SMOOTH. SLEEKIFY. SLIM: THE MIRACLE OF COMPRESSION CLOTHING

Summer is the season of body baring.  Want to shave 10 pounds from your silhouette without starving yourself? Test drive these fabulous brands which have garments strategically infused with shapewear technology to mask muffin top, flatten french fry flubber and tonify thunder thighs.

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SHAPE (fx) by Spiegel

Offers everything from “control” blouses and slimming suit separates to “control” jumpsuits

ATK five minute fixes compression

Blouson Control Tank Dress, $89 SPACE SPACE SPACEPoplin Tunic Blouse, $34

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DONNA KARAN

the “Waist Embrace” slimming Capri legging that lifts and lengthens

DK Waist Embrace black leggings, $55

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YUMMIE TUMMIE

hip length slim wear camis mask muffin top flubber

Yummie Tummie Invisible Skinny Tank, $58

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SPANX

Spanx’s Bod-a-Bing! skirt, cropped pant and little black dress are both equipped with a built in liner for smoother, firmer look

Spanx bod a bing ATK compression clothing

Bod-a-Bing! Skirt, $68 & Bod-a-Bing! Crop Pants, $72 & Bod-a-Bing! Jackie Dress, $80

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MIRACLE BODY JEANS

designed to shape, conceal, lift and smooth to make you look 10 pounds thinner

ATK five minute fixes compression clothing miracle body jeans

Miraclebody Skinny Minnie Jeans, $128

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SUPER ACCESSORIZING 101: TRANSFORM BASICS INTO DOZENS OF LOOKS

Celebs moms–polished and sporty–may look like they stepped from a photo shoot as they breeze from Walgreens to playground in People Magazine. They have a sartorial trick up their kimono sleeve.  THE SECRET?  They approach fashion formulaically by reworking versatile basics and layering them with groovy accessories.

So how can the average woman channel the effortless je ne sais quoi of Nicole Richie, Gwen, Heidi and Rachel Zoe? By investing in quality basics and strategically layering with compelling accent pieces.

Here’s how to do it…

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BASICS

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THE  DRESSES

ATK accessorizing 101 basic dress

GAP denim tie back dress, $69.95 \\ VICTORIA’S SECRET jersey wrap dress, $49.50 \\ BANANA REPUBLIC maxi dress, $89.99 \\ JAMES PERSE crepe maxi dress, $225 \\ ISABELLA OLIVER jersey bandeau maxi dress, $159

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THE TOPS

ATK accessorizing 101 the top

LA MADE knot tank, $33.99 \\ LANSTON loose knot oversized tee, $50.99 \\ SPLENDID vintage whisper boyfriend top, $58 \\ VINCE striped double layer sweater, $99

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THE COMPRESSION  LEGGINGS

SPANX cotton compression leggings, $62

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THE JEANS

atk accessorizing 101 the jean

GAP 1969 real straight jeans in dark wash, $69.50 \\ GAP 1969 curvy jeans in white wash, $59.50

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ACCESSORIZE

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STATEMENT JEWELRY


KARA ROSS gold hoops, $150 \\ SEQUIN enamel bangles, $30 each \\ HOUSE OF HARLOW knuckle duster ring, $50

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KICK UP A NEUTRAL WITH A POP OF COLOR

JCREW featherweight cardigan in gauguin orange, $62 \\ MADEWELL electric scarf, $58 \\ THEODORA & CALLUM ikat scarf, $175

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GLAMMIFYING ACCENTS


TOMS red stripe canvas wedges, $69 \\ COACH jazlyn wedge, $99 \\ HENRY BEGUELIN pietra sandal, $430
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CARLOS FALCHI ombre python clutch \\ DVF printed tote, $150 \\ CHEAP MONDAY telekenisis glasses, $30

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School’s Out! How to Keep Your Kids Sharp this Summer

With so much free time during the summer it is easy for kids to swan dive into the brain drain of mindless videos and electronics.  ALTERNATIVE? Fab educational apps and a smorgasboard of classic books to keep them busy, motivated and sharp.

Best Educational Apps:

THE ZOO

The Zoo App for kids

For kids ages 2-6

This app helps kids Learn about animals and animal sounds through fun quizzes

TALLY TOTS

Tally Tots App for Kids

For kids ages 2-4

This app helps Introduce toddlers/preschoolers to numbers and counting

$1.99

LICKING LETTERS

Licking-Letters App for Kids

For kids ages 2-8

A hungry frog named Hoppy teaches young kids how to spell without the bore of scrabble

$0.99

CHUZZLE

Chuzzle App for Kids

For kids ages 4+

This app is an interactive, furry version of connect four or bejeweled

$4.99

SLICE IT

Slice it App for Kids

For kids ages 5+

This app is all about Geometry Brain Teasers

$1.99

MATH BINGO

Math Bingo App for Kids

Developed by an Elementary school teacher

Its exactly what it sounds like, except SO much better than flashcards.

You can choose all different kinds of math skills and difficulty levels to challenge yourself

$0.99

STACK THE STATES

Stack the States App for Kids

For kids Ages 6+

This app helps kids memorize all 50 states and capitols through exciting games and activities

A World version is also available

$0.99

MOTION MATH

Motion Math App for Kids

For kids ages 8+

Think Space Invaders meets mathematics for this  outta this world app

$1.99

My Favorite Classic Books:

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer, Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, Mrs. Piggle -Wiggle by Betty McDonald and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Book of the Month Club:

Want these classic books to magically appear at your doorstep this summer?

Keep your kids engaged this summer with the ideal reading list curated by age and by interest by CHILDREN”S BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB. They’ll deliver two books to your doorstep for three months for only a $49.44 price tag (a 50% savings off of publisher’s edition prices, membership)  PLUS a $25 restaurant.com gift certificate for your family to enjoy.

From Goodnight Moon to Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Shel Silverstein and numerous  young adult novels, hundreds of titles are available.

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COVER UP: Best bets for safe and effective sunscreen for moms and kids

Summer =  fun in the sun.  And while tis the season of outdoor diversion, terror lurks in the form of skin cancer. With over 2 million people diagnosed annually, sun protection is imperative.  But, what many don’t know is that not all sunscreens are created equally.

A product with broad spectrum protection and without harmful chemicals is essential.   WHY? In contrast to many common sunscreens that only protect from UVB waves, “broad spectrum” blocks dangerous UVA waves as well.  The other component to safe and effective sun protection is scrutinizing the ingredients and avoiding preservatives like parabens and phthalates which can be absorbed through the skin to accumulate into the bloodstream.

Of course there are many incredible designer sunscreens, but you don’t need to spend the big bucks for an effective product.  Brands like Nature’s Gate, Alba Bontanica and Kiss My Face are inexpensive and just as effective as designer brands.

CONFUSED? Don’t be.  Here’s your crash course in sunscreenology and my best bets.

A SUNSCREEN GLOSSARY

SPF: Sun Protection Factor, rating applied to only UVB rays.  The higher the SPF does not mean you can stay out in the sun that much longer.  For example, SPF 15 means it blocks all but 1/15 of UVB meaning you are about 93% covered for those rays. The difference between SPF 30 and SPF 60 is just an extra 2% of coverage.

UVA: Makes up 95% of UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface, less intense than UVB but penetrates deeper in the skin to the dermis.

UVB: UV radiation that hits the top layer of skin, epidermis, responsible for sunburn and any skin reddening. The most significant amount of UVB hits the U.S. between 10 AM and 4 PM from April to October.

Broad spectrum: Look for sunscreen boasting broad spectrum,-multi spectrum or UVA/UVB protection to ensure defense against both types of UV radiation.

Parabens: A synthetic preservative that can be found in shampoos, moisturizers, shaving gels, cleansing gels, topical pharmaceuticals and toothpaste.  According the Environmental Working Group (EWG), parabens can disrupt the hormone system, and were found in the breast cancer tumors of 19 of 20 women studied.

Phthalates: A chemical compound called “plasticizers” making PVC and found in nail polish, shampoos, detergents, hair spray, toys, food packaging and much more. Like parabens, phthalates hinder the endocrine system.


BEST BETS

SUNSCREEN FOR ADULTS: all of the following products have broad spectrum coverage and are free of parabens, phthalates, fragrance, nano-technology and chemicals

SKINCEUITICALS PHYSICAL FUSION: $30, SPF 50, universal tint that evens skin tone, high UVA protection, protects against collagen damage, water and sweat resistant, does not clog pores, features plankton extract, J.Lo is a fan!

BELLI ANTI-CHLOASMA FACIAL SUNSCREEN: $24, SPF 25, Pregnancy-friendly ingredients, lightly tinted to blend with all skin types, oil free, may be worn alone or under makeup

Belli skincare sunscreen ATK

KATE SOMERVILLE SERUM SUNSCREEN: $45, SPF 55, oil/alcohol free, can be used daily for oily or problematic skin, does not leave skin feeling chalky, sticky or greasy, celeb clients include Christina Aguilera, Katy Perry and Selma Blair

Kate somerville sunscreen serum

ALBA BOTANICA NATURAL SUNBLOCK: $9.95, SPF 30+, certified organic sunflower seed and jojoba seed oils, aloe vera and calendula moisturize and nourish skin, 100% vegetarian ingredients, grape seed oil and vitamin E provide antioxidant protection

alba botanica sunscreen ATK

NATURE’S GATE MINERAL SPORT BLOCK: $9.99, SPF 20, Seaweed extract revitalizes, milk thistle extract soothes and Mimosa bark extract repairs and protects.

natures gate sunscreen

KISS MY FACE, FACE FACTOR: $12.95, SPF 30, water resistant, helps reduce wrinkles with UVA/UVB protection, great for sensitive skin

SUNSCREEN FOR KIDS: products below are water resitant

EPISENCIAL SUNNY SUNSCREEN: $14.99, SPF 35, Free of Petroleum/hormones/gluten/nut oils, manufactures with solar power, organic sesame, safflower and avocado oils to moisturize and nourish the skin

DR.ROBIN: $24, SPF 30, quinoa and oat protection for soothing hydration and green tea extract to help prevent free radical damage, Used by Celeb Moms–Debra Messing and Jennifer Garner

Dr Robin Chemical Free Sunscreen for Kids and Babies

KISS MY FACE NATURAL MINERAL SUNBLOCK LOTION: $14.99, SPF 30+, retains SPF after 30 minutes of activity in water, Gluten free, Natural ingridients include aloe, sunflower oil, green tea, shea butter, carrots, mushrooms and olive oil

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BUMP IT UP APPROVED BUMP WATCH

With the bevy of celeb baby bumps  flooding the airwaves, I wanted to offer my take on BUMP IT UP babes to watch.

Go ahead, steal their style!

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TORI SPELLING

The Look: Prints Charming

Love the empire waist dress with kimono sleeves and great upbeat print



Get the look: Check out a similar kimono caftan dress at Rachel Pally and get stacked with great wedges from COACH

TINA FEY

The Look: Classique

The funny gal keeps it long and lean in graphic, black and white stripes, unstructured blazer and skinny jeans

(Note-Former SNL cast member joined other pregnant SNL alum, Maya Rudolph, for some preggo parodies on last week’s episode)

Get the look: Bump up the urban nautical  look with a sequined blazer and striped tee from Isabella Oliver then balance your bountiful belly with a Tory Burch kitten heel

JANUARY JONES

The Look: Blonde Ambition

Rocking her bump in a non-maternity Preen dress accented with a belly hugging knot

Get the Look: Invest in a Gap wrap dress or the Pouch versatile dress, which can be worn at least 5 different ways!

IVANKA TRUMP

The Look: Black Magic

Who’s afraid of some sass and a pair of bunny ears?  Not Ivanka, who poses for Bazaar looking like a sexpot avec bump.

Get the Look: Don’t want the bunny look? Get the best basics at Ingrid & Isabel

SELMA BLAIR

The Look: The Bold and the Beautiful

Selma has looked great in her colorful, drapey dresses paired with funky hats and chunky jewelry.

(Note-Selma has been seen in Isabella Oliver and Nicole Richie’s line, Winter Kate)

Get the look: Copy Selma’s color scheme with an inexpensive Old Navy sun dress 

KATE HUDSON

The Look: Boho Babe

Kate uses her bump to boost her signature urban gypsy/rocker look

(Note-Kate has been spotted wearing Elizabeth and James’ cardis, Theodora and Callum scarves and a form fitting Robert Cavalli gown)


Kate-Hudson prenant 2011

Get the look: Kate goes boho in Elzabeth and James and get a similar maxi from T-bags

JESSICA ALBA

The Look: Flowing Fabulista

Jessica’s Versace empire dress drapes in all the right places to create a streamlined look that emphasizes her neck and decolletage with a statement necklace

Get the Look: Look just as beautiful as Jessica in an Isabella Oliver wrap column dress that was recently featured in Vogue

VICTORIA BECKHAM

The Look: Fierce Mama

The always severe looking Posh Spice struts through Heathrow airport in a leather accented mini of her own design.

Get the Look: Create drama with an ASOS sexy, classic black mini dress

CARLA BRUNI-SARKOZY

The Look: Le Parissienne

France’s First Lady c’est chic in (non-maternity) white tweed Chanel couture dress paired with black tweed Chanel couture jacket and black Louboutins kitten heels. Is she really 43?

Get the Look: Look and feel like royalty in any Chanel ensemble

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Babble names AMY TARA KOCH facebook style expert page as top resource for pregnant women!

BECOME A FAN OF AMY’S STYLE EXPERT PAGE!

Babble Screen shot, Amy Tara Koch, Bump it up

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BASEBALL, HOT DOGS, APPLE PIE & GREAT BEACH READS FOR YOUR KIDS!

In a few weeks, school will be out leaving an unstructured summer schedule for your kids to fall into. Fun, yes. But, how do you keep your budding brainiac sharp this summer?

With the iPad, TV, Gameboy DS and apps a plenty clamoring for attention, getting your child involved with a good old fashioned book can be tough.


According to the U.S Department of Education, children who do not read over the summer may lose as much as 25% of their reading skills and fall back an entire grade level. In fact, children who read just 6 books during the summer gain or maintain reading skill achieved during the proceeding school year **(Sources: Summer Learning and the Effects of Schooling, & Examiner.com)

I have partnered with the Book Of The Month Club to promote their children’s division which is committed to keeping kids enthusiastic about reading this summer with an incredible offer for parents. Here’s the deal: The CHILDREN”S BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB has crafted the ideal reading list curated by age and by interest. They’ll deliver two books to your doorstep for three months for only a $49.44 price tag (a 50% savings off of publisher’s edition prices, membership)  PLUS a $25 restaurant.com gift certificate for your family to enjoy.

From Goodnight Moon to Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Shel Silverstein and numerous  young adult novels, hundreds of titles are available.

After all, inspiration is the greatest gift you can give your child.

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