Secrets of Stress-Free Vacations with Kids
Family vacations can be either delightful or disastrous — it depends greatly on your attitude and the care you devote to research and planning.
Adjust your attitude. Here is the first rule of family vacations: Parents on vacation really aren’t on vacation. If you can unload personal expectations that you will be relaxed and refreshed when it’s over, you won’t be disappointed when you’re not. And if you do get a little R&R along the way, consider it an unexpected bonus.
Be realistic about cost. Decide ahead of time how much cash you have for this vacation. If you have, say, a family of five and $500 to spend, don’t even think about a couple of days at Disney World. Always consider the money you have first, and then design a vacation that will realistically fit within that financial boundary.
Be realistic about time. Don’t try to stretch your available cash to cover the maximum time you have to be away from home. Divide what you can spend by a reasonable daily budget to determine how many days you can be gone. Carefully consider all the costs, not only the admission fees and overnight accommodations. Instead of full weeks, consider day trips or a weekend vacation. When it comes to family vacations, quality is considerably more important than quantity.
Single parents. It is really tough to go it alone. If you have more than one child, full vacation responsibility can be overwhelming. You need help, so consider staying with relatives or travelling with a group. Sharing the trip with another single-parent family with kids the same age can reduce costs significantly. It will relieve your anxiety and stress, too.
Involve the kids. If everyone is involved in making the plans and saving the money, you will prevent lots of problems. Let the kids have a say in where you will go. Talk about how much money you have to spend. Show the kids what it costs to eat in a restaurant, spend the night in a hotel or buy tickets for the amusement park. Look at travel guides to find the best bargains for the amenities you agree on. Also, take a look at a brand new resource, “Planning Successful Family Vacations: A guide for traveling with kids.” Encourage everyone in the family to think of ways to cut back to allow more money for activities or what you have decided is top priority.
Envelope method. There’s nothing like a good visual to keep a vacation based in reality. Large colorful envelopes are ideal, one for each day to hold that day’s allotted cash. Design the outside for the spending record so you can keep track of where the money is going.
Living-history museums. There are at least 2,000 living-history museums around the country, where the past seems as real as the present and learning is a joyous adventure. Spring and summer are the best times to visit because there are so many special children’s programs and family events. Many can be seen in an afternoon, while others might require the entire weekend. I suggest you start with a virtual visit. Go to www.alhfam.org, the site of The Association for Living History Farms and Agricultural Museums located in every area of the U.S. and Canada, where you can take a virtual tour of wonderful places like the Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg, Virginia, The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan and Conner Prairie in Fishers, Indiana, to name just a few. You can find hours of operation, entrance fees as well as the programs they offer currently.
Whether you plan to travel this summer or design a stay-at-home vacation, it’s not too early to start planning. Besides, half the fun is the anticipation!
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at email@example.com, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of “Debt-Proof Living,” released in 2014.
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Seven Signs of Spring
By: Sharon Mosley
Let the vibes from the Age of Aquarius be your guide when you shop for your spring wardrobe this year. There’s a retro inspiration to the clothes you’ll see all reinvented this spring for a whole new generation — and maybe even for a few of us who lived through it all.
Here are seven signs that you’re on the right path:
—Let it flare. The legs have it this season. Whether it’s cropped culottes, washed jeans, flared jumpsuits or high-waisted trousers, the wide-leg pants are striding into the 70s spotlight. They’re perfect to wear with all the chunky platforms. Think a little “Saturday Night Fever” and “Dancing in the Moonlight.
—Go boho with tunics. Whether they’ve got lots of flower power or embroidered and crocheted with Moroccan designs, the “peasant” tops are once again proving that this is the top to top it all off this spring and summer. Wear them in a gauzy explosion of color in loose flowing cotton, or make them work for you at work when they are more like longer shirts, all tailored and belted.
—Skirt the issue. The wrap skirt was a 70s fashion hit, thanks to designer diva Diane Von Furstenberg, and it’s once again twirling around in trendy circles. But skirts this season are also going long and longer. From midi to maxis, there really is something for everyone — unless, of course, you are a Katherine Hepburn, who loved wearing her beloved pants!
