the perfect answer to my dilemma…Tieks. Look, we all know they’re comfy and super cute but we all switch to our heels at night and throw our Tieks in the bag in the bottom of our handbag, until our dogs start barking late at night and then we slip our Tieks back on; full fashion circle. Only, I don’t have the time or a working leg to transition to the heels so I want to eliminate them altogether.

My solution? Romantic Blush Tieks in handcrafted metallic prints leather. These shoes are not only glamorous and gorgeous; they elongate your legs because of the nude coloring with just the right amount of sparkle. They say, hey I came to work all day and play all night because they are so comfortable and versatile.I’m not going to lie, I can’t believe it took me breaking my leg to fully appreciate the comfort and style of my Tieks.

Each of these Italian leathers features a unique snake print on split leather, and is entirely hand-painted. The reflective gold and silver foil accents, which add an unparalleled sparkle unique to this collection, are individually placed. At least five sets of skilled artisan hands work on each piece of leather, making this one of our most special collections. As a result, no two pairs of Tieks made from these leathers are exactly alike.

In case you are hesitant about the day to night look. I will show you!

tieks, day time, casual, work outfit

 

Perfect for a day of work or play. Whether you’re working to meet deadlines or heading to a play date with the little ones, this outfit will not disappoint and your feet will be happy.

With one quick change, you can take those same shoes and go out for a night out on the town. Your feet will thank you.

tieks, day time, casual, work outfit, nighttime

 

What’s your favorite piece that goes from day to night?

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your truth is a lie, moms and daughters, comparing yourself to your mother

Have you been wracking your brain and every gift guide on the Internet trying to find  a gift to wow? The holidays are here and everyone is trying to find that perfect gift for the woman they love. It’s no small feat because women are as different as snowflakes and no two are alike. For example, I am a tech lover but I also like beautiful girly things; CES is my Disney World and beautiful things are my weakness.

These are the top things on my list this year.

If the woman in your life is into tech or fashion, she will love almost everything on this gift guide.

marc jacobs, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

Marc Jacobs Daisy Dreams

Everyone who knows me, knows that daisies are one of my favorite flowers because my Grandma was named Daisy. Inspired by the boundless spirit of daisies and blue skies, Daisy Dream reflects Marc Jacobs’ irresistible mix of intricate details, elegance, and femininity for a fresh interpretation of the iconic Daisy motif. The fruity-floral fragrance has a light and airy touch, bursting with top notes of blackberry, grapefruit, and pear. The heart notes are introduced with a bouquet of jasmine, lychee, and blue wisteria, and a medley of white woods, musks, and coconut water reveal the base notes.

The glass bottle is enveloped in a shawl of laced daisies, topped with a silver cap, and adorned with gold hues and daisy accents. The bottle is as beautiful as the scent inside. I didn’t think that I could love anything more than my Grandma Daisy but this scent comes close.

 

UGG, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

UGG® Australia Simmens Short Leather and Wool Boot

Maximize the fashion potential of your wardrobe with this trans-seasonal boot, crafted from waterproof leather with a wool blend shaft and decorative double buckle detail. The Simmens is lined with luxurious, natural wool for moisture-wicking comfort and features a new outsole design, utilizing cork-infused White Spider rubber for optimum traction in slippery situations. $170.

gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas, Baublebar, misfit flash

Helena Locket by BaubleBar and Misfit Flash

Make a statement with the Helena locket. It features vintage accents with classic BaubleBar sparkle. The fashion –forward accessories are as smart as they are stunning. The BaubleBar Locket opens to reveal Misfit’s sportiest tech- the Flash fitness tracker. Misfit Flash tracks your sleep and activity levels, including calories burned, distance traveled, steps taken and sleep quality and allows you to set your personal goals and check your progress. The Helena is exclusively available at Target. $69.99

STACKED

The first wireless charging ecosystem for iPhone eliminates the need for cords from the lives of iPhone users. The all-too-familiar feeling of sifting through a bag, crawling under a desk or standing tethered to the wall to charge a phone is now obsolete. STACKED advances the busy lives of mobile users by enabling both a full charge and connectivity at all times, without a life full of wires.

The shortest distance between two points is no distance at all. STACKED charges faster than any other technology because it comes in direct contact with the phone. The beauty of the bundle system is that the Power Pack is what needs to be recharged, not the phone itself. The Power Pack is recharged via the included AC wall adapter, which allows up to five Power Packs to be charged at once. Users can now maintain an arsenal of wireless charging solutions at their disposal at all times. $129.

