Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Lyrical Leap Of Faith

My 9YO's Daisy Rock
Style Shout Out to everyone who has taken or is about to take a leap of faith...

I don't know what it is about leap year but this extra day in February that only comes around once every four years makes this month a great time to do, or plan to do, something outside of your comfort zone.  Recently I wrote about how I played guitar and sang on the spur of the moment at a coffee shop.  To tell you the truth it was both scary and exhilarating, and way outside of my comfort zone.

Maybe it was better that it was impromptu because I didn't have all day to think about it.  Since I haven't taken the stage in well over a decade I was forced to grab a guitar and take that leap hoping the performance would be well received and also hoping that I wouldn't forget any lyrics.

Well, I didn't forget any lyrics.  And, I learned that sometimes you just have to have faith in yourself and trust in your abilities.  I also learned that you really can do anything at any age with the right attitude.

Over the past few months I have also learned a lot from my nine year old daughter.  I have watched her take the stage with confidence and sing and play piano and guitar.  I have seen her play challenging songs at gigs and smile through the occasional technical glitch like recently when she was playing Sara Bareilles' "Love Song" at a show and there was a problem with the keyboard pedal.  Rather than stopping she played through seamlessly and unless you knew the piano was supposed to be a bit louder at some points you would never have known there was anything wrong. Somehow she always carries herself with grace and composure and just continues with a smile on her face and a sparkle in her eyes.  When I asked her if she ever gets nervous she said, "No, not nervous because I practice and I'm prepared. But I do get excited."

So today think about something you wish you had done or want to do and figure out how to make it happen.  Because of the leap of faith I took last week and the encouragement I received from my hubby and daughter I am going to schedule a few shows this year.

Will I be nervous?  Sure I will...but sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and take a leap of faith.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Louis, Leighton, Ford & Oscar

Gwyneth Paltrow via Coolspotters
Style Shout Out to the Oscar Red Carpet...

Like so many people I always look forward to the Academy Awards and especially the red carpet.  And yesterday was no exception.  My family had a busy weekend which started with my daughter's gig on Thursday, going to see one of her friends play a coffee house Friday, Saturday in the studio and a show yesterday afternoon at her music school.

So after having a fun celebratory, yet early, dinner after the show with friends we headed home in time to catch some of the red carpet and settle in to watch the Oscars.

My daughter and I love to see the choices of dresses, shoes, and jewelry.  And now that she's nine and is developing her own sense of style I really enjoy seeing who makes her best dressed list.

So while Gwyneth Paltrow in the most amazing Tom Ford topped my list, followed by Cameron Diaz, Michelle Williams and Robing Roberts my daughter's list included Michele Williams, Emma Stone and Natalie Portman.  My daughter loved the Louis Vuitton dress worn by Williams because in her words, "It was perfect and she looks like a movie star!" And I have to agree, that dress was fabulous.

Michelle Williams via Coolspotters
It's not surprising that my daughter gravitated to bright, bold colors that were youthful and fresh yet classic.  As we were watching the red carpet and the Oscars there was a running commentary in our family room about the fashion.  My hubby was a good sport as he got the hockey updates on his iPhone and had to listen to us talk about everything from dresses to shoes to jewels.  For me personally I thought Fred Leighton jewels shone the brightest at the Academy Awards.  I loved Nina Garcia's beautiful diamond drop earrings, bracelet and ring and I thought that Michelle Williams and Kelly Ripa also chose amazing pieces by Fred Leighton that added just the right touch to their look.

All in all the red carpet did not disappoint and for me the best part of the show was sitting next to my daughter, watching and laughing together.

I hope all of you enjoyed your Oscar Sunday as much as I enjoyed mine!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Facing Fears With A Smile & A Song

Style Shout Out to facing your fears on Friday...well actually Thursday.

My Taylor 214CE
Let me start by saying that every year I make a few New Year's resolutions and try very hard to keep them. I don't ever make a resolution that is so difficult to keep because I believe in being positive and not setting myself up for failure. So this year when my husband and daughter gave me a Taylor acoustic guitar for Christmas I was compelled to practice more and actually started writing songs again.  This guitar is an amazing instrument in its craftsmanship and tonal quality and is the kind of guitar that needs to be played out at a gig and not just played in the studio in our house.

So on New Year's Eve one of my resolutions was to play out at least once in 2012.  First of all this is really big for me because, even though I've spent time in the studio, I haven't played a gig since we lived in California which is over a decade ago. The other reason it was big is because even though I love to play and sing, I actually get very nervous before a gig. I wouldn't call it full on stage fright but I would call it a fear.  I guess being a Mom I've always tried to set a good example for my daughter and I figured if she saw me get up on a stage it would show her that anything is possible with the right attitude.

I honestly didn't think this particular resolution was one I would be able to keep so quickly but recent circumstances helped me out a bit.  You see my nine year old had a gig last night at a local coffee shop and she opened the show with a few Colbie Caillat tunes, including her signature "Brighter Than The Sun" and "Love Song" by Sara Bareilles.  When the performer who was closing the show ran late I heard the words, "Jac, get up and sing a few."

Kara Ackerman Brooke Knot
Was I nervous? Yes, I was.  But I saw my husband clapping and my daughter's smiling face and thought if she can do this with such ease, surely I can face my fear. So I grabbed a guitar, thankful that I was wearing my favorite Kara Ackerman Brooke Knot leather bracelet because it's very rock n roll, stood in front of the microphone with trembling hands and basically said, "Thanks for letting me fulfill a New Year's resolution.  I haven't done this since the 90's."  A few songs later I thanked the audience for being so kind with their applause and walked away from the mic feeling a bit taller.

I must admit that my daughter did remind me that since I didn't play my Taylor guitar that this performance may not actually fulfill the entire resolution...then she said, "I just saw the smile on your face Mom and you were good. You should play more."

My Style Shout Out Tip:  Facing fears is really hard but last night was a bit easier because it was very unexpected. Today step outside of your comfort zone a little bit whether it's playing a different style of music or wearing a different style of jean.  For me, I saw a cute pair of Jimmy Choo ballet flats at Saks in a dusty pink...not a color I would normally buy but I'm stepping out of my comfort zone in some very comfy looking Jimmy Choos.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DVF Loves Current/Elliott

DVF Loves Current/Elliott @ Saks
Style Shout Out to a fabulous duo!

My nine year old started taking piano lessons about a year and half ago and since then has picked up sticks, the drummer's kind, and started to play guitar and write songs.  It's almost like she and music go together like hand and glove.  Someone recently said to me, "Some people are just born with it and your daughter seems to be one of those people."  It was a very nice compliment and I do believe that in some instances things are just meant to be together.  Friends of ours have a son and when he plays tennis it's as if the racquet is an extension of his arm.

The other day my daughter was practicing for an upcoming gig and when I asked her what songs she was going to play she replied, "I Do & Bubbly by Colbie Caillat and Sara Bareilles' Love Song on piano. On guitar I'm playing my signature cover by Colbie because it's such a happy song."

My daughter loves to play upbeat songs and her signature cover is "Brighter Than The Sun." This is the type of song that, as someone who's hobby for years has been songwriting, I wish I had written.  It just has all of the elements coming together to make it a song that resonates with so many and this is probably why it has found its way into two movies recently.  There's a line in that song that says, "We go together like peanuts and Payday, Marley and reggae..."

And, in thinking about things that go together my thoughts today not only go to my daughter and her love for music, but also to Diane von Furstenberg's collaboration with Current/Elliott. I found some pieces on today and they are innovative and fabulous.  It goes without saying that when you see or hear the initials DVF, words like classic, style and icon come to mind.  And, having been a fan of Current/Elliott since the beginning I can say that with their commitment to quality I have no doubt that they too are on their way to achieving legendary status in the fashion industry.

DVF Loves Current/Elliott @ Saks
So today I am heading to my local Saks store to check out the pieces from this collaboration. I think the printed jeans will look adorable with one of my white LNA tees and Repetto ballet flats!

Happy Shopping.

My Style Shout Out Tip:  When I'm wearing a statement piece such as a printed pair of jeans I like to keep the rest of my outfit simple and classic which is why I gravitate toward fabulous tees from LNA and Michael Stars and ballet flats by Repetto and Stuart Weitzman.

Monday, February 20, 2012

LNA On President's Day

Style Shout Out to President's Day...

Besides being a great day to honor our Presidents, President's Day has become a great day for finding some fabulous sales.  My daughter and I met some friends at the mall today for lunch and she found the most adorable shirt at American Eagle for a fabulous price.

Of course, I always find something great at Ann Taylor and if you're looking to do a little on-line shopping today, Ann Taylor has some beautiful pieces and LNA has some fabulous tee shirts on sale.

If you haven't shopped LNA before, today's sale makes it a great time to check out this brand.  I love their crew neck tees and their v neck tees. They are excellent quality and can be easily dressed up or down.  I've been known to wear them with my Current/Elliott skinny jeans and Repetto ballet flats, and also with my leopard print Ann Taylor skirt and Stuart Weitzman suede boots.

Happy shopping on President's Day!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gilt-free Hunter Boots

Hunter Boots @ Gilt
Style Shout Out to Hunter Boots and Gilt...two fabulous things that are even more fabulous together.

Last night I was going through my emails while watching Modern Family with my family.  The one email that caught my attention was from my sister with a reminder about a great Gilt sale today.  Yes, today Gilt is featuring Hunter Boots.

I've written about Gilt and Hunter before.  I am a loyal customer of Gilt because they have found a way to bring quality merchandise at amazing prices to the public.  Also, I have had amazing experiences with their customer support team.  Great customer service is as important to me as great prices.

I've written about Hunter before because they really have found a way to make a quality boot that is extremely comfortable.  And, I must say that they have gained even more popularity since Hunter has been spotted on one very stylish Royal.

So today if you're in the market for some great boots check out Hunter at Gilt.  For the best selection and size availability I'll be logging in at noon Eastern time when the sale starts.

My Style Shout Out Tip:  Hunter Boots are a great investment and you don't have to wait for rain to wear them.  They look great with skinny J Brand or Current/Elliott jeans and an over-sized Vince sweater.  It's cloudy here today and that's reason enough to pull on the Hunter Boots!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Better Day On Valentine's Day

My Taylor
Style Shout Out to Valentine's Day...

It's raining again today.  But I'm not complaining because it's a great day to pick up my guitar and write before I head to my daughter's school to help out at the Valentine's class party.  Also, we have such hot and dry Summers that I know we need the rain and honestly it's impossible for me to complain about anything on Valentine's Day.  As my nine year old says, "Who doesn't love a day where it's all about chocolate?"

So today I am thankful for my family and all of the love and laughter and music that fills our home.  I know I write a lot about my favorite things like finding a great pair of Current/Elliott or J Brand Jeans at a great price at Gilt and companies like TOMS that give back.  I also find myself writing about things that make great gifts like Ippolita jewelry because she not only designs beautiful jewelry, she is a genuinely nice person, and fabulous bags and shoes because as my Dad says they really do make an outfit.  But for me the greatest gift is the gift of family.

Yesterday I was listening to my daughter practice piano and as she was singing away in the studio I realized I was smiling.  To me, her songs are the best gift because they are hopeful and inspiring and so today I'm sharing the first song she wrote with you.  It's called A Better Day and I hope today you all have a Happy Valentine's Day.  Happy Listening.

Friday, February 10, 2012

First Lady, Fashion First

Via Ann Taylor E-mail
Style Shout Out to a fashionable First Lady who recently gave Ann Taylor a fashion first.

Before I had my daughter I worked in an office and shopped at Ann Taylor for quite a bit of my work wardrobe.  I have to admit that after becoming a stay at home Mom I felt like Ann Taylor was a store of the past for me. But last Spring I wrote about the great dress that I found there for my daughter's communion and how the merchandise in the store had really changed since my last visit.

Now don't get me wrong, Ann Taylor is still a fantastic place to shop for a classic, yet up-to-date wardrobe for work, but it is also a great place to shop for chinos, basic tees, and sweaters.  And, if you're looking for a classic yet up-to-date coat look no further than Ann Taylor.  Recently Michele Obama was spotted wearing their Promenade coat in the most beautiful shade of coral at a Let's Move event in Southern California.

This coat is currently available in stores and on Ann Taylor's website but I would hurry and pick one up soon because I remember how quickly J Crew sold out when our First Lady wore one of their ensembles on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

My Style Shout Out Tip:  This coat is so versatile. Me, I would pair it with Current/Elliott Stiletto Jeans, a white tee and Repetto ballet flats.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Giant Super Bowl Win

Eli Manning & Tom Coughlin via
Style Shout Out to the New York Giants on their Super Bowl victory.

Let me start by saying that when the alarm went off at 6:00 this morning I really did not want to get up.  Yesterday was a fabulous but a long day...The Super Bowl...The Voice...Jimmy Fallon's Late Night show live from Indy! And seriously I could not miss Fallon's show.

But, it's a school day and there's a lot to do. While we were having breakfast my nine year old suggested that maybe the NFL could make the Super Bowl a little earlier in the day or move it to Saturday night.  Her other thought was that the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday be named a national holiday which of course would mean that schools would be closed. Honestly I thought her suggestions were pretty good but this year it's business as usual. 

As we drove to school this morning we talked about the Giants season and their win.  It was a great opportunity for a teachable moment because while the Giants did not have a perfect season, this team is a shining example of how if you remain positive and work hard, you can overcome obstacles and achieve goals.

So as I sit here this morning, coffee in hand, watching the Today Show, and looking at the "Go Giants" sign that my daughter made for the big game I can't help but smile as I think of how much fun I had watching the Super Bowl with her and my hubby.  Sitting on the edge of our seats for most of the game, every time the Giants scored or made a great play my nine year old would jump off the couch and start doing her victory salsa dancing or as she calls it "Victor Cruz-ing!"

Thanks Giants for a season filled with some great football memories and a phenomenal Super Bowl win.  I have always looked at Eli Manning as a talented quarterback and a confident leader and I think it's very fitting that Manning took home the MVP award yesterday.  Congratulations!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

SuperBowl Sunday Shorts - Go Giants

Eli Manning via - Fabulous pic
Style Shout Out to the New York Giants.

So the football season comes down to this one game that will be played in Indy.  I can't imagine what it feels like walking in Eli Manning's shoes, or cleats, today.  But this is a quarterback that knows how to stay calm under pressure, excel in the fourth quarter and win on the road. Manning is an example of what it means to be a leader and I have no doubt that under his leadership the Giants will emerge victorious on this SuperBowl Sunday.

I hope you all enjoy your Sunday with your family and friends. Me, I am off to make some chili and have some fun with my family today as we wait for the big game.

Giants, thanks for a fabulous and exciting football season! Good Luck today!

Friday, February 3, 2012

All In For The Giants

Eli Manning via
Style Shout Out to the New York Giants as they play their biggest game of the season.

It's no secret that being born in New York and growing up in New Jersey has played a major role in the football and baseball teams that I call my favorites.  I guess you could say that I am an example of those sayings that go something like, "You can take the girl out of New York, but you can't take New York out of the girl."

So this is a very big weekend for the Giants and all of their fans.  This isn't the first time the Giants led by Eli Manning and the Patriots led by Tom Brady have met in the SuperBowl and I am hoping for a repeat of the last game and another championship for the Giants.

In addition to the game I am looking forward to all of the ads and, of course, Madonna's half time show which I'm sure will be spectacular.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend.  Me, I'll be on the edge of my seat, bowl of chili in hand, watching my favorite football team with my favorite people, my family.

My Style Shout Out Tip:  Even an oversized football jersey can look stylish when paired with J Brand 910 skinny jeans rolled up a bit with Jack Purcell sneakers!  Go Giants!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Current/Elliott At Gilt

Current/Elliott @ Gilt
Style Shout Out to guilt-free shopping at Gilt.

Last week I ordered a fabulous pair of J Brand 910 skinny jeans from Gilt in a light to medium blue wash that is perfect for any season especially Spring since they are a nice light-weight fabric.  I'm wearing them today, rolled up a bit, with Repetto ballet flats from Saks and a Splendid tee.  It's been unseasonably warm here so it's a perfect outfit for a perfectly warm Winter day.

So today when I opened my email and saw that Gilt was having a sale on denim I wasn't planning on buying another pair of jeans.  But when I saw the Current/Elliott Stiletto jeans in a dark wash I added them to my cart before they could sell out!

You see when I ordered the J Brand, Gilt was out of my size so I ordered a size up.  For me instead of truly skinny fit they are a bit slouchy and I happen to like that they resemble a "boyfriend" jean without the high waist. Since the Current/Elliott was available in my size and being that I don't have a dark blue wash in my closet, I thought they would be a great addition to my wardrobe.  And, thanks to Gilt, I got both pair of jeans for the price of one!

Thanks Gilt for offering great quality items at great prices!

Style Shout Out:  If you are looking for some great jeans at some seriously great prices, check out Gilt today.  The pair I ordered will look great with flats, heels and boots.