Fashion Fairy Godmother: Cute cover-ups that transition from beach to brunch

Dear Fashion Fairy Godmother,

I refuse to wear a ratty t-shirt and shorts over my swimsuit this summer. I want to wear something “cute” as a cover-up since we’re going on a vacation to the beach. Do you have any ideas for what I might shop for? I’m also thinking about how I might go straight from the beach to lunch or dinner.

Thank you!

Dear Beach Mama,

First things first: You are a beautiful woman who deserves a relaxing time at the beach, so good for you for taking the time away.

Secondly: Cover-ups are a pain for every woman. Regardless of shape, size, or age, the cover-up dilemma always seems to ask every woman to choose between the clothes that resemble those “ratty” things you mentioned or (on the very other end) clothes that resemble those that should never be seen outside of the bedroom.

Kaftans and tunics both offer women elegant alternatives. #1 is a kaftan. I adore the flowing sleeves and the loose bodice which leaves women of every body shape feeling elegant.  The key to this style is the length- much longer and it will start looking like your grandmother’s house-dress.

#2 is a tunic. This style is similar to the kaftan in that there are loads of wonderful looseness, but it’s a bit straighter and not as blouse-esque. When worn over a pair of white linen pants, both styles feel refined yet relaxed.  The only problem would be deciding which style you like most.

Maxi dresses are a second cover-up option that are insanely popular. You can find them everywhere and for every body shape.

For example, #7 #8 & #9 all have defined waists (which flatter every shape), but the waist doesn’t stop the long lean line that maxis are nice enough to supply.  Another trick is one color per dress which tends to look slimming as well.  #10 is a jersey and is very form fitting, i.e. a little less forgiving.  If you do decide to go with the maxi dress option, pick one that you can wear with confidence and everyone will see that beauty I was talking about earlier.

Something that would be lovely with both of these options would be simple metallic sandals (#3. #4). The fact that they are flats means that you won’t feel silly sinking into the sand on the beach (which would happen with heels), but the metallic kicks up the “pretty” factor just a bit. Oh, and these are something I would definitely compliment you on if we ran into one another at the grocery store after you got back from your trip. (Let’s be honest, the fashion fairy godmother loves a good justification to buy another cute pair of shoes.)

Another way to dress up a beach outfit is to ditch the big tote for evenings and carry one of these clutches (#5. #6).  The neutral and neon combo are a super fun trend that screams summer and the simplicity demands that you pare down and only carry the essentials. (Do you really need that third tube of lipstick anyway?)

Hopefully, this way of thinking would be something that carries over from your outfit to your attitude and allows you to most fully enjoy this amazing time with your family.

About Paige Meredith @ApproachingJoy: “Fabulous twenty something who’s into photography, food, fashion, fun. I blog because I believe everyones prettier when they share.” Click here to read Paige’s fabulous blog. Click here to follow her on Twitter @ApproachingJoy. Thanks, Paige, for being our Fashion Fairy Godmother this month. Great ideas!

Note from the mamas: This post originally appeared on nwaMotherlode in May 2012. It was such great advice that we wanted to re-post!

 

Swim Lessons in Northwest Arkansas

The pool, lake and beach are scary, dangerous places to be if your kids can’t swim. So swim lessons are a must. If you need a good swim teacher, check out the list we have in our Mom’s Choice Business Directory. Just use the category drop-down menu to choose “Swim Instructors” and then click “Search Listings.”

As you may know, there are many swim instructors in our area who offer lessons but don’t necessarily advertise their services and are not affiliated with a specific business. If you know of individual swim teachers, please post a comment below or send us an email if that the instructor would like to be listed in our directory (at no charge). We’ll keep adding to the list so our readers will always be able to find a swim instructor when they need one.

Here’s the list of swim instructors we have so far.

  • Donna Speed (school teacher & swim instructor — private or small group lessons) — 479-366-7921
  • JD Nunneley Swim Camp (varsity swimmer for Fayetteville High School, RAC swim instructor — private or small group lessons) 479-301-3399
  • Angela Shadduck (former swim teacher — private or small group lessons in Bentonville) 479-268-5060
  • Swim Ranch — 479-521-2932 (registration now open)
  • Rogers Parks & Recreation — 479-621-1117
  • Fayetteville Athletic Club Aquatics Center — 479-587-0500

Click the comment button below if you know of other businesses and/or individuals offering swim lessons from certified instructors.


Beauty Buzz: Hair above my upper lip

By Andi Douglas, nwaMotherlode.com beauty editor

Dear Andi,

I’ve started developing dark hair on my upper lip! This is so embarrassing and I need help. Any suggestions for the best way to get rid of it?

When I first read this question, I was suspicious that one of my friends sent it in as a hint for me to take a good look at my own upper lip. I’ve had a problem with facial hair since early adulthood, but since Lexi was born have been neglecting my own Fu Manchu mustache. So, if this was a friend, hint taken…if not, then take comfort in the fact that you are not alone!

Other proof that this is a common problem is the multitude of ways to remove unwanted facial hair.

  1. Shaving: Even though technically you could do this, DON’T. It is too harsh for a woman’s delicate skin and the re-qrowth will be coarse and fast.
  2. Tweezing: Plucking from an area with tight skin, like your brow bone, is effective, but trying to tweeze from the softer skin around your mouth hurts way worse (trust me) and the softer hair makes it harder to grip.
  3. Waxing every 4-6 weeks: Even though I have always thought this would be the best method, I have never done it myself. I’ve always been too embarrassed to ask (which is silly) and since I usually run several errands at once, the thought of walking through the store with bright red evidence of my embarrassing problem slapped on my upper lip is more than I can handle.
  4. Electrolysis: The only hair removal process allowed to make the claim of a permanent solution, electrolysis destroys the hair follicles individually with an electrical current. Youch! Definitely the most costly and it can require several treatments where you’re not allowed to tweeze or wax the remaining hairs while you wait, but the idea of permanent hair free skin is alluring, if you can swing it. 
  5. 5053.jpgDepilatory cream: This is my preferred method for a couple of reasons. Convenience rules my life and since I usually don’t think about removing my mustache until I’m getting ready to go somewhere nice, being able to take care of it at home in 10 minutes is ideal. Also, I find that when it does start to come back in, the hair is soft and less noticeable, not to mention dealing with it in the privacy of my own bathroom. I use Sally Hansen Crème Hair Remover for Face available at the drugstore. Just apply to a clean face and get dressed. When 8 minutes has passed, gently wipe off with a cotton ball, moving against the hair growth and then rinse off any remaining crème. The kit comes with lotion to apply after you’re done, but your normal moisturizer will work fine. Warning: If you miss any hairs and are tempted to reapply, wait 24 hours to avoid a bright red splotch where the cream was.

Overall, you have a lot of options and a lot of company, when it comes to dealing with hair on your lip. Just another wonderful part of womanhood…seriously, don’t we have enough to deal with already?

AndiHave a question for Andi, beauty blogger and fellow mama? E-mail it to mamas@nwaMotherlode.com. *This post originally published on nwaMotherlode in 2010.

Mealtime Mama: Valentine’s Day cookies and sweets

mealtimemama-ONF

Since Friday is Valentine’s Day, we thought Mealtime Mama should focus on sweets for your sweet today! These recipes were made with love by our friend, Ceri Wilkin, who blogs over at Recipe Doodle.

For years Ceri has tried out one new recipe a day — and now she share her triumphs and tragedies on her site. Go visit herfor inspiration and great pics! (We wish you could hear her fabulous New Zealand accent when you read her recipes!)

Heart Glazed Cornmeal Cookies

2 cups flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 to 2 drops of red food coloring

Heat oven to 400F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal and salt.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1/2 cup sugar on medium-high, until creamy, 3 minutes. Add egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and beat until combined. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat to combine.
Place 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl, roll dough into 1-inch balls and coat with sugar. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheets. With the bottom of a glass, flatten balls to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Press a 1-inch heart shaped cookie cutter into each (do not cut through). Bake until cookies are golden at edges, 10 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cookies cool on wire racks.
In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 3/4 teaspoons cold water. Whisk in food coloring. With a small spoon, spread glaze inside heart. Let set 15 minutes.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Everyday Food magazine

Chocolate Heart Turnovers

2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 package of puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten with 2 teaspoons of water
1 1/2 teaspoons shortening

Heat oven to 400F.
Combine 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips and cinnamon in a small bowl, set aside.
Unfold one pastry sheet, roll on lightly floured surface to form a 12 inch square. Cut out shapes with a heart shaped cookie cutter.
Place 1 tablespoon of chocolate mixture onto the center of each of half of the hearts. Lightly brush egg mixture onto edges of each heart, top with a second heart and seal edges.
Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat procedure with remaining puff pastry sheet and remaining chocolate mixture. Lightly brush tops of turnovers with egg mixture. Bake 15 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove from baking sheet to wire rack. Place remaining 1/2 cup chips and shortening in small microwave safe bowl. Microwave 1 minute, stir. If necessary, microwave an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, just until chips are melted when stirred. Drizzle melted chocolate over each turnover.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Morning News, 2002

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

These yummy cookies don’t have any flour in them – or butter! Egg whites are used as the binding agent.

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (or chocolate chips)

Heat oven to 300F.
Mix together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Gradually add egg whites, stirring with a spoon until mixture forms a dough (mixture should be thick enough to form into balls, if not add more powdered sugar and cocoa – I ended up adding another egg because it wasn’t coming together, and then had to add extra powdered sugar – maybe if I had of used a stand mixer it might have helped it come together a little more)
Add nuts or chocolate chips, mix well.
Form dough into 15 balls. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 16 to 18 minutes, until glossy and crackled. Cool completely.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Relish

ceriMore about Ceri: I am a wife, mother and recipe follower. For years I have tackled one new recipe a day – some are fabulous, some are not. In a past life I was an Occupational Therapist, Rugby and Netball player, Belly Dancer, lesson taker of golf, tennis and wine appreciation. My Husband owns Pizzerias, my Father was a butcher, my Mother a caterer, my older Brother makes the absolute best birthday cakes and desserts you will ever taste, my younger Brother owns restaurants in New Zealand and my kids love to eat.

Note from the mamas: This post originally published on Motherlode in February 2012.

Check out Ozark Natural Foods’ new store hours!

new store hours

Beauty Buzz: Curing the Dry Skin Dilemma

By Dr. Cheryl Hull, owner of Hull Dermatology 

I’ve been seeing so many patients in my office lately with dry, itchy skin, so I wanted to pass along a few tips that might help if you or your kids are also dealing with this problem. This time of the year the air is very dry. The heaters are on, and the amount of moisture in the air decreases. My recommendations for dry skin include:

1. Avoid harsh soaps. During the summer months with more humidity in the air, our skin may tolerate these products. There is a misconception that for a soap to be effective in cleaning our skin, it must leave our skin feeling “tight.” But this is not true. Antibacterial soaps, liquid soaps, and soaps dove-sensitive-skin.jpgwith fragrance can all strip the moisture out of our skin and leave it too dry. I advise patients to use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser. My top recommendations are Dove fragrance-free bar soap, Cera-ve, Cetaphil, Basis, and Aveeno.

2. Immediately moisturize after bathing. I advise patients to only “sponge dry” with their towel when they finish bathing. They should then take a good “dollop” of moisturizer and, using the water on their skin, rub it in all over. This will both block the moisture in and hep hydrate the skin. Moisturize again during the day if your skin starts feeling dry. Use a fragrance-free moisturizer. If your skin is dry, fragrance will only further irritate your skin.

3. Minimize bathing to once daily. Try not to bathe with very hot water as this increases the evaporation of moisture off the skin.

cool-mist-humidifier.jpg4. Keep a cool mist humidifier running during the cold winter months to add moisture back to the air.

5.  For patients that have extremely dry skin, there are prescription strength moisturizers that contain ingredients such as lactic acid or urea that can help. Also, supplementation with omega 3 fish oils can also help.

Hope these tips help keep you and your skin healthy and feeling good this winter!

Note from the mamas: This article originally published in January 2010 on nwaMotherlode.

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