Aventura, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

Aventura Clothing

Aventura clothing is a lifestyle apparel brand that makes and sells comfortable clothing with an active focus while being thoughtful to both people and the environment. Aventura is family owned since 1965, creating a supportive family-oriented culture where the little details of life (and clothing) are cherished. Aventura makes the perfect every day clothing. It’s well made, quality clothing made to fit a woman’s body.

Aventura is passionate about creating fashionable clothing with low environmental impact. Their eco-friendly styles not only prevent synthetic fertilizers and farm chemicals from polluting the soil, they look and feel amazing. Now through December 31st, free standard shipping is available.

A-Audio: Rose Gold Lyric On-Ear Headphones

These chic Rose Gold headphones with A-Audio’s distinctive silhouette and sound quality can’t be beat for the music lover on your list. The ear cups with memory foam padding for comfort and isolated sound collapse for easy storage and travel. Built with 40mm custom drivers, powerful circuitry and anti-vibration aluminum for premium sound. Bonus, the Lyric has dual jacks for sharing music with friends. $199

apple watch, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

38mm Rose Gold Aluminum Case with Lavender Sport Band

I’ve wanted one of these since day one. I finally got one and I am in love and you will be too. It’s all the quality and ease of usability that we have come to know and love in Apple products, right there at your wrist. Apple Watch Sport features a rose gold anodized aluminum case, retina display with Force Touch. It also has a heart rate sensor, accelerometer, and gyroscope with up to 18 hours of battery life. My favorite feature, aside from voice texting, is that its water resistant so no worries if I accidentally run it under the faucet. It’s beautiful, functional and the perfect gift for any woman on your list this year. $350.

Lily Bed, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

Lily Bed for Women

Women need the most sleep because generally we are the caretakers of the family. Yet, we are the ones who get the least amount of sleep. LilyBed has taken this into consideration and designed the first bed made for a woman’s body but strong enough for a man. A few of the amazing features of the LilyBed mattress in a box include premium cover that’s soft, cool and hypoallergenic, super soft layer surface, responsive core for perfect balance and complimentary full body support. Bottom line, it’s the best night’s sleep I’ve had in years.

gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas, , light as a feather, Pandora

PANDORA Light As A Feather Earrings in Sterling Silver

Inspired by the elegance and lightness of feathers, these airy dangle earrings represent stunning, natural beauty. Shimmering stones accentuate the splendor of their stylized form, making them a great choice for eveningwear. Sparkling clear cubic zirconias and swirls of sterling silver depict feathers in these beautiful dangle earrings. $100.00

gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas, lomo'instant wide central park

Lomo’Instant Wide Central Park Edition camera + lens system

Lomo’Instant’s new wide instant camera lives up the Lomo rep. This fun vintage-inspired camera kit features three creative shooting modes and comes with three cool lens attachments (wide-angle, close-up, and splitzer), a lens cap that double as a shutter remote control and easy-change color gels that add a wash of color to your photo subjects. It’s like Hipstamatic but in real camera form. I’m as excited about this as I am the USB TypeWriter and Qwerkywriter. $259

nuyu sleep system, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas,

Health o meter™ nuyu™ Sleep System

Sleep solution made of a Bluetooth® enabled sleep mat and app that cycles through temperatures through the night to mimic your body’s circadian rhythm so that you wake up well-rested. It warms slightly when you are going to sleep; cools you down during the middle of the night, and then warms you back up to mimic your natural circadian rhythm.  Starting temperature range: 69° – 105°

Controlled using free nuyu™ app which can be used with the Activity Monitor to track sleep. It is also machine washable mattress pad and hose, washer bag included. $499.99

Olloclip Active Lens

I have a great Nikon DSLR that I depend on for most of my travel and family photos but, honestly, I am a big iPhonographer. My phone is never far away and always convenient to shoot with so I’m super excited about the Olloclip Active Lens. Olloclip Active Lens is a compact, lightweight, 2-in-1 with a telephoto lens and ultra-wide angle lens that snaps onto your iPhone 6/S or iPhone 6 Plus/6S Plus.  It works with both the front and rear facing cameras on the phone too.  Easy to use, just snap it on and snap it off. $99.99

gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas, α77 II A-mount camera with APS-C sensor

α77 II A-mount camera with APS-C sensor

Never miss the moment. When extraordinary happens, capture it with the accelerated α77 II with an astounding 79 high-density AF points, 12fps continuous shooting, and a 24.3MP Exmor CMOS sensor. Every moment is made eternal. Translucent Mirror Technology enables precise phase-detection AF in live view and movie modes. $849.

