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Thursday, October 8, 2015

#RidersStyleChallenge: Denim 3 Ways

I have never cared about the label on my jeans, only about how they fit. I don't care if the jeans cost $20 or $200, if they don't fit and flatter, they are tossed to the donate pile. You won't see me in jeans as often as you will catch me in a dress solely because they just aren't as comfortable. I was recently contacted by Lee for a Denim Style Challenge, and I couldn't have been more excited to road test some new fall denim in hopes that I can add it to my favorite list!

The style I was provided with was Riders by Lee- honestly, I had no clue that there were so many different varieties of Lee jeans. I specified a mid-rise, skinny pair in black, and received just that. The fabric is "Heavenly Touch" which you need to actually feel to understand. You know how many pairs of jeans are a bit rough to the touch and unrelenting unless you have worn them in for years? This material is stretchy yet doesn't lose shape and as soft as a vintage t-shirt. 

When styling anything, I like to think outside the box. Many people associate jeans with casual style, but let's elevate it, shall we? Remember when Sharon Stone wore a Gap turtleneck to the 1996 Oscars or paired her husband's white button down with Vera Wang? Highs and lows, basics and couture. Get creative. Get fun. That's what fashion is all about.

Look #1: Vintage Glam

For this look, I paired my Riders by Lee with a thrifted négligée that I scored for a dollar at Village Thrift. I layered a cropped faux fur jacket with rhinestone trim that I have had for years and picked up at a boutique for under $50 in the Detroit area. As for shoes? Silver ankle strap heels to complement the rhinestones, and I skinny cuffed the Riders to just above the strap. Bracelet is actually a necklace that I inherited from my late grandmother- she had amazing style and a common obsession with costume jewelry. Purse is beaded vintage-style clutch from Akira, and how could this look be complete without a red lip? 

Look #2: Lovely in Leopard

I went wild with this coat, my absolute favorite item in my closet. To my Riders by Lee, I added black suede wedge ankle booties from Target and wide cuffed the denim. The top is a gold silk button down- I wanted to keep the look upscale yet urban so added massive gold hoop earrings. I kept a red lip to contrast the neutral blouse and gathered my hair in a low messy bun to keep the focus on the outfit.

Look #3: Casual & Comfy

MICKEY! This is my most prized possession in my closet- a true vintage Mickey Mouse t-shirt that used to be my dad's. It was then handed down to my mom, then to my sister, and it now resides in my closet. I did a half tuck into the Riders, and added lace-up combat boots over them to keep a casual yet edgy vibe. Earrings are teardrop silver and onyx from Mexico and the leather wrap bracelet is accented with polished silver pieces. I threw my hair in a casual ponytail with a few face-framing pieces left out.

How do you style your denim? Upscale and unusual? Casual yet classy? Give these Riders by Lee a test drive- I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

Disclosure: Thank you to Rider by Lee for providing me with a pair of their Heavenly Touch denim! All opinions are honest and my own.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Real Life Style

So a friend and I were discussing how impractical a lot of style bloggers outfits are for real life. I admit- I sometimes photograph an outfit, then realize I can't sit on the floor with my kids to play Ants in the Pants so I change after I snap pics. There are fashionable ways to integrate practical heel and hem heights into your wardrobe- polished yet playful. Here are a few ways that I manage!

The Sneakers

After we took a walk on the 606 yesterday, my friend A and I headed to a long-time favorite store of mine- The Aldo Outlet. I used to live in Bucktown and frequented this hidden gem but haven't been there in almost a decade. I was on the lookout for metallic sneakers, and struck gold...or silver in this case... at this store.

I needed sneakers I could sprint after my toddler in yet didn't scream TOURIST (you know what I am talking about- those gleaming white Nikes tourists wear in Europe with khaki shorts and long socks...that look should be banned, I digress). I grabbed these shoes for ten dollars- told you this store has amazing deals!

The "athleisure" look is hot right now, and I am all for it. I paired my new pewter kicks with this knit dress from Zara. Since it has a pewter chain detail at the neckline, it was a match made in heaven.  The Coach bowler bag adds to the athletic vibe- a gift from my husband on our wedding anniversary (total surprise, I was hoping for a card at the most, well done!) Fabulous fall fashion with a little funky edge thrown in!

And since we are talking real life style...I usually do my outfit photos when my oldest is at school, and Charlotte runs around behind the camera. She wanted to hop in a shot, so here she Cubs gear and all!

The Tights

Remember that super cute ultrasuede skirt that I showcased last week? Well...don't wear it on a windy day. And if you do, make sure you are wearing cute underwear. Yes, I flashed a group of unsuspecting park district attendees recently. Sorry about that. I will now be wearing fleece-lined tights on any days when wind gusts get above...oh a mile an hour. My favorite are the ones from Francesca's- they come in black, gray and navy and have lasted a few years for me. At $12 a pop, this is an affordable staple in my winter wardrobe! Many people swear by the fleece leggings at Walgreens as well- check out my friend Lisa's rave review on Shop Girl Daily. At 2 for $10, this is a no brainer!

The Hats

I had ten minutes to get ready yesterday. This included a shower. Did I have time to do my hair? Nope. If I know my hair is a total mess, a hat is a perfect solution and I have had a lot of success finding affordable thrifted ones at Savers. Each of these were under $5, and they are wool or felt.

Tip: To prevent hat hair, part your hair on the opposite side before popping a cap on. This will keep that volume when you switch it back.

Although these hats are adorable as is, I wanted to put a little DIY twist on them. For under $10, you can have a custom winter hat that will class up any outfit! Simply grab your favorite style wide brim hat, a men's tie and a decorative earring (I used one whose mate had long disappeared...happy to upcycle!)

Wrap the skinny part of the tie around the base of the hat, cut off excess and fold under securing with a hot glue gun. Break off the post of the earring and affix the earring it to the band with hot glue. Done!

What is your real life style like? Do you wear sneakers with skirts? Just hang out in worn jeans and a vintage t-shirt? Whatever makes you feel comfortable yet fabulous is a winner!

Monday, October 5, 2015

3 Indoor Activities for Chilly Weather!

I can't believe the weather lately- from 80 to 50 within a week, the Midwest has truly done an about-face. Where I used to be completely comfortable walking to the local park with my kids in a t-shirt, I am now dragging out the winter wear for the short walk to our car! If you are like me, the cold weather can be daunting. I am already asking what am I going to do to keep my kids entertained when Chiberia returns? Here are three sure fire ways to stay sane when the temperature tips the freezing scale.

Family Swim at Goldfish Swim School in Evanston

Does hopping in the pool when it is below freezing outside sound crazy? Not at Goldfish where the water temp is 90 year round, and flip flops are the footwear of choice in their tropical-style heated facility. They host family swim Monday-Friday 12-1:30pm and Sunday 4-5:30pm.

This is the perfect way to increase your children's confidence in the water and burn that extra energy. Want to try it for free? Join the League of Littles (a free membership that offers family-fun perks) and receive free family swim at Goldfish in Evanston Monday-Wedneday!

Tip: Is your little one apprehensive about jumping in the pool? Bring their favorite bath towel from home to have something familiar in the pool area. 

This adorable Crab Hooded Towel from Just Born is Charlotte's favorite- it is large enough to make the jump from baby to toddler, and is super soft. Also, she can walk around with it on her head and I don't have to worry about it dragging on the floor.

Run! Jump! Fly! at Kohl Children's Museum

When you think of a museum, physical activity doesn't necessarily come to mind. The Kohl Children's Museum is changing that perception with their newest temporary exhibit that provides a number of activity stations for kids to get moving.

As you enter the exhibit, grab an Action Tracker to mark what challenges you visit. Here are the stations:
  • Surfing and Snowboarding
  • Kung Fu Forest
  • Flycycle Sky
  • Climbing Canyon
  • Action Star Training
At the end of their visit, kids can take home a 3 Day Action Tracker to continue on their path and learn to incorporate the activities into their everyday life.

Tip: Want to find the best time to avoid the crowds? Make sure you Like their Facebook page- they post updates on field trip visits, weather pattern effects and best times of day in general. 

Cooking Classes at FlavorPot 

My son loves cooking with me, but calling him helpful in the kitchen when I am trying to get dinner on the table is well... a bit of an overstatement. We cook or bake together most days, but his sister often tries to join in the fun and cleaning up our mess is not high on my list of fun things to do. I recently discovered FlavorPot in The Glen, a culinary studio that promotes healthy eating.

They have cooking classes for both kids and adults- kids classes start at age 4 (and adult classes are BYOB- whoo hoo!!!). I brought Bryson to a class last Saturday and I fell in love with the look on his face when he bragged about making a meal ALL BY HIMSELF. Each month they have a different culinary theme, and little chef classes are held Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Classes are an hour long, include food for your kiddo to cook and eat, and are incredibly reasonably priced- $28 per class or $100 for a series of 4.

Tip: Drop your 5-12 year old off for a Kid's Night Out on specific Saturdays and grab dinner in The Glen! Perfect opportunity for an easy date night. Also, use coupon code "FLAVOR" for 10% off at checkout on classes.

I love the fact that The FlavorPot is a family owned and operated business, and they truly care about your experience. The concept was born from their family's love of cooking together, and they have put an incredible amount of work into making this a professional yet welcoming place to visit. This is a great place for birthday parties, girl's night out, date night, or a private party. Can't wait to go back!

What do you do when the weather gets chilly? Any unique suggestions to fellow parents for surviving the frigid temps that drive us indoors? Let me know!

Disclosure: I was provided with a Just Born towel for review purposes; all opinions are honest and my own as always!