—Swing in the trenches. OK, so the trench coat didn’t exactly originate in the 70s, but in new loose and swingy shapes and lightweight colorful suede, it’s the perfect coat/jacket for chilly spring days and nights. Worn over cropped pants and platform shoes, it’s a great segue way into warmer weather.
—Print it. Nothing says 70s like giant paisleys, graphic flowers, sweet ginghams and abstract blocks of color, and, of course, psychedelic rainbow watercolors, patchwork and tie-dyes. What a way to wake up your wardrobe! Add at least one of these new prints to your wardrobe this season and see how much you want to sing. Come on, get hippie!
—The wedge platform. Yes, there are lots of names for the footwear that is strutting its stuff down the runway this spring — call them clogs, mules, wedges or platforms — they come in all heights and in all kinds of designs. From the tall and sublime to the flat and fabulous (that is, comfy Dr. Scholl’s style), these shoes are typical of the 70s, when the wooden heel ruled.
—The fringed handbag. Another classic from the decade when fringe was flying on everything. Whether it’s a hobo satchel or a cross-body leather bag, a handbag trimmed with this bohemian detail will instantly update your wardrobe. And yes, you too can get hippie, even if you’re on the fringe of this fashion trend.
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Investing in the Classics for a New Season
By: Sharon Mosley
As a new season slowly begins to peek out above the snow and the daffodils, and closets get cleaned out in preparation for sunnier days, it’s time to separate the classics from the trends. Think about new ways to take those basic pieces that we return to year after year and mix them up for a whole new lease on fashion life.
“Trends now cycle so quickly that forgotten dry cleaning is considered ‘vintage,'” says Kendall Farr, one of my favorite fashion stylists and author of “The Pocket Stylist.” However, Farr reminds us that there are some common themes that consistently recycle in every new fashion season.
“They resurface with frequency in new guises,” she says, “because they give designers and us an accessible way to mix pieces, to add contrasts to a look, to expand conventional ideas about masculine and feminine attire, or to add surface interest to an outfit.”
So before you get too busy clearing away the clutter, check out a few of these “classics” that you can count on keeping in your closet this spring:
— A Lace Skirt: A great basic, especially in black or an unexpected color, a lace skirt can be dressed up or down, according to Farr. “Pair it easily with a turtleneck and boots and a leather jacket as well as a soft knit top and sexy heels for cocktails.”
— Slip Dress or Skirt: Another year-round piece that pairs well with textured cardigan sweaters and as underpinnings with all weights of tailored or tough jackets and coats.
—Camisole: The ultimate layering piece in soft silk, cotton or lace, camisoles have become a must-have basic for all seasons of the year. They are also a great way to add a pop of the latest color to any outfit.
— The Leather Jacket: As classic as a good handbag, leather jackets with a nipped waist or refined sporty shape in black or dark brown will go with just about everything in your closet.
—Military Looks: Whether its inspiration is Army, Navy or safari, the military-inspired jackets and coats have stood the test of time, particularly if they are classic in style and don’t have an abundance of exaggerated details, i.e. huge lapels, cuffs or buttons. However, wearing military-inspired pieces head to toe is not too much of a good thing.
—Sheer Tops: Another great layering classic to have in your wardrobe, especially the solid chiffon shirt in pastels or primary colors. Layer these over stretchy camisoles in a tonal color combination. Or wear a sheer top under a jacket for work. And remember the “bra-under-sheer” thing is passe, says Farr. “It has a kind of American-Idol-contestant quality that is best avoided. Not to mention the visual miscalculation of slicing your upper body into thirds. Keep the line underneath long, unbroken, and fitted by wearing a stretch camisole with an underwire bra cup built in.”
—Metallics: A great way to make your wardrobe shine. Farr’s best bets for longevity: A skirt in a classic shape such as a pencil or slight A-line, a seasonless coat, a fitted jacket, sweater knits, and accessories. And of course, be sure to go subtle with the metallic. “Keep the tones understated and they’ll pair better with day-to-day staples like jeans, white shirts and lightweight knits that will give the look its daytime edge,” she says.
—Textured Knits: If your wardrobe is full of solid colors, then add some texture to perk up your pieces. But beware of getting too bulky with chunky sweaters, says Farr. “The more heft to the texture, the more volume it will add to your body. Pair your knits with smooth, lightweight wool, silk, linen or denim.”
—Prints. Add a touch of the latest fashion news with a trendy print. But again, pay attention to the scale of the pattern. “Good bets for all body sizes,” says the stylist, are “midscale prints in tonal color combinations on medium to light-hued grounds, graphic black and white combinations like blown-up houndstooth or geometric patterns.”
COPYRIGHT 2015 CREATORS.COM
Turning Style Inside Out
By: Sharon Mosley
“Now that we’ve all turned the pages over to a new year, and hopefully cleaned out a closet or two, it’s time to make another commitment — a commitment to yourself,” says Bobbi Thomas, an NBC style editor and author of “The Power of Style.”
“Remember, work on manifesting a healthier image,” says Thomas, who has shared her style advice on hundreds of segments on the Today show. “Don’t approach a mirror on a seek-and-destroy mission. Use the mirrors around you like your friends, your home, the way you carry yourself to brilliantly reinforce and reflect your best qualities.”
Thomas understands that style often begins on the inside. Here are some of her tips to get us started with a new attitude in the new year.
— Act the part. “Body language is the only constant form of communication,” she says, citing the fact that over 90 percent of communication is nonverbal, so be aware of what your body language and overall style is saying about yourself.
— Appearances matter. “Make sure your verbal and nonverbal messages are in sync. Pay attention to how people react to you when you first meet them and what they are reacting to. Use nonverbal communication to reinforce, not compete with your personality, goals and interests.”
— Speak up. “Your style is a layer of language you wear, communicating on your behalf and being perceived by others,” she reminds us. “Consider yourself a brand worthy of accurate promotion, and understand who you are and what you want to say. Use your style-speak to pinpoint your message based on your goals and intentions.”
— Know your worth. “Make sure you place your value in constant, intrinsic qualities that can’t be taken away,” says the style editor. “Accept yourself and know that you’re worth the time, energy and effort it takes to invest in yourself and your packaging.”
— Put a plan into practice. “You are your own priority, and input equals output, so put effort into committing to your own style journey. Set a style budget, find time for fittings and conjure up an ideal version of you as your goal.”
— Package yourself. Thomas suggests finding our favorite color upon which to build a flattering wardrobe. While most of us fall into one of two categories — warm colors (browns, reds, dusty yellows and earthy greens) or cool colors (sea colors like blues, emerald greens and purples) determined by our skin tones, there are hundreds of variations of undertones that play a role in determining what colors look best on us. A skilled makeup artist at your favorite boutique or department store can often help you find what color palette will work best.
— Consider body shape. We often think in terms of size when it comes to making choices about what to wear, says Thomas. But it’s all about determining the shape of our bodies, not size, and then creating an illusion best suited for each individual. Petite frames should concentrate on clothes that lengthen the body — vertical lines, low-contrast color combos, up-and-down prints, long necklaces and scarves, shoe colors that blend with skin, hosiery or pants and shorter hairstyles. Slender or tall body types look best in clothes that create curves and minimize height: horizontal lines and patterns, separates and contrasting colors, larger-scale prints, tiers or ruffles and bold accessories.
“People say that when you feel good, you look good,” says Thomas. “While the exact opposite has also become somewhat of a cliche, I say that when you look good, you at least feel better. Life doesn’t have to start five pounds from now, and it didn’t end five years ago.”
She reminds us that in the new year to be sure “you are using fashion as a way to reflect the best version of who you are today and every day.”
COPYRIGHT 2015 CREATORS.COM
Man Up: Menswear’s
Okay guys … you can breathe. After several seasons of skintight sartorial trends, menswear designers are loosening up. While the slim and trim silhouette is still a major look, there’s more room to grow into fuller trousers, slouchier jackets and oversized coats. So relax, here are a few ways you can ease into this holiday season in style … and you may even get a few ideas to put on your gift list.
—First, pick a color. The traditional colors of the season — red and green — are the colors of the year. But these hues are anything but traditional. The crimson tide rolls in with a twist of reddish brown tinge that makes dark burgundy a hit, in everything from velvety blazers to rugged belts and shoes. Green is another menswear favorite this season, in shades ranging from rich forest greens to military olives to cool teals and mints. Think about picking out a new suit in mossy green instead of your go-to navy.