Brooklyn Bedding: #BestMattressEver

Built with individuality and simplicity in mind, Brooklyn Bedding delivers personalized comfort with a bed-in-a-box designed for every type of sleeper. Breaking the “one-comfort-fits-all” mold, three sleep comfort levels cater to every type of sleeper with Soft, Medium and Firm options. Luxurious, soft quilted pillow top cover knitted with moisture-wicking cotton for cloud-like feel and breathability. It’s like sleeping on a cloud. $450 – $1,050

xdoria,gps, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas,

X-Doria: KidGPS 

Every mom I know will want this palm-sized tracking device that notifies parents of their children’s exact location via companion iOS or Android application, providing peace of mind. This user-friendly device that can be tucked in a child’s pocket or clipped on their backpack

Panic alert button sends the current location of a child to multiple devices.

Battery lasts up to seven days and can be recharged via integrated micro-USB port. Tracking services range from $5.99/month for 12 months, or $7.99/month for 6 months

Polaroid Zip

The Zip is a super-simple, instant photo printer. Turn it on, connect it to your iPhone or Android via Bluetooth and hit the print button on the free app. The result: 2X3” full-color instant prints. The Zip uses special photo paper (a 30-pack only costs $14.99) that’s ink free and comes out dry-to-the-touch. $129.99

zara, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

Zara

Zara is my favorite place to buy affordable clothing that is cute and feminine. The inventory is constantly updating for the seasons and I love the feminine fabrics and cuts. It’s a great selection of outfits for work and evening wear.

gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas, dxo-one

DxO One

The DxO One will turn your iPhone or iPad into a DSLR quality camera for less than the price of a DSLR. It pairs perfectly with your iPhone so that you can take amazing photos anywhere. It shoots 2.1-MP photos and 1080p video and you can toggle between the two modes with a tiny 1-inch touch screen on the side of the device. The DxO One gives photographers DSLR-like modes like aperture priority, shutter priority, program and manual. $599.

tipsy elves,gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

Tipsy Elves 

If you are looking for something like nothing else, might I suggest an ugly sweater or Christmas jumper from Tipsy Elves. I recently received the Women’s Blue Reindeer Jumpsuit and they are the super cozy and toasty. The design has a bold blue background a white Fair isle design with grazing reindeer. The front pockets include zippers and a red accent color on the cuffs to complete the outfit. This jumper is great for Christmas morning, lounging during holiday break or wearing to your favorite ugly sweater party. Bonus, it also comes in Mens and children’s sizes.

Margaritaville®: New Key West™ Frozen Concoction Maker®
This is the  perfect gift to celebrate at all the holiday parties and will definitley help you ring in the New Year! Refreshed version of this classic now features an extra-large ice reservoir that holds ice for 3 full pitchers so you can enjoy the party longer before it’s time to refill

· Shaves ice, instead of crushing like other machines, for perfectly smooth beverages

· Margaritaville® maritime detailing that features a new silver base to match modern home décor

· Produces 36-ounces of restaurant-quality frozen drinks

· Includes manual shave & blend controls

· Includes a 36 oz., sturdy glass blending-jar and with Easy Pour lid

Price: $399.99

What’s your favorite present on this gift guide?

Disclosure: Some of the products on this gift guide were provided for review purposes but entirely opinions are my own.

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gift guide, tech for parents, girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, chooze, xdoria, kid's fit, American Girl, MaryEllen Larkin

This Christmas holiday I’ve put together a girl’s gift guide that my daughters will flip over. They love tech, they love travel and they love fashion and of course, they love unicorns. Don’t we all?

Anyways, the point is that they love lots of things. In fact, did I mention they’ve put a Storm Trooper Dress, luggage and a trip to New York at the top of their list? Every child is different and every child likes different things but I think this list covers the spectrum of interests for little girls of all ages and interests.

