I’ve been getting a ton of reader questions about warm winter coats. I loved Jennifer’s especially since MI will always have a special place in my heart:
I need your help! We’ve recently relocated from Central NJ to Ann Arbor (which means I won’t likely run into you at Clay – what a gem! – wearing a copycat outfit) and it is November 1st and I desperately need advice on what I will need to keep warm. I have an old J Crew car coat that needs to be replaced and I’m unsure of what I will actually need to keep warm here.
Sooooo….how to keep warm in MI? It is not easy. Every Christmas we go home to Marquette and it’s always a shock to the system. It gets SO. SERIOUSLY. Cold. Like forty below. No exaggeration, the actual temperature (without windchill) will read -40F. Last year, Raines learned not to play outside without wrapping his entire face (ninja style) in a scarf, else he’d end up with severely windburned cheeks. (Not that it would stop him. So I learned that First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream – bought for post-chemo – ALSO worked wonders on his red, chapped cheeks. In case any of you have little snowplaying lunatics like R.)
But let’s talk coats!! The first thing I did was call Scotti, my MI-dwelling sister to discuss. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going overboard. NOPE. We were in violent agreement. If you really need to be warm in a MI-like winter, you’ve basically got three options: Puffers, Parkas or Ski/Snowboard Jackets (these typically require layers).
The good news is that there are some seriously amazing options, at all price points. So we rounded up a bunch (my personal favs are above). I tend to like the shorter jackets or the ones that juuust cover the bum (the long parkas look ridiculous on me, especially with snowpants – I look like a short, wide, man)…and Scotti prefers belted coats (show off her waist, balance the bass). Here’s what caught our eye:
2013 was my year of cancer, 2014 was my year of recovery, and 2015? 2015 will be my year of bad assery. My year of workout domination. My year of health. If anyone else is obsessively stalking Pinterest for workout quotes (my latest fav? “If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up”)….here’s a gift guide for you.*
*A disclaimer for new mamas: My “baby” just turned four. This is the first year – since my oldest was born – that I feel like working out on a regular basis. That I can actually make workouts part of my life again. I haven’t worked out – with any sort of regularity – since Raines was born in2008. If you are sitting in the midst of diapers and spit-up and stained nursing bras and are feeling bad reading this article and wondering how the hell I manage to have any time to work out….please remember this: My babies are not babies anymore. (sob!) Your time will come. Go easy on yourself – up until very recently, I was there too.
I’m obsessed with this sweatshirt-puffer jacket hybrid. Perfect for throwing on over workout gear, but chic enough (and warm enough) to wear around the rest of the day. You’d totally rock school pick-up. The zippers on the sides let you control how fitted this piece it – unzip to hide a pooch, zip up to show off a waist. I love the navy (#alwayslovethenavy), but this jacket is also available in black and a very intriguingly bright red. (Or is it pink? I can’t tell.)
Fabletics works like Fabkids, or Stylemint: you basically become a member (it’s free to signup), and every month you have the chance to purchase a new workout outfit, OR choose to skip that month (and won’t be charged). Their outfits are seriously affordable and shockingly on-trend. In addition to the outfit shown, I’m also obsessed with “Blast”. I’d pick the bright blue tights, teal bra, and gray twisted shirt. (Also check out “Owyhee” – the camo workout tights are so flipping cool.)
I have these in chestnut, and they are – hands down – my most worn boot when the weather turns. Just so easy and comfy, you know? I wear them to school drop-off and pickup, and wear them to the pilates/yoga/barre studio. And….well, that’s kinda my day. Am thinking that I’d love a black pair to go with all of my workout black.
I was sent a Jade Harmony Yoga mat while going through chemo. It’s made from natural rubber, so you don’t have to worry about toxic chemicals when you’re getting your ohms. It’s also just an all around great yoga mat.
This is easily the chicest water bottle I’ve EVAH seen.
