Is Your Rear End on Trend? ‘Fanny Packs’ are Back!

I was walking through Bloomingdale’s a few months ago when something stopped me dead in my tracks. Hanging there in plain sight was a bag that – as a child of the ‘80s and ‘90s – I was certain I’d never see again in my lifetime … especially on display in a high-end department store. I’ve seen models and bloggers randomly sporting them in magazines and on Instagram, but there was a part of me laughing it off.  Sure, these women are wearing them in photos, but are they really  utilizing them in public?

What I found even more surprising than the fact that “fanny packs” have reemerged, was my knee-jerk reaction to quickly add one to my Christmas wish list after seeing it on display. Thanks to my husband, I am now the (kind of) proud owner of an MZ Wallace “belt bag.”  Call it whatever you want, they are back, much prettier and a little more glam. (Note: I’ve linked some of my favorite “fanny finds” below!)

I’m going to be honest; it initially felt a little strange admitting to myself that I have one in my possession, but why? Perhaps I’m scarred, thanks to Weird Al. (Am I ageing myself here, or what?) Perhaps they were never really “cool” in the first place. Whatever the reason, it took me one month and 10 days to finally take the tags off. Today, with a little encouragement from my incredibly stylish, best girl friend, I wore it … and it felt pretty good. I threw my cell phone and keys inside, buckled it around my waist, and went for a long walk, completely hands-free. 

It felt a bit brave strapping a bag to my bum after all these years, but within a few minutes, I forgot that I even had it on. It was kind of freeing. Imagine rocking one of these at the playground with your kids, or at the airport!

Photo: @photographybycaranj

In these days of Marie Kondo, where almost everyone seems to be so sick of overloading on the unnecessary, it was a bit liberating to take only what I needed with me and give my poor shoulder a rest from the typical oversized bag of useless nonsense I lug around daily with me. I think we are all carrying around A LOT more than we need to be carrying … and I mean that in so many ways. 

Cheers to minimalism and shrinking bags for your bum! (Now if only my bum would start shrinking.)

Photo: @photographybycaranj

If you’re not quite sure yet about strapping a belt bag around your waist, try wearing it as a cross-body instead! You can wear it in front … or in the back …

Photo: @photographybycaranj

** The above photos were taken by my talented friend / Bergen County Photographer, Cara Polizzi. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook as @photographybycaranj.

I’ve linked some of my favorite “finds for your fanny” below … 

Camo: https://rstyle.me/~cz-aMxrZ

MZ Wallace Black Nylon: https://rstyle.me/~cz-aMxs2

Here’s the link to the belt bag I’m wearing in the photos. I love it because it’s sporty and simple; it works great with workout gear or a pair of jeans. I threw a cardigan over it, making it a little less discreet. https://rstyle.me/~cz-aMxrY

Kate Spade Leopard: https://rstyle.me/~cz-aMxs4

Kate Spade Hearts (perfect for Valentine’s Day!): https://rstyle.me/~cz-aMxs7

Two beauties from Gucci: https://rstyle.me/~cz-aMxsh

https://rstyle.me/~cz-aMxst

Burberry: https://rstyle.me/~cz-aMxt1

Do you already own a belt bag? Can you embrace this re-emerging trend? 

P.S. Thanks for reading! Please follow me on Instagram (@stylishmama) for more!

That Time Netflix Sparked Something in Me

I was browsing through Netflix recently and discovered that Marie Kondo, “celebrity of tidying” and author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up; The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, now has her own series. I’m going to be honest with you … I love to write, but I am not a huge reader. I wish I had more time to do it, but it’s just not at the top of my priority list at this point in my life. I got about halfway through the book around the time it was first released and then threw it into a pile with a bunch of other books I started and never finished.

I used to be obnoxiously organized before I had kids. We went from zero children to two babies overnight, and then had another (SURPRISE!) baby just two years later. everything piled up on me so fast and it was really hard to get myself out from underneath it all. Instead of spending hours going through everything, it was easier for me to just shut a door on all of the crap that was accumulating over time. It wasn’t “hoarder level” messiness, but walking into rooms didn’t feel as good as it should have.

