Black Friday Cheat Sheet

You have waited all year for this day and it has finally arrived. Your stomach churns with both excitement and apprehension as you depart your home and venture off to an unknown fate.  Black Friday: the day when people trample others for deep discounts mere hours after giving thanks for what they already have. Black Friday is an enigma in the truest form. It’s the one day of the year that integrates some of the most celebrated American pastimes – camping, shopping, and wrestling. In a real life manifestation of The Hunger Games, all common decency is abandoned as people cross swords for price-slashed luxury goods. Unless armed with helmets and shoulder pads, battling hoards of overzealous retailers is wrought with perils.

The first and most critical rule for Black Friday shopping – STAY HOME.  There, I said it. With few exceptions, shoppers extraordinaire can access the same deals online as in stores. This year, stay in your pajamas, grab some spiced cider, and bask in the warm glow of your computer screen. Below is my ultimate Black Friday Cheat sheet because it’s an “add to cart” kind of day!

Moda Operandi – Take an extra 30% off sale styles with code 30EXTRA.  Valid through 11/27.

Nike – Take an extra 25% off sale styles with code EPIC25. Valid through 11/28

Shopbop – Take up to 75% off sale items and 30% off full-priced styles with code MORE17. Valid through 11/27

Saks – Get up to 60% off at the Thanksgiving sale. Valid through 11/24

Rebecca Minkoff – Take 25% off all purchases over $100 with code BLACK25. Valid through 11/28

Kate Spade – Take 30% off all purchases with code GIVEJOY. Valid through November 211/26

Macy’s – Take 20% off with code HURRY. Valid through 11/25

LUISAVIAROMA – Take 20% off with code BFSUS17. Valid through 11/29

Intermix – Take 40% off select full-priced styles. Valid only 11/23

J. Crew – Take 40% off everything. Valid through 11/26

Topshop – Get up to 50% off plus free shipping. Valid through 11/27

Asos – Take 20% off everything with code WIN20. Valid through 11/28

Madewell – Take 25% off everything with code DONTSTRESS. Valid through 11/26

DIANE VON FURSTENBERG – Take 20% off site-wide with code THANKS20. Valid through 11/27

Farfetch – Take 50% off. Valid 11/23 for a limited time.

DKNY – Take 20% off your purchase + an additional 30% off sale with code BLACK. Valid through 11/25

Sam Edelman –  Take 30% off Sitewide with code SAMSGIVING. Valid through 11/25

Urban Outfitters – Buy one, get one 50% off. Valid through 11/24

TOMMY HILFIGER – Take 40% off site-wide + extra 20% off $150+ with code THATSALE. Valid through 11/28

Boohoo – Take 50% off everything. Valid 11/22 only

Tory Burch – Take 30% off $250+ with code THANKS. Valid through 11/27

 

The Last Hurrah

There is a time of year in New York when the weather grows cooler, days become shorter, and moms engage in a myriad of seasonal city rituals. Fueled by gingerbread lattes and pumpkin muffins, we busily unpack vacuum-sealed bags of woolen and cashmere sweaters while basking in the fragrance of pine scented candles. In our spare time, we take our kids on nature walks through Central Park in search of Autumn’s kaleidoscope of blazing colors, a seasonal reminder that change is, in fact, beautiful. We fill our bellies with hot chocolate and tiny marshmallows while watching the leaves flutter to the ground at our neighborhood playgrounds. In only a few short weeks, this concrete jungle will be hidden under a blanket of snow and the picturesque tree-lined streets of the Upper East Side will become a wintry obstacle course of slush lagoons and heaping mounds of yellow-tainted snow (yuck).

In New York, most people navigate the city by foot, which means our children are invariably outside even on the coldest of winter days. And city kids are remarkably resilient, using their mittens to brush off serrated icicles before swinging from monkey bars at the playground. But dressing these children in multiple layers and outfitting them with winter-ready accessories can be an arduous undertaking for parents and caretakers. My attempts to put a winter coat on my youngest are often met with meltdowns of epic proportions and blood-curdling screams akin only to medieval torture. There are many afternoons I raise my white flag of surrender and spend the afternoon reading books or doing craft projects with the kids in our apartment merely to avoid this imminent struggle.

It seems inconceivable that Mother Nature’s grand finale for October was met with short sleeves and open windows. But now, in a veritable race against time, NYC families are scrambling to participate in outdoor activities while the temperature is mild enough for even the most vulnerable little ones without the use of bulky snow suits and polar accessories. It seems like mere days ago we made our annual pilgrimage to Harbes Family Farm in Mattituck, NY.  Comfortably clad in only in flannel shirts and jeans, we bypassed the painful process of layering and spent hours delighting in the farm’s many attractions. A refreshing departure from mundane strolls through pumpkin patches, the farm is home to an impressive 8-acre Barnyard Adventure. This city kid’s wonderland boasts an assortment of family-friendly attractions including pony rides, petting zoo, face painting, gem mining, pig races and more. Framed by velvety green pastures, a colorful jumbo trampoline sets the Barnyard Adventure apart from all other farms of its kind. A treat for children of all ages, the bouncy apparatus was an instant favorite among our crew. It’s no mystery why NYC families make the trek out East to visit this agricultural oasis. Harbes hasn’t forgotten about the adults either. After several hours of chaperoning boisterous children, parents can delight in some liquid patience from the Wine Barn on premises. Paired with their scrumptious apple cider donuts, this is the perfect adults-only afternoon snack. As the sunshine warmed my face for perhaps the very last time this season, I delighted in knowing that in only a few short months we will once again leave our apartment without the dreaded trifecta of winter coats, tears, and temper tantrums.

 

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Shop Our Looks:

Check Lace Up Shirt – ASOS

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Princetown fur-lined leather slippers– Gucci

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On Chloe: 

Baby Buffalo Plaid Ruffle Top – Gap (sold out) 

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Plaid Twill Ruffle Shirt – Gap

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Girls Bevin Infant & Toddler Moccasin – DSW

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Polished in Plaid

When summer comes to a close and the first brisk gusts of wind swirl through the towering New York City skyscrapers, we wrap ourselves in fleece blankets, sip spiced cider by the fireplace and delight in the splendor of the upcoming holiday season. At this time of year, fashion enthusiasts often become inspired by nature’s vibrant autumn palette.  Along with Jewel-toned cashmere and pumpkin hued embellishments, we commonly gravitate towards brightly colored plaid accessories. While the festive grid-like design is most often seen on flannel pajamas, plush throw blankets and other festive home décor, this season we’re really seeing plaid rule the runway like never before. New York City’s most fashionable are stepping out with swoon-worthy tartan-themed accessories and chic plaid footwear that will have NYC women sashaying all throughout autumn and winter. From sky high boots to chic flats, everyone can partake in this here-to-stay trend. Below are my most highly coveted plaid shoes of the season.

Chiara Ferragni Pointy Toe Flat – Nordstrom Rack

Chiara Ferragni

This Chiara Ferragni Italian-made loafer is a classic shoe with an air of luxe eccentricity. The playful twist on a traditional fabric and sleek silhouette is both unexpected and masterfully executed. Thanks to the remarkably impressive acquisitions of Nordstrom Rack, these $420 flats can be yours for only $289. Sold!

Jeffrey Campbell “Lilith” Boot – Nordstrom

Jeffrey Campbell Lilith block heel boot

Leave it to avantgarde shoe designer, Jeffrey Campbell, to put the perfect feminine spin on the traditional combat boot. Punk meets plaid in this edgy patchwork boot that screams rocker-chic! Jewel-toned plaid swatches and silver-tone studded accents present a striking contrast to the thick lug sole and chunky block heel.

Jeffrey Campbell “Siren” Bootie – Nordstrom

jeffrey campbell siren

The “Siren” booties are made from strechy neoprine upper and instantly mold around your feet like a sock. For my friends who often complain about finding comfortable boots – you’re welcome. These are also available in 4 other color variations, including solid black and camouflage.

Karl Lagerfeld “Nara” Plaid Ballet Flats – Lord & Taylor

Karl Lagerfeld Nara jeweled flat

Karl Lagerfeld can do no wrong! An homage to Manolo Blahnik’s Hangisi flat, the “Nara” ballerina’s classic silhouette is both sophisticated and timeless.  Adorned with an opulent jeweled embellishment, this shoe can transform skinny jeans and a sweater into quite an elegant ensemble.

Mr & Mrs Italy Plaid Mule – LuisaViaRoma

Mr and Mrs Smith 

Move over Gucci “Princetown” mules, there’s a new fur-lined slipper in town. Mr & Mrs Italy, most well-known for their luxurious outerwear (and incorrect usage of punctuation), is the mastermind behind these decadent plaid mules. Crafted from virgin wool (taken from a lamb’s first very first shearing) and lined with mink fur, these slippers are fit for royalty.  Regal gold chain embellishment and dramatic pointed toe set this slide apart from others of its kind.

Tommy Hilfiger “Tonny” Plaid High Top Boots – Lord & Taylor

Tommy Hilfiger Tonny

These boots by Tommy Hilfiger are far from your ordinary hiking boots. For ladies looking to experiment with fashion trends without fully committing, this practical boot is the answer to your prayers. Crafted from cozy flannel plaid and lined with faux shearling, these boots will be sure to keep your tootsies warm all winter long.

Sorel “Major” Moto Boots – Saks Fifth Avenue

Sorel Major Leather & Suede Moto Boots

Sorel is most well-known for their expertly-crafted and waterproof cold weather footwear, but this season their design team has really upped and ante with their “Major” boot.  Fashion meets function, the biker-inspired boots lined with red/black plaid add instant style cred to any look and are insulated enough to wear throughout this winter’s deep freeze. With rugged leather upper, these boots will power through the slush on city streets this winter and beyond.

 

Bridging The Gap 

As children turn 3 or 4, New York City parents often start considering the possibility of moving to the suburbs. After all, raising children here is not for the faint of heart. Living in New York City offers our children a myriad of rich cultural experiences and exposes them to a melting pot of ethnic diversity. But at what expense? In this sprawling metropolis, it’s virtually impossible to shelter our kids from the poverty, profanity-laced conversations and vulgar displays of human indecency found on the city sidewalks. Eager to ditch the concrete jungle for backyards and barbecues, thousands of Manhattan families every year partake in a mass exodus to the suburbs of Long Island, Westchester and New Jersey. But that leaves us, the courageous leftovers, addicted to the urban hustle and determined to raise well-adjusted, resilient kids in the world’s very best city.

Wouldn’t life be easier if we could open our back door and let our children spill out into the yard? Absolutely! But with Central Park only a few short blocks away and a multitude of iconic New York attractions at our fingertips, city kids are exposed to an exhilarating, diverse environment that challenges their curiosities and nurtures their desire to know more about their world. Sure, my kids may not have 3,000 square feet to stash the toys they seldom use, but after nap on any given day they will experience the thrills of riding the tram to Roosevelt Island, playing peek-a-boo with the animals in the Central Park Zoo, or studying the colossal dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History.  Although at times it would be nice to have a bit more space, I feel so very privileged to offer my kids these unique adventures.

Whenever we have the opportunity, we strive to engage in quintessential New York City experiences and have amassed quite a bucket list of Big Apple essentials. Last weekend we capitalized on the unseasonably warm conditions and embarked on an expedition by foot across the Brooklyn Bridge. The elegance of this beloved landmark of grandiose proportion is surpassed only by the breathtaking views of lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, and Freedom Tower. While walking the promenade, I couldn’t help but marvel at the potpourri of both tourists and NYC dwellers – a veritable melting pot of ethnic and cultural diversity. It is my hope that continuous immersion in such a heterogeneous city will encourage my children to grow into compassionate adults who understand and respect similarities and differences amongst people in their communities.

Once across the bridge, we wandered through Brooklyn Bridge Park in Dumbo, where the kids galloped through the large lawns like wild stallions against a backdrop of the most magnificent Manhattan sky-line. And no trip across the bridge would be complete without a visit to Jane’s carousel, the majestic waterfront merry-go-round enclosed in a genuine glass jewel box. The exquisite attention to detail is as extraordinary as the panoramic view from within the ornate crystal enclosure. Horses painted with genuine gold leaf are adorned with custom bridles hand-painted by the same authorized agent who puts finishing touches on the finest Mercedes-Benz vehicles. As the blazing afternoon sun began to weaken, I watched as my son circled round and round, dipping and rising to the tune of life’s most simple melody. There he was – my little boy, riding off into the sunset – the city at his back and only the horizon ahead. Sometimes in life we need to take a step back to see the beauty of what’s right in front of us. It was in this moment I felt so overcome with gratitude for the opportunity to rediscover this awe-inspiring metropolis through the eyes of my children. You see, while we may not have the picture-perfect suburban home and private back yard surrounded by a white picket fence, what we have is far more valuable. We have New York – the “Big Apple,” “the city that never sleeps,’’ the “concrete jungle.” And here, anything is possible. 

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Vintage Havana 3-Tier Ruffle Blouse – Sold Out (Similar Here)

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Flying Monkey Dark Wash Cutoff Shorts

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Mom Plans, G-d Laughs

In lieu of a calendar, I’ve always relied on Starbucks to notify me of the upcoming shifting seasons. When is the first day of Fall? As soon as the Pumpkin Spiced Latte makes its seasonal arrival, of course! After several days of fueling myself with autumnal drinks that spark a cult-like following, I was itching to celebrate the commencement of Fall with an afternoon of family-friendly seasonal activities. Aside from scoring a new pair of limited edition Louboutins, nothing tickles my fancy quite like meandering through a field of vibrantly colored pumpkins with my children or picking apples at our favorite orchard.  For the past several years, Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard has provided us with the most perfect destination for family fun amidst a backdrop of crinkly leaves under foot, crisp red apples begging to be picked, and the aroma of fresh apple cider donuts in the air. And for parents whose children stage imperfectly-timed meltdowns on their grounds, rest assured – their spiked cider is some of the best I’ve had.

We couldn’t wait to make our annual pilgrimage to Harvest Moon this Fall and had been looking forward to our visit all week. I made an elaborate mental blueprint of our day from start to finish beginning with photos in the pumpkin patch followed by pony rides and culminating with apple picking. Spending the afternoon traipsing through the picturesque countryside with my little sidekicks would be nothing short of delightful. After draping myself in my favorite fur vest (because what else should one wear apple picking?) we packed the car with all the essentials (extra layers, camera, bottles of water and several pairs of shoes for different terrain). But despite my painstaking efforts to adhere to a thorough agenda for the afternoon, what ensued could best be described as sheer pandemonium. We’ve all heard the bitter Yiddish proverb, “Man plan, g-d laughs,” but the individual who coined this expression of wisdom was most certainly referring to my life in a nutshell.

What I had anticipated would be a mild September afternoon actually capped out at a sweltering 91 degrees. The assumption that we would have quintessential Fall weather was only my first of many miscalculations about how the afternoon would transpire. What a fool. Luckily I was able to change into a more weather appropriate outfit I had stashed in our car. As we entered the pumpkin patch my ordinarily easygoing 16-month old clung to me like a current-season pair of Manolo’s at a sample sale. Seemingly overwhelmed by the mass quantity of future jack-o’-lanterns, she fought me tooth and nail as I tried to lower her to the ground. What about the photos? How can I possibly get the highly-coveted instagram-worthy shots if I can’t even set her down for a moment? Mom plans, G-d laughs. As I snapped away for the next few minutes, the images I captured were ones of an adorably nurturing older sibling and the cutest pouty lip on this side of the Hudson. The unwavering connection between these two had never been so palpable as in these tender moments. And although the images weren’t the idealized representation of children in a pumpkin patch, they epitomized the chaotic reality of parenthood.

Next on the agenda – apple picking! I had spent the night before perusing Pinterest for the most appetizing baked apple recipes and ultimately selected a scrumptious apple crisp. My 3-year old had also spent the previous week in preschool learning to identify different types of apples based on color and shape and was eagerly anticipating this segment of our afternoon. As we began our ascent up the steep hill to the orchard, the blazing afternoon sun was beating down on us with relentless fury. Just keep going. With beads of sweat already dripping down our foreheads, the prospect of pushing a double stroller up this steep hill seemed absolutely dreadful. As a result of these unforeseen sizzling conditions, we made the executive decision to forgo what would most certainly be a painful apple-picking experience for all. So much for my homemade apple crisp.  Mom plans, G-d laughs. I quickly ushered my son over to the farm animals, and after a pony ride he had completely forgotten all about apple picking.

