Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Transitioning into Spring with Alba Boutique

It's officially March! And while the cold weather is saying otherwise, Spring really is around the corner.   There are so many great pieces that you can use now to help you transition your wardrobe from winter to spring.  Last weekend, I got to shop at Alba Boutique here in NJ.  They have 4 locations but the one I visited was in Morristown, NJ.  A key tip to transition your clothes into spring is to pair them with a lighter colored piece.  This gives your whole look a fresh, new feel. Let's go from winter whites to spring lights.

Look #1 - FLORAL BLOUSE



Of course, when you think Spring you think florals.  You can take a deep moody floral blouse like this sheer blouse from Alba Boutique and pair it with wide leg cream pants.  Pair it with black pumps and a structured satchel like this Louis Vuitton Epi leather Alma bag.

Look #2 PLAID BLAZER





Plaid blazers aren't going anywhere.  But instead of the heavy wool material we've been seeing in fall, here is a great spring option from Alba Boutique, in a light cotton fabric with small hints of red throughout.  Pair it with skinny jeans, and thin strap sandals which are making a comeback this season because 90's fashion is back in.  Finish it with a pop of red lippie to tie back to the red in the plaid.

Look #3 WHITE DOLMAN TOP



This such an easy top that can be worn during the day with jeans and sneakers and at night with skinny black pants and pumps.  This top already screams spring so you can tone it down with a neutral lippie in the colder weather.  And then for the warmer months you can add a bright pop of pink with your lippie.  Bright lipstick colors do wonders for your outfit in the warmer months.  Your accessories can also really help transition this piece for spring.  Neon pieces are hot this season so add neon into your accessories with this classic top.

Look #4 WHITE BLAZER W/ GOLD DETAIL




Blazers always pull a look together.  Combine it with gold hardware details and you are set.  I fell in love with this blazer as soon as I saw it in the store. It's very reminiscent of the Balmain blazers for a fraction of the cost.  This white color is so perfect to carry your look forward into the warmer months.  Pair it with black skinny pants and pumps now but in the spring, drape it over your shoulders over a floral dress.

Look #5 COZY SWEATER





I love being cozy so sweaters are always the last to go for me in the spring when its time to pack away the winter clothes.  This weekend sweater is so perfect with the bright pop of color.  Pair it with white skinny jeans and vans or like I did here with my Madewell Cali jean and converse sneakers.  You can bet I'm grabbing brunch with my girlfriends in this cute piece.  I'd say it looks good with avocado toast, don't you?

Happy March, my loves!!

xoxo, Karen

Monday, January 14, 2019

Getting Glam at Get Luminous

It is so tough to find your "A" team - especially when you are someone like me who has moved around 6 times in the past 10 years.  Once you finally find someone you like - whether its a hairstylist, someone who does your manicures and pedicures, your lashes, makeup - your whole GLAM SQUAD, its heartbreaking knowing you have to leave.

So you can imagine how happy I was to visit Get Luminous a few weeks ago and have Monica do my makeup.  Now that I'm settled back here in NJ, I've been on the hunt for "my people."  Right away, I was welcomed by owner, Erika who has a smile that lights up a room.  Once you see the decor of her studio you will want to go home and redecorate.  It was bright, fresh, simple and chic, and homey.  Get Luminous is a lash and beauty spa.  I am a true believe in the power of lashes and how it changes your overall look and confidence.



I went there to get glammed up before an event hosted by Candace Kristin and Melissa at The Suite at the Garden State Plaza in Bergen County, NJ.  Monica is the sweetest most humble artist you will meet.  She's worked under pretty amazing people - maybe you've heard of them...Laura Mercier...Kevyn Aucoin?  Ring a bell?  She had her play list going and she just painted to the music, a quiet concentration on her face.  She has big name clients under her belt, but not once did she mention any of them.  She doesn't need to name drop, her work speaks for itself.  My skin looked so flawless yet natural.  I had this gorgeous glow.  She did a sultry smokey eye in a purple shade so it wasn't too dramatic.  And for my lips she actually stuck to a shade similar to what I came in with, a pretty soft pink nude.  I can't even tell you how beautiful I felt that day.  I literally felt like Cinderella.  If you are in the NJ area, it is so worth paying them a visit.  Monica is literally a hidden gem.  I semi-joke that I don't even want to share her name because I want to keep her for myself. For all makeup product details go here.  Huuuuge thank you to Get Luminous for the hospitality.  Monica is a great addition to your team and is definitely a part of my "A Team." 


Here are some pics from the event I went to that night at The Suite at the Garden State Plaza.  All pics below are by the talented Anna Schmel.  What a beautiful space they have there for Stylists and Influencers to use for clients, shoots, and events.  It was a great group of women, of course with a great sense of style.  And it was an honor to be a part of it.  Life in the Garden State is good.






xoxo, Karen

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

New Year - Advocating for Women's Health with NJMom

Happy New Year, everyone!  The onset of the new year year of course brings on a sense of new energy, new priorities, new resolutions, and the promise of a clean slate.



It's my mission this year to add more value to people's lives and so it's appropriate to share my first post of the year with NJMOM.  If you're not familiar with NJMOM they are an amazing resource for local happenings, businesses, and contacts in the NJ area.  And they are widely known for their successful NJ Baby Expo that they host twice a year.  Through them I was able to visit the Eisenberg Family Center at  Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, NJ.  Now, if the thought of having ocean views during your maternity stay there isn't enough to hook you, just spend an hour with Suzanne Spernal and you will want to have all your babies in their facility.




Suzanne Spernal, DNP, APN-BC, RNC-OB, CBC, is the Administrative Director of Women's Services at Monmouth Medical Center (MMC).  Not only was she there as a patient having all her kids there, she's worked at MMC for over 25 years so she is a true testament to their system.  Outstanding care for the whole family begins from the moment from when the mother first arrives all the way through to post partum treatment.  A top choice among parents, MMC is ranked 4th in the state for most deliveries.  That's over 5,500 births annually!  




Suzanne was a great host and gave us a tour of their newly renovated and expanded Labor and Delivery Unit.  They have beautiful labor and delivery suites, additional triage rooms, and a very welcoming nurse's station at the center of the floor.  In speaking with Suzanne, you could tell she genuinely cared for the health and safety of every patient that passed through those doors.  And she stressed that maternal health is not just a one time situation while you are pregnant or in the act of having a baby.  You are a mom forever after you leave those doors and so your well being (along with your baby's) should be of utmost importance.

One of the unique programs they offer at Monmouth Medical Center is their Perinatal and Mood Anxiety Disorder Center.  They are the first and only hospital in New Jersey to offer a dedicated treatment center for new mothers to receive treatment and care for postpartum depression and any other perinatal mood and anxiety disorder.  It's no surprise that so many moms choose to deliver here.





Visiting with Suzanne has definitely opened my eyes to the resources and care that women should strive for and expect when deciding on a hospital.  Only you can advocate for your safety and for that of your baby so ask questions, do your research, and don't settle for anything less than great when it comes to the facility and team who will be by your side during such a crucial time in your life.


Thank you so much to NJMOM for allowing me to be a part of this and sharing the amazing experience I had at Monmouth Medical Center, a RWJBarnabas Health Facility.  And a huge thank you to Suzanne Spernal for your time and for the plethora of knowledge you shared about the facility and the industry overall.

For more  information check out their website here.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Special Holiday Memories with Simon Malls Menlo Park

The holidays hold a special place in my heart.  My biggest memories from my childhood are my parents decorating the whole entire house with Christmas decor - no corner was left undecorated.  I would fall asleep to the soft glow of the string of Christmas lights on the fireplace mantle.  I would stare aimlessly at the porcelain carousel that sat on top of my piano as it slowly circled around to Christmas carols.  My parents always made the holidays very special for us as kids and I want to reciprocate that same feeling for my kids. 

I took them to Menlo Park Mall soon after Thanksgiving weekend and they were floored that the Christmas decor was up.  I have to say, they do an amazing job with their decor.  In the center court they had stunning, tall Christmas trees that flanked Santa's area.  The kids were in awe at the decor and would shyly peek in between to catch a glimpse of Santa


As you walk through the corridors of the mall you'll see white twinkling lights hanging down from the ceiling - reminiscent of icicles.  These were so pretty to look at.  The kids had such a great time looking at all the pretty decor.  They shared a big cup of hot cocoa with lots of marshmallows and of course they had to finish off the day with 2 big sugar cookies from the cafe at Barnes and Noble.  

If you follow me, you know I'm a big advocate for experiences with the kids.  Its not about the presents, its about the experiences and the memories you create with them.  That, I think, is the best gift you could give your kids - the gift of time and experiences together as a family.  

Huge thank you to Alex De Dios Photography for capturing these beautiful moments with Gabe and Alessa.  







Sunday, October 28, 2018

6 Tips to Rock Your Holiday Card Outfits

Do you struggle with planning out your holiday card outfits?  Are you meticulous like me? Here are some tips on finding the right assortment of clothes for you and your family for your holiday cards:


Christmas 2017
Theme: Luxe fall foliage
Color scheme: deep green and burnt orange tones with rich textures
Photography by Alexander DeDios

1) Figure out your location/theme. Do you want it set outdoors? Fall/winter? (Pro's are beautiful settings, con's are you are subject to the weather) Do you want it indoors (pro's are controlled settings/lights/etc) Do you want it by the fireplace? Are you all drinking hot cocoa on the couch? Are you all decorating your tree?

2)  Figure out a color scheme.  Try to pick at least 3 colors to incorporate into the look.  Unless you like the all white top and all khaki pants looks that everyone does by the beach then go for it.  But to make it a more stylized shoot, try to incorporate more colors so its cohesive but not so matchy matchy.  Pick colors that match your theme or colors that you probably have in your closet already. 

3) Shop your closet.  You don't have to buy new clothes just for your pictures.  Figure out what you have and be creative! Is there an old dress you wore to a wedding?  Can you dress it down by adding a chunky sweater to it?  Is there a plaid skirt that you love?  can you pin it in the back and make it a dress somehow for your daughter?  Does your son not own something in your color scheme?  Can you find socks in that color as a pop?  Also, the tones don't have to be exactly the same.  The different tones the better in fact - again so there's some contrast.  Don't be shy to use your accessories on your kids.  Do you have one too many plaid blanket scarves?  Use them on your kids for that perfect fall shot.  Or better yet use one of them as a picnic blanket and sit on it while you guys huddle amongst the leaves drinking cider.   Do you guys wear matching pj's for christmas morning every year?  Why not get more use out of it and use it for your pic?

4) Do you have a new addition to your family?  Make sure they are wearing the brightest color in your color scheme so they really stand out.  So for example if you are doing a red/tan/black theme, your little baby girl could be in neutral colors but could have a bright red bow on her or for boys, a bright red bib or even shoes.  

5) Time of day. This all depends on your family.  Pick a time when everyone has napped or just woken up so no one is cranky.  If your shoot is outdoor, sunset is always the optimal hour (the golden hour) to get that beautiful light.  But really the important thing is to have everyone in a good mood so you decide what time is best for your family.

6) Accessories.  If you are going to spend money one something new for the pictures, make sure its something you can reuse again.  Or instead of buying a whole new outfit, again, focus on the accessories.  Accessories do wonders for your look.  Focus on scarves/statement jewelry/ shoes/ hair pieces/ even makeup! 

Here are some of our past photos for our christmas cards.  I'll go through each pic with the theme/color scheme/and overall vision i had in  mind:


Christmas 2013
Theme:  Rustic Luxe/Fall Foliage
Color Scheme:  Plaids with a pop of red
Photography by Richelle Schroer


Christmas 2014
Theme: Winter Wonderland
Color Scheme: pink/grey/ivory with hints of fur
Photography by Richelle Schroer


Christmas 2016
Theme: StreetStyle Luxe
Color Scheme:  lavender and navy with luxe hints of tulle and fur
Photography by Peter Atkins



 Christmas 2015
Theme: New Year's Eve Celebration
Photography by Richelle Schroer

Hope you love these tips!!  Tag me in your holiday card family photos! Would love to see your beautiful family!

xoxo,

Karen

Thursday, October 18, 2018

A Holiday Party with Maggy London

I know, it's hard to envision the holidays being upon us.  But with Halloween coming around the corner, it's inevitable.  To be honest, I'm really looking forward to the holidays.  I love decorating the house with elegant gold and silver garlands, beautiful tablescapes with pinecones and holly leaves, and of course decorating the tree. 

I am actually  really looking forward to holiday parties - I'm envisioning adult conversations, sipping a few cocktails, and dolling up with a great red lipstick and a killer dress - all the complete opposite of my life now with the kids during school days! ;)



I love every single one of the dresses in the Maggy London holiday line.  Picture rich jewel tones of blue, emerald, classic black and a gorgeous lurex fabric with hints of gold and silver.  Their silhouettes are always so slimming and so flattering. 


My absolute favorite from this collection is the Sabrina dress.  It's an off the shoulder style which just exudes sexiness without being too much.  It skims the body to show off a women's beautiful figure but still ruches in the center so it's very forgiving.  I'll take that!!  And black is always classy.  I paired it with a classic pump, a metallic clutch and of course a pop of red lipstick. 






Bring on the holidays...and the cocktails!!

xoxo, Karen

Friday, September 28, 2018

5 Things I Learned a Month into the School Year

It's almost October, people.  How the heck did that happen?




This month flew by and while we're still perfecting our back to school "system" I learned a few tricks in these past few weeks that I wanted to share that hopefully will help you too in your pursuit for time efficiency and being rockstar parents.

Here are 5 things I learned after a month of school:

1) Paper plates are your best friend.  Yes, I know, this is not environmentally friendly, but when you have dishes a pile high with unspeakable organisms growing 5 heads in your sink every night, you really don't care.  Paper plates make life soooo much easier. 

2) Rewards chart/chore chart.  After a long day at school the last thing the kids want to do is homework or any house chores.  I found that creating a chart with things you'd like them to do everyday after school makes it more fun for the kids to complete them.  Plus it makes for a friendly competition between siblings.  You can include things like, homework, eating a fruit/veggie, getting the mail, or anything tedious that you know it will take some convincing for them to do.  We usually mark ours with a sticker on the chart. And once they complete a whole row they get a small prize or they can buy some ipad time.  Our good friends taught us the system of putting 15 minute increments onto popsicle sticks and those can serve as prizes.  The kids can redeem ipad time by handing in any popsicle sticks they've earned.  You can read more about this here.  This is a big hit in our home as Minecraft and Roblox are favorites here.

3) Block schedule planning.  Its so common sense but I honestly never implemented it.  I watched a YouTube video by Jordan Page and its life changing.  I think being an entrepreneur, you don't have a set work schedule so you just squeeze things in as you can.  You end up all over the place with your to do list.  But just like things in your house, your things you need to do should have their set place in your day.  So an example would be from 6-9 am you do everything house related so get kids ready for school, prep food for day, clean room, laundry, etc.  9am-12pm - this is your out of the house block so you go to the gym, set any meetings during this time, go to grocery store, get your nails done, have lunch with people, and do anything you need to do outside of home/office.  12-3pm - you sit at your desk and tackle all work related stuff so make calls, send out pitches, schedule photoshoots, work on blog posts, or whatever you need to do.  3-6pm is solely kid time so pick them up from school/bus stop and get them ready for all their after school activities games, homework.  6-9pm dinner time, bath time, bed time for kids.  And then 9pm and on you finish up anything you didn't get to finish, binge watch on your latest Netflix obsession, or spend time with your significant other.  Jordan explained this system so well in her video.  Check it out for more details here

4) Be patient with the kids.  I've gotten so exasperated when nothing is being retained in their heads for big tests or from homework.   But remember, their brains are fried; they've had a long day.  Just try again early before they go to school to study for that big Vocab test they have.  A good night's rest does wonders for them and their information retention.

5)  Give yourself grace.  "Grace is giving someone the opposite of what they deserve."  I heard this amazing quote from one of Rachel Hollis' "Rise Together" podcasts.  You may feel like a failure because you are constantly running late to kids' appointments, you missed their back to school night, you mixed up spirit day at school and your child was the only one with an obnoxious amount of blue and gold spray paint in their hair at school.  You're adjusting to the changes too just like the kids, so give yourself some grace.  Give yourself a chance to get used to the busyness of the school year.  Be kind to yourself and give yourself time to adjust.  If you haven't listened to her podcasts, they are a great resource for #lifehacks. Check out the one she does with her hubby here

I hope these tips help.  It's a big learning curve for kids and parents alike so give it time!

xoxo,  Karen