“The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now. Not for the person we were in the past.”

Marie Kondo

Fast forward a few years … I watched the first episode of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and immediately started tossing things that don’t “spark joy” into bags. It certainly wasn’t a graceful straightening session like Marie conducts in the episodes; I’m not ashamed to admit that I didn’t thank everything before tossing it … it was more of a “get it out quick before I change my mind” moment. Hopefully I can adopt more and more of her techniques over time.

“The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.”

Marie Kondo

It may not have been a pretty process, but in the end, I donated quite a few bags of toys, clothing, books, etc., sold some things in our local online garage sale and let my kids place the cash in their “puppy savings jar.”

A better way to fold my daughter’s pants, thanks to Marie Kondo.
Photo: @photographybycaranj

In addition to clearing out the things that we don’t need and don’t spark joy, Marie teaches the best way to fold clothing in order to maximize space and increase visibility of everything on our shelves and in our drawers. This has been especially helpful in my kids’ drawers. I used to find myself refolding everything in their rooms constantly because they’d pull clothing from the bottom of piles in a not-so-neat kinda way.

It’s been about two weeks since we started with the KonMari method and so far, so good! Everyone in our home is able to easily find everything they’re looking for and we all seem a little “lighter.” It’s clearer that our focus from now on should be on what truly sparks joy in us … people and experiences … not things. This has been a goal of mine for quite some time now and I finally feel like I’m on the right track. It feels really good. Holding onto just the items that spark joy in my life has sparked some more life back into me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you watched any of Marie’s Tidying Up episodes yet?

Solutions for the Scent-sitive

I am a super-sensitive person.

I feel deeply and have extreme empathy for others. Also, if you walk into our home when it’s dark out, you’ll notice the lights are dim and – if the TV or music is even on at all – the volume is low. I sound like a bit of a Gremlin here, don’t I? Just don’t spill water on me and it’s all good.

Perhaps you feel me on this, and if you do, you most likely don’t like strong scents either. Most heavy colognes and perfumes make me a bit nauseous, and can even give me a headache. According to WebMD, I’m one of roughly 2 million people who experiences some sort of allergy or sensitivity to fragrance.

I’m not a fan of strong smells, but I do like smelling pretty, so giving up on scents just doesn’t make sense. I’ve rounded up my favorite gentle, light fragrances for you below!

My favorite light scents
  1. Bobbi Brown’s BEACH: If I could park my tush on a beach all day everyday, I would. This isn’t a reality for me (yet), so a nostalgic fragrance will have to do for now. A blend of sea spray, jasmine and mandarin equals absolute perfection. I layer the lotion and the eau de parfum to make the scent last longer. BEACH is perfect for day or night.
  2. KAI FRAGRANCE: Kai products are paraben, sulfate, phthalate, phosphate, microbead and gluten free. They are also vegan and cruelty free. I really enjoy the perfume oil (which is small, but lasts FOREVER), made of essential oils. The perfect size to throw in your bag for a night out, the best way I can describe this scent is: SEXY HIPPIE!
  3. Pretty much any fragrance from PHILOSOPHY: I haven’t met a Philosophy fragrance I didn’t like. My top two at the moment are AMAZING GRACE (this is one I’ve purchased over and over again) and most recently, FRESH CREAM.

Are you a “scent-sitive” person, too? Please share your favorite fragrances in the comments.

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‘Tis the Season for Glam Makeup

‘Tis the season for a little extra glam! The holidays are the perfect excuse to add a little sparkle  … and your makeup is no exception. I asked Lexi of SMITHBEAUTY to share her holiday party go-to look (along with her favorite products to achieve it) to help prepare us for the celebrations ahead! 

My holiday go-to look is a gold glitter halo eye with faux mink lashes and a deep red lip. These colors translate really well on almost everyone versus a silver glitter eye.