Here are my top picks for the 2015 girl’s gift guide.

girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, unicorns

Main Sail Studio Plush Unicorn Head Taxidermy

My girls LOVE unicorns and this handmade soft unicorn faux taxidermy mounted on a ready to hang wooden plaque does not disappoint. You choose the colors for the unicorn head and mane and the plaque. Plaques can be a solid, a two-color ombré with or without glitter. The head is machine sewn and hand sculpted from soft fleece. The horn is made from a textured satin and then coated with a sparkly glaze. It comes with a repositionable butterfly or flower clip. The mane textile varies based on color choice. The mouth, nose, ears and cheeks have hand painted subtle blush color. The eyes are embroidered. At purchase you can send a note with your color ideas. This is the perfect present for every little girl. I can’t wait to see my daughter’s face on Christmas morning when she sees this beautiful piece of unicorn art.

girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, chooze,xdoria, kid's fit

X-Doria: KidFit

KidFit is a wireless activity and sleep tracker for ages 5-13 that encourages and motivates kids to play hard and get enough rest.  The KidFit wristband is a one-size-fits-all slap bracelet and is IPX3 (Splash Proof) rated. A daily activity target is customized for each child and scored out of an easy to understand 100 points.

With each sync, the KidFit app motivates and encourages your child to reach their activity and sleep goals.  Built in goals keep kids challenged and parents can set custom goals tied to real world rewards.  The free KidFit app is available for iOS and Android.

chooze,girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion,

Chooze backpacks, lunch boxes, split leggings and shoes

Chooze is a brand that recognizes children’s innate desire to express themselves through unique wardrobe choices. The freedom to express themselves is the key to unleash their potential. The collection of mismatched shoes, split leggings and reversible backpacks and lunch packs empower kids with creativity, confidence and the power to have a positive impact on the world.

girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, chooze, xdoria, kid's fit, American Girl, MaryEllen Larkin

American Girl Mary Ellen Larkin

Maryellen Larkin, the newest character to join American Girl’s popular BeForever line, is an energetic and optimistic girl who follows her heart instead of the crowd growing up in Daytona Beach, Florida, in the 1950s.

The Maryellen doll is 18” tall with warm brown eyes and strawberry-blonde hair in a high ponytail and sideswept bangs. Maryellen’s authentic 1950s outfit features a striped dress, a lacy-knit shrug with a monogramed M, black shoes, underwear, and a ribbon bow for her hair. Includes the paperback book, The One and Only, the first novel-length volume of Maryellen’s classic series by Valerie Tripp.

girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, chooze, xdoria, kid's fit, American Girl, MaryEllen Larkin, Julie Albright

American Girl Julie Albright

Julie Albright is bright and sunny on the outside and a fighter on the inside. She likes school, hanging out with friends and playing on the basketball team in 1974. This beautiful, blonde flower child will stand up and fight for what’s right.

American Girl, MaryEllen Larkin

Maryellen’s Television Console

A large television console was truly the entertainment center in Maryellen’s day. This set features a 1950s-style TV console with a built-in make-believe record player and encyclopedia books. Plus, your girl can create and watch her own original videos on the console with her iPad!

The Care and Keeping of Us Book Series

This kit includes twin books, one for girls and one for moms, filled with dozens of how-to-say-it scripts to get the conversations going. These scripts give girls the words to talk about all the big topics from body basics, hygiene, and healthy habits to friends, first crushes, clothing, and more. And mom’s book gives her the actual words to respond to her girl’s questions, as well as scripts to initiate important conversations with her daughter. Plus, a sharing journal lets both moms and girls jot down thoughts, memories, and questions. Two bookmarks are included to guide each other to the latest entry or point out something they don’t want the other to miss.

Disney Playmation

Disney Playmation is a connected wearable experience that triggers imagination and play in children. It’s high tech meets old school and the bottom line is that your child will be moving and using their imagination. The starter pack comes with a arm-mounted Repulsor Cannon that acts as your interface to the imaginary Marvel world.

Little Passports World Edition

Explore the world, one country at a time. Each month, your child will receive letters from Sam and Sophia. The monthly package arrives with fun souvenirs, activity sheets, photos and stickers for your suitcase, map and passport. Your child can also access Boarding Zone for more online games.

How to Survive Anything

Let’s face it. With school pressures, social pressures, parental pressures…the teenage years are tough. Your best friend is with you one day, dating your crush the next. But it could be worse! You could be face-to-face with an angry grizzly, or chest-deep in quicksand. Never fear, National Geographic has the solution! In this hilariously informative take on surviving the trials of middle school and the jungles of South America, we combine our expertise on nature and adventure with the fun-and-learning approach of our Nat Geo style…and voila, the perfect advice to conquer any obstacle, whether it threatens life or social status or both. Edgy, young, authoritative, and amusingly illustrated, this title will grab the attention of young teens and gift-buyers alike.

A Friend for Lakota

The Dutchers have the unique experience of living in a tented camp in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains among a pack of wolves, observing and documenting rarely seen social behavior, including bullying.

Treasury of Norse Mythology

Beautifully told by author Donna Jo Napoli, this book is a gorgeously illustrated compilation of Norse myths of gods, goddesses, monsters, and heroes. If your kids are fans of Thor, Vikings, and more, this Treasury contains more of the lyrical tales of the Norse gods, goddesses, trolls, and giants that are perfect for bedtime–or anytime–storytelling.

National Geographic’s Guide to Photography

This amazing book has tips and tricks on how to take great pictures, with advice from Nat Geo photographer Annie Griffiths as well as My Shot kid shutterbugs.

girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, unicorns, sony cyber shot

Sony Cyber-shot QX10

Most tweens and teens use their smartphones to take photos and if they want to improve their images, then a camera that affixes to the phone could be an ideal present. This will give better image quality and most importantly, more optical zoom to images.

The Sony Cyber-shot QX10 adds a 10x optical zoom lens, fullHD video recording, and an 18 megapixel sensor to any Android or iOS smartphone, significantly upgrading the camera on most smartphones and giving the extra clarity and reach of 10x optical zoom to boot. Paired with the National Geographic Guide to Photography book and you just may have a little Annie Leibovitz on your hands.

What’s at the top of  your child’s Christmas list this year?

What would you have included on this girl’s gift guide?

Disclosure: Some of the products on this list were provided to me free of charge for review purposes for this gift guide.

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Sol Alpaca, Peruvian, environmentally friendly, fashion, high quality

Disclosure: I am being compensated by SOL ALPACA for your participation in this campaign. You must also include that you are part of the Mom It Forward Blogger Network

I love fashion but more than that I love high quality, well-made pieces that can stand the test time. The more unique, the more I fall in love because having a piece that is unlike everything else around you is like having the only one in the world. This is one of the reasons that I love SOL ALPACA.

SOL ALPACA based out of Peru recently opened its online store and now the people of the entire world can enjoy these amazing handcrafted pieces made with only the best fiber and enthusiasm that experts can provide. Peru specializes in an ancient textile tradition and SOL ALPACA is its principal heir.

Sol Alpaca, Peruvian, environmentally friendly, fashion, high quality

I was first introduced to the warm people and culture of Peru many years ago when I was 16-years-old and met an exchange student from Lima. Suddenly, my eyes were opened to an entire culture of warm people that I never even knew existed. Soon after, I fell in love with the music, the food and the people.

I am thrilled to be partnering with SOL ALPACA.

They make it possible to experience all the warmth the Andean people have to give; people who love what they do and live with a special passion in harmony with nature, from your own home.

SOL ALPACA works only with the finest fibers of the Andes: alpaca and vicuña and exploit the complete range of 32 natural shades – the world’s largest – to create designs that achieve a perfect balance between the exceptional inherited abilities of Andean people and modern-day trends.

Sol Alpaca, Peruvian, environmentally friendly, fashion, high quality

I received a gorgeous, handcrafted scarf in a multitude of colors that are reminiscent of the people of the Indian villages surrounding the place I spent my summers as a child in Mexico. For me, this scarf is a like having my very own piece of sunshine at all times. It’s traditional in that these sophisticated garments originate from a time-honored skill passed down from generation to generation but make no mistake, these pieces are as beautiful as they are warm.

Visit SOL ALPACA in this new online store with its sophisticated garments and accessories. I’m sure you will find a perfect quality piece for that someone special ( or yourself) this holiday season. Let the hands and hearts of Peru keep you warm this winter.

For a limited time,  StoreLaunch2015 is a promocode valid only until december 31st that gives you a 10% discount in their store, with the first online purchase, if you are a subscriber of their newsletter.

Let SOL ALPACA keep you warm.

 

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I’ve had the pleasure of being an ambassador for Aventura clothing for the past year. Until then, I honestly didn’t know much about the line. In the past year, I’ve had the chance to try several pieces and I won’t lie, I’ve really been impressed.

I’m 42 years old, so I figured out a long time ago the difference between cheaply made clothing and well-made, high-quality pieces. In fact, I can’t even convince myself to buy lesser quality clothing for myself because it’s simply not worth it in the long run. What’s the point of paying $25 for jeans if you only wear them once? I’d rather pay $100 or $200 and wear them until they fall apart.

Aventura was a pleasant surprise in the fact that they are well-priced but extremely well-made using high quality materials that not only look good and feel good, they are made to fit adult women’s bodies; tall, short, thin or plus sized. Got curves? No problem.