This may not have been the exact day I had choreographed for my kids, but it was their day and they lived it just how they wanted.  Despite the tears shed, stifling temperatures endured, and disappointing changes of plans, the laughs we shared are memories I will always hold dear. And as we enter this new season, I will strive not to burden myself with disappointment of activities not completed, play dates not had or trips not taken. So what if we didn’t get a picture-perfect moment in the pumpkin patch? So what if we didn’t make it up the hill to the orchard? Although I’m consistently searching for teachable moments in the day-to-day activities with my kids, some of the most valuable lessons learned are my own.  So frequently we foolishly hold tight to our expectations and assume that we are in control over the details of our lives. But despite our most careful planning, life with kids is unpredictable and much of what happens is beyond the realm of our control. The sooner we can surrender ourselves to the uncertainty of motherhood, the easier it will be to implement tools that will help us stay calm amidst the struggles and challenges thrown our way. It will be chaotic. It will be far from perfect. But it will undoubtedly be the most wonderful time of your life.

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Shop Our Looks: 

Off-the-shoulder top  – H&M

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Ray-Ban Shrunken Aviator Sunglasses – ShopBop   RAY-BAN-Aviator-RB-3025-112-85-58-14-6570_HD

VALENTINO GARAVANI Rockstud Jelly Sandals – Saks Fifth Avenue

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Picnic Ruffle Romper – Moonlight Bundles

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Ralph Lauren Childrenswear Boys’ Performance Polo – Bloomingdale’s

Ralph Lauren Toddler

DKNY Khaki Cargo Shorts & Belt – Zulily

DKNY khaki shorts

 

Crazy for Camouflage

Crazy for Camouflage

While camouflage was once synonymous with military personnel or those with an outdoorsy lifestyle, it’s virtually impossible to walk more than a few city blocks without spotting someone draped in the highly recognizable pattern.  A form of visual deception, “camo” was once used to blend into one’s surroundings, but ironically has cemented its place in mainstream fashion as an eye-catching style standout. The runways of Valentino, Balmain, Versace, and more are abounding with flashes of camouflage, a true indicator that the trend has major staying power. But why as a society are we so head-over-heels for this military-inspired print? Could camo be the new black?

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Pants: Design Lab   Top: H&M    Shoes: Christian Louboutin (sold-out) – similar here  Sunglasses: Fendi

Many women remain unaware that wearing camouflage is not merely a bold statement; it also has practical applications. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wear white or pastel around my kids for more than 25 seconds without being splattered with peanut butter or doused with ketchup. Ever wear white pants to a pizza party with 15 toddlers? I didn’t think so. And as much as I adore light colored garments, I have a severe aversion to spending time in my laundry room. I would much rather be playing with my kids than battling a Sharpie stain with Oxyclean. The designs used to outfit our nation’s bravest are more than capable of withstanding a shrapnel of diaper blowouts, spit-up, and slingshot purées, which is why as mom of an infant and toddler, the camouflage pieces in my wardrobe are my most essential commodities. Even after several hours playing in the grass or chasing after my son on the playground, my camouflaged garments remain neat and unblemished.

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Above all else, what I love most about camouflage is its versatility.  The classic print is gender-neutral and can be worn by people of all ages. The design’s subdued hues seamlessly cascade into each other creating the iconic patterns that are easily paired with both neutrals and pops of color. And while sweat pants and activewear made from the popular print are most traditional, skinny jeans and tailored blazer in a camouflage print are ultra-chic wardrobe additions. In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked if we see military-inspired looks on the red carpet this award season.

Although we most often see camo in earthy greens and browns, some of my most favorite pieces are those that incorporate vibrant colors.  Take a peek at my favorite pieces below.

Sanctuary War Is Over Jacket – $159

Santuary War Is Over Jacket

Sam. Camo Freedom Vest – $294

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Studded Camouflage Tote Bag – $1360 (marked down from $3395!!!)

Valentino Studded Camouflage Tote Bag

Design Lab Grunge Camo Pants – $59

Design Lab Grunge Camo Pants

Rag & Bone Sinclair Crew Cashmere Sweater – $395

Rag and Bone

Lottie Camouflage-print Stretch Sports Bra – $85

Lotie bra Net a porter

Splendid Woodbury Camo Pant – $128

Splendid Woodbury Camo Pant

Winter Boot Wishlist

 

With summer behind us and cooler temperatures rapidly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about Fall/Winter footwear indulgences. I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of Fall’s hottest styles and today I’m sharing my ultimate Winter boot wishlist with you all. Pull up a chair, take some notes, and start shopping. Go!

See by Chloé “Oxana” Genuine Rabbit Fur Boot

See be Chloe Oxana boot

The “Oxana” boot really excites my inner urban Eskimo and upon first glance I instantly felt warm and fuzzy inside. Although it’s similar in silhouette to the classic Ugg boot, the additional layer of fur and matching pom-pom ties are opulent upgrades. This boot also boasts a woven striped cuff across the top that adds a pretty pop of color to an otherwise monochrome color palette. A thick lug sole provides added traction and durability perfect for traipsing through the streets in inclement weather. In these boots, nothing will come between me and a sale at Bergdorf’s! Although they retail for $495 at Saks, Shopbop and Bloomingdales, Nordstrom has them in stock for only $295. Cha-ching!

Schutz “Lisie” Bow Platform Boot

Schutz Lisie boot

An homage to the much pricier Chloe “Harper” (as seen here), this lace up boot features a chunky block heel and lug sole, perfect for withstanding the dangerous pothole-laden city streets. Seriously, these are so comfortable I can walk 9 blocks to my son’s school and back without any discomfort. When Nancy Sinatra said these boots are made for walkin’, she was obviously referring to the Schutz “Lisie” boot. For a small investment of $290, these are the boots you will continue to wear season after season.  They’re available only here and I wouldn’t be surprised if they sell out after NYC’s first brisk Fall day.

Stuart Weitzman “Yukon” Fur Booties

Stuart Weitzman Yukon boots

The famous footwear legend, Stuart Weitzman, has once again blessed our closets with new boots that slay. Fashion meets function, these booties are made from water-resistant suede with a sheepskin lining for extra warmth. With a modest 3.25″ heel, this boot is both ultra-luxe and street-friendly. Embellished with vibrantly colored fur, this trendsetting boot will keep your hooves toasty and is sure to get you noticed. Although these will set you back a pretty penny ($800), these boots are après ski chic and a winter wardrobe investment piece for years to come.  Click here to make your other boots jealous! 

Elena Black & Bordeaux Fur-Trimmed Lace-Up Boots

Elena Black & Bordeaux Fur-Trimmed Lace-Up Boots

Combat boot meets snow bunny in the form of patent leather from this little-known Italian shoe brand.  Designed for the city girl who’s Uptown chic with Downtown edge, this boot has fashionistas near and far doing cartwheels. I just love the contrast between the feminine jewel-toned trim and rugged structural details. These boots are also available in many different color combinations at none other than my favorite discount department store, Century21. For $169 I couldn’t let these get away. To my fellow fashionistas who love a bargain – you’re welcome. 

Jeffrey Campbell “Fowler” Boots 

Jeffrey Campbell 80MM FOWLER SUEDE & FAUX SHEARLING BOOTS

Step aside – the Rolls Royce of hiking boots has arrived, complete with metal D-rings and treaded rubber sole. These suede boots are made by Jeffrey Campbell, one of my favorite affordable shoe designers most well-known for his avant-garde creations. This pair, admittedly one of his more subdued designs, is by far the most versatile boot on this list. Easily paired with leggings and a sweater, I’d also wear them with skinny jeans and a blazer. Hold onto your hat – Luisaviaroma is offering 18% off of qualifying items (these boots included) with promo code AS18. Gosh, I love shopping online!

Casadei Bouclé Ankle Boots

Casadei Boucle Boot

Casadei really hit a home run with this woolen bouclé ankle boot. Channeling Coco Chanel with their intricately woven upper, these boots are sure to be an instant classic.  The metallic chunky heel accentuates the golden flecks in the fabric and a gold-tone zipper on the inside of each boot completes the flawless design. I’m most tempted to pair these boots with destroyed denim and a leather biker jacket to create the perfect harmony between sophistication and edge. Leave it to Luisaviaroma to offer this style in both a boot and pump (as seen here). 

Ash “Gipsy” Fringe Over-the-Knee Boots

Ash Gipsy Fringe Over the Knee Hidden Wedge Boots

The Ash “Gipsy” over-the-knee boot is proof that flat boots can be just as sexy as heels. Made with suede so supple even cows would be jealous, these boots effortlessly ooze luxury. Framed by long layers of fringe, these boots are equal parts playful and sophisticated. And because of their rich neutral color, these boots will match any ensemble. They’re currently marked down from $500 to $275. Need I say more? Click here to find them in your size. 

Babies n’ Boardwalks – Our Coney Island Adventure

Whenever we have a free weekend in the city, my husband and I enjoy taking the kids to other neighborhoods in Manhattan or to the outer boroughs to participate in all kinds of cultural events and view popular landmarks. The Bronx Zoo, Brooklyn Bridge, and Coney Island are only a few of the world-famous (and kid-friendly) attractions we are fortunate to have at our finger tips. For many New Yorkers, Coney Island is synonymous with unapologetic indulgences and an overcrowded boardwalk teeming with sleazy characters. In fact, many of my friends and neighbors steer clear of this tourist trap for this very reason. But not us! With a tight grip on our wallets and children securely strapped into their stroller, last weekend was the perfect Coney Island adventure, a trip we’ve been making every summer since even before the kids were born.

Coney Island is widely-recognized for its iconic boardwalk and rightfully so. Lined with food stands, beachside performers and surf shops, it’s the perfect respite from the stagnant city air. The opportunities for supreme people-watching are endless, as it attracts a diverse crowd of all ages. And let’s not forget about the greasy food – Coney Island is home of the original Nathan’s. Yes, please! After first making a pit-stop for hotdogs and fries, we pushed my daughter in her stroller along the boardwalk, keeping a close eye on my toddler who was carefully weaving in and out of beach-goers. He’s an avid explorer of new territories, but in these situations I’m not too proud to sport matching bracelets connected by a spiraled rope (most commonly referred to as a “leash”). There must be a very delicate balance between a toddler’s desire for independence and safety.

After meandering through crowds of people and stopping for cotton candy and ice cream cones, we made our way to Luna Park, an old-fashioned amusement park that most closely resembles a county fair. There we would spend the next 2 hours watching our toddler bask in the glory of this recreational utopia only before moving on to the aquarium, the only one of its kind in New York City.  We cruised through the animal exhibits in record time thanks to my energetic toddler on a sugar high and arrived at the Aquatheater just in time for the sea lion show. It was difficult to determine which my raging threenager enjoyed more – the interactive sea lion performance or climbing up and down the steps 547 times during the show.

By the day’s end I was thoroughly drained and unsure of how I would make it to bedtime. But despite the all-encompassing exhaustion of motherhood, on this day (like many others) I had the opportunity to stop and soak in the world through the joyful eyes of my children, and for that I am grateful. It’s days like these when I really feel my cup runneth over.

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Click these Links to SHOP OUR LOOKS: (from top to bottom) STYLEKEEPERS Sangria Top, AE Denim X Hi-Rise ShortieJack Rogers Palm Beach Whipstitched Patent Leather SandalsPrada SunglassesRalph Lauren Baby Girl Eyelet Polo Dress & Bloomer

 

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Young, Wild, and Three!

As busy parents raising kids in New York City, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our every day lives. With jam-packed calendars and stacks of unopened mail, we often feel as if we’re constantly engaging in a game of catch-up. And the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In an effort to take full advantage of all this heaping metropolis has to offer our children, we often over-commit them with trips to museums, enrichment activities, lessons and playdates. I’m the first to admit that I’ve been guilty of trying to fill every minute of every day with a variety of activities to keep my kids busy. But we must not lose sight of something so very essential to the healthy development of our children – the importance of green grass and fresh air.

Ever since my son was born, I’ve been flabbergasted at the amount of energy radiating from his itty-bitty body. Even from a young age it was abundantly clear that he required outdoor play time every day in order to blow off steam and sleep soundly through the night. In addition to assuring a good night’s sleep, the health benefits of outdoor exercise are immeasurable. Regular physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight, builds muscle and reduces the risk of many health conditions.  Green grass and fresh air are also essential for the psychological well being of children, especially city kids, most of whom are confined to small apartments. I still recall the very first time we introduced my son to playing in the grass – he was so hesitant to wander off the blanket and picked at the individual blades of green, so fearful that they would pierce his tender little feet. Flash forward almost three years later and he runs like an untamed antelope through fields of green grass.

Some of my most favorite childhood memories are long summer days spent building forts in the woods behind my childhood home, playing in the snow and other self-directed activities outside. Now that I have two kids, it’s a bit more challenging to get outside, especially in the colder months. Bundling up babies in several layers is an arduous task, but I understand the importance and make it a priority to get my kiddos outside for at least 30 minutes every day. And as often as possible, my husband and I take the kids out East or to Connecticut to visit family outside of the city. Disconnecting from our electrical devises and spending time outside as a family is one of our favorite things to do.

What are some of your favorite outdoor family activities?

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Perfectly Imperfect

As if raising children in today’s world isn’t difficult enough, the modern day mother is also pressured to live up to increasingly unobtainable standards. Thanks to social media and the ease of sharing information online, moms everywhere are subjected to irritating images of Pinterest-perfect birthday parties, picturesque bento boxed lunches of gluten-free, organic, dairy-free meals, and other #momgoals-worthy grandiose exhibits of motherly perfection. Sure, we would all love to be perfect mothers and provide our children with the very best childhoods, but that’s just it – perfection in motherhood is a myth. We hold ourselves to these unrealistic expectations of what our society thinks motherhood ought to be like, thereby almost always setting ourselves up for failure.

Although I may appear put-together and well-rested when you see me on the street, there’s a great probability that I’m actually exhausted and my apartment is littered with broken crayons, Cheerios, and toys strewn in every direction. Usually operating on insufficient sleep, I often find myself fumbling through the day just trying to juggle the needs of two young kids and a mountain of other responsibilities while maintaining some semblance of composure. I applaud moms everywhere who make motherhood seem like a constant stream of cuddles and cotton candy and believe me, I would love to live in a constant state of bliss with my tiny humans. But somewhere along the lines, diaper changes always evolve into exhausting power struggles, fevers and head colds turn into debilitating double ear infections, and I’m usually running on empty by 11am. Home cooked meal? That’s funny! Once the kids are fed, I’m lucky if I have enough energy to order delivery dinner.

I’m not perfect. I MAKE MISTAKES. There, I said it.

Just last week I planned to have my very first movie date with my toddler, an activity that would serve as a welcomed departure from his familiar morning routine of playground, children’s museum or errands with Mommy. We prepared several days in advance by discussing rules for inside the theater, my behavioral expectations, and what kind of snacks we would share. To merely say he was excited is a gross understatement.

As we strolled over to the theater prior to the movie, I was overcome with the delightful anticipation of sharing this new experience with my exuberant little buddy. We approached the box office and suddenly something caught my eye. There it was – a sight so alarming I instantly thought my eyes were deceiving me. “SOLD OUT!”  How could this be? How was I going to explain this to my pint-sized sidekick? “Come on, Mommy! Let’s go! Let’s go!” he squealed as he tugged my arm toward the theater.  I grasped at my thoughts, trying to find the right words to let him down gently. Choose any other movie and we’ll get any candy you want! I’ll buy you a pony! Just please forgive me. I explained that there were no more tickets left and admittedly, I should have planned ahead and bought tickets online. He gazed up at me with his big doe eyes. “It’s ok, Mommy.” And just like that, we walked hand-in-hand to the playground like we had done countless times before.

And then it hit me – I shouldn’t be so frightened of exposing my child to disappointment. After all, learning to cope with letdowns is a necessary skill for becoming a successful adult. This misfortune of having to skip a movie seems rather inconsequential in the scheme of things, but these minor setbacks are actually training our children to confidently overcome life’s challenges down the road. I was so proud of my boy’s emotional resilience and ability to easily bounce back without even so much as a minor meltdown! It was in that moment I realized that despite our botched movie date, this imperfect morning was nothing short of perfect.

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