*Note: Don’t worry … I Googled it for you! The “Halo Eye” technique is strategically sandwiching a lighter color between a darker color on the upper and lower lids. It creates the appearance of a larger, rounder eye. – L 

My number one MUST for a glam holiday look is the Stila Shimmer and Glow Liquid Shadow.
For a more cost-effective option, NYX cosmetics makes a very comparable product for a third of the price.

For lashes, I love the Ardell Lash Faux Mink Wispies. They are my absolute favorite; they really dress up any look.

For lips, I love the formula of the Ofra Cosmetics Long Lasting Liquid Lipsticks because they are super-smooth and creamy. They aren’t drying and they stay on all night. Try the shade “Milan” for a deep, cranberry red. Some shades are available at Ulta or on the Ofra website. They have over 60 shades available, so you can find your perfect hue.

About Lexi Smith:

Lexi Smith is a certified professional makeup artist residing in Ramsey, New Jersey. She accepts makeup bookings in NJ via email at lexismithbeauty@gmail.com. Follow her on Instagram: (@smithbeauty_) to learn more about her SMITHBEAUTY Makeup and Mimosas events. 

 

Thank you, Lexi! XO

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Setting Intentions: Gosia Narula of Mighty Beads

“Energy flows where intention goes.” – Author Unknown

A couple weeks ago, Nicole Linn helped me clear the negative energy from my home. After she showed all of us how to successfully smudge our spaces, she was kind enough to do a home clearing for me. (I welcome any opportunity to get rid of the “junk” and bring more positivity into my life! Who wouldn’t?) After she performed the clearing, she mentioned that GREEN and GOLD stood out to her, and that I should bring these colors into my life and my home as often as possible.

You know how I don’t like forcing things and opt to keep myself open to the “magic” of life unfolding naturally? Buckle up for this one …

Not long after Nicole’s clearing, I bumped into Gosia Narula at our town’s recycling center. (We met several months ago during my visit to Araya Rebirth, where she works as an aesthetician.) Oddly enough, a few days prior, I had been scrolling through her business’s Instagram page, admiring her beautiful pieces and thinking to myself that I’d love to collaborate with her in some way. When I saw her, she hugged me and told me she wanted to make me a Mighty Beads bracelet. I got chills down my spine. I immediately knew what I needed my bracelet to incorporate … the colors green and gold.

So, what are Mighty Beads?

It was a dream of hers for as long as she can remember that finally came to fruition about one year ago; Gosia began making beautiful custom-made (and ready-made) malas, necklaces and bracelets out of semi-precious stones. (I know right now my mom is reading and asking, “What the heck is a mala?” Similar to rosary beads, a mala, or Buddhist prayer beads, are a tool used to count the number of times a mantra is recited, breaths while meditating, etc.) The timing was finally right for Gosia and Mighty Beads was born.

The semi-precious stones in her pieces come from the earth. Holding them close to your body is believed by many to promote emotional, physical and spiritual healing. They are said to interact with your energy field, or chakra. Gosia explains, “Vibes and waves affect our energy. Just like a microwave or Wi-Fi interferes with our energy, crystals affect our energy in a positive way.” Some reading may have doubts … I personally believe in the power of positive thinking and visualizing your intentions.

Speaking of intentions … Gosia asked me for mine. (Perhaps not so) ironically, my intentions matched up to the colors green and gold, and she incorporated them into my bracelet beautifully.

in·ten·tion

inˈten(t)SH(ə)n/ 

noun

  1. a thing intended; an aim or plan.

“she was full of good intentions”

Here’s the bracelet that Gosia made for me. I’ve had it for a little over a week now and I’ve worn it every single day. Isn’t it so beautiful? It makes me happy.

These are the stones that Gosia used, along with what they’re said to do:

Moss Agate – A stone of wealth, attracts abundance. Improves self-esteem and strengthens positive personality traits. Encourages expanding one’s personal space and growth.

Jade – Attracts good luck, friendships and prosperity.

Green Aventurine – Know as the luckiest stone, invites good luck and prosperity for one’s life. It is a great comforter and the heart healer. Protects one’s energy.

Sunstone – A joyful stone. It restores the enjoyment of life, good nature and provides a sense of abundance.

Gosia Narula

Gosia, a Bergen County mom of two young children, loves witnessing her pieces come together, and feels such joy watching others wear the jewelry, knowing that they’ll experience good things from them. She says it “melts (her) heart.” Gosia has made custom pieces for suicide survivors, cancer fighters, those seeking strength and success … the possibilities are endless

To view more of Gosia’s pieces or to place a custom order, visit her website: http://www.mightybeads.com. You can also follow Mighty Beads on Instagram: @mightybeadshop.

ENTER TO WIN A CUSTOM-MADE MIGHTY BEADS BRACELET! 

What are your intentions for your life at this moment? Visit my Instagram page and enter to win a Mighty Beads bracelet for yourself or someone you have good intentions for. If you don’t have Instagram, feel free to drop your comments below and follow Stylish Mama AND Mighty Beads on Facebook!

Contest ends on Sunday, October 14, 2018 at midnight EST. One winner will be randomly chosen and notified.

  

Thanks for reading! Head back to the Stylish Mama site for more!

Liza XO

P.S. One of my favorite things about running my Instagram page and writing my blog is connecting people. This time, naturally, I’ve connected Nicole Linn and Gosia Narula … some pretty cool things are brewing with this perfect duo! Keep your eyes and ears open for details … I’ll keep you in the loop, of course!

P.S. Almost forgot to mention … you can pick up ready-made Mighty Beads at Araya Rebirth in Ridgewood!

Head back to the Stylish Mama site

@stylishmama

 

 

 

 

Burn, Baby, Burn! How to Clear Your Space of Lingering Negative Energy

*Consciousness educator and energy practitioner, Nicole Linn, helps us clear out the crap and start fresh this fall.*

I am a very spiritual person. I believe everyone and everything is connected and that we need to keep our hearts open to the messages all around us. If you pay attention, you’ll be amazed at how everything flows and guides us. I love to have conversations with anyone who is open to chatting about this, so clearly, Nicole is someone who’s right up my alley. I find her fascinating for several reasons, but mainly because she’s super-spiritual … and she covers up curse words in her writing with asterisks. It’s the Jersey in us … and it feels like home. Get your smudge sticks and your lighters ready … Nicole is going to help us clear out all the crap! – Liza XO

Burn, Baby, Burn! How to Clear Your Space of Lingering Negative Energy

A guest blog by “Spiritual Mama,” Nicole Linn

Sage! Palo Santo! Sweet Grass, oh my!!!

It’s the number one question I’m asked …

“How do I sage my home?”

I also get, “Can I use palo santo instead because sage smells like ___?” LOL.

You may have wondered yourself why you should burn this stuff, and when is the best time? Inquisitive minds with a pull toward spiritual growth are the ones filling my inbox with these types of questions.

People typically tend to talk about this topic and ask about the ins and outs of the process after they’ve had houseguests, a party, or even just some “stop by” company.

Why?

Well, people carry all sorts of energy with them. Energy has the ability to linger long past the source of it has gone, thus affecting the vibe in your space. Ever had the feeling, or even said aloud, “Jeez, that person is so draining?” That phrase in and of itself is totally talking about energy. It’s not weird to feel that way; it’s actually a pretty cool thing because it means you’re super-aware of yourself and your energetic field. You are increasing your consciousness!

So, here we are … summer is out, September is here. School has sprung, and we are given yet another opportunity to start fresh. What a wonderful feeling! Along with all the “new” this time of year brings, why don’t we add a “high vibin’ space” to all of it?! This is a perfect time to clear out all that stagnant energy and get everything flowing again.

Here are the basic steps for clearing your abode of unwanted sh*t …

CLEARING YOUR SPACE

The way our space feels is pivotal to our wellbeing. When I say “space” I am referring to any area that’s yours. Obviously, your home is the first and foremost area that needs constant clearing, and you also should clear the space where you work. Basically, any area that you spend a significant amount of time living in, needs to be cleared periodically.

Wouldn’t it be great if you were calling me every week to clear your space for you? Abso-fu**ing-lutely! But, I know that is just not realistic. What is realistic is to do it yourself! You might be wondering how … and I’m going to teach you!

Supplies needed:
White pillar candle
White sage bundle
Palo santo stick
Lighter

Steps:

1. Be alone.
2. Light the candle
3. Sit comfortably, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. If any thoughts come into your mind, acknowledge them and release them. Once you feel peaceful, light your sage bundle.
4. Wave the lit sage around your body. (This clears your energy field.)
5. Walk through each room of your home, holding the burning sage. As you go to each corner of the room, ask for all negative energies to be rid from the space. Open the window as you are doing this. Visualize the energy as a dark smoke leaving the space.
6. Continue this process throughout your home.
7. Once each room is completed, go back to where you started. Snuff out the sage.
8. Light your palo santo (this is a bit difficult to do – be patient! Once it catches fire, let it burn for a few seconds and blow the flame out. Now it should be burning like incense.)
9. Walk through your home with the burning palo santo in gratitude. Visualize beautiful white diamond light flooding your space. Close your windows as you do this.
10. Return to your starting space and say aloud, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

How often should you do this?

Whenever you feel called to, honestly. You are an extremely aware being … listen to yourself … not what’s going on in your head … listen to your heart. If you feel your space needs it, then clear it!

Nicole Linn is a consciousness educator and energy practitioner in Bergen County, New Jersey. For more information about Nicole’s services and to book a consultation, visit her website (www.nicolealinn.com).

You can also follow her on Instagram (@nicolealinn) and on Facebook

#lovelightlivelight 

 

Curious how it all goes down? For some videos and photos of Nicole saging my home, check out @stylishmama!

There’s more where this came from! Head back to the Stylish Mama site!

The Best Place to Get Your Back to School Haircut in Bergen County

Don’t miss a special Back to School offer for students … enclosed below! 

Back to School is officially around the corner here in northern New Jersey (just two weeks to go!) and we’re currently checking items off our BTS to-do list in our household … including haircuts. We headed to our favorite, modern-day barbershop to get my son extra-handsome and fresh for FOURTH GRADE! (Seriously … how the heck did that happen?)

I kid you not, when I told him we were heading to The Ridgewood Man again, he was legitimately excited. Remember … this is the kid who used to complain about heading to the barbershop and would literally rip his shirt off on his way out the door because he was itchy and uncomfortable.

Have you ever seen a kid this happy getting a haircut before? 😉

This wasn’t our first trip to The Ridgewood Man; we ventured to this full-service barbershop back in June for Father’s Day. (You can read about our first experience at TRM here.) While that visit was a father/son outing, this day was all about my (not so) little guy … and he loved every second of it.

My son is surrounded by females pretty much all day long. He has a twin sister and a little sister, so let’s face it … he basically has three moms. The girls love to feel pretty, often asking to get their nails done, and we spend endless hours braiding their hair and getting “sparkly.” Watching him sit in the chair and getting shampooed and styled with a giant grin on his face is just the best. The shop has an upscale vibe and the staff gives extra attention that takes the experience to another level … and he’s an AWESOME kid who deserves to feel special, too.

Many thanks again to Dan Hood (one of the shop’s owners) and his sweet and talented stylist, Celeste, for another top-notch experience. Celeste even took the time to show my son how to style his own hair using MUK haircare products, which was also greatly appreciated!

The guys in our house are hooked on the MUK Filthy Firm Hold Paste … EVERY STUDENT THAT BOOKS A BACK TO SCHOOL CUT AT THE RIDGEWOOD MAN GETS A FREE TIN!  Australian-born MUK products are award winning and PETA approved. (I brought home a few of their products for females, too … keep your eyes peeled for upcoming reviews and posts on my Instagram page!)

Wishing everyone a fantastic 2018-2019 school year!

Liza XO

P.S. Head back to the Stylish Mama site for more!

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A little bit about The Ridgewood Man

Open since late 2016, The Ridgewood Man (please note that there is also The Hoboken Man, their original location) is a modern-day, full-service barbershop located on East Ridgewood Avenue in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Their menu of services includes a variety of haircuts and shaves, color services, beard and mustache trims, waxing, facials, massages, spa manicures and pedicures. Packages, gift certificates and memberships are also available. Both upscale barbershops use and sell the award winning, PETA approved, Australian-born haircare line, Muk (available for purchase in store or on Amazon). There are so many salons in the area; The Ridgewood Man is unique in that it offers salon and spa services, but caters specifically to men. 

Filling the Void

Guest Blog by Health & Fitness “Mama”, Anyssa Lucena

What makes you happy? A simple enough question, but a really difficult one to answer sometimes. Things that make me happy are climbing outside with friends, going for a walk alone on an unknown trail, spending time with my kids. Easy stuff. Yet, I often find myself … somehow unhappy. And it’s what we do in those moments that teach us how to grow into better people.

I’ve been spending a lot of time, almost a decade really, working with that space of the uncomfortable void, and learning how to sit with it, accept it and ultimately stop looking for something or someone to fill it. Especially where there are so many wonderful fillers to choose from to numb yourself from the pain. (Sex, shopping, alcohol, food, intense exercise … I’ve used them all.)

My awakening happened a few years ago. I was a stay at home mom with 3 small kids ages 6 months, 2 and 4 years old. You know how people come up to you and say something like, “Wow! You’ve got your hands full!” Well, I did. You know what I mean. I know you can relate. My days were based on routine with my babies, but I lacked something deeper inside. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but part of me was hollow. My soul felt vacated.

@genuineselfwellness

I decided to perk myself up a bit, got my mom to babysit the kids, and headed to the mall for some much needed quiet time and to “treat” myself with some shopping. There was nothing specific I had in mind to get, but I thought I’d find something. I wandered around the jewelry counters and looked for something … something “blingy”… something uplifting … something fun. I found this owl necklace that had a clock on it. It was cute. I bought it. Why not.

Later that day at home, after another long day with the kids … I sat and looked at my self gift. I hung it around my neck, and checked myself out in the mirror. It was cute. It was whimsical. It felt playful and free. However, It wasn’t very practical … I mean, who looks at a necklace to see what time it is?

Then it hit me. Kinda all at once. Like a punch to the stomach. It wasn’t playful. I didn’t feel free. I still felt empty. Vacant. Longing. I could have bought anything at the store that day and it wouldn’t have made a bit of a difference. There was a real, true unhappiness inside me that no material purchase could relieve. I returned the necklace the next day and actually felt more powerful, more in control, and filled with purpose and meaning returning it, than I did purchasing it.

I was trying to fill my emptiness with a thing. This was my personal turning point for knowing that there was something deeper inside that needed a close looking at. A few months later, I asked my husband for a divorce.

This initial first time ever realization of knowing I was turning to something else to feed an emotional need started me on the path of understanding what filling the void was all about.

Alcohol was a similar numbing tool that I noticed was playing an increasing role in my life. Although I don’t consider myself a textbook alcoholic, I noticed I was turning to that glass of something red when I was feeling upset, lonely, stressed … you name it. So many times, a quick glass of wine helped temporarily soothe the “rough spots”, and helped me not think of something uncomfortable, take some pain away, or otherwise distract me from the growth and work that I needed to take on. At times it helped me fit in, feel less vulnerable or pretend I was having fun, or enjoying others’ company (when I really wasn’t). I tried quitting on and off for years, and finally something clicked and I gave it up last August.

Now I actually enjoy those moments where I can sit and be angry or sad, disappointed or anxious. Heartbroken or lonely or scared. And I’m not afraid of that anymore. I welcome experiencing new potentially uncomfortable situations because I’m less worried about the outcome. Because I know I can take it on. Makes me feel kinda like a superhero. It’s been a long time since I felt this kind of pride in myself. Like the kind of proud you feel when your kid does something fucking awesome. It’s not just about saying “no” to a drink, it’s about finally trusting yourself to know that you’re capable of greatness. Here’s a little secret about being sober: I find that I’m living every minute of my life more authentically. I am braver. I am unapologetic.

@genuineselfwellness

This is not to say I’m completely addiction free. I still find myself looking to soothe my pain away with chocolate, baked goods or other sugary goodness. Although now, I am completely aware of what is causing me to turn to bad stuff to soothe me. I’m so much better at recognizing it, and can usually find a way to turn myself around and make better decisions. I sit in discomfort. I exercise the “this sucks” emotional muscle just like I train any other muscle at the gym.

@genuineselfwellness

Learning to sit in the void is an ongoing process. It sucks, but it’s the essence of the human experience. It’s real and it’s universal. So, I guess my advice is: find out what makes you happy. Try to do that stuff as much as you can. Life is short. And when you’re feeling down, crappy, unloved, disappointed, etc… Try sitting in that painful spot and see what comes out of it. Sit and repeat. Constant growth. Continuous learning. Unwavering self-love, acceptance and compassion is the only way to get through it.

*********

Anyssa Lucena is a climbing guide, health coach, personal trainer and fitness enthusiast who is passionate about inspiring women to reach their full potential through health awareness, self love, and outdoor life. She teaches rowing classes in her home studio in Montvale, NJ and climbing classes at The Gravity Vault in Upper Saddle River, NJ. She also runs various group programs for weight loss and healthy living. You can find out more and contact her at www.genuineselfwellness.com, or on Facebook: Anyssa Lucena and Instagram: @genuineselfwellness.

Head back to stylishmamablog.com.

Lounge Wear Every Lady Will Love

It’s very important for you to know that I will NEVER judge you. This whole blog and Instagram thing I’ve got going here is meant to be a safe place where you can share freely; I understand that we are who we are and we are all entitled to be just that. I promise I will always be honest with you in hopes that you will reciprocate the same courtesy I’ve extended to you. For me, “style” is simply the freedom to express your individuality and your uniqueness – there isn’t one right way to do it all.

Hello Mello’s lounge pants, top and long cardigan from their Carefree Threads collection in mint.

That being said, sometimes I sleep in what I wore all day … on purpose. And sometimes, I’ll wear it as long as I can the next day until it just flat-out feels wrong to continue any longer. If I find a comfortable piece of clothing that enables me to pull this off, it’s GAME ON. “Lounge Wear” was created for people like me.

It’s safe to say that there’s ZERO shame in my lounging game. Who’s with me here?

I recently discovered a lounge wear company called Hello Mello … and, of course, I had to share this with all of you …

New Jersey beaches + lounge wear = 100.

In early June, our family went on a trip to Hershey Park and stayed at the Hershey Lodge. After dinner one night, we popped into the hotel’s gift shop, and while the kids searched for something special to commemorate our mini-vacation, I found a special treat for myself … and it wasn’t candy. (Good news for my teeth … and my tush.)

The packaging and beautiful colors initially caught my eye. There were baskets on the shop’s shelves, filled with these adorable little totes (awesome for travelers and commuters … throw the little totes into your purse or suitcase and the clothing comes out wrinkle-free), labeled as to what’s inside. And then … I had to touch them … it’s a problem I have. I inherited this from my mother.

Inside of these adorable little totes were tops, pants, cardigans and robes (keep your eyes peeled for posts of my pretty pink robe!) by Hello Mello Lounge Wear; their comfortable, lightweight pieces are the epitome of soft. I truly appreciate anything that counts as pajamas and doubles as something that can be worn in public without anyone batting an eye.

In these photos, I’m wearing the Hello Mello Carefree Threads Collection in mint. (Lounge pants with pockets, lounge top with pocket and long cardigan.) Go ahead and check them out online … I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you see how affordable everything is, too!

But, WAIT! Before you buy, check out the giveaway that Hello Mello and I have thrown together for you below …

CONTEST INFORMATION:

Nothing makes me happier than sharing everything wonderful that I find with all of you! I am excited to announce that Hello Mello and I are collaborating on a giveaway for our followers!

Hello Mello is giving away THREE long cardigans from their collection! Here’s what you need to do (simple stuff here):

  1. Make sure you’re following me (@stylishmama) and @hellomellowear on Instagram.
  2. Tag THREE friends that love to be comfortable and deserve time to “lounge” in the comments underneath the contest announcement photo.

Contest opens on Friday, July 20, 2018 and closes at 9 pm EST on Sunday, July 22, 2018. Winners will be announced on Monday, July 23. 

I think it’s pretty safe to say that any woman would truly enjoy slipping into these pieces by Hello Mello. I don’t know a single lady who doesn’t give each day their all (and then some); every one of us deserves a chance to unwind and relax, while feeling good about ourselves, too.

Live a happy life(style)! 

Liza XO

Thanks for reading! There’s more where that came from at: stylishmamablog.com!

Second Chances: Our Family Trip to the Bergen County Horse Rescue

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” – Dalai Lama

I can’t quite wrap my head around how anyone could intentionally hurt another being … ESPECIALLY a harmless, helpless one. I ask myself how this could be more frequently than I’d like to, but the fact remains that it still happens. Chances are good that we almost always can’t prevent the abuse from occurring, but we can help those who have been neglected and have suffered and learn from those who have survived.

Nothing fascinates me – or quite puts things into perspective for me – as spending time with another being who has struggled and still persists; it’s humbling and inspiring. Up until now, it’s been other humans who have had this effect on me. I’ve come to realize that this response can come just as easily from animals, too.

My mom stumbled upon a beautiful farm on the way back from my niece’s ballet recital at Ramapo College in Mahwah a few weeks ago, and just as my mom would, she pulled right over and started asking questions. She made an appointment for a tour, as required (they ask for a donation in exchange), and brought us all back with her on a recent, beautiful, sunny Sunday. One of the Bergen County Horse Rescue’s volunteers, Karen (who has been around horses her whole life), walked us around the grounds and enticed some of the horses with peppermints so we could meet them and get a closer look. She told us how quickly time passes there when she volunteers at the BCHR.

Karen, my brother, and 2 of his 3 little ones.  

We learned so many fascinating things about these beautiful animals during our tour of the grounds. One of the things Karen said that struck me the most was that the volunteers often make assumptions on what a horse’s upbringing was like based on how they interact with other humans and animals. Some don’t react well to men and these horses below in particular were visibly excited to see the kids coming, leading the volunteers to believe they must have been around children often in their “past lives”.

We were missing 1 cute little stinker when we visited the horse farm. We will come back with my other niece when she’s a little older!

Jupiter & Olive

The rescue, founded in 2016, is currently at their maximum capacity; it houses 23 horses … and even a donkey and some goats. These animals have been rescued from all over the country from neglect, abuse, being euthanized or sold to become horse meat (they’ve had to outbid proprietors). At the BCHR, the horses receive love and comfort from other humans and can mingle peacefully on the 17 acres of farmland with other horses.

The barns are only freshly painted on the bottom because the volunteers aren’t permitted to climb ladders.

Most of the horses on the farm belong to the rescue, but some belong to individuals who fund their maintenance. Since the rescue is run with donations and volunteerism, money is needed to pay for their care, and supplies are also greatly appreciated. Last year, all but one of the horses suffered from the flu and the veterinary expenses were astronomical. The goal of the rescue is to rehabilitate the horses (this includes earning their trust) and get them ready for adoption. This is in no way a quick or easy process; it takes a lot of time, work and patience.

My tiny niece and tiny horses! Meet Rain & Mason. There is one more mini horse on the farm: Summer.

The farm is also home to 5 goats.

So, what can we learn from a horse who has struggled and managed to survive? There is an undeniable unspoken peacefulness that comes from looking into their eyes, but If these horses were able to talk, I think they’d tell us:

1. Everyone … and everything … deserves a second chance.  

2. When we care for others, we are helping ourselves the most.

3. Don’t ever give up hope.  

While it’s difficult to imagine how someone could harm an animal, our trip to the BCHR was a more meaningful reminder to me about how wonderful people can be. There are currently 30 volunteers that give their time to the rescue and care for these animals so that they can have another chance at life. It’s definitely not glamorous by any means, but certