I should’ve called this one Ode To My Thin Black Turtleneck because that’s really what this is. I’m always amazed by how often this turtleneck comes to the rescue. It’s not a fancy piece – I’m a die-hard fan of J.Crew’s tissue turtleneck and they’re what? $30? But each year at Christmas I trot them out under some sort of dress.
Day dresses, fancy dresses – it really doesn’t matter. (I actually think it would be fabulous under a strapless dress….I’ll have to try that next time.)
Growing up, my mom started the tradition that Christmas morning meant books. To this day, I can’t think of Christmas without remembering that delicious feeling of anticipation a new book brings. Of curling up on the couch – cozy socks on feet and a book in hand – for a long afternoon of reading by the fire. By the end of the day, my cheeks would be pink from the wood-fired stove and my mind would be faraway – caught up in the world of whatever I was reading.
I’ve always been a book nerd. I think it’s my best quality.
So in the spirit of my childhood Christmas, each year I pick out a very special book to read to the boys. Something a little challenging, perhaps, but something….special. An epic tale, a daring adventure, a story that captives the imagination and renews the soul (I warned you about that book nerd stuff). Glorious illustrations and unabridged text are a must.
At the moment, Raines is almost 7 and Pax is 4, so my book choices and comments are based on those ages. (However, Pax is a book nerd like his Mama, and has been happily sitting through Chapter books since he was 2. I know that’s not the norm. Raines was late getting into the book game – he just wasn’t into it early on – but he’s a fairly old soul, and likes his adventure pretty hardcore. Some of his favorite stories are downright scary. All of our notes below.)
There’s just something about Pooh. About Pooh and Piglet and Rabbit and Eyeore and the seemingly all-knowing Christopher Robin. This book, this weighty tome, has captured both of my kid’s imaginations. Pax asks to read it every night – he especially likes the one where Rabbit and Pooh scheme to kidnap baby Roo – and Raines, in the spirit of Christopher Robin (who is also 6), acts indifferent, “silly Pooh” but doesn’t miss a word once I actually start reading. There is simply no comparison between the original, thought-provoking, sometimes dry-humored Winnie The Pooh and the Disney version of these tales. But be sure to get a unabridged copy with full-colored illustrations. They’re heart-melting. (The link above is to the full-color unabridged version of the complete tales, including Winnie The Pooh, House at Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six. BUT. It’s really, REALLY heavy. I wish we had bought this Winnie The Pooh boxed set – still full-color illustrations and unabridged, but broken down into four lighter volumes.)
I had never read Dr. Doolittle as a child, so this was a fun read. The illustrations are fabulous, and, we found, necessary (the cast of crazy animal characters is long and a bit hard to keep straight. Pax is always trying to identify which one is Dab Dab the Duck vs whomever else). Raines, however, was not into this book. I suspect it’s because he’s not really into animals at the moment. Or, in his words, “I’m just not a zoo guy, Mum.” Um. Ok. But a total must-read for any animal-loving kiddo.
This is a retelling of classic Norse myths. It is also, to quote one Amazon reviewer, “ripping stuff”. He goes on: “…the balance between straight adventure and human emotion introduces the young reader to both the obvious attractions and entertainments of mythical stories and the more subtle rewards of reading and thinking about great odysseys.”
Exactly that. There’s danger and daring and terrifying beasts, but vulnerability and doubt too, and quite possibly the best lessons on true leadership that I can remember reading. Raines couldn’t get enough of this epic tale, but a few parts were too frightening for Pax. Raines still gets a steely glint in his eye if I mention The Dogfighters. “I am not afraid of fear!” Erik cried. “Fear is like an old friend who shouts by my side!!” …the battle against The Dogfighters had begun. [shiver] Good stuff. (Be sure to get the hardcover edition with the full-color illustrations. Totally worth it.)
This. THIS book. I credit Beatrix Potter with getting Raines interested in books in general. Raines wasn’t into reading as a toddler (he’d slam most books closed and shout “NO!!!”) but his two year old self was completely enchanted with this set of teeeny tiiiny Beatrix Potter books. And once I started to read about naughty Peter and Benjamin Bunny, or the tantrum-throwing Hunka Munka? He was ALL IN. So we upgraded to The Complete Tales in a size I could easily read. It’s amazing, really, how so many years later Ms. Potter’s stories capture my little boys’ imaginations as if no time at all has passed.
5. The Odyssey, written by Gillian Cross, illustrated by Neil Packer
Yup, this is Homer’s Odyssey, with seriously cool art on every page, and redone in a language that is easy to grasp. This book is best for kiddos slightly older than mine – last year it was too much for both of them, but Raines is now just starting to appreciate it. If you are serious about classic literature, this is an amazing introduction for kids, with illustrations that make this *almost* more art book than story.
6. Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie, illustrated by Scott Gustafson
I’ve been struggling with what to say about this this unabridged, gloriously illustrated Peter Pan because I fear that my words will not do it justice. Suffice to say that this may be the best book I’ve ever read. Not just the best children’s book, mind you, but the best book, period. There’s dry humor (that goes over the boy’s heads but leaves me giggling uncontrollably), there’s daring adventures and gut-wrenching honesty and an ending so bittersweet I had to read through a thick veil of tears. And the author’s grasp of the nature of children – of humanity, really – leaves me feeling humbled. It’s a story about us all. A story of our fears, our disappointments and of life marching on. It’s actually a fairly dark story, and Raines especially got that. I think he was surprised to learn that he didn’t always like Peter Pan, although he was cheering him on in the end. Disney didn’t get it completely wrong, though (to live is an awfully big adventure), but what Peter Pan actually said was, “to die must be an awfully big adventure” and after that how can you not let your mind soar?
The illustrations in this unabridged edition are stunning. So true to the story and the kind you can pour over for hours. (Amazon doesn’t have many in stock at the moment, but Biblio.com has several copies for $35.)
Another book based on mythology, this time Hindu. It’s the story of Rama, a god-turned-prince who must rescue his wife Sita from a demon king. There’s journeys and tricks and epic battles and – to the delight of Raines – a bow that shoots a million arrows at once. Mind. Blown. (Warning: this book prompted a paint-our-body-blue phase so Raines could be like Rama. It was pretty funny – there’s a picture in this play article. )
That devious Toad!! He is such trouble for lovely Mole and quick-witted Rat. And the completely irresistible pull of the motorcar? Well. My boys are hooked. POOP POOP! We’ve actually read this book cover-to-cover twice, and each time they’ve delighted in Toad’s scrapes (but sensitive Raines always wants to get back to Mole, “he’s my favorite, Mum”). And at the end? The glorious finale when they go up against the Stouts and Weasels in an epic battle for Toad Manor? I mean seriously we’re talking edge-of-the-seat stuff here.
This story is near and dear to my heart. It’s the story of a toy, carved by an Indian boy in the Canadian wilderness. The boy leaves the little boat on a snowbank one spring, and when the snowbank melts, the boat is whisked off down the river. The boat (named Paddle-to-the-Sea) journeys through the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, and finally the Atlantic Ocean. While I’ll admit that I like this book more than my boys do, the stunning illustrations (spanning both miles and seasons), strongly depict a sense of time and place and of…connection that it’s earned it’s place on our shelves.
This year, I haven’t quite decided which book to add to our library (as you can see, we have quite the collection!!). The boys just pulled Peter Pan back out, so we might just go with that. We’re taking the train home again, so it’s a perfect time to cuddle up and read together. But I’d LOVE some recommendations. I was thinking maybe this illustrated edition of Treasure Island, but it’s “heavily abridged” according to reviewers. Is there a stunningly illustrated Alice in Wonderland, maybe? (Perhaps this one?) There should be.
You know those women who can just throw on a thin dress with nothing on underneath and look great? Yeah, I’m not one of them. Some of us need (ahem) a little more help. Some of us struggle with cellulite and muffin tops while others need to minimize (or maximize!) their cleavage. When we were putting together our posts for our favorite holiday dresses, (Shana’s here) and our top maternity dresses, the question of what to wear underneath kept coming up. Whether you’re pregnant, post-partum or sending your babies off to college, we’ve rounded up the perfect “undercover wonders” to help with whatever issues you happen to have. (Body issues, that is).
1. Nordstrom Intimates U-Plunge Bra: I bought this bra to go under a bridesmaid dress I wore in a friend’s wedding. Since then, it’s gotten a ton of use. I hate having my bra show under lower necklines and this bra is the solution for shaping and support under deep v necklines.
2. Aerie Lace bralette: This bra is pretty enough to peek out from under a blouse or sweater and is super comfortable. It’s nursing friendly and can be worn alone or over another bra for more support.
3. PINK Leopard print strapless bra: I bought a bra just like this a few years ago that could also be worn as a swimsuit. It’s convertible to 7 different wearable ways and the 2/$42 price is a plus!
4. True & Co. Hidden hipster panties: No panty lines! I hate panty lines . . . this option completely takes care of the problem. They’re super soft, comfortable (i.e. no wedgies) and don’t create muffin top.
5. True & Co. Hidden hipster thong: Same as above except in the thong version. I’d wear thongs with leggings and pants and panties with skirts and dresses. *If you had a c-section, you may prefer these Godiva High Rise Thongs . . . they’re super soft and come up over your scar.
6. Free People tank slip dress: This is the perfect layering piece. It smooths your body, has adjustable straps, covers your bum, and comes in a number of colors. If you’re brave enough, you can wear it as a dress, but I’d wear it over leggings or opaque tights with a long oversized sweater and boots. Love.
7. Haute Contour Boyshort: Muffin top? Not anymore . . . this smooths over lines and lumps and bumps and that annoying pooch that sits above your c-section scar . . . when does that go away?? Oh well . . . until then, I’ll use my spanx.
9. Belevation Maternity Shapewear: When I was pregnant, I was worried about what to wear under dresses . . . and then I googled “maternity shapewear.” Thank God it exists! This pair is thin and breathable so they can be worn year-round (even in the summer months) and be comfortable.
10. Spanx Power Mama Maternity Shaper: This pair provides support for your back and stomach without being too constricting. I wore it under dresses all the time last summer with my big belly. The material on the belly is smooth so it doesn’t cause fabric to stick to it and give you away!
12. Hue Nude Fishnets: If you need nude hose, fishnets are your best option. Nude fishnets are more reserved than black ones, still provide coverage (and warmth in the winter) and can be worn with open-toed shoes and peep-toe booties.
14. Plush Maternity Fleece-lined tights: If I’m ever pregnant during the fall or winter (or spring, really, where I live!) I will be getting these, made by the same company that makes the ones I currently have and love.
PS: We are getting SO excited for the holidays around here! Having little ones definitely puts a little more magic into the season, doesn’t it? Greenlea just had her first picture with Santa and it’s embarrassing how excited I was. Shana and fam get here about a week from today and I’m so looking forward to family time. Any suggestions for holiday fun/activities with a 5 month-old?
Every weekend day in December from 12-3PM, Frankford Hall morphs from a Philly beer hall to rocking kid-friendly party, complete with Santa, free food for the kids, and live music. Since any kid party that includes beer is one Mike is willing to attend, off we went.
Happy Friday!! Any fun weekend plans? We’re planning to head down to Frankford Hall this weekend. Frankford Hall is one of our favorite beer gardens (with heat lamps – critical!!) to see Santa. Isn’t that a genius idea? Santa will be there for free pics from 12 – 3PM each day this weekend and next. Oh, and kids eat free. #nobrainer
But the exciting news is that on SUNDAY, I’m hosting a Champagne party at the Bradamant Pop-Up Shop downtown Philly. Mike is coming too, and we’d both love if you’d drop by. I’m a huge fan of the brand (and the designer Tamar is not only insanely talented, but just a fantastic person all-around) and I think it’ll be tons of fun. I just tried on this crazy, new print and the pictures do NOT do it justice. Seriously. (Also, this taupe(?) gray(?) turtleneck is so lux and gorgeous.) Come see for yourself!! And have a drink, obvi. Bubbles, people. BUBBLES.
We’ve been doing our best to try and keep The Mom Edit’s Holiday Central up-to-date with the latest sale information and gift picks as we find them (as well as our Holiday Style articles). Has it been helpful? I’d love your feedback. Trying to see if we should make it a regular holiday thing. (Although, I want more thumbnail pics and less text links – we’re working on that part.) Let me know.
Haley W. from Oklahoma, you are the winner of our huge Sephora giveaway. Enjoy, Chick!! You are in for some fun. (I just sent you an email…..)
I don’t normally love puffer vests, but just picked up this one at the Gap. It’s fab. Also picked up this fair isle sweater in white. It’s a mock turtleneck and shockingly cute. Which means…a mere DAYS after I swear (VOW!!) to never wear another mock turtleneck….I buy one. #karma
Speaking of, Meagan and I recorded another podcast at The Happiest Home, this time talking about holiday style. She provokes me and I end up swearing that I will never wear another mock turtleneck again.
LOFT is having a seriously huge sale – a whopping 60% off already reduced styles. It’s a final sale, but most things ring in under $20. Here’s what is currently in my cart – just click directly on the pic to be taken to the item.
Enjoy your weekend, and I hope to see you locals on Sunday!!
The Ore Dock Brewing Company is one of our favorite places to go in our lovely town of Marquette, Michigan. They have a tasty selection of micro-brewed beer, some of the coolest interior design you’ll see, friendly and knowledgeable bartenders and offer live music and events like yoga & beer nights. On top of all that, they have this awesome swing . . . my favorite place to sit and sip my beer. When we go to the Ore Dock I want to look a little glam but I want to be comfortable. Enter sequin leggings. Sequins are always fun and festive for the holidays and leggings are just. So. Comfortable. Put them together, add my favorite Free People sweater and you have a comfy glam look for the holidays.
I’ve been searching and searching and debating and….and I think this is the one. The perfect leather jacket. I like that it’s a nice, soft leather, fitted so it won’t overwhelmed, but still has a bit of an edge. (I think Bret Michaels would approve.)
Leave it to me to fall in love with a $150 tee. I started collecting them – on sale – this summer, and I’m completely and totally smitten. I have the charcoal gray, and the stripe, but the black, the one I REALLY want, has stubbornly remained full-price. Yet….the perfect, perfect drape calls to me, as does the extra-long sleeve for my long monkey arms. And if I really want to rationalize it, I’ve pretty much had the charcoal and stripe on a constant rotation (they fit PERFECTLY under all of my fav sweaters), so cost-per-wear and all that….(and oh help – it comes in light gray as well). For reference, I like the Small (although the XS works OK too), and I wash on cold, air dry.
I’m not an it-bag kind of girl. I can appreciate the enduring chic of an Hermes bag, (and goodness knows I love a quirky Kate Spade clutch)….but I can’t quite get my head around carrying anything so expensive. (And frankly, I’d rather spend the $12K on travel.) My speed is more this chic, under-the-radar backpack. I like the faded black, subtle details and the fact that it’s ethically made (the proceeds from the sale benefit scholorship funds for Tanzania schoolchildren). [mic dropped]
I’m having trouble forming words because whenever I look at these boots my mind goes blank, my heart speeds up and all I can think is DROOL. And it doesn’t help that these boots also come in Oxblood or Navy (NAVY!!) for cripes sake. Talk about a tough decision! They’re made in Italy with seriously amazing leather and OMG. I DIE. If you love the shape but are willing to settle for non-Italian leather, Ugg also makes a $200 version in black (made in China of course).
I really owe you guys a full review on Tieks, but suffice to say that these are – without question – the world’s most comfortable flat. They are the flat I turn to when I’m going to be walking around the city all day. The flat I bring on EVERY trip. The flat I wore that one time I forgot my running shoes and wanted to go for a power walk. (You can’t *really* run in them, at least not for long. After about a mile your feet get too sweaty and they slip all over. BUT STILL.) My most-worn Tieks are neon yellow, but HOLY COW these rose gold ones are stunning. I’m crushing on them, HARD.
This is my ultimate bauble. I’d wear it on my index finger. There is nothing more stunning in it’s simplicity than this ring. For something less sparkly, I also love Carbon and Hyde’s Diamond tipped slither ring (only two small diamonds) for $725.
(If you are now totally obsessed with the thought of a snake ring but need something more affordable, this Max and Chloe snake ring is a good place to start, $81.)
Bite Beauty’s all natural lipstick is my latest obsession. And these $12 minis have some seriously good colors. The bright option (Violet/Palomino) would be amazing, but I’m leaning to the two lighter ones (Nude Rose / Light Brown Nude or Retsina/Musk) as perfect for pairing with a dark, smudgy eye. (Scotti told me I have to pick ONE: bright lips OR dark eyes. Like boobs vs legs, I guess. Such a bummer. #ipickboth)
Nothing upgrades an outfit faster than a glam pair of sunnies. Prada makes some really special ones; these are my fav. Classic oversized shape, but with flecks of color throughout. Really unique and different. (I also really like Prada’s statement-making Baroque 54mm sunglasses. Big, but not too big, and when you turn your head to the side, BAM. So freaking cool.)
My dear friend Amber recommended this for me – it sounds like a crack-up. I think the thing is to not take it too seriously (amazon reviewers, I’m talking to you) and just read it for laughs, rather than a serious How To Live Your Life kind of book. This is exactly what I want to curl up with on Christmas morning, once the gifts are unwrapped.
It dawned on me, last winter, that I hail from a place with extreme weather. Growing up, I always knew it was cold (40 below leaves no room for discussion) but it didn’t quite sink in – How extreme? VERY EXTREME – until I had kids of my own. Until Raines came in with blistered cheeks, just from playing outside for half an hour. Until I realized that going anywhere (grocery store, coffee shop, Nana & Grandpa’s house) required full snowgear just to get to the car. Or maybe the realization came as I was on that dogsled last winter, Pax in my lap, whipping through the most jaw-droppingly beautiful snow-covered path – in goggles and scarf and cursing the tiny sliver of skin showing between the two.
Yes, Pax. EXACTLY.
So as you might imagine, I have some strong opinions on winter snowboots. With the kind of extreme temperatures and conditions we’re talking about (have you ever seen snow piled higher than your head?)…winter boots are no joke. Here are our favorites:
This picture was taken less than 24 hours before I went to the hospital to give birth to Greenlea. I was in a friend’s wedding and although I wore a different dress to the ceremony, I chose this one for the reception because it was so comfortable. At 9 months pregnant, if you describe anything as “comfortable,” and it doesn’t look like a tent? You BUY it. Immediately. Being pregnant in the summer was so much easier than the colder months, though. I could throw on a maxi dress (maternity or non-maternity, like this one from Target) with a belt over my bump and call it a day. Dressing a bump in the winter? Much harder. It was very difficult to find anything that fit that wasn’t maternity, but finding “cute” maternity clothes can be a challenge. My saving grace was the maternity line from ASOS because it was stylish (truly!) and affordable, and they have that whole free shipping/free returns thing that I love. I’ve scoured their site as well as many others to find the best options for maternity dresses this holiday season. There are no tents here, Mamas!
2. Manhattan Socialite Dress from Rent the Runway: This is a Badgley Mischka dress, and although I could never afford it at almost $400, I could definitely afford to rent it for $40.Rent the Runway is a GREAT place to get your dresses, pregnant or not!They have a section of “bump-friendly” dresses, and one of the best features of their site is that they have a ton of customer images to search through so you can see what the dresses look like on “real” people.
5. Isabella Oliver Haddington One-Shoulder Dress: I have always loved one-shoulder silouhettes, and this simple dress is perfect for pregnant mamas. It’s made of jersey so it’s comfortable and machine-washable and works for all trimesters!
6. Isabella Oliver Ruched Midi Maternity Dress: Mamas RAVE about this dress (also comes in black – see the boutique below) because it hides lumps and bumps, is comfortable and can easily be dressed up or down.This is a necessity for your maternity wardrobe.
7. James Perse Raglan Sweatshirt Dress: This sweatshirt dress from James Perse (also comes in grey) would look equally awesome with leggings and Uggs at the grocery store or with killer heels and a fabulous necklace at a party.Versatile, comfortable & easy.
14. New Look Maternity 3/4 Sleeve Lace Body-Conscious Dress: I had a dress like this before I got pregnant that I wore all the time, so getting one for pregnancy was a no-brainer. There’s something so easy about black lace and long sleeves . . . it’s elegant and effortless. (And you gotta love the price!)