Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remembering And Resilience

Style Shout Out to remembering and resilience...

It's been awhile since I've written...and the reasons why, including a big move, are a story for another day.

As for today I am sitting down with a cup of coffee and I am simply thinking...thinking about my family, my friends, and the city where I was born. You see there is something about this day that always makes me reflect.  I remember sitting in my family room in Dallas watching the story unfold in New York so many years ago and feeling so helpless.  I remember the loss and I think about how this loss has made us, as a nation, stronger.  I also remember the hope...the strength...the resilience.

I've always used this day as a teachable moment for Claire.  We talk about how it's important to understand that tomorrow is always a new day...that a positive attitude is everything...that it's not so much about how many times we get knocked down...but how many times we get back up...and how we get back up.

As I watched Claire walk into her new school this morning with a smile on her face and a spring in her step I smiled too...because in her smile I see hope and resilience and the knowledge that every day can be a better day!


My post from September 11, 2011...

Sunday Shorts - Hope & Remembrance

Via the 9/11
Style Shout Out to September 11th and those who will always be remembered.

As I was driving home from the market this afternoon I passed our local fire department. Sitting out front by the curb there was a single pair of firefighter's boots with an American flag.  It is a picture that will stay in my memory just like the pictures of what happened on the morning of September 11th 2001.

I will always remember the heroes on that day and their acts of bravery and kindness.

I will always remember that as a country we are strong.

As a native New Yorker I will always remember that although the landscape of my city may have changed, the hearts of those who have ever called New York home only grew stronger and more resilient on that day.

And I will always remember that even when it seems darkest there is always a better day right around the corner.

My Style Shout Out Tip:   An 8 year old wrote and recorded this song recently and as it reminds me about standing up and having hope I thought I would share it with you today.    A Better Day

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day...It's All Good!

Happy Mother's Day...

Style Shout Out to Mom's everywhere on Mother's Day!

I love Mother's Day...because I really love being a Mom.   I remember the exact minute that I found out I was pregnant and I have enjoyed every Mom minute since that moment!  

As I was making a cup of coffee of this morning I started thinking about last Mother's Day and how much has happened for Claire since we bought her that Taylor Guitar GS Mini.  She has played at the House Of Blues on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood twice, performed at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, written and released her first EP before her 10th birthday, appeared on Good Morning Texas and Daybreak, been invited to NAAM by Taylor Guitars, and is in her second year as a featured performer at the House Of Blues in Dallas.  

As a Mom my biggest wish has always been for Claire to be happy and healthy, to understand that what goes around really does come around, and to find something that she loves to do.  I honestly never thought that she would find that something at such a young age and it makes me smile to think of how much fun she is having with music right now.   I also love the fact that she realizes at such a young age how music is a great way to give back.  Claire said that she's had so many fun experiences but playing for the kids at Children's Medical Center last March was one of the most awesome and I have to admit that watching her play at Seacrest Studios and chatting with the kids afterwards is a moment in time that I will always cherish.  

So today, and every day, I am thankful for my Mom and my daughter.  My Mom has always been a fabulous role model and I've learned from her what it means to be a great Mom.  And I am thankful for my daughter who makes me smile and laugh every day!

I hope that my Mom, my sisters, my Mother-In-Law, sisters-in-law, and all Moms have a wonderful day. 

And thank you Claire for my cookbook..."It's All Good"...and for writing me the most beautiful song!  I am looking forward to trying some of those recipes with you while listening to some really fun music!  


Taylor Guitars...Like Mother, Like Daughter  (Mother's Day 2012)

Taylor Guitars From Guitar Center
Style Shout Out to Taylor Guitars for making a mini guitar with all of the quality that you find in their standard size guitars.

I hope that all of you Mom's had a wonderful Mother's Day.  For me it was a great day because I celebrated at brunch with my family and afterwards my husband, daughter and I stopped at Guitar Center to pick up a graduation present for a friend.

We barely made it through the doors of the store and my daughter was headed to the acoustic guitar room.   I have to admit that I didn't mind because this is my favorite area of any Guitar Center.  I got my first acoustic guitar when I was ten and even though I have a beautiful Fender Telecaster, I reach for my Taylor everyday!

It wasn't like we were there to buy a new acoustic that day, and my daughter didn't ask us to buy her a new guitar, but as we were looking around she stopped in her tracks and there it was...a Taylor GS Mini.  "It looks kind of like yours, Mom!" The Guitar Center sales associate asked if she'd like to play it and from the first strum of the strings and the look on her face as she happily played Cobie Caillat's "Brighter Than The Sun"... I knew we may have come into Guitar Center for one present, but we would be leaving Guitar Center with two.

My daughter did say that it was Mother's Day and so she shouldn't be the one getting a present.  But this was a wonderful teachable moment as I explained to my nine year old that as a Mom, the joy really is in the giving of a gift, and as much as I loved my Mother's Day gifts, the best gift was the smile on her face when we told her we were buying her that Taylor.

That GS Mini has been played so much this week!  I am amazed that Taylor has found a way to make a smaller size guitar with all of the quality and tone of their standard guitars.  It was funny because my daughter looked at me and said, "I'm not surprised about the's a Taylor!"

She'll be playing that Taylor at the House Of Blues this week and I'll be watching and smiling.

My Style Shout Out Tip:  Summer is rapidly approaching and this is a great time to give your children the gift of music.  My nine year old started piano lessons two Summers ago and I have to say that I am still a little bit amazed that two summers later she's playing at the House Of Blues.  Get your kids into a music program and you may be amazed too.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Team Of LadyBugs

Style Shout Out to LadyBugs!

If you read this blog then you probably know that before Claire started piano lessons at the age of seven we had her try several other activities.  It was important for my husband and I as parents to make sure that Claire had the opportunity to find the things that would make her happy.  We didn't want her to be involved in music because of our love of music...we wanted her to make her own choices!

So along the road which ultimately lead to piano lessons there was kindermusic, ballet, tap, basketball, jazz dance, tennis and golf! Sometimes things just click and that happened for Claire with music but one of the best memories for me has nothing to do with music...surprisingly, it has everything to do with basketball.

You see Claire was fortunate enough to be part of the LadyBug Nation!  She played with this team in Kindergarten and while they didn't win a championship they did win in the fact that they learned about teamwork...friendship...loyalty...

Last night Claire was invited to the farewell LadyBug dinner.  Now that the girls are entering 5th grade they will play in a different league.  I didn't know what to expect from yesterday's dinner because Claire hasn't really seen these girls since Kindergarten.  But it was as if no time had passed as I watched them sitting around a big table eating pizza, telling stories and laughing.

Thank you Coach see it was you as a coach who instilled in this group the importance of team.   You reinforced what we, as parents, model everyday...treating each other how you want to be treated...respect for yourself and others....the importance of teamwork and collaboration...confidence!

And, thanks for inviting all of the LadyBugs to be part of last night's festivities!  Every time I see Claire wearing red I will always be reminded of the LadyBugs and what this team stood for...and that will always bring a smile to my face!

Good luck in your play-off games this weekend!  Go LadyBugs...Go TEAM!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Claire @ WFAA Good Morning Texas
Style Shout Out to the New Year!

2012 was quite an amazing year...I watched as my now ten year old daughter set and achieved goals in school and in music which included releasing her first EP with a party at House Of Blues where she utilized the platform as a way to collect toys for WFAA's Santa's Helpers.  I watched her enter double digits not only as a talented young lady who does well in school...but as a young lady who is truly understanding the importance of giving back.  I am amazed by her generosity of spirit which shone through in her initiation of a benefit show for the Red Cross, Santa's Helpers Toy Drive and, via CD sales, donating to St. Jude's and Make-A-Wish...and as I began thinking about my 2013 goals, not resolutions, I realized that it's been two years since I've been writing this blog...that it's been two years since Claire asked me if there was something I wanted to do that I hadn't done yet...and it is because of her keen awareness of others and her one simple yet thoughtful question that this blog was born.

So today I thought I'd share the first story from January 2011 and say a very big thank you to my daughter, and my husband, for inspiring me every day...and to Gwen Stefani who first inspired Claire when she was four years old and continues to inspire her today!

Happy reading and a very Happy New Year!

Where Our Style "Fashionation" Began

Gwen Stefani - InStyle 2010
Today's STYLE SHOUT OUT goes to GWEN STEFANI of L.A.M.B. and No Doubt...

My renewed love affair with fashion began because of my daughter.   From the time she was 3 she took a real interest in her wardrobe and had a strong sense of style.  The funny thing is that while lots of children like to pick out their own outfits, the things she chose always, and still do, work really well together.  And I am not just saying that because I am her Mom. There are pictures to prove it.

Anyway, when she was 4 years old we were shopping at Nordstrom.  In the women's shoe department they were selling Gwen Stefani CD's and her newest video was playing.  As we walked through accessories we noticed the L.A.M.B. handbags by Gwen Stefani.  And while I was purchasing a Chanel Lipgloss my daughter was noticing the bottle of L.A.M.B. perfume being prominently displayed with a picture of Gwen Stefani.  At that moment my daughter looked at me and the make-up artist who was assisting with my purchase and she blurted out with extreme confidence, "Wow I am so going to do that when I get big?"  The make-up artist asked her, "What are you going to do?" And my 4 year old responded, "Be a triple threat like Gwen Stefani...she does music, fashion and perfume...AWESOME!!!"

When we got home that day she began sketching and soon after started asking for piano lessons.

Fast forward 4 years and she still has the pencil in her hand (when she's not doing homework, playing with friends, or practicing keyboard).  You see after playing basketball, tennis and trying a few other activities we realized that our daughter was serious about piano lessons.  We knew she was even more serious when she came home after her third lesson and played "Let It Be" by the Beatles with a big smile on her face.

I don't know if fashion and music will be her career one day but the journey getting there with her is so much fun.  The Style Shout Out blog was born out of our style journey.

My daughter says that to be in fashion you have to have FASHIONATION.  Her definition of her word is "To be fascinated with FASHION while having a great IMAGINATION."

We hope in 2011 you will check in regularly to keep up with our STYLE SHOUT OUTS! And, thanks to Gwen Stefani for the inspiration!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Turning 10

Claire on WFAA Channel 8 Good Morning Texas
Style Shout Out to turning 10...

I love this time of year...the decorations...the smell of cookies baking...the shopping...the general mood...the reminder to all about the importance of giving back...and most of all I love this time of year because it's my daughter's birthday.

This has been a busy year for Claire with school and with music and this morning, coffee in hand, I am taking a few minutes to reflect.  It still amazes me that just a year ago Claire had a gig in a small local coffee shop and now she is a featured artist at House Of Blues and is playing at House Of Blues in Hollywood again in the new year.

This year Claire attained a big goal at school by continuing to bring home straight A's on her report cards...and, another big goal in music when she released her first EP on iTunes! She had a fun party at House Of Blues to celebrate the CD and her 10th birthday where she used the party to collect toys for Santa's Helpers Toy Drive.

Watching Claire this year has been a real lesson and a reminder for my husband and I that, regardless of age, you can set goals and attain them if you work hard, play hard, have fun and be true to yourself.'s never to early to start thinking about others and giving back.

So today I say Happy Birthday to my daughter who turned 10 this week and has taught me so much about achieving goals while having fun!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Iron Sharpens Iron...Leading With Pride

Style Shout Out to Claire and Plano West Football...And Leading With Pride...

It's been another extremely busy month with Claire's 10th birthday and Christmas on the horizon and the release of Claire's 1st EP...but that is a story for another day.  This morning as I was making some coffee I realized that my daughter at the age of nine is having experiences that some people don't have until they are older, and some people, quite frankly, never have.  We tell Claire that sometimes opportunity knocks when you least expect it, so it's good to always be prepared!

Last year Claire's elementary school gym teacher asked her if she would like to sing the National Anthem at a high school soccer game.  She, of course, said yes.  I knew she would say yes because when it comes to music Claire takes every opportunity.  She practiced quite a bit because this would be her first time singing this song and she wanted to do a good job because it's, "Our song!"

Claire had a lot of fun at the game and was invited back to sing again.  The high school football coach happened to be at that game which turned into Claire being invited to sing the National Anthem at the senior night game...yes under the big Friday night lights.  And, this turned into Claire being invited by the coach to sing for the team last night after their team meeting.

We really didn't know what to expect last night as my husband, Claire and I pulled into the high school parking lot. We chatted with the coach and something he said will always stay with me...He explained to Claire that the reason he invited her to play for the team was that he talks to the guys about how "Iron sharpens iron!"  It's funny because we have always talked to Claire about surrounding yourself with positive people that are going in the same direction as you. We've explained that even though music is a competitive business, the artists that truly have success are the ones that understand how to help one another and give back to others.  To be a winner at anything you have to surround yourself with winners and I knew that Claire understood exactly what the coach was talking about because she had an enormous smile on her face...such a proud moment!

As we walked into the very crowded team room, which was a sea of blue, I looked around and realized just how small a nine year old looks in relation to high school linebackers.  But Claire just smiled, listened to the kind words of introduction form the coach, picked up her Taylor guitar and started playing Brighter Than The Sun by Colbie Caillat.  The players and coaches were all smiles while she was playing and when she was done with her set shouted, "Encore!"

As Claire knows the importance of being prepared, she played, as an encore, Settle Down by No Doubt to big applause and cheers.  As she thanked the team she reminded them that her EP was on iTunes and to visit her web site...I think she gets her marketing skills from me.  And she wished the team luck at the big game.  Claire signed one of her CD's for the coach and as we left the room the team was giving her high fives and chanting, "Claire, Claire, Claire..."

As a Mom there is no greater joy than seeing your child truly happy and doing what they love to do.  Claire has been saying that she was going to do music since the age of four and I have no doubt that she will accomplish any goals that she sets...and she'll do it with a smile on her face!

We have always told Claire that no opportunity in music is too big or too small...they are all equal opportunities to have some fun and hopefully make some people smile.

Thanks Coach for an amazing opportunity last night!  Go Plano West Wolves!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

3 By 10

"A Better Day" by Claire Stevens
The last few months have been super busy and you can probably tell by the fact that I haven't been writing as much. Once the school year begins and homework starts coming home every night it seems like there just aren't enough hours in the day.

I must say that Claire and her music have been keeping us pretty busy.  You see last Spring she sat down and wrote her five year goals and yes, being that she's only nine, my husband and I were quite impressed that she put so much time and thought into what she wanted to accomplish. The three things that stood out for us was that she wanted to write and record her first EP, she wanted to play on the Sunset Strip in LA and she wanted to make a television or radio appearance...all before her 10th birthday.  As I was counting the months in my head I realized that she had approximately seven months to make this happen...and I also realized that she has always been determined and so we made a commitment to help her as long as she was having fun and maintaining her grades at school.

During the Summer I watched Claire writing songs and recording in the studio and I realized that sometimes as adults we spend so much time defining what we can and can't do based on age when maybe it's more important to just do what you like and have fun.  Nine year olds approach the world with such wonder...and I admire that!

Well, we are about 4 weeks away from Claire's 10th birthday and I am happy to say that she achieved her 1st three goals.  She played at House Of Blues on the Sunset Strip in August and will be performing there again in January, she appeared on Daybreak on my birthday with Ron Corning which was just an awesome day, and her first EP will be released on iTunes on December 1st.

To say I'm proud of her is such an understatement...and it goes so much further than these three goals.  I'm proud of her because of the person she is and her determination to always be the best she can be.  You see in the middle of working so hard to meet her music goals she has also managed to get straight A's and be named Citizen Of The Month at school for being a good role model and for showing respect for self and others.

And I want you to know that the reason I am sharing this story is because for me it is a story about what you can achieve when you set your mind to it and you have a positive attitude, regardless of age.  I seriously look at Claire running around with her friends and am so thankful that despite the fact that she is goal oriented and talented, she is still just a fun-loving nine-year old.

I have always told Claire..."You have set work play remain true to treat others how you want to be treated...and you will succeed...and always remember to find the fun in whatever you do!"

My Style Shout Out Tip:  It's never to early to start teaching your children about goals and goal setting. We started early with Claire...just like learning to walk, learning about goals and goal setting is achieved through baby steps and setting your children up for success not failure.  And when they do fall teach them how to get up and keep going...and you tell them tomorrow will be "a better day!"

Friday, November 2, 2012

Red Cross Always Ready To Help

As I was sitting here this morning watching the Today Show and updates about Hurricane Sandy I realized that the last blogs I wrote about the Red Cross were written to celebrate the organization's 101st birthday and about how my nine year old turned one of her shows last April into a benefit for the Red Cross to assist tornado victims in our area.

This blog comes at a time when the Red Cross is once again on the front lines helping those affected by Hurricane Sandy in the North East.  Watching the images on the screen were especially difficult because I grew up in New York and New Jersey and have so many fabulous memories.  I am especially glad that when our daughter was four we were transferred back to the area for a year and that now, as a family, we have some very happy memories of living in that area, which include picnics and kite flying at the shore!

I give this organization so much credit and they really need our assistance if you are able to make a donation please visit the Red Cross website.   And tonight tune into NBC for a concert to benefit the Red Cross and Hurricane Sandy victims.   My daughter said this concert featuring BonJovi and Bruce Springsteen will definitely raise more money than the gig she played and then happily added, "But like you always say Mom, every little bit counts!"

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Friends & Family At Saks

LNA @ Saks
It happens twice a year and I have to admit that even though I know it's coming I still get excited when I open the's the Saks Friends & Family sale!

This is such a great time to do a bit of early Christmas shopping for my hubby and family, and of course it's also a great time to pick up a few things for my daughter and myself.  So what's in my shopping bag today?  

J Brand seems that my daughter is following in my footsteps when it comes to denim and she absolutely loves all things J Brand.  So today, during the sale, is the best time to pick up some great jeans and twill pants for her!  The quality is outstanding and for me I will always take quality over quantity.

And to go with her J Brand I picked up a few Splendid tops!  They make a great line for girls and again I love their quality. My daughter loves that they are really soft and that they have a wide variety of styles and colors.  In addition to their tops she also loves their wraps and dresses.

J Brand @ Saks
For me...yes I did find a great pair of J Brand jeans in their Tulum wash.  I love that these jeans are a lighter wash and that they can be dressed up or down.  My closet is filled with versatile pieces and these fit the bill perfectly.  I think they will look just as good with ballet flats as they will with riding boots or pumps.

And what better tee to pair with a fabulous pair of jeans than a tee from LNA.  These tees are super soft, super cute, and super comfortable...and again they are excellent quality.  I always stock up on these tees when I find them on sale but have also paid full price for them because, for me, they are really worth it.

The other thing I love about J Brand, LNA and Splendid is that these brands are made in the USA.  

So today have some fun shopping the Friends & Family sale!  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Key Of Confidence

Claire Opening at The Cambridge Room
Style Shout Out to confidence because it is truly the best accessory.

As you can tell I haven't posted many blogs over the past few months.  It's not because there isn't a lot to talk fact there is so much to write about but not enough hours in the day.

You see Claire has been super busy with music and school and, like any parent, your children and their happiness takes precedence.  I also volunteered this summer to manage a music program for young musicians that gives them the opportunity to play gigs...such a great way for kids to build confidence.

So this morning, after making breakfast, packing school lunch, driving to school, feeding the puppy and answering a bunch of emails I decided it was time to make time to write.  And of course no writing session is complete without a good cup of I poured a cup of Cafe du Monde, which always reminds me of the fabulous time my hubby and I had in New Orleans, turned on Good Morning America because it's Modern Family take-over week, and sat down with my MAC.

Returning emails regarding the kids music program reminded me just how much Claire's confidence has grown in the short time she has been playing shows.  Now don't get me wrong, she has always been a confident child and I like to think she inherited her moxie from me, but her confidence increases each time she takes the stage which has given her even more courage to stand up for herself and others. And I think we all know how important it is for girls to have confidence, self-respect and self-esteem.

Last week I can honestly say Claire did something that takes real an acoustic act she opened in the Cambridge Room of the House Of Blues Dallas for a band that is on a national tour.  When the phone call came about the show Claire was ecstatic.  I sat down and explained that it's the biggest stage she's played and told her that we would take her to the venue prior to the show so she could check it out.  She thought that was a good idea and was counting the days until the show.

The night of the show came and I watched in awe as my nine year did her vocal warm ups, thank you Roger Love, and handled sound check like a pro. As she was playing her Taylor guitar and talking with the lighting guy about lighting and the sound guy about her levels I realized that the confidence she is gaining through music is invaluable and whether or not she decides someday to have a career in music the lessons she is learning about preparation, planning, and dealing with people will stay with her always and be such a benefit.

The show that night was great and Claire had a lot of fun, which for me is the most important thing because if she's having fun, then I'm having fun.  If you get a chance to see Lauren Mann and her band get tickets and won't be disappointed.  And make sure to get there early to see the opening acts because it's a great opportunity to see and support local talent.

My Style Shout Out Tip:  I've said it before, but I'll say it again.  Music is a such a wonderful confidence builder and also a fabulous way for children and adults to express themselves. My parents gave me my first guitar when I was ten years old and I still play.  When Claire was deciding what to wear for the show in the Cambridge Room I told her that anything in her closet would work because everything looks great when you wear it with confidence.