Five Trends to Watch for Spring. Yes, I said Spring.

Don’t whine to me about all the snow you’ve had. I haven’t seen the sun in months weeks either, but yet, I’m dreaming of spring and coveting all the colors and fun I’m going to have once the gray leaves the sky and I scrape the salt off my suede boots before storing them for next year.

Yes, spring is far away, but the trends are not. And I’m bored and lonely on a Saturday night while my husband is working. So, I turn to the internet for help and love. And yes, shopping.

Here’s what I’m thinking of getting now so I can wear it the day the mercury reaches 55 degrees. Because don’t you know? That’s spring in Chicago.

1. A skinny belt. Because it matches those wrap and beaded bracelets that we’re all wearing on our wrists. I want one with a little more color, but was coveting this guy from Krista K Boutique yesterday:

B-Low the Belt, $110

2. Trouser jeans. I’ve mentioned these before, but I got them on sale from the Gap and they are yummy. I’m over being “over” them:

The Gap Pin Tucked Jeans. Get them on sale.

3. Espadrille wedges. I’ve been in a lot of random conversations lately about being tall (I’m about 5′ 8″) and what to wear with the aforementioned trouser jeans. Since I’m tall, and the jeans are meant to be worn with a long inseam, I need to wear heels. I am finding that wedges, especially the casual espadrille one, are the mom-doing-errands answer to stilettos:

At the mom-doing-errands price on endless.com – $60.47.

4. A long charm beaded necklace. I have recently ditched my beloved Helen Ficalora baby charms that I’ve worn religiously for the last four-and-a-half years. They’re beautiful, but they’re everywhere now and, well, it’s time to move on. Onto a statement piece. Charming, right?:

This one from Anthropologie is stunning and affordable – $58

5. A cropped sweater. I cannot believe I gave away all my “short” sweaters after the birth of my eldest. I thought I had just gotten fat, but really it was that the pant waists got lower. And now that they’re higher again, we can all hide our muffin tops. But what top to wear with the cropped top? All my long jersey tops meant to cover my skinny-jean ass are too long. Enter this cropped sweater of my dreams:

Patterson Kincaid Melinda Striped Cropped Sweater, Shopbop.com, $158

What are you shopping or browsing for this spring?

What’s on my mind – links for 1/12/11

This is going to be one of those lame blog posts, but I’m so busy this week, all I have time to do is link. Gimme a pass, k?

  • I Am Mommy Hear Me Roar! – You would have to be hanging out under a rock to not to have heard about this article on the Wall Street Journal on “The Superiority of Chinese Mothers.” I’m not really going to post my thoughts on the topic here, now, (I VEHEMENTLY DISAGREE!!) but rather point you to an amusing fashion take on the whole parenting trend debacle. All we can do is laugh at this point, right?
  • Traveling this weekend? You need some tips! Who better to help you plan than my favorite local style expert, Amy Tara Koch? You can watch her clip here:

  • Spring is in the air?? I’m already scoping out updating my wardrobe for this spring. I haven’t fully decided everything I’m going to invest in, but I will for sure be buying some wide leg jeans. Again, I’ve checked out The Gap’s site and think these are HOT. Just need to figure out what shoes to pair them with…

… that is for another blog post another day, my friends!

Four Days of Giveaways from Grow Modern Organic Kids: Day Two

As much as I can, I try not one to sacrifice the way I look and the fashion and style I love for the demands of motherhood. (Why are you not surprised?) Four years ago, when I had my first son, I bought products that fit the modern look of my home and the fashionable sense of myself.  Grow Modern owner Deree Kobets takes it one step further. She says,

“while we love crisp, clean lines, modern style at grow means more than that.  The modern child reaps the benefits from products that are multi-functional and well-designed as well as nice to look at.”

I guess I’ve been a little too shallow that way. I like the way modern elements look, but sometimes will breeze over their functionality. Like the Svan wood high chair I plunked down a fair amount of change for because the wood matched the floors in my kitchen only to sell it on Craigslist 4 years later because I couldn’t get the kiddie food goo off the beautifully-colored wood tray. (I guess take that idiom “fashion before comfort” a little too seriously…)

But Deree gets that both, and that’s why she wants you all to look at this Bloom baby fresco high chair (I’m partial to the lime green color, personally). Not only is it visually appealing, but it can service your child’s eating habits from age 3 months to 76 lbs! (That’s at least five years old, right?). You can get a lot more mileage out of this than the cheap-y Fisher Price seat. And, the Orbit G2 stroller system she sells lets your child ride in style WITH a super shock suspension system and 360-degree rotation. It makes my old McClaren Quest look like a doll stroller.

Too bad I’m stuck with the cheap and the dolly (for now, at least). However, I can never stop shopping for moi, so let’s get back to that, shall we?

What’s the number one conundrum of today’s modern mom? If you said getting your baby to sleep more than 3 hours at a time, you are wrong! No! It’s what darn diaper bag to lug around all day, every day with your little one. I’ve been through many, (expensive ones too!), as you know. That’s why I was so psyched when Deree said she was giving away this amazing Skip Hop “Versa” diaper bag to one lucky mommy today. Not only does the Versa not look like your every day diaper bag, it comes with an amazing price tag and made of the best and appealing material – all BPA, PVC, and Phthalate-free. I totally want one for myself. You want one too?  … here’s how you can enter to win the Skip Hop “Versa” Bag:

(1) Leave a comment on this post. Tell me why your current diaper bag needs to go — or don’t, and just leave your email address. You don’t have to confess!

(2) Become a Follower of the Grow blog by clicking here and adding yourself as a follower. (Leave a separate comment telling me that you’ve done this).

(3) Become a fan of Grow’s Facebook Page. (Leave a separate comment telling me that you’ve done this.)

(4) If you use Twitter, retweet this giveaway for another entry. (Leave a separate comment to let me know you’ve done this). You could even say something like:

  • RT@selfmademom Check out The Four Days of Giveaways from Grow Modern Organic Kids:http://bit.ly/ankc55 #growmodern

Good luck and happy entering!

I was compensated to write this post and the awareness campaign by grow modern boutique. I can never be compensated enough, however, to buy all the things I write about. 😉

Sponsored Link: TreeFrogs creates playsets for every budget and yard size.

Fall Mom Fashion Follow Up

Who knew that my back to school shopping guide for moms would hit such a nerve? People really came out of the woodwork to tell me they liked that post! So, after feeling such confidence from my picks online, I had to go test the waters in real life. Read: I did a little shopping.

With baby burrito in tow (my g-d he was an ANGEL!), two of my friends and I dragged strolled our little bundles of joy around the fabulous stores on Armitage Ave. this past Saturday to check out what is in for Fall. At least those stores that are still open. And, score! Score we did. Herewith: my key pieces for Fall 2010.

This 525 America leather trim riding jacket. I got it in black from Art Effect. Don’t laugh if you see me wearing it every day.

This desert boot by DV by Dolce Vita. I was debating the Clarks version, but they didn’t sell that at Lori’s.

And the Pièce de résistance — the Gap jeggings. In indigo wash. They’re already sold out online, but I got mine at the 1969 store on Rush. Better than J brand!

I’m still coveting:

These Sam Edelman shoes. I know they’re like the desert boots, but the wedge is for nighttime… right?


The Effie. They’re effing awesome. (Photo courtesy of Shoes.com – 15% off right now too!)

And…

This bag. OMG This. Bag.

A Marc by Marc Jacobs bag would make a nice accent piece, right? (photo courtesy of Shopbop.com)

What is your key Fall item! Do share! I know I will covet it, too.

Back to School Shopping – For moms, of course

Seems like everyone is gearing up getting their kids ready for school with new clothing purchases and backpacks galore. But I’m protesting. Why? Because it’s not fair that only the kids should get the new stuff for Fall. I want back to school clothes for myself! The eldest is starting at a fancy new school and I’ve outfitted him plenty in comfy but cute Appaman tops, City Threads pants, Geox sneaks and Old Navy t-shirts. The baby gets his hand-me-downs.

As for me, because my eldest is starting at that aforementioned fancy new school, I figure I better look good, too, during school drop-off and pick-up. It also doesn’t help that I’m now completely under the hypo-fashion spell of Amy Tara Koch, to whom sweatpants are like kryptonite. She totally critiqued (in a good way) my mom outfit when I interviewed her last week for Chicago Parent and now I’m a woman obsessed with Bumping Up my mommy wardrobe. Last year, I reveled in my maternity lululemon challenge. It was fun and stretchy, but now that I’m back to my fighting weight I’ve got to up the ante. I’m screwed.

Thus, I’ve been obsessively scouring the internet for pieces that make me look something in between A Real Housewife, and well, a real housewife. Herewith, a list of my coveted items for Fall:

1) Dark grey or black jeggings (for your neophytes these are JEAN leggings): I didn’t quite understand the jegging craze last year, but now that I’ve seen them in action (and on me), I’m hooked. I’m debating between these two:

J Brand 901 Legging in Pitch (photo courtesy of J Brand)

And…

Gap Jean Legging but not in this hideous medium wash – it’s a dark grey, but it wouldn’t copy to my blog! (photo courtesy of Amazon)

2) Some sort of olive-colored cargo pant. I caved and got the J Brand ones in gray off eBay for this summer, but what I really want for Fall are these amazing looking stretchy cargo-cords from Current/ Elliott. It’s what Private Benjamin would wear after training camp. Or, me, after the gym.

Photo courtesy of Saks.com

And what else am I going to wear with all my new skinny pants other than ankle boots? Because nothing says the anti-sweat like some motorcycle boots:

Via Spiga Olga Boot (photo courtesy of Lori’s Shoes)

Or release my inner urban cowgirl with these:

Frye Carson Shortie (photo courtesy of Zappos, but FYI I found them cheaper on Endless!)

As for what’s on top, I’d rather splurge on pants and shoes that will last more than one season and buy some wear and tear tops from Zara, H&M, even Target (shhh). But I’m all about the long cardigan with the skinny pants and I’m loving the one I recently bought…

Open Front Cardigan by Splendid (photo courtesy of Nordstrom)

And if you really want to go all out, you’ll go out and buy yourself a military-inspired coat like I just saw in a Burberry ad in Vanity Fair. Amazingly, I had the foresight to buy a coat just like it a few years back by Marc by Marc Jacobs when I was more flush with cash. (Oh, weren’t we all!). Good knockoffs by Juicy, too.

My sad, old, but in style Marc by Marc Jacobs military coat. Needs a pressing. (photo courtesy of my crappy Blackberry)

So, what are y’all buying for Fall? Next up… accessories! And, watch for a fashion challenge come September. I vow to amp up my mommy wardrobe for 30 days straight! As soon as the heat drops and there’s no threat of my legs sticking together when I walk.

(BTW, this blog was NOT sponsored, but if anyone out there wants to throw in some free jeans, by all means.)

Mother’s Day Not Exactly My Way

For all the inconsistencies in content and posts on this blog, there’s one thing I am good about writing about – Mother’s Day. Besides my birthday (also known as the high holy day around here), Mother’s Day is one of those days I revel in being just a tad selfish. (Ok, that goes for other days too, but who’s counting?)

Remember last year when I took off with a friend for a lux ladies lunch and day of shopping? That will likely go down as one of the most fab Mother’s Days. I wish I could say history was repeating itself, but that would be oh too good to be true.

Now today won’t be known in the annals of history as bad as the Mother’s Day I spent at my brother’s graduation ceremony, but the fact that my husband has to take off for a business trip in a few hours is putting a small dent in my celebratory mood.

It’s like, “Happy Mother’s Day until 1 pm!” day around here and the countdown until I’m alone with both kids has unfortunately started in earnest.

But don’t feel sorry for me. The guilt from my better half resulted in me scoring some new lululemon tops that aren’t 3 sizes too big from my lululemon-obsessed pregnancy days.

My new heather-grey Remix Lulu hoodie. Glad those preggo photos are over.

So I’ll take my four hours of peace plus some cute sweatshirts. Mother’s Day may not have turned out exactly how I expected it today, but it’s still pretty darn good. And comfortable.

Give me some hair, ungreasy, non stringy hair

My least favorite part of post-pregnancy aftermath is definitely the loss of hair. You know, the clumps that gather in the shower drain, the strands that fall out like crazy when blow-drying and brushing. And, the worst culprits: those little bang thingys that grow in to replace the strands that have fallen out like crazy when blow-drying and brushing.

I knew things were getting bad for my hair, but I didn’t realize how bad until I visited my beloved hairdresser, Manolis (he’s so cool he goes by one name), and he was like, “OMG your hair looks really weird.” I took weird for looking like [insert expletive here], but was grateful he used the word “weird” instead.

I mean, I had to agree. My pregnancy ‘do of soft layers around the face with longer layers in back just looked stringy now that everything but the gray hairs had fallen out.

Yes, post-partum is that glamorous.

However, because he is a hairdresser g-d and I’m a willing subject, we came up with a plan of attack. Chop it off. I’ve done this before, as some of you know. I’m not scared of a good haircut. So, we cut off what I thought was at least 6 inches, but what everyone else and their mother assured me was way less than that. The result?

Me, circa stringy hair day.

Me, in my post-partum glory.

I say, when in doubt, remove all evidence of your formerly luxurious pregnancy locks. What say you?

Cross-posted at Second City Baby

Bravo for Bravado

In a change of events to my personal plans (read: need sleep, stop nursing), I can no longer use the awesome nursing supplies provided to me to review by the ever so generous folks over at Bravado.

But, as the saying goes, my loss is your gain.

If you’re nursing and can tell me your MOST embarassing nursing in public story (I didn’t say it would take nothing), you will win a FREE NURSING BRA from Bravado! Winner gets to pick their own size and color and will get the tank within 2-4 weeks (go to – www.bravadodesigns.com to pick).

I’ll say this contest ends next Friday, mmm k? Good luck!

Lactation Nation, cont. plus a giveaway

Back about 8 weeks ago, I was singing my own praises about my abundant milk supply and breastfeeding prowess. Now, I’m just a regular-old nursing pro.  But while I have mastered the hooter-hider, (I highly recommend the Bebe Au Lait ones, and I’m not being paid to say that.) I have not mastered the attractive or comfortable other nursing gear.

Tempted not to spend a lot of money on a product, like a nursing bra, that I might have only used for a week or two, I bought a few cheapie ones at Target. Ten weeks later, they are still highly unattractive and not very comfortable.

Which is why I jumped at an offer by my friend Beth to test out (and giveaway) a new nursing wardrobe by Bravado. (I am being compensated to say this.)  Bravado, apparently a well-recognized brand in the lactation nation but unknown to a rookie like me has come out with an affordable line of nursing gear at Target called Basics by Bravado. Yay! Just one more thing I need to add to my cart.

The stuff looks totally comfortable, and I like how on their website Bravado itemizes each item’s use and purpose.

See? She didn’t cheap out on nursing gear like I did.

I’ll tell you how it lives up to its promise when I get my gear to test out.

But, in the meantime, you can enter to win $500 worth of must-have baby items by entering the Basics by Bravado “Spot a Mom” by following these easy steps:

  • Find the nearest Target store in their area offering Basics by Bravado nursing wear.
  • Visit the store and snap some pics of themselves finding the Basics by Bravado store display.
  • Email their photo, along with their name and contact details to basics@bravadodesigns.com.  

Let me know if you decide to do it! If you do, I’ll put you in a pool to win Bravado nursing gear plus a DVD. I NEVER do contests like these, but now I’m like a member of La Leche or something. Well, not quite, but who doesn’t like free stuff? Good luck!

Disclosure: I am being compensated for writing a review of Basics by Bravado and conducting the contest. Not for breastfeeding, although if I was I’d be a bizillionaire right now.

Lululemon Maternity Wear Challenge: An update

Are you dying to know how I’m doing ensconced in nylon day after day? Well, on Day 17 I’m finally wearing a pair of long pants as the temperature has dipped below 75 degrees. (My criteria for wearing long pants has drastically changed due to my limited wardrobe options.) And one of my three sweatshirts. So I feel that I now have some more clothing options. Because really, wearing the Bulerias or Power Y tank EVERY DAY was just getting a little nasty.

Luckily the ‘lemon washes quite nicely and hasn’t stretched out into weird proportions considering my stomach is looking more and more like I swallowed a watermelon every day.

But trying to work the ‘lemon into my repetoire every day can be a bit daunting. Especially as I try not to look like a gym rat/ haven’t showered/ only wears sweatpants kind of mama every day.

So today, I paired the wrap pant in charcoal grey with my uber-cute but potentially blister-inducing Tory Burch Bryce Clog.

clog

Because every pair of sweatpants needs a patent leather clog to stay above the sloppy fray.

It’s a wonder what a little T logo can do to the maternity fashion psyche.

Sponsored Link: Maternity Dresses