Character is unconditional

Character is unconditional


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Say cheese?

Say cheese?

While school pictures are only a minor consideration in the scheme of the school year’s activities, let’s be honest—they can have long-lasting impacts. “Cheesy” school headshots have this funny way of coming back to haunt you. They get showcased at rehearsal dinners via slide shows, attached to “Hello” lapel pins at high school reunions and posted to friends‘ Facebook pages. Ironically, that school photo you try to forget, everybody else loves to remember.

Elementary schools around the country are currently underway snapping shots of their students, so now is the best time to prevent your kid’s school photo from becoming the satirical subject of some future Throwback Thursday. Here are some simple tips for taking the kind of school photos you and your kid can be proud of for years to come.

How to Wear: Hair

Many factors are at play on photo day that are out of your control. For instance, the scheduling of your child’s shot. If that timing is after recess and lunch, well, better luck next year. But seriously, things can get dicey at afternoon photo shoots—that’s why Mugsy Clicks (the company that takes the majority of school photos in the US) has the process down to a real science. They have “primpers” on-hand to help tidy up stray hairs before photos. Even with all this primping there are still things moms and dads can do to ensure their child has a good hair day.

Get a haircut: Anticipate the start of school and photo day and schedule your kid a haircut a few weeks before school commences. A slightly grown-out hairstyle always appears more natural-looking, while a freshly cut or over-cut hairdo gives off a slightly dorky or wig-ish look. (I still get razzed over my third grade school photo taken the day after my dad—my first mistake—cut my bangs so short I resembled Lloyd Christmas from Dumb and Dumber.)

Take a shower: If he or she can swing it, have your child shower the morning of the shoot. Doing so eliminates “bedhead,” makes hair more manageable and appear shinier.

Tie back long hair: For a girl with medium to long hair, consider pulling it back into a low pony or a single braid. Styles like these put the focus on the right place: her lovely face. Likewise, steer clear of distracting, plentiful, overly bright or oversized hair doodads.

What to Wear: Clothes

For most school-aged kids, their school photos are the only opportunity for a professional shot in a given year. To make the most of it, employ a touch of advanced wardrobe planning. Help kids style their look the night before the photo shoot. The best place to start is in selecting what they will wear on top, since school pictures are either head (from bust up) or “three-quarter” shots (from hips up).

Keep it classic: Choose classically inspired pieces like sweater sets or button-downs, as these looks are timeless. Classic looks can be found for girls and boys at stores like the Gap, Crew Cuts, and Janie and Jack. Avoid trendy pieces, as they will “date” kids’ photos even before they hit the next grade.

Choose flattering colors: The best pieces to wear are in those colors that flatter your child’s skin tone. Colors such as lavender and navy blue look good on almost everybody, while neons and black amplify dark circles and sallow complexions.

Make looking good, easy: Fussy clothes and accessories and light-colored separates are tricky to keep camera-ready, and you won’t be there to tweak your kid’s wardrobe malfunctions or to perform spot-treatments.

Avoid patterns, brands and characters: Busy patterns overpower, brand names come off as commercial and cartoon characters quickly lose their relevancy. Tops and dresses in solids, stripes or mute patterns work best.

Smile, widely: Tell your child to think of something happy when the photographer is taking his or her shot. This will produce a more natural smile. Remind him or her to smile widely to show his teeth (or lack thereof).

The above tips can make all the difference between a photo that is a classic shot of your child and well, one that is a “real classic.” However if all else fails, there’s always Photoshop.

Piece originally featured in the Pacific Sun


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Packing up for parenthood

Packing up for parenthood

If you’re at the tail end of pregnancy and currently contemplating what to pack for “that” hospital visit, you’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, summer is the “hottest” season for births in the United States with August welcoming more newborns than any other month of the year (closely followed by September). Most sociologists chalk-up this peak in summertime births to holiday (Halloween and Thanksgiving) jubilation and other social factors like the preference for summer birthdays or more lenient summer work schedules. Giving this seasonal timing and my penchant for following trends- fashion or otherwise – it seemed that some hospital packing dues were in order. Here’s a combination of items to pack that are comfortable, effective, and stylish for the next stop on your “bumpy” journey into parenthood: the hospital.


Slippers – Going bare-footed at the hospital is a fashion duen’t. Keep your feet clean and warm when you pack your favorite slippers. Monogram them so they don’t get lost.

PJs – Pack a PJ set that’s practical and pretty. You will be wearing it in the hospital’s notoriously chilly enviro, for your baby’s first picture, and to receive hospital visitors. Racerback Nursing PJ Set: A Pea in the Pod

Compression band – Pack a Belly Bandit to start the process of shrinking down your Mommy Pouch while waiting to be released. (Ask your doctor if compression is right for you). Belly Bandit: A Pea in the Pod

Undies – For those scheduled for a C-section pack the c-panty. Engineered to compress your belly and wear comfortably over your C-section scar. (Ask your doctor if compression is right for you). C-panty: A Pea in the Pod

Bra – The best nursing bra to pack is one that is comfortable enough to be worn day and night, since you will be nursing around the clock. Unlined Nursing Sleep Bra: A Pea in the Pod

Nursing pads – Avoid the embarrassment and discomfort of a wet PJ top when you pack and wear absorbent nursing pad inserts. Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads: Target

Going-home outfit for you – Pack a comfortable outfit that is flattering, figure forgiving, and provides nursing ease for your “family trip” home. Maxi, Tart; Necklace, Chew Beads; Cardigan, Splendid: Mom’s the Word

Going-home outfit for him – Pack a onesie that allows for a swift diaper change and covers the baby’s arms and legs. Coordinate baby’s look with yours to create your own stylish going-home photo opp. Sea Lion Infant Sacque, Kate Quinn; Sprout

Diaper bag – These days diaper bags can be as chic as handbags. Buy one that expresses your personal style, not your baby’s (no cartoon character diaper bags, please!). Don’t forget to pack it with baby essentials including: newborn diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, changing pad, plastic bags, bottles, extra clothes, burp cloth, thin blanket, and possibly a pacifier. Diaper bag, Hammit; Mom’s the Word

Being packed and prepared for your hospital visit can lead to an initial sense of confidence about parenting. A condition you may wish you had more of after you have been released.

Excerpted: Fashion Dues & Duen’ts; a Stylist’s Guide to Fashionably Embracing Your Baby Bump (Know Act Be Books: releasing September 2014). Piece originally feature in Pacific Sun

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Style: it’s elementary

Style: it’s elementary

Some pair food and wine, as a stylist, I often make suggestions on how to pair fashion and location. You may recall a few months back, I paired boots and local haunts [“These boots were made for dining”]. This week, I am back with yet another pairing: school shoes and bags (fashion) with local elementary schools (location). To make an “educated” pairing for your little one, new school shoes and bags should:

1. Meet the basic requirements:

  • Simple to secure (i.e. Velcro straps, snaps or buckles)
  • Multicolored (for coordination with various outfits)
  • Durable
  • Sized correctly
  • Comfortable fit
  • Multi-functional
  • Non-marking (shoes only)

2. Consistent with the school’s decorum and/or dressing policies

3. Complimentary (But not match … that’s dorky, Mom.)

Now that we are in the first-day-of-school countdown mode, many of my mom friends are off scurrying about in search of larger-sized and newly styled school shoes and bags for their kids. As a mom of a first grader, I know how daunting back-to-school shopping can be (especially with her in tow). However, when you understand what makes a good shoe, bag and school pairing, you can cut down on the stores’ back-to-school clutter and make an A+ choice for your kid.


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