—Red and green can all be teamed with the neutral of the year — gray. Gray balances out the more dramatic jewel tones to give them masculine appeal. Brown, which is always a fall favorite, is another neutral that plays well with the reds and greens of the season, especially when done in accessories.
—Pick a layering piece. Lightweight layers — T-shirts, shirts, jackets and coats — can provide an interesting way to add new colors and textures into your wardrobe and also experiment with new ways to wear the clothes you already have in your closet.
—The layering piece to buy this fall is the lightweight knit roll-neck top or turtleneck. Wear them under hefty sweaters for an instant update. You can also team these knit tops with vests for another easy layering option. Wear them over corduroys for an update to more casual jeans.
—Pick a pattern: it’s all about graphic design this season. One new shirt or sport coat in a colorful plaid can transform those everyday jeans, workaday suits or jackets. Brighten up your basics with a bold check in teal green or rich rusty red. Then add another pattern with your tie. This can be tricky, but stick to the same color palette for best results if you choose to layer patterns on top of patterns.
—Pick a new pair of pants. If the slimmer pants of the past few seasons haven’t been your look, then you’re in luck this fall. The slightly baggier trousers reminiscent of the ’40s and ’70s are making a comeback with lots of new alternatives. Don’t be afraid to at least try on a pair of higher-waisted pants or trousers with flared legs. And if you really want to relax, go for a new pair of jogger pants or flannel pajama pants.
—Pick a new coat: now is the perfect time to add a new piece of outerwear. Don’t settle for boring and basic. You probably already have plenty of those kinds of coats in your closet. Instead, check out the new slouchier silhouettes in soft shearlings, wool pea coats or leather moto jackets — or try a colorful puffer vest to wear over shirts and sweaters.
—Pick a great new accessory. Of course, the holidays are always a great time to scout out some extra additions to your wardrobe … a velvet scarf in a jewel tone color, a matching bow tie and pocket square, a soft knit beanie with matching scarf, colorful novelty socks, a pair of Chelsea boots or maybe a packable down jacket. Buy them for yourself or put them on your gift list — your picks, your way!
To find out more about Sharon Mosley, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2015 CREATORS.COM
Fashion Flash: Proceed with Caution
Want to get a leg up on one of fashion’s hottest trends? Then kick start your fall wardrobe with a new pair of leggings that will have you zooming in and out of the fast lane in a flash. However, there are definitely a few roadblocks to this trend ahead. Here are some tips from the fashion police who have taken note of a few fellow fashionistas crossing the caution line.
Don’t mistake leggings for pants. I hate to start off on a negative note, but this violation can be critical. Not all leggings are created equal, and there are dozens of fabric weights and finishes to choose from — however, they all have one thing in common: They are slim-fitting, if not downright tight. The thin, cotton leggings that are borderline tights that you may wear to yoga class are NOT suitable to wear to the office unless you are perhaps wearing them under an ankle-length maxi skirt.
Do check out new textures and trends. The newest leggings go way beyond the gym-class variety. From nubby twills to heavy ponte knits to leather and suede, these leggings are much more forgiving of the “jiggle” factor often associated with skimpier versions. Ditto for jeggings that combine denim jeans with the look of leggings. Some of the newer, thicker leggings can actually do double duty as pants in some cases. (See the next rule.)
Don’t forget to layer, layer, layer. This is the best way to avoid getting a major fashion fine. Cover, cover, cover your … yes, butt. Now, I know they come in all sizes and shapes, but this is a no-brainer. The longer your tunic top, cardigan sweater, jacket, etc., the better. And there are many ways to CYB: Layer close-fitting finger-tip camisoles under cropped sweaters; team bomber-style jackets with long, sheer tunics or pair short dresses and skirts with leggings. Keep your head-to-toe look in tonal colors, layering solid colors on top of patterned leggings, and vice versa with solid leggings and patterned tops.
Do allow for shrinkage. Since many of us have been wearing leggings for a few years now, it’s tempting to just keep recycling them year after sweaty year of workouts and washes. Then you get leggings that shrink up to your knees and dingy ones that have faded way past their prime. Leggings are not like denim that gets better with age and wear. But the great thing about the new roundup of leggings is that you can find very affordable alternatives that will automatically update those old favorites that desperately need replacing.
Don’t underestimate the shoes you wear with your leggings. Footwear can make or break the long lean line of this fashion statement. For fall, leggings can be tucked into flat knee-high or ankle boots for one of the best looks around. A word of caution about wearing high heels with leggings: proceed with care — save the stilettos for the party scene. You definitely don’t want to get a tacky ticket for this one.
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Flips and Flops: Summer Shoe Trends
Step up your shoe game this summer and try on a few of these trends for a quick style change. Here are some of my picks for the hottest (and not so hot) ways to put your best feet forward this summer:
—Get Sporty. Sneakers are hot, hot, hot fashion picks right now. Take your cues from the fluorescent hues showing up on the soccer field. From tropical bright florals at Puma to neon leather lace-ups at Nike, there are plenty of ways to stand out in these spirited athletic shoes. Even sporty sneakers at Chanel get their kicks from Day-glo colors.
And you can’t beat the old favorites like high-top sneakers and canvas slip-ons that just keep getting better and better with updated styles. Check out the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star in vintage pop-art prints or the classic canvas slip-ons at Bucket Feet designed by artists from around the world. Tres chic.
On the flop side, sky-high wedge sneakers. They may be a “high” fashion design, but they don’t seem much like comforting soles to me. I like my sneakers a little more down to earth, thank you.
—Sing the “Thong Song.” Thongs are definitely part of the summer shoe scene. From the lowly rubber flip-flop to the jeweled kitten heel, they are the staples most of us turn to when we want to beat the heat. The newest flip-flops are anything but boring. Check out the kaleidoscopic prints on my favorite — Havaianas.
The flops? Jelly thongs. Dressed up with bows and baubles, they may be the cutest things ever, but in steamy weather, you get steamy feet. Talk about slip-sliding away.
—Resort to sandals. Another classic summer footwear basic, sandals come in all shapes and sizes this year. There really is something for everyone. If you’re into comfort and style, you’ll love the newly designed sport sandals. Teva, an old favorite developed by a Grand Canyon river guide over 30 years ago, has reintroduced the “Original Universal” nylon webbed sport sandal in a host of colors. Birkenstock, another classic company that’s been in the shoe business for 230 years, has spruced up its iconic comfort brand with colorful choices that still go easy on the feet with their cork footbed sandals.
Some of the “hottest” sandals of the season are hybrid styles — half boot/half sandal. But to me, these booties need to be worn in the cooler months. Even though wearing biker boots to the beach with your miniskirt may seem to be the cool thing to do, it makes me sweat just to think about it. Not much breathing room there — definitely a “hot” flop.
—Shine on. The metallics are brimming over in summer shoe news. From Vans metallic leather slip-ons and sequined napa leather espadrilles at Jimmy Choo to glittering high-tops at Gucci and mirrored leather pumps from Alice and Olivia, shimmer is stepping out for all occasions — both casual and formal.
And while you may want to try these sparklers out at work, be warned: wearing those designer stilettos to an outdoor wedding can be treacherous. You can sink to all kinds of new lows fast, and you don’t want to get stuck with that shoe flop, now do you?
COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM
Top 10 Spring 2014 Style Picks for Men
By: Sharon Mosley
“Spring fashion for men is all about dressing to fit a certain lifestyle,” says Tom Julian, men’s fashion director for The Doneger Group, a merchandising and retail consultant group based in New York City. “Men continue to shop for themselves and realize that there are many ways to dress, whether they are a CEO-type, traveling road warrior, a bookworm student, a reality show wannabe star or a traditional Dad.” Here are Julian’s top 10 style picks for the upcoming season:
—Slim-fit printed shirt/printed T-shirt — Think of the sport shirt gone artful with prints that range from tropical florals to kitschy to geometrics. Pair with updated classics like chinos or summer staples like Bermuda shorts.
—Chambray shirt/shorts — The utility fabric that works on top or bottom. This lightweight fabric is soft, easy and great for layering. This season, there is more denim on denim — a range of blues from light to dark.
—The fashion polo — The country club classic goes modern with new shapes and different details. We have seen the polo receive designer touches, such as contrast sleeves, button-down collars and pocket variations. Our top pick would be the color-blocked shirt that allows more of a graphic focus on the chest or shoulders. This can help to de-emphasize a stomach or torso.
—The fashion sweatshirt — Fashion designers have embraced the old-school sweatshirt and have turned it into a modern must-have in a wide range of fabrics and prices. We like the idea of the French terry sweatshirt that has accents or some type of artful touch. Maybe it’s the contrast trim at the collar and sleeves, or maybe it’s the fabric piecing in cotton at the back or side seams. Many young men are wearing the sweatshirt in unexpected ways, including teaming it with seersucker pants, embroidered cotton trousers or with casual colorful cotton three-fourths length pull-on pants.
—Nautical-inspired separates — No longer limited to navy and white, many of the men’s specialty brands and shops have taken a new look at nautical and turned it into tongue-in-cheek fun country club dressing, using nautical stripes and patterns in a mix of natural or earthy colors, as well as kaleidoscopic and bright hues. The cotton knit jacket is perfect for wearing on a yacht, but also fine for stylish evenings when paired with a v-neck T-shirt and pastel-colored trousers.
—Swim trunks — A range of shapes and fabrics has allowed this beach item to act as a street item. Look for a fully constructed waist with a zip-fly front and inset (elastic for more comfort), or go with the retro-inspired surf trunk. These bottoms are also printed and graphic and available in florals, geometrics and foulard prints, which are almost like a necktie pattern. After looking at recent photos from the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the tank will be the layering item of the season.
—White stories — From the blazer (inspired by this year’s men at the Oscars) to the jean, white is a tonal story that many men may embrace, especially because of the ease in wearing natural hues and having lots of layering options.
—The jogger — The newest item, a must-have for the contemporary dresser, is a cross between a jogging pant and some type of cargo bottom, especially because of the pockets and utility features, like elastic and buttons. The best way to wear these pants is loose, with a casual jacket and a simple T-shirt. Some directional men like the drop-crotch style that mirrors the MC Hammer pants of the ’80s.
—Linen sport coats — The past few years have been about the cotton sport coat, but now we see emerging an unconstructed one, preferably in shades of blue. The style should be a two-button single or four-on-two double-breasted. We also like that linen jackets are being designed with a single or double pleat. I prefer the double!
—The bomber jacket — Outerwear has become a category with lots of options and many stylish concepts. The bomber was always military- or fall-focused. Now the bomber can work with bright colors. Prints allow the jacket to become the key focus, especially when worn with light or dark denim jeans.
—Don’t forget accessories. Key extras this season include the bucket hat (reversible print to solid), designer high-top sneakers and a braided wristband or bracelet.
COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM
By: Sharon Mosley
Up. Down. Up. Down. One day the weather is warm and sunny; the next day it’s chilly and may be downright cold. But while the temperatures this time of year may fluctuate dramatically, there’s one way to be ready no matter what the weather has in store — just take a look at these stylish possibilities. There’s a cover-up for any occasion.
—Start with a classic. You can’t beat a great trenchcoat. The modern trenches have dug their way out of the boring khaki days. There are plenty of exciting coats to choose from this year — from pretty pastels to artsy prints. Take your pick and wear this classic all year long.
—Go with the swing. Another overcoat that’s making the trend rounds this spring is the swingy, flared coat. This cocoon-like shape can easily be dressed up or down … even for evenings out on the town.
—Slick it up. There’s nothing worse than getting soaked in a thunderstorm. That’s when a true rain “slicker” comes in handy. Choose your raincoats wisely — polyurethanes or microfibers will keep you drier than some natural fibers. Team up with a pair of colorful rubber boots, and you will be covered.
—Add a sporty bomber. The shorter jackets with an athletic vibe are springing up this year detailed with fun logos and graphic prints. Pair these blousy jackets with casual denim, or dress them up with slim skirts for work.
—Get vested. It may be the best transition cover-up around. You can choose what you wear under one of these versatile outerwear pieces — sweaters if it’s cool outside or a lighter-weight tee if the weather is only a little chilly.
—Play with a poncho. This playful fashion item has now become a basic in many wardrobes. It happens to be one of my favorites, and it’s the perfect spring cover-up for so many occasions. From float chiffon florals to sweater knits, you can slip them easily over all kinds of layers. And they cover up a multitude of figure flaws!
—Scarf it up. Other fun ways to take the chill off spring, scarves and shawls are now available in so many colors, lengths and widths that they have become a staple in our wardrobes. And what better way to transition into warmer weather, whether they are wrapped around your shoulders or wrapped around your neck?
—Denim does it all. The denim jacket is a year-round favorite cover-up. You can’t go wrong with this jaunty style. This spring, try a cropped version in white.
La Madeleine opens in El Paso!
Story and photos by Ricky J. Carrasco
Arrian, a Madeleine trainer holding a fruit tart.
With a twinkle in his eye and mischievous smile, “La Madeleine” restaurant founder Patrick Esquerre’ states that he has no real culinary experience or business skills. “What I do have is a palate!” In 1983, Esquerre’ started a small cafe in Dallas with the hopes of recreating the taste and feel of a traditional French cafe’. The 68th La Madeleine in the country just opened at the Fountains at Farah shopping center last week to introduce El Paso to something unique in the area.
Arrian, a Madeleine trainer from Dallas explained the fruit tart, one of the traditional deserts offered there. “There is a vanilla pastry crème made in house topped by strawberries, kiwi, oranges, grapes topped by a apricot pastry glaze. It’s one of best sellers.” Though Madeleine offers a wide variety of pastries and deserts, it offers a complete menu with French themed dinners, lunch sandwiches, soups and salads. A first time lunch customer is recommended to get a Croque Monsieur, a French ham and Swiss with garlic cream sauce on wheatberry bread, with a side of their famous Tomato Basil soup, finished by the aforementioned fruit tart.
Hafed Yaiche, vice president of operations, says that El Paso is welcome to come and experience the home styled atmosphere of the restaurant. “Everything is made fresh from scratch and it comes through in the food. All the bread and pastries are made fresh in-house and all the dishes are created fresh here every day. If you come today, you will be back for the food, ambience, and service, which is what we stand for as a company.”
There are 2 more La Madeleine restaurants slated to open in El Paso and 3 for New Mexico in the near future. They are open from 6:30am to 10pm daily. To view their menu, visit their website at: www.lamadeleine.com
Spring Bling: Jewelry Trends
By: Sharon Mosley
It’s spring and time to bring on the bling! Anything that dangles or jangles is sure to bring a smile to your face. Jewelry is the accessory that makes a personal statement and lifts our style spirits. Here are a few ways to add some sparkle to your wardrobe this season:
—Bigger is better. Statement jewelry is standing out in all its glory. The jeweled collar chokers, metallic cuffs, chandelier earrings and stone rings are all meant to be seen. But remember, just not all at once! One piece of big bling at a time, please.
—Layer it on. While large pieces of jewelry may be stealing the show, mixing in smaller, more-delicate pieces with the big stuff is another way to put some personality into your wardrobe. Layer long necklaces with shorter necklaces. Stacking rings and bracelets is another way to layer up.
—Mix your materials. Don’t be afraid to wear gold and silver necklaces or bracelets together. Experiment with mixed metals and follow the lead of jewelry designers who often mix materials like leather and wood with metal in the same pieces for a contemporary spin. The old matchy-matchy rules no longer apply.
—Go architectural. Want to add an edgy vibe to your clothes this spring? Try a little geometry lesson with crystal triangle necklaces, circle chandelier earrings, sunburst rings or squared metal cuffs. Think sculptured designs with a definite artistic flair.
—Link in. Chains and links are still coming on strong, gilded in gold and gunmetal silver. The translucent crystals and Lucite look is another way to link in, too.
—Make it colorful. Diamonds may be the ultimate bling, but emeralds, rubies and sapphires can sparkle as well. Even costume jewelry goes bold in color this year with bright acrylic stones. Big, yellow flower rings, anyone?
Best-Dressed: Spring /Summer 2014 Dress Trends
By: Sharon Mosley
When all else fails … wear a dress. Someone must have said that at some time or another. At least many of us have relied on the ease of pulling a dress out of our closets when we didn’t want to think all that hard about what to wear. It’s a one-piece dressing that requires little thought. Just add a few accessories and go. You can look pulled together in no time.
There are lots of ways to be the best-dressed this year … no matter what the occasion. Here are some of the latest styles to dress up (and down):
—Dress up a shirtdress — It’s one of the favorites this year, and it’s a classic silhouette that is a twist on its preppy predecessor that stood out in the ’70s in crisp oxford blues and plaids. Don’t be surprised this season to see shirtdresses dressed up with lots of exotic embellishments.
—Dress down a slip dress — Oh, the ease of it … just a long, lean column of silky elegance. The newest slip dresses — long or short — shimmer with metallic sheens. And, of course, they can be dressed up, but pair them with Birkenstocks or leather ankle boots, and you’ve got real down-to-earth diva style.
—Dress up a maxi dress — Hemlines are coming down this spring and summer, and the floor-length maxi is back, even for cocktails. Experience the new little black dress in a sweeping fit-and-flare maxi dress with a high-low hem. Just add your dancing shoes.
—Dress down a sweatshirt dress — What could be more confortable? These new knit dresses are not only easy to wear, but they’re fun, too. Designers covered them up with whimsical prints and logos that give them standout personality.
—Dress up a sheath dress — The sleeveless sheath dress is a close cousin of the shift dress … but much more fitted. This year, the structured sheath is all dressed up with all-over lace: the perfect one-piece party dress.
—Dress up a wrap dress — Another classic made famous by designer Diane von Furstenberg in the ’70s. This time around, the flattering shape is updated with lots of colorful prints — from bold abstract artsy graphics to digitalized stripes and watercolor florals.
—Dress down a sporty dress — Cheer on the varsity team this spring and summer with athletic-inspired dresses in fabrics that stretch into body-conscious sculpted styles that often use color blocking to get their sport-inspired messages across. Keep the accessories simple with this dress … no tennis shoes required.
—Dress up the coat dress — One of the best ways to transition into warmer weather for the office or for a special occasion like a spring cocktail party. Choose a structured sheath to layer under a knee-length jacket. The all-white look is one of the season’s most sophisticated silhouettes. Pair with candy-colored accessories. Yum!
COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM
The Big Bag Theory: Spring Handbag Trends
By: Sharon Mosley
They can be our closest friends. They’re with us day after day, night after night. They carry our valuables … and they carry our necessities … they may even carry our secrets. They’re our handbags, and they become a part of our fashion family … for better or worse.
And since many of us love to splurge on this accessory when the seasons change, here are a few of the latest handbag trends to check out this spring and summer:
—The Structured Top Handle Bag — It’s one of the biggest statement bags of the season. The ladylike satchel is one of the best investments you can make. From boxy Birkin-inspired silhouettes to futuristic trapezoid shapes, this is a bag to hang on to for years.
—The Shopper Tote — The bigger the better this season, ladies. You can find it in casual basket bags and more-sophisticated perforated leather bags. These are the perfect bags to take to the beach or take to the farmer’s market.
—The Cross-Body Bag — Some of my favorites, these bags can free up your hands for much more important tasks … like picking out the perfect heirloom tomato or riding that vintage bike. My old Prada nylon cross-body bag has served me well for years.
—The Camera Bag — It looks as it sounds — and these smaller handbags will not weigh you down, but they will carry all those basic accessories in style … even a camera.
—The Duffel Bag — If you’re a traveling woman, then this is the bag for you. This spring, the duffel shape comes in every size, from small mini shapes to larger, luggage looks. An embossed black leather duffel is my go-to bag for weekend getaways.
—The Fringed Bag — Get ready to swing with a little fun this season. Detailed with long fringe and tassels, this bag is one of the hottest fashion accessories of the year. Think ’70s with a Western flair. Hee-haw!
—The Exotic Bag — Got a special evening event coming up? Or just want to show off a little fun fashion spirit at work? Check out the latest embellished clutches trimmed with feathers, bohemian beads, embroidery, crystals and even artsy prints and florals.
—The Bold Bag — It may be your evening clutch, or it may be your everyday bag, but the handbag du jour is a scene-stealer in bright color blocks or graphic prints. If you really want something that will wake up your wardrobe, look for a handbag in an eye-popping neon or candy pastel. Sweet!
COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM