Parks, culture, history, sports and a culinary scene that runs the gamut from old-fashioned hot dog stands to haute Michelin-starred cuisine—Chicago has no shortage of activities. If you’re looking for the kid-friendly variety, you’ll find your fill at five of our favourite Windy City attractions. READ FULL STORY HERE
No muu muus at Clarence House! A baby is no bump in the style road for super glam Kate Middleton. Bump it Up: Transform Your Pregnancy into the Ultimate Style Statement author Amy Tara Koch predicts that the Duchess of Cambridge will maintain her elegance throughout her pregnancy. She chatted with USA TODAY about how Kate the Great will craft maternity style that reflects her inherent poise and polish.
- She Will A Frock Star
Dresses are the easiest silhouette to wear during pregnancy; especially wrap, shift and trapeze shapes as they disguise bottom heaviness. Kate, a fan of the sheath and wrap silhouettes, will probably sport a modified version of this shape in stretch jersey to accommodate her bump. Royals always pair chic duster or ¾ length coats with day dresses. Kate will continue to layer a jacket over her dresses for maximum poise and polish. But, she will probably move to swing or trapeze coats with no closures for maximum comfort and style. Expect to see her in haute Brit brand Isabella Oliver.
Isabella Oliver Ruched Wrap Dress $199
- She Will Rule The Empire
Empire waist dresses are super flattering during pregnancy. This genius silhouette gathers under the breast and falls loosely to the hip, knee or floor covering bulging bellies and butts with cascading fabric. The empire waist accentuates the ribcage giving the wearer an attenuated frame. It also puts the focus on the arms and shoulders, places where pregnancy weight does not manifest itself.
Rosie Pope Stella Dress $253
- She Will Be A Cut Above
For black tie and high profile royal dutoes, Kate will most likely turn to her trusted fashion friends-Sarah Burton and Issa- for custom maternity garments.
- She Will Remain Well Heeled
Do not expect the Duchess to waddle about in flats. She will wear kitten heels, wedge heels and stacked heels to keep her out of the preggo dumps.
Jimmy Choo Mara Sling Back with Bow Detail $725
- She Will Get Waisted
When you your stomach bulges, a strategically placed belt helps to create a semblance of a pre-pregnancy waistline. The Duchess will most likely sport a skinny belt just under her bust to streamline her look.
- She Will Not Break A Sweat
Don’t expect to see a Royal in sweat pants. On casual days, she will probably wear dark denim maternity jeans or sleek leggings with a long tunic top.
I know what it is like to want to get pregnant. Ovulation charts. Temperature taking. Modified diet. Frustration. Sound familiar? Well, two moms-actually sisters-in-law-wanted to do something to help women who wanted to improve their chances of getting pregnant without serious medical intervention. So, they researched. They tested. They formulated. They conceived. Introducing PregPrep, a pre-pregnancy kit to promote fertility by creating a more hospitable fertilization environment. Since one founder, Dr. Lara Oboler, is a bona fide doctor, the medical research funneled into the product has a level of undisputed credibility. The key ingredient is NAC (N-acetyl Cysteine), a natural mucolytic that dissolves viscous mucus to facilitate fertilization. Thin cervical mucus eases sperm transport to your egg. NAC is also a naturally-occurring antioxidant that reduces levels of free radicals in the body.
“Trying to get pregnant can be an anxiety provoking experience. We want to take some of that anxiety out of the equation by empowering women to take control of their conception journey. We are giving them the tools to be proactive and put good things in their body while they are trying to conceive. Every ingredient and product in our MTB kit can only help a women and her baby,” explains Dr. Oboler
The kit provides two major conception-boosting benefits from one single source. The PregPrep formulation contains the most optimal dosages of NAC in a multi-ingredient fertility supplement available. FertilPrep is also fortified with a select blend of natural derivatives (including Chaste Berry Extract and Evening Primrose Oil) that offer further support to the quality of cervical mucus, fight free radical damage + support hormonal health.
I caught up with Dr. Lara Oboler to get the inside scoop on this groovy new pregnancy supplement.
The kit contains a 2 month supply of 3 formulated products to increase the probability of getting pregnant and a guide of essential information to get the most of your kit. ($48)
Q: What sparked the idea of PregPrep?
A: I conceived the idea for PregPrep 9 years ago, when I was having trouble getting pregnant. I was in my mid 30s and had been trying for six months. I had an appointment booked with an infertility specialist when I read a fertility book suggesting that for the 5 days leading up to ovulation, women should take a mucolytic (which can be found in some cough syrups).. Mucolytics are substances that thin out bodily secretions. The logic of using a mucolytic was explained: just as a mucolytic thins out the mucus in your lungs, it also thins the cervical mucus (making it less sticky,) which makes it easier for the sperm to swim to the egg.
As a physician, I thought, “ok, this makes medical sense”. So I took a mucolytic the following month for the 5 days leading up to my ovulation and found out I was pregnant while sitting in the infertility specialist’s office for my first (and only) visit.
During that embarrassing appointment, the doctor told me they prescribe mucolytics all the time. How could it be that I was a medical doctor and a woman desperately trying to get pregnant and had never heard of this?
That was my “aha” moment.
My next two children were conceived first try – with the help of a mucolytic. (I was 40 years old when I conceived my 3rd child).
It was then that I realized I wanted to develop products to help all women trying to conceive and empower them to take control of their fertility journey.
Q: What were the biggest challenged faced when developing PregPrep?
A: Our biggest challenge was finding a safe, natural mucolytic. That’s where NAC comes in. NAC (N-acetyl Cysteine), is an extremely safe, well-known mucolytic used for multiple medical problems. it is also a natural substance that is found in our bodies. In addition, NAC is not only a mucolytic but a highly effective antioxidant. In short, NAC renders cervical mucus less sticky and helps facilitate the successful transport of sperm to egg. And because it is also an antioxidant, it rids the body of free radicals (which are the body’s toxins) and supports its natural fertility functions. As a physician, I felt that the products we produced had to be safe, first and foremost. The Hippocratic oath states that doctors should do no harm so that has always been #1 in my mind.
Q: How did your background as a physician aid in the development of the brand?
A: In terms of the development of our kit, we worked with an incredible team to produce the highest quality, research-oriented products. As a physician, I am able to navigate through the medical world and select ingredients to create the most medically sound, safe, natural products.
Q: Were you surprised by any of the research you found when creating the product?
A: Actually – yes. Little did I know that there has been several double-blind, placebo-controlled research studies performed on NAC in terms of helping women conceive. We have sited several of the studies on our website. We also have streamlined a prenatal vitamin with ”just the essentials.” Again, we have several studies cited on our website.
Q: What does Preg Prep offer that other prenatal vitamins don’t?
A: PregPrep’s Make That Baby Kit (MTB) is an amazing, natural alternative to other fertility products. It is truly revolutionary and fills a void in the marketplace by allowing women to take control of their conception. MTB puts women on a program. It’s a comprehensive kit with a 2 month supply of 3 unique, natural products, as well as a manual filled with all the information a woman needs to start her pregnancy journey.
Our FertilPrep is a physician-formulated capsule that targets your 5 most fertile days and optimizes your fertility. It thins your cervical mucus to help transport the sperm to egg.
Our VitaMelt is also unique. Conventional prenatal vitamins are used pre, during, and post pregnancy. And because of that, typical prenatal vitamins end up being incredibly large and difficult to swallow. They also commonly cause nausea and constipation. Our VitaMelt is streamlined, with only the essentials of what you need before getting pregnant, including Folic Acid. They are small, pleasant tasting, melt on your tongue, and cause no unpleasant side effects.
Our Essential Balance OIl – to use in bath or shower — is calming, aromatherapeutic, and gets you in the mood for the best part of baby making!!
Co-founders of PregPrep
Marjorie Jaffe Goldner & Dr. Lara Oboler
For more information about PregPrep please visit www. pregprep.com
Grace Kelly, Marlene Dietrich, Brigitte Bardot, Joan Crawford and that mom at school pick up that ALWAYS looks cute all have a common bond: a signature style. Through their fashion choices, their personalities loom like a halo over their heads.
But, many women don’t necessarily have a “signature look.” If you have lived for years mystified by what happens on runways, red carpets and hyped paparazzi shots in gossip magazines, call upon your dormant SAT studying skills and study fashion divas of the twentieth century. Pregnancy is, in fact, a golden opportunity to exit your comfort zone and bring your inner glamazon to life. Give a nod to the fashion icons of the twentieth century and use your belly as a VIP pass to the order of eternal divahood. Go to Barnes & Noble and purchase Fashion Icons: Fashion Trends Throughout the Century, Star Style, Thje Marchesa Casati Portraits of a Museand Mistress of Modernism: The Life of Peggy Guggenheim, and start thumbing through. Eccentric? Yes. But, absolutely scintillating. Learn about silhouettes. Discover accessories. Investigate why muses perenniale- marvelous Marchesa de Casati, dynamic Diana Ross, chic socialite Babe Paley, 60s siren Edie Sedgewick, boho babe Talitha Getty and art deco diva Nancy Cunard-became style revolutionaries. These histrionic women dissed convention and used fashion to express themselves. Such bravado is evident in their outré fashion choices: gowns as daywear, turbans, shoulder sweeping earrings, extreme eye makeup, stacked-to-the-elbows bangle bracelets, cloaks fashioned of peacock feathers. Don’t feel pressured to swap your skinny jeans for an electric blue jumpsuit. Just get inspired. Then, take it down a notch to reality. In your free time, let your fingers do the walking right over to Netflix. “Fashion moment” TV shows and films are a great way to research style and learn about silhouettes. Once the kid(s) are asleep, rent Mad Men, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Women, Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby, Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Katherine Deneuve in Belle Du Jour, Mia Farrow in Great Gatsby, Marlene Dietrich inShanghai Express, Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada and Joan Collins in Dynasty.
I am not suggesting that you go radical. Your task is to find a scintillating look which suits your personality and flatters your body type. Upper East Side Lady Who Lunches? Downtown “it” Girl? Haute Hippie? Groovy Gal About Town? Be the girl with the Bakelite cuff bracelets and fabulous YSL scarves adorning every outfit. Wear Grandma’s lurex sweater sets to go to the supermarket. Layer vintage Betsey Johnson baby doll dresses with Byzantine beads and rhinestone crosses just because. The larger you feel, the more accessories required. Your Cinderella moment awaits!
The grass is always more alluring on the other side.
Many women say that a summer pregnancy is worse than a winter one. I disagree. While it’s true that you can “hide” in mountains of wool and cashmere, these layers actually add extra pounds to your already expansive frame. Factor in a coat and you’ve got bulk. While it’s true that the heat of the summer months can cause additional swelling, warm weather dresses offer an element of sultriness that is tough to pull off in tundra like conditions. Why? Well, summery, light-as-air dresses celebrate a pregnant woman’s body. They play up décolletage, bare arms, neck and the slope of the shoulders, sexy hot spots where pregnancy weight does not manifest. The drape ‘n cling of the lightweight fabrics prove that the bump (and boobs) are, in fact, showstopping accessories. The best part? Fashion longevity. Because they are inherently drapey, most of these dresses will look great during your pregnancy and afterwards.
Here are some of my favorite summer dresses:
From Left to Right: Calypso St.Barth gold disc necklace $110 // Stella & Dot rebel pendant $79 // Stella & Dot cameron pendant $79 // Stella & Dot camilla ring $49 // Sequin NYC petra horn earrings $28 // Hive & Honey arrow drop earrings $22 // Sequin NYC tatijana cuff $178 // Tinley Road enamel bangles $26 each
When La-Z-Boy called to ask me to design a room for their new Chicago showroom, I was on the fence. Me? Lover of luxury? Then, I took a peek at their newly revamped site and my perception of Archie Bunker-style recliners dissolved in a mist of pleather. What I saw were the building blocks of interior style; sofas, loveseats, deep armchairs with ottomans, sleek coffee, console and cocktail tables. The merchandise was impressive. But, the prices were astounding. Having spent the past five years “doing” my house, I am only too aware how exorbitant furniture can be. A sofa can easily set you back 7K. These were a fraction of the prices I was accustomed to at my usual haunts. So, I rose to the occasion. I routinely show women how attainable fashion is at every price point. Why not prove this philosophy on the interior front?
Style: It’s all in the details
THE DESIGN PROCESS
I decided create a family room where fashion meets function. To showcase my eclectic point of view, I wanted to pull together a cool mix of cozy but sophisticated furniture electrified by pops of color and statement making accents. My design partners, Courtney and Christine got my “look” immediately. Together, we began to hunt and gather. Constructing an interior is similar to creating an outfit. Like fashion, a great room is contingent upon great basics. This “canvas” is elevated to a look with esoteric layering pieces. I picked a cream Collins sofa and a matching (deliciously deep) arm chair with ottoman. We created a more defined space by adding two etageres on either end of the sofa to display personal accents: fashion books, framed pictures by the kids and kitschy white ceramics that smacked of my collection of Jonathan Adler pottery at home. A polished aluminum dome floor lamp jutting glamorously over the arm chair added a kooky Brady Bunch meets Hollywood Hills vibe. Contrast is essential to an interior. So we placed Mor0ccan print two poufs by the sofa. They added some energy to the overall design and served as functional seating for the extra kids always running around my house.
To a room –and an outfit-accessories are critical. They convey personality. And, attitude. I am a flea market fiend and diehard francophile. To convey this, we stacked vintage inspired steamer trunks next to the sofa. A strategically situated console table behind the sofa is a perfect perch for accent pieces. A ’50s style sunburst mirror and antique-y looking clock stamped “Paris” proclaim my love of all things vintage. There is a fine line between artfully displayed objects and clutter. I attired my two-tier coffee table with stacked fashion books and an enormous platter of candy. Underneath, board games were stacked neatly on a tray. Pillows are jewelry for the home. Burnt orange and aubergine pillows punctuated with (&) ampersand pillows were perfect fodder for a writer. A chocolate brown shag carpet tied in the whole look together.
THE LOOK: MODERN AMERICAN WITH A VINTAGE INSPIRED TWIST
VOILA! A comfortable, stylish room for the whole family to hang out in. I loved working on this project and am, in fact, replacing the itchy mid-century modern pony chaise in my bedroom with the La-Z-Boy Collins chair and ottoman!
Want to win the opportunity to win a 5K Shopping Spree? Check out Please La-Z-Boy’s Facebook page and vote for my vignette!
Stop the presses. I am officially a door buster.
I will go to great lengths for style. And, am often mortified (post acquisition) at what I will/would/will endure to hunt and gather the objects of my affection. Case in point? The activities surrounding the March 8th sale of uber expensive Marni for H&M. Now, I have been bowing down to the temple of Marni since the early 90’s. Designer Consuelo Castiglione’s upbeat prints and signature slouchy fit are my version of wardrobe perfection. But, in order to score discount designer duds, one must wade through the degradation that punctuates a fast fashion shopping experience.
Having spent decades conquering sample sales in NYC and LA, I knew that my chances at nabbing my wish list would double if I had a partner. So, I enlisted my trusty assistant, Alaina, to coordinate an attack plan. In order to snap up fabulous fast fashion, one must physically go to the store. Very early. You see, these pieces are made in limited edition so they sell out within hours of their release into the wild. We planned for Alaina to get in line first so I could get my kids ready for school. But, after monitoring the sale on twitter, I could see the merch was already selling out across the country. So, I bribed my husband to stay home and get kids’ organized. Then-hair still in sleep ponytail-I hightailed by bus to Michigan Avenue by 8 am.
I was not alone. There were swarms of women drooling like Lionesses over fresh meat.
Humorless guard keeping shoppers at bay, Amy and Alaina caffeinating
and sea of Marni/H&M hopefuls
Though we were told on the phone that we could shop at 8am, this was not to be. Instead, we were given color coded wristbands with the stipulated shopping time. So, though I arrived at 8:15 am, I could not shop-or even browse-the collection until 10:05. Now, I am the type who can finagle an upgrade from at the Four Seasons from standard room to suite. I routinely wangle my way to First Class on American Airlines. I have sat in the front row at YSL couture in Paris (when issued a seat in the nosebleed section) and can essentially talk my way into almost any situation. But, I could not get H&M personnel (I even called the PR department) to budge on my designated shopping time. In fact, the dour security at H&M felt positively Storm Trooper-esque. Shoppers were herded up by bull horn & lined up behind stanchions. Rules of the sale were shouted out: 15 minute time limit to shop. No re-entering the sale area from dressing rooms. Limit of two of a single item could be purchased. Wrist bands were checked with military precision 3 times prior to entering the sale area. And, the final indignity, a DJ was on site to blast obnoxious dance music in what felt like an attempt to maximize frayed nerves. When I approached the gloriously accessorized mannequins to examine the designs, guards formed a human blockade and commanded me to retreat. Frustrated, I moved to the front of the store and watched as the hoarding commenced. Forget mesh shopping bags. Sly fashion fiends were scooping up multiples of everything and loading their goods onto garment racks. I watched with mounting anxiety as the fabulous floral chokers and cuffs were depleted before my eyes. Then the mound of sleek platform shoes began to dwindle. Style stress is a breeding ground for new BFFs. Friendships were forged. Shopping strategies were hatched. Coffees were inhaled. I actually found an adorable model for an upcoming tv segment I was producing.
We have to wait until 10.05?!
As 10:00 rolled around, we were all on high alert protecting our terrain in the 10:05 line.. A woman starting elbowing her way to the front. I alerted my newfound buddies and we headed her off and pelted her with evil eyes. At long last, our time was called. We were commanded to raise our left arms to display our wrist bands as we marched forth to the promised (fashion) land. I charged into the pit (to the lyrics of STAYING ALIVE, ironically) stockpiling my bags with anything that may work. The glam accessories were gone. But, we stuffed our bags with the color blocked dresses, sporty black nylon windbreakers and African themed tops. Next up? The moment of truth. The dressing room. After all of the waiting, everyone wanted their efforts to be endorsed with a prize purchase. Not everyone was rewarded. Size 10s were shimmying into size 6. Size 6 was swimming in size 12. And, some experienced the sad truth: what looks great on a mannequin does not work on every body type.
Amy with her spoils and post-shopping elixirs to rebalance
Luckily, I scored. A lot of what I selected was parfait. But, I was pissed that some of my wish list had not been on the sales floor. So, I waited. Some of those polka dot ¾ coats and cardigans were most likely sequestered behind dressing room doors. My assistant kept her eyes trained on the “didn’t work” rack while I sat waiting to pounce on discarded merch left by my fellow shoppers. Some women were willing to barter. A jacquard top for a print Capri? A size 4 shirtdress for platform wedges? Finally, at 11 am, I had enough. With a pounding head and bulging shopping bags, I ambled out of the store. It was an experience, yes. But, not one that I am not likely to repeat again.
Last week, the gleaming runways of Mercedes Benz fashion week gave birth to a new fashion concept; a show of ?realistic looks? designed by moms for their time challenged tribe. The brainchild of THE MOMS, high wattage mom bloggers Vera Sweeney and Audrey McClelland, social media agency BIG FUEL and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, the Director of fashion at Lincoln Center, STRUT: THE FASHIONABLE MOM SHOW was crafted with the premise that moms and a smashing sense of style can live harmoniously in the car pool lane. To this end, the fashions showcased were affordable and attainable. While the traditional catwalk features fashions two seasons ahead, STRUT offered clothing that is in stores right now; a fresh faced version of the mall trend show plugged into a high fashion arena. Minus the haughty, well- heeled editors and retail buyers. In fact, the show reinforced the power of social media. Influential mom bloggers-not models-walked the runway. The show was live streamed to Babycenter.com, the number one pregnancy and parenting web destination with a reach of 10 million moms in the US and 25 million moms monthly in 22 international markets. Tout.com was on hand to snap and upload 15 second video clips on twitter, facebook and top blogger sites. One sponsor-Clorox-sponsored ?twitterazzi? seating for influential mom bloggers to ?live tweet? from the show. ?All the highly social mom ?models? participating in the show will give us a reach of over 4 million online moms in one day?, explains Audrey McClelland and Vera Sweeney. The result? Gargantuan social media metrics directly targeting moms responsible for the household buying decisionsIn terms of the fashion, there were no 6 foot glamazons teetering on stilettos clad in up- to -there ??city shorts? with sheer tank tops. STRUT models ran the gamut from size 2 to 16, some were pregnant. The looks were super wearable; a marriage of fashion and function for the office, the playground, date and the PTA meeting. The smart use of accessories showed how easy it is to transform a basic garment into a fabulous ensemble. Participating brands included Tory Burch, Tj Maxx, Marshalls, Rebecca Minkoff, Gap, Michael Kors, Macys and Bloomingdales. There were also maternity fashion shown by Ingrid & Isabel, Hatch and Pea in the Pod.
Exhausted. Spent. At the end of my Jimmy Choo tether. I, like so many moms, feel like I am in a permanent state of fatigue. So, I turned to my friend Lauren Slayton, nutrition guru and owner of FOOD TRAINERS for some advice on how to raise my energy level
“I don’t think Mom’s know how poorly they are feeling until they tweak their diet and feel better: sleep better and don’t crash in afternoon”, Lauren told me. She then issued this challenge: skip all added sugar (even agave/evaporated cane juice counts) for 3 days.. She added, “ You may hate me for first day but on 3rd you will be contemplating a load of laundry at 9pm”. Umm. Laundry? I can think of better things to do with extra energy!
When I told her that, after making my kids’ breakfasts and lunch, I ran out to my office often forgetting to eat myself, she tsk-tsked me and supplied easy solutions that all take under three minutes and will prevent me from making poor food choices later in the day.
Here are her tips:
- Smoothies: put it all in the blender before you go to bed (or in fridge in a bowl)
Protein (sunwarrior or socalcleanse are my favorites)
1 c frozen fruit (cascadian farms frozen fruit) or fresh fruit and a handful of ice
1 c greens (baby spinach, kale or romaine)
1 cup liquid (coconut water, almond milk OR ice water)
- Egg- try microwave poaching
Fill mug 1/3 up with water
Crack egg in
Place in Microwave
Cover with salad plate (to avoid egg explosion)
Cook 60 seconds and transfer egg from mug to plate
Have with berries or cut melon (washed and cut night before)
Know the importance of a good purse snack, place 1 in all purses in your current rotation
- Bars: Pure, Zing, Kookie Karma
Seeds: 1/4 cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds (in many ways nutritionally superior to nuts)
FOR MORE INFORMATION: