Houndstooth Hits Central Park

January 26, 2015   
Coat: Bitten from Jessica Parker, Jeans: H&M, Hat: Calvin Klein, Scarf: Candies via Kohls
As I prepare for the upcoming work week, I can't help but reminisce on the great times I had in New York City.  From the pleasant chilly weather to the stroll through beautiful Central Park, it was just amazing.  With that, my favorite fashion piece of the trip... the houndstooth coat by Jessica Parker- Bitten.  I got this coat over 2 years ago and it was such a great buy.  Can you believe I purchased it at a local thrift store for ONLY $20! I know, what a steal! Since then, it has become one of my go to pieces during the wintry months. But let's be honest, I don't get many chances to wear it in South Florida because it rarely gets cold enough. So, when the situation arouse about traveling to the Big Apple, I did not hesitate to take it with me.

Here are some pictures of me all bundled up in my favorite coat while wandering through Central Park. 

Necklace: Stella & Dot

Strolling with my beautiful sister-in-law Carmen from Viva Fashion

Sight Words and More Sight Words: Strategies to Review

January 23, 2015   
SIGHT WORDS... If you're a parent of a young school aged child, I am pretty sure you're familiar with the term.  They, also known as high-frequency words, are commonly used words that young readers are encouraged to memorize as a whole-word, so that they can identify them in print without having to use any decoding strategies. Using memorization is said to be helpful since many of these words cannot be read with phonemic awareness alone due to their unusual spelling patterns. Believe it or not, 50% of all reading texts are made up of these 100 sight words! Therefore, the benefits of knowing them is that young readers will be able to recognize the majority of the words in a text, which helps build fluency and allows for a greater focus on comprehension. All of which are important fundamentals of reading. 

In efforts to prepare my daughter for Kindergarten, her Pre-K teacher has slowly been assigning sight words from the first 100 list. As you can imagine, simply memorizing words is a daunting task for my little one since memorization is not very appealing to a 4-year old. As a result, mommy has had to get creative and go through her bag of tricks to come up with different activities to review these words. I'm glad to report she already knows the first 50!  Though it hasn't always been easy to sit her down to practice them, I must admit, I'm very proud of my "Smarty Pants" (as she likes to be called). With the strategies listed below, I've had an easier time getting her started and engaged, which makes this process painless for all of us. I hope they are helpful and inspire your creativity as you work through your child's list of words.

In order to get started, I wrote all of the words on index cards (the newest words are written in black). Then I move through the following activities: 
1. "Sweet Treats"
In this activity, I place all the cards facing up and add a sweet treat next to each word.  I add grapes next to older words and fruit gummies (her favorite) next to the new words. I then let her choose a word and she reads it aloud.  If she gets it right, she gets the treat and turns the card over. If not, she leaves it and gets a chance to come back to it later to try again. Any variation of treats can be used.  

2. "Slap It" 
In this activity, I say a word and she uses a "slapper" to identify it. A fly swatter, spatula, or hand clapper work well as the "slapper". (treats are optional)

3. "Jump It"
In this activity, I spread the remaining words apart.  Then, I ask her to jump to any word and read the one she lands on. She continues to jump to all the words until none are left behind. This gives my little one a chance to move around since she begins to get distracted at the end.  (treats are optional)

I'd love to hear about any tricks you've found useful with your children.  It's always great to add more to my bag of tricks! 

Staying Warm in New York City

January 22, 2015   
Sweater Coat: Lucky Brand, Jeans: H&M, Boots: BEARPAW via Macys

This week, I visited one of my favorite cities... New York City.  As expected, the weather was very cold this time of year, especially for a Miami girl like me. With temperatures hovering between 30-35 degrees, I did my best to stay warm.  For our trip to Washington Square Park, I decided to pack on the layers with a pair of top and bottom thermals, a black turtleneck, and a Lucky Brand sweater coat. Thankfully, layering up did the trick and kept me warm while I strolled around the wintry Big Apple.

One of my best buys was the BEARPAW boots I got on sale at Macys for $70! They were lined in a sheepskin/wool blend which did a great job at keeping my feet warm. Definitely worth the money! Not only did they keep my feet nice and cozy, but they were so comfortable to walk in, a very important factor with all the walking we did.  

Statement Necklace: H&M
Handbag: FRYE crossbody/clutch

Lite Travels: Tips for Packing Your Luggage

January 19, 2015   
Have you ever found yourself sitting on your luggage trying to get it to close? I know I have. Anyone who's ever traveled with me can tell u that I don't pack light. In fact, I'm the person you see in the airport lugging around at least 2 suitcases for herself, and paying additional fees for exceeding the luggage requirements on a 3 day trip. Okay, I know what you're thinking, but the truth is that I'm just a girl that likes to have several options. It's difficult for me to narrow down what I'm going to wear until the day of. And then I start thinking of all the "what ifs". What if we go here or there, you know, the typical overthinking everything. Yup that's me.

Well no more! Tired of struggling through an airport with luggage bigger than I. Tired of paying airline companies more money than I have to because let's be honest, some of those additional fees are ridiculous.  This time around I plan to be the cool girl who has one carry-on luggage with one handbag. Why not? If she can do it, so can I!

Luckily, I have the opportunity this week to travel to one of my favorite places... New York City. It gives me the chance to try out my new traveling plan. In order to get this plan into action, I've sought out the experts to get some guidance. These were some of the helpful tips I learned:
  1. Make sure your carry-on luggage is regulation size.  Check with your specific airline since sizes may vary. 
  2. Lay out everything you may want to wear.  Narrow down your choices by sorting everything into 3 categories: must bring, maybe, maybe not.
  3. When selecting the items for your “must bring” pile, they  should include only items that work with several other pieces, unless you have an event that requires a special outfit.
  4. Roll up all your items of clothing: It saves space and stops the clothes from getting wrinkled.
  5. Don’t pack any large and bulky items such as travel irons, hangers or blow dryers; all these can be found at the hotel.
  6. Put larger clothes items such as jeans in the bottom of the case.
  7. The next couple of layers should be made up of lighter clothing items such as sweaters, shirts, shorts and skirts.
  8. Leave the top layer for items such as toiletries, cosmetics, and any other things you want to have easy access to.
  9. Remember the 3-1-1 liquids rule: must be 3.4 ounces (100ml) or less per container; must be in 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger. For more information select the link.

Here's my version-

Lay out all your must haves.

Roll up all your items of clothing

Coat was placed at the top for easy access upon arrival.

Toiletries and additional items, including a mesh bag for dirty clothes, are placed in the extra compartment zipper of the luggage.

3-1-1 Liquids Rule

I'm glad to report, I was able to stick to my new plan. All that's left, is for me to enjoy my trip! Here are some additional tips by the Federal Aviation Administration that may also be helpful.  

WEAR IT FOR LESS: Jessica Alba Floral Blazer

January 16, 2015   

What is there not to love about floral prints? They're feminine, colorful, and look great with just about anything. I've been obsessed with them for quite some time.  I love how no matter the season, there is always a way to make these beautiful prints work.  Especially during the darker wintery months, they're a great way to liven up any outfit and get you thinking warmer thoughts.

Here we see Jessica Alba pulling off the trend effortlessly by pairing up this colorful topper and Nic + Zoe bottoms ($118).  She keeps the accessories sleek by adding white pumps and an Alice.D color-block leather clutch ($230). Interested in this look? Here's how you too can wear it for less. 

Paper Dolls Floral Jacquard Blazer, Dorthy Perkins,  $44 (Sale $44)