The pieces are comfortable and you feel good when you wear them. I don’t spend the entire time pulling and tugging to get stuff to fit. It’s just cut in a way that falls nicely on the adult woman’s body. Of course, that hasn’t kept my young daughters from snagging certain pieces, ahem, scarves and hats.

Aventura

 

What can I say the girl has good taste. Though I do wish she’d let me wear it at least some of the time, but how can I deny her when she looks so dang cute in the Lachlan hat and scarf?

Here are a few of my favorite pieces that I ordered. With the basic colors and patterns, it is so easy to mix and match to create endless possibilities with just a few great pieces.

 

Aventura

 

This outfit is so cozy and perfect for shopping or lounging by the fire. I am a big fan of Aventura sweaters but the Berlin wool sweater may be my all time favorite. It was perfect for apple picking and cool fall days and has transitioned nicely as a layering piece this winter. I can’t express how awesome the bienne tank tops are. They come is several colors and are long enough for any height and you don’t have to worry about them stretching out or riding up on muffin tops. Definitely a basic everyone needs in their closet. The Morgan cords are like nothing you have ever felt before, soft, stretchy and body hugging without restrictive. I LOVE THEM.

 

aventura

Or if you are need something feminine, yet warm and cozy to wear to girls night out or dinner with your favorite guy. I love this outfit. The Maxine top is light and flowy with ruching on the neckline that makes it look gorgeous on almost every body type and can be worn year round. I like to layer it over a bienne tank in beaujolais  during the cooler months. On top of that, I like the Zuri Jacket because the 100% boiled wool will never fail to keep you warm during these cooler months and the gradient color gives it a air of sophistication.The Blake skinny jean goes with just about anything you want to wear it with. Made from organic cotton and Lycra, it’s an eco-friendly option with a touch of stretch that fits your body like a glove and they look great with boots.

 

aventura

I spend a lot of time in yoga pants so when I get dressed to go out into public for school parties, to the doctor’s office, shopping, the movies or just lunch with a friend, I have an expectation of comfort but I don’t want to look like I just rolled out of bed so Aventura helps me have both; style and comfort. I think this is just the perfect outfit for hanging out and running errands. The Ciera vest is quilter and tailored but the back is stretchy knit, so you may not want to go up a size. I did to accommodate my bust-line and it was a little large on me. The Natalie Reversible skirt is reversible with a fun burnout print on the top layer and a solid jersey on the inner layer and it’s fully lined so if you are over 30, no need to worry about cellulite making an appearance through your clothes. We’ve got you covered. This skirt is super comfy and lightweight. You can wear it definitely wear it round.

You can still get your Aventura in time for Christmas!

Oreder 12/19 before 9 AM PST for 2 & 3 Day Shipping • 12/22 before 9 AM PST for Next Day Shipping.

Just because I am in the holiday spirit, I will give a 60% off promo code for your order up to $250 to the first 15 people that leave a comment letting me know your favorite Aventura piece.

 

 

ecoths

Sportif also has a men’s line, Ecoths brand, which my husband loves.. Same quality as Aventura, made to fit real men but fashionable and stylish. He has the Maddox sweater made of 100% organic cotton. It’s soft and cut to accommodate his broad shoulders, waist and long torso which is something we usually have a hard time finding to fit. He also has the Grady Cords which he adores and he is not a corduroy type of guy but he says that these are so comfortable that he feels like he’s wearing his favorite jeans, plus there’s no awkward swishing sound like with some corduroy pants.

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ecoths' maddox sweater

Personally, there is nothing sexier than a man cooking for me but he’s wearing that Maddox sweater pretty well.

 

aventura, holidays, holiday gift guide 2014

I wear my Aventura everywhere. The jacket I wore to the city tree lighting above my Berlin sweater is the Briarwood jacket and I won’t lie, I wish I had it in every single color. Even the Grinch approves:)

As you can see, my family is an Aventura family. We love it and that’s the truth. Happiest of Holidays to your family from mine.

 

Disclosure: I am a proud Aventura ambassador and as such product was provided to me for review purposes, all opinions are my own.

 

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gift guide, tech for parents, girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, chooze, xdoria, kid's fit, American Girl, MaryEllen Larkin

Is there anything better than pretty things that sparkle? Sure, massages, a maid and a personal chef but nothing can pep me up quite as much as a piece of a beautiful bling to make me feel all pretty ( and believe me that’s no easy feat for someone who spends most of her days in yoga pants and sweaters.)

Recently, I partnered with Touchstone Crystal, Swarovski’s direct selling jewelry division, to review some of their beautiful pieces and I think any woman would be thrilled to find these baubles in their stocking this year. I know that I was pretty excited when I opened my 3 tiny blue boxes.

touchstone, crystal, swarovski, sponsored, spotlight collar necklace

Spotlight Collar Necklace ($169)

The Spotlight Collar Necklace is a gorgeous statement piece and speaks for itself at first I was a little intimidated by all that beautiful bling. It’s definitely an attention grabber. It’s a beautiful gift to give to a special woman in your life or for yourself. It’s definitely the go bog or go home piece of jewelry. So far, I’ve worn mine to see my daughters perform in the city ballet’s Nutcracker performance and to a family Christmas party.

touchstone, crystal, swarovski, sponsored, spotlight collar necklace

 

I received more compliments than I can count.

touchstone, crystal, swarovski, sponsored, spotlight collar necklace

But, to tell the truth, it works just as well with a nice pair of jeans and blouse for date night with your favorite guy.

 

touchstone, crystal, swarovski, sponsored, spotlight collar necklace, touchstone crystal golden ice bracelet

Crystal Ice Earrings ($29)

The Crystal ice earrings are simple, sparkly and have become my every day earrings. They pair beautifully with my diamond studs that I wear in my second hole and my wedding ring. They work with anything you want to wear from jeans to a skirt and jacket or even your fanciest cocktail dress and rabbit fur. They are just the perfect amount of sparkle to compliment and not overwhelm your outfit.

 

touchstone crystal golden ice bracelet, touchstone, crystal, swarovski, sponsored, spotlight collar necklace

Golden Ice Bracelet ($125)

This bracelet is simply gorgeous. It features a continuous row of sparkling crystal golden shadow Swarovski elements. It’s gold plated with a fold-over clasp, with one extra removable extender bar and adjustable 7 1/4˝ to 7 3/4˝ length but I have to tell you, it pairs almost perfectly with my rose gold jewelry. Also, it’s available in other colors and looks AMAZING stacked. The possibilities are endless, 1 single bracelet to daintily adorn your wrist with an evening gown or a stack to add some sparkle to your favorite casual outfit.

 

I won’t lie, I do prefer diamonds but I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Swarovski crystals since my husband surprised me with a beautiful bangle bracelet on our trip to Niagara falls when we were first married. I love the idea of the sparkle and the affordability of crystal. Every woman deserves a little sparkle and for that very reason, I am happy to announce that I will be giving a pair of the gorgeous Crystal ice earrings away to TWO luck readers thanks to the generosity of Touchstone Crystal.

 

touchstone crystal golden ice bracelet, touchstone, crystal, swarovski, sponsored, spotlight collar necklace

 

Touchstone Crystal by Swarovski is Swarovski’s direct selling jewelry division a fun, social shopping direct sales business where consultants can earn substantial income, and discounts, by hosting Touchstone Crystal events or selling via the online catalog.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided these baubles for review by Touchstone Crystal but my love for them is all my own.

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visa checkout, gymboree, holidays

This is a sponsored post. I received compensation from Visa/Gymboree to buy my products and

use its Visa Checkout online payment service, but all thoughts reflected here are my own.

 

We had our first snow this week, Tchaikovsky’s been playing on a continuous loop and the first

fire of the season has been stoked in our fireplace. Tis the season of twinkling lights, cozy

pajamas and cuddling with those you love the most. It’s also a reminder that the holidays are

right around the corner.

This year it seems like everyone has decided to skip Thanksgiving and go directly to Christmas.

At first, I wasn’t really onboard with early Christmasing but suddenly I am all about Christmas.

I’m ready to put up the tree and deck the halls and falalalalala all over the place. Bring on the

shopping.

I’m planning ahead for breakfast with Santa and family Christmas card photos. Usually at this

point my head is consumed with thoughts of sugarplums dancing in my head and all things

Nutcracker. That’s what happens when you’re the mom of ballerinas. Your entire holiday season

is broken down into two categories; Nutcracker season and the hurried rush of the two weeks

until Christmas.

When most people are carefully planning their holidays, I am busy hurrying from one

performance to the next. I’m sure all the ballet moms reading this are shaking their heads in

agreement. Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally worth it and I love every minute of being a part of

this part of my daughters’ lives but it doesn’t leave a lot of leisurely time for things like baking

cookies, ice-skating and taking fun, family photos in matching Christmas PJs. I decided this year

things are changing, we’re doing the Christmas cards like everyone else (and not the week of

Christmas like I’ve been doing for the past 5 years.)

In fact, I got on the Internet a couple weeks ago and visited Gymboree and found the cutest

holiday pajamas for the entire family, yes, even my 6’5” husband. Not just coordinating pajamas

but real, honest to goodness, matching pajamas in all of our sizes; from newborn to Men’s 2XL. I

thought it was too easy. I love everything that makes my life easier. Streamlining is my happy

place.

When I went to checkout, I was pretty excited to see the Visa Checkout button. What’s Visa

Checkout? It’s a simple, easy ways to pay with any major credit or debit card online at the sites

you love. Simply create an account once and speed through all of your future purchases without

having to search for the wallet, get it out and re-enter payment and shipping information every

single time. I don’t know about you, but this is a super time saver during the busiest shopping

season of the year.

After the initial account is set up with your major credit or debit card, all that is required is your

username and password. It’s secure with Visa’s advanced security tools that leave customers

with zero liability in case of fraud and it allows shoppers to earn great rewards. Offering a

consistent, simple experience across desktop, mobile web and apps. Voila, who said the holidays

had to be hard?

Visa Checkout is already an option at many big retailers, and thanks to Visa’s vast network it’s

growing all the time and I know, for a fact, that it’s available at Gymboree.com. What are you

waiting for? Go make your life easier and spend that time actually enjoying your holidays.

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Brian James Footwear, Brian James, women's shoes, Gabrielle Noir

Shoes! God, do I love shoes and I am not just saying that because I’ve partnered with Brian James Footwear to check out their summer line. No matter how fat or skinny you are, your shoes (usually) always fit. I love that about shoes, they don’t betray you like a pair of bitchy jeans. Shoes and bags are by far the most forgiving of the clothing and accessories.

As I’ve gotten older (and wiser) I’ve realized that I don’t mind paying a little more for quality. I almost die of shame every time I think of the unlined dresses, see-thru tops and tight Gap jeans that I lived in in my 20’s and the shoes? I lived in Wild Pair platforms and Payless trendy boots. Thank God when you’re in your twenties you are pretty and too naïve to know how terribly skewed your fashion sense is.

Older and wiser, more money and a bigger caboose have made me realize that you get what you pay for and if you buy cheap, expect cheap.  I used to shop BOGO sales like my life depended on it. I also owned 150 pairs of shoes one summer. These days, I prefer to spend $100 on a pair of nice shoes that fit well and don’t make me feel like I want to punch myself in the face.

This is why I adore Brain James Footwear. They are made by the same people who make PediPeds for your children and they are so comfortable but with a grown up fashion sense for the most discriminating taste.

I tried the Gabrielle in noir and the Monique in Black and Snakeskin. They are cute, chic and comfortable which is great news for this mama’s feet.

The Gabrielle Noir by Brian James

Brian James Footwear, Brian James, women's shoes, Gabrielle Noir

3.5 inch stacked wedge with a contemporary feel. This sandal wedge is styled with stone embellishments and unique cutouts, along with a Velcro closure for adjustability and raw edges for buttery comfort.  Perfect for summer date nights with a cute little dress.

– Available in Noir and Taupe Kid Suede
– Features a cushioned footbed
– Velcro closure for adjustability
– Leather lining
– 3.5 inch stacked wedge
– Includes dust bag

 

The Monique in Black and snakeskin by Brian James Footwear

Brian James Footwear, Brian James, women's shoes, Gabrielle Noir

Minimally sleek. We reincarnated the classic ankle strap style with tonal color block and snake embossed leather. Silky cow leather, cushioned footbed and flexible rubber outsole create a lux feel without the fuss. I rock these everywhere and they are awesome because they work with capris, shorts or dresses. They are very versatile.

– Available in Nude, Noir & Noir, Snake
– Features silky, sheep leather & cushioned footbed
– Leather lining
– Velcro ankle strap for adjustability
– Includes dust bag

These are both perfect for this summer and into the fall, depending on where you live. Also, there are lots of great styles for this fall at Brian James. I’ve been a huge fan of this brand since my first pair. They are stylish, comfortable, well-made and super cute and who doesn’t love cute shoes? Speaking of cute shoes, Brian James is letting me give away one pair of shoes to a reader. To enter, simply go to the Brian James website and leave me a comment HERE telling me what your favorite pair is. I will randomly select a winner a week from today. Contest ends August 12 at midnight! Good luck.

So, what is your favorite pair of shoes from Brain James footwear?

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