13, 14, & 15: Studio Membership/Class Punch Card
One of the best gifts for us mamas trying to get back in shape is a punch card (or month or yearly membership) for workout classes. Here are my current favs:
Barre3 – a pilates/yoga/ballet hybrid. I had done Barre3 quite some time ago, but recently rediscovered because they have a new studio here on the Mainline. (They also have online workouts available, but I don’t like the online nearly as much as an in-person class.)
Mutu Mamas – this is a complete online program to help Mamas get their bodies back. Wendy, the founder, is an alignment nerd (in the best possible way), and helps us understand why some of us (myself included) still have that hard little belly bump that won’t go away (hint: diastatis is only a symptom of a bigger problem). I find Wendy so inspiring and her private Facebook community (available to subscribers) is impressive and supportive. All of these workouts are online, and perfect for all moms whether you’ve just given birth, or are years/decades out.
Belly Pilates – There are a few Pilates studios popping up that focus on post-partum. Locally, I love Belly Pilates in Bryn Mawr. Kelly (the founder) is nothing short of a post-baby-body genius, and her classes are like rehab. I started going to Kelly after my mastectomy, and she has been a huge part of my recovery. Also? My lingering post-baby belly is almost gone.
Most gift guides yet to come!! (Aren’t these fun?)
Gang, black friday sales are already starting. Even Anthro is offering free shipping this weekend (and just added a bunch of interesting tees to their sale shop – all under $40.)
But the sale that got me clicking away (yes, I enable myself I’m seriously the worst) is Bloomingdales. So. Crazy. Good.
Here’s a small (yet hopefully well edited) sampling of what they have on sale:
And happy Friday! Pax is having his birthday party tonight (like in an hour – I’ve seriously gotta stop typing). We’re doing a karate class (in full ninja costume) then having everyone over for pretzel-wrapped hot dogs and pink cupcakes with ninjas on top. As you can tell, our birthday parties follow a very strict decor theme. This year’s theme is called “Whatever Pax Wants” and was inspired by the fact that Mike and I have been too busy for Pinterest. #toobusyforpinterest <– this should be a thing, yes?
What are your weekend plans? We’re taking the boys to BalletX on Saturday so…yeah. Should be an interesting weekend.
This is what I got Mike for Christmas last year. He opened it and was all, “Cool, Babe” than later made fun of me “I can’t believe you got me SOCKS for Christmas”. But then the socks started arriving. And? They’re awesome. Pretty soon Mike would come home from work and ask, “Did my new socks come in yet?” He’s already started dropping hints for this year….wait and see, Mike D. Wait And See.
Mike got a leather jacket and it completely changed his style game. He wears it on date nights, he wears it to soccer games, he even wears it to work (looks great with a tie). We liked the Vince jacket the best, but Banana Republic men’s leather moto jacket, $398, is almost identical (also comes in a rich brown). The Vince jacket has a slightly trimmer fit and the leather is softer (like butter-soft), but both are great options.
What guy spends $85 on sweatpants? None of them. Which is why this is a gift. But I freaking love these sweatpants. Mike looks so adorably sexy with his glasses and bedhead and cool-guy sweatpants that they are worth every penny.
Shinola watches are made in Detroit (holla), and even if we didn’t hail from MI, we’d be all over these seriously cool watches. We both love the vintage faces with such modern styling. Namely, the watch is big. Be sure to check out pictures of the watch on the model’s hand to get an idea of scale. So freaking cool.
Facebookers have spoken: Mama needs some playclothes. And while there’s only so much that can realistically be done with playground style (due to uh, extreme conditions – and I’m not talking about the weather), I thought it would be fun to try and nudge our playground uniform in a fresher direction. (Nudge, rather than trying to start a new thing, like #velvetattheplayground or something. Actually, brocade would be better – it’s so stiff, I’m pretty sure all of the dirt would wipe right off.)
ANYWHO. Assuming that your playground uniform is basically some form of jeans, sweater, flat shoes, done…..we’re nudging. Ready?
Hi Shana, I am a long time reader of your blog and I love how you are encouraging moms to be stylish in ways that work for our lifestyle. I am taking your Fall Edit to heart and looking for some interesting jeans and am particularly drawn to flares…I love my skinnies but am ready for a break! But I am having the hardest time figuring out what shoes to wear them! Everyone styles flares with heels, which I love, but this momma needs the practicality of flats for everyday life (parks, play dates, Target runs…). Any styling tips?
Thanks so much! Leslie
Leslie, I HEAR YA. My biggest problem with flares is that they look so much better with heels. Like, no contest, heels win hands-down. But like you, I’m most often in flats. So I took this styling challenge to heart to see if I could figure out a chic way to wear flats and flares. After an embarrassing amount of tries over many weeks, I think I came up with something worth hemming for.
(And only one pair of flares were harmed in the process. RIP, Seafarer flares. Thank goodness you were bought on sale for a mere fraction of your usual cost else I would’ve lost my mind. #allinthenameofresearch)
Leaves are in piles on the ground, hot chocolate has become a daily thing, and I’ve already busted out my mittens. One thing’s for sure: WINTER IS COMING.
As I write this, my little hometown of Marquette, MI is covered in snow (my sister Scotti and baby Greenlea are both going stir crazy), and last time I chatted with my friends in Denver, they were SHOVELING. So…yeah. Here we go.
Each year, the snow catches me off guard, and there’s always those few days Raines is playing outside in too-short snowpants and sneakers while I wait – with baited breath – for our brown-clad hero (aka the UPS man). Once snow hits here on the East Coast, the store shelves are swept bare of anything even remotely useful for snow play. BARE.
So this year, I’m determined to get ahead of the snow. We had a winter-gear try-on sesh (and YES!! Pax still fits his snowsuit) but footwear is a problem. Both boys need snowboots, obviously, but they also need warmer shoes in general. We’re mostly a slip-on Vans family, but canvas shoes are brutal when the temps drop. And what do they wear to school? Last year it didn’t matter all that much (Raines was in half-day kindergarten), but who wants to sit around in snowboots all day? Not my kid. I suppose we could always pack an extra pair of shoes in his backpack, but looking at our track record of Getting Things To School (forms/lunches/library books/money for the homeroom mom)……an extra pair of shoes brings me one nut closer to the nuthouse.
But the big question in my mind was this: What the heck did we do last year?
Aha! A pic from last year.
Well. This explains A LOT. Last year’s Kid’s Winter Shoe Strategy is perhaps better described as, Kids? We Have kids?
(Hey there new readers – I feel the need to point out that last year I was, uh, recovering from a bout with chemo *breast cancer*cough*breastcancer* so that is my excuse.)
Now that I’ve clearly illustrated the height of our bar (impressively low, if I may be so bold)….I assure you: This year WE WILL DO BETTER. So here’s what my kids are currently wearing to school:
I tend to go a little overboard when I find something I like. I’ll buy the same pair of shoes in two different colors or the same jeans in 4 different washes. This shirt? I have it in ten – TEN – different colors and patterns. AND? I found myself contemplating two more this morning when I realized they were on sale. I LOVE this shirt. It is probably one of the most versatile items in my closet . . . it can be dressed up or down, be sexy or conservative, hide pooches or muffin tops and is perfect for nursing. You need one, right? (Or ten).
Gang, you know how sometimes you go to buy something on sale and then find out that it’s exempt? Annoying, right? Well. Piperlime is having a one-day sale, and it INCLUDES many of those brands that rarely go on sale. And YUP: We’re talking Frye boots, Rag and Bone jeans, and even the insanely fabulous Weitzman 50/50 over-the-knee boots are all part of the sale. Use code NOWORNEVER. Sale ends tomorrow!
Gang, I’ve been working on this article for almost a year (which explains the wig). And it seems apropos, I suppose, since one year ago today I had my last chemo treatment. On the phone this morning, Scotti pointed out that I should celebrate. She’s right, don’t you think? A little champagne may be in order this weekend.
But first, let’s talk about bold lips and our flawless face giveaway. (I’m really, REALLY excited about this one.)