Scent Décor: It’s a Thing

Scent plays a huge role in style. A woman’s fragrance is an extension of her look. Upscale hotels (like the Plaza Athenee in Paris) often boast a signature parfum that symbolizes the property’s luxury status. Even retailers (think Abercrombie and Fitch) use aroma to define their brand. This concept carries over to décor. A home is yet another style platform to personalize with scent.

My Chicago apartment embodies my eclectic style; a mix of contemporary and mid-century modern furniture punctuated with offbeat knickknacks culled from travels around the globe. Art is everywhere: photography, sculpture, graffiti paintings and zany African head dresses as wall hangings. And, drapery is treated as jewelry, each room’s piece de resistance. There is a lot going on but, somehow it all flows perfectly. Smell plays a role in my home. There is always a hint of French lavender (I tuck sachets everywhere) and fresh flowers to counteract the frigidity of winter. To channel my Miami upbringing, I saute orange and lemon peels for a whiff of tropical citrus.

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When Unstopables reached out and asked me to test drive their new scent décor, I signed on. My favorite? The in-wash scent booster. With two active daughters, the laundry baskets are always overflowing. This product (just add it to the wash at the beginning of the cycle) adds a subtle, pleasant fragrance to clothing. Though it won’t reduce the amount of laundry, it makes the experience more pleasurable!

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My Picks in Marsala: Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year

It’s official: Pantone has named Marsala as the color of 2015. Think deep, juicy pomegranate fruit, warm Tuscan brick villas and the red wine that you can drink in a few months’ time. Here are a few of my favorite pieces that reflect this sartorial trend.

Pantone Colors

Maternity Clothes2

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Amy Tara Koch in “Style Influencer” Interview for Keungzai

In our final installment of Style Influencers for 2014, we interview style expert, journalist and author Amy Tara Koch. She is a style expert for People Magazine, USA Today, She Knows, The Bump, Vogue and Parents Magazine and has appeared on CNN, TODAY, Steve Harvey, Access Hollywood, Fox and the CBS EARLY SHOW. A contributor to Marie Claire,Huffington Post, People Moms & Babies, The New York Times and more, Amy Tara Koch is also the author behind “BUMP IT UP: Transform Your Pregnancy Into The Ultimate Style Statement“, touted as a must-read pregnancy style bible.

Read the rest of the interview here!

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How to Layer for the Holidays

layering guide pics Amy Tara Koch with Darlene Hill

layering pic 2Perfectly layered bangles

 

The Holidays are all about drama, yes. But does that mean women need to run out and invest in a new wardrobe? Good Day Chicago’s style expert Amy Tara Koch says NO WAY! You can create a big style statement by mixing and matching what you already own (or filling in your accessory blanks with some new holiday baubles). Translation? Toss the matchy-matchy mindset and pair your accessories in unconventional ways to create texture, add contrast and introduce color.

 

LAYERING TIPS

    1. Mix vintage + new
    2. Pair opposites for high drama
    3. High/low is a recipe for high style. Think: H&M and Hermes!

 

    Watch video here!

    FOX 32 News Chicago

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    COOL MATERNITY JEAN ALERT!

    ITEM:  DL 1961 Angel Maternity Ankle Jean, $168

    Denim Brand DL 1961 is known for its ability to magically shape and lift a woman’s most stubborn body parts. How? The jeans are infused with “4 way stretch” denim featuring a blend of supremely high quality pro modal fibers, lycra and American cotton. These “high performance” jeans are comfortable and easy to dress up or down. Yes, they are expensive. But, flattering jean are a maternity must-have.

    And, since you very well may wear them 5 days out of 7, they are a solid investment.

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    Sheknows Expert Among Us

    I am excited to be a part of SheKnows new EXPERT AMONG US program. I am obsessed with scarves. So, it should come as no surprise that my first post (and accompanying video) is all about how to wear a scarf.

    READ FULL STORY

    amy tara koch sheknows

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    How to be a pregnantista

    Can one really be a pregnantista? Absolutely. All you need is creativity, confidence and a whole lot of accessories. Armed with basic silhouettes and a flair for the dramatic, pregnant women can create maximum style without forfeiting their pre-preggo fashion identity.  Style is about impactful touches. And, a dose of confidence.
    .
    MATERNITY MOXIE 101
    ..


    1. GET HIGH!
    A heel visually lengthens your silhouette. With the watermelon in your belly, some extra height will balance out the bulge, elongate your body and add that soupcon of glamour that transforms dumpy to diva. Ditch loafers, lace ups or any rubber soled shoes that could double as your octogenarian grandmother’s orthotics. Obviously I am not recommending five inch Carrie Bradshaw stilettos. A mid range stacked heels, wedge or kitten heels offers height, stability and comfort. DV by Dolce Vita Joust Boot $39.97 \\ Sole Society Bristol Wedge $59.95
    .
    2. ELONGATE
    Add verticality with a longer, open cardigan or dangly scarf. Long necklaces are a lengthening tool. They visually create a longer (chokers make one look squat)  torso and give the illusion of a longer neck.  If you favor blousy, oversized tops or dresses, you can streamline the silhouette by layering a few longer necklaces (they can be different lengths but the same metal) together. This will reign in the extra fabric and deliver a more polished look. Nordstrom Rachel Stone Pendant $22 \\ Theodora & Callum Acid Multi Luxor Scarf $175
    .
    3. CREATE A FOCAL POINT
    Bold, beautiful baubles define and refine a look. They also draw your audience’s attention away from your cellulite ridden rump to your incredible eye for detail. Translation? They are a pregnant woman’s secret weapon to bring attention to body parts that she likes. And, camouflage the parts she is not so fond of If you are bottom heavy, bring the focus up with a neck grazing statement earring. It creates a focal point in the one place pregnancy weight never manifests-the slope of the shoulder-and will elongate your neck. Henri Bendel Lexington Ave Fringe Earring $78 \\ Sole Society Dalia Colorblock Tote $59.95 \\ Forever 21 Animal Print Bangle Set $9.80
    .
    Larger, chunkier cuff bracelets or a few stacked bangles will slim the appearance of the arm. Especially when worn with a wider, flowy  kimono style sleeve versus a tight sleeve. Scarves are the ultimate layering piece. Aside from adding color and contrast, a strategically draped scarf flows elegantly over the midsection creating verticality and camouflaging a bulging belly. A large statement making BAG packs preggo punch. Why? The sheer size balances out your proportion and will make you appear smaller.
    .
    4. DON’T FORFEIT YOUR FASHION IDENTITY

    Stay on-trend with accessories and streamlined silhouettes

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    BUMP IT UP APPROVED BABY SHOWER GIFTS FOR MOM

     
     

    The baby shower is a curious event. It is often at this moment  that moms- to- be are subtly notified that they-the stars of this infant making production-take back seats to their child . Each and every gift- onesies, feeding utensils, booties and receiving blankets are for the baby. And, mamma (this bizarre put –on- the- back- burner feeling is a precursor to life as a mom) is ignored. So, if you really want to make a mom-to-be happy, offer up something that will  make her feel beautiful, sexy and pampered.

    Pish Posh Mommy: Pull String Valencia Bag, $34.99

    “Pish posh mommy carry alls are a must-have for Type-A women who crave organization tout le temps. Versatile and chicm these printed carryalls–complete with a pull string pouch, a diaper clutch, a fold up diaper pad, a ‘wet bag’ for bathing suits or soiled clothes–can be dropped into my pures, my beach bag ot just plopped in the car”

    The Belly Bandit, $55.95

    Wearing a compression garment like The Belly Bandit  for 6-8 weeks after childbirth helps reduce uterine swelling and bloating. Celebs like Angelina Jolie, Gwen Stefani and Halle Berry rave about this modern day girdle (www.bellybandit.com) which comes in 5 sizes and three styles (I love zebra!).  

     

    Belli Pregnancy: Complextion Perfection Duo, $34.00

      

     Get radiant with BELLI SKINCARE’s (free of chemicals, parabens and dyes) genius complexion duo which exfoliates, moisturizes, protects and evens out skin tone. A mama-to-be must have!

    Belly Button Boutique: Mom’s First Days Kit, $70

    Coming home from the hospital after giving birth is painful. Literally. Belly Button Boutique’s MOMS FIRST DAY kit has all of the essentials –cooling breast soothers, nursing pads, hipster panties, Feme pads-to keep a new mom (relatively) comfortable

    MAMA MIO: Beat the Heat Bump It Up Pregnancy Style Kit, $75.00

     

    Mama Mio’s Pregnancy specific skincare products go that extra mile to ensure that products are free from synthetic colors, parabens, sulfate detergents, petrochemicals and a host of known irritants. Developed by a triumverate of British supermamas, Mama Mio has put a playful spin on the woes of maternity with “Boob Tube” Bust Cream, “Tummy Rub” stretch Mark butter and “Lucky Legs”. And, the kit comes with a copy of my book!

    You Lingerie: Azalea Orchid Bra, $ 29.99 and Panties, $14.99

    Channel your inner sexpot with YOU maternity and nursing lingerie unique features include: 

    -Soft cups ( no underwire) to accomodate size and aid in prevention of breast infection

    -discreet one handed maternity nursing clips

    -4 hook back allow added length for expanding rib cages

     

     Ms. and Mrs. Labor and Delivery Survival Kit, $45.00

    A collection of delivery room essentials to soothe and support mom on D DAY: disposable camera, lip balm, stopwatch, back massager, etc.

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    J’ADORE CHRISTOPHER BAILEY & HIS BURBERRY PRORSUM ACCESSORIES!

    Add some fierce fabulosity to your look with BURBERRY studded bracelets.

    I am hosting a holiday soiree for Vogue at Burbery Dec 7 in Chicago and had the pleasure of shopping for MOI (versus everyone else on my list) for two hours. An accessories lover, I fell hard for the fantabulous studded bracelets and PLISSE leather bags. This, ladies, is what I call INVESTMENT PIECE

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    AN ODE TO THANKSGIVING: GRACIAS ACQUALINA, FOR GIVING ME THE GIFT OF PEACE

    Thankfulness comes in many forms: Good health, Prosperity, Great family life. Love. But, on a recent trip to Miami, my gratitude quotient skyrocketed to a dazzling new dimension. For years, I took the term “family vacation” to be a cruel play on words. In my pre-mom life, Vacation→relaxation. Being with my children is hard core work. Therefore, going to a resort with my family was like a juicy carrot dangled before my frazzled face. My fantasy? A hybrid scenario where I—a working mama with maximum responsibilities and minimal downtime- could log in family time with a few hours to read, work out and nap. This meant that I had to unearth a property proffering the crème de la crème of kids programs.

    So, with an event in S. Florida looming on the horizon, I tried something new. Instead of parking myself in hedonistic South Beach where children are treated as an unfortunate fashion “don’ts” and the expectation of “service” yields haughty glares, I booked a room at Acqualina in Sunny Isles, FL just north of Bal Harbor. This resort -the only 5 star on Miami Beach-boasted generous rooms, an Espa spa and Il Mulino restaurant. But, it was the Marine Biology based program that held the most cache. Would my daughter willingly oblige me with three hours of free time each day?

    The answer was a resounding yes. After swimming for 2 hours and collecting shells, we approached Acquamarine. Every mom knows the rules of engagement. The first five minutes are crucial. Obviously trained in the high art of sharpie’s, glitter and paper plate self expressionism, Brette was immediately sucked into the world of whales .Art projects. Shell hunting. Swimming .Lunch. I scooted out and ran-literally-to the spa. After a massage, I took a nap. I read. And, at 1pm, refreshed, I picked her (and mountains of artwork) up so we could spend the rest of the day together. I was on cloud nine. This divine schedule persisted for the entire four day trip. By 8:30 each night, we retired to our cozy room, juices in hand. She of the Macintosh apple variety. Me, some heady “mommy juice”, a Pinot Noir. Needless to say, I will be returning soon.!

    AAA Five Diamond Award 2010; Spa Finder Readers’ Choice Award 2009, Allure Magazine ‘Best Day Spa in Miami’ 2009, Conde Nast Traveller Top Spas in The Americas and Caribbean 2008, Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2008, Sun Post Best Resort in Miami 2008, Robb Report’s Top 100 Exclusive Luxury Resorts 2007

    http://www.acqualinaresort.com/

    17875 collins avenue, sunny isles beach, fl 33160

    305 918 8100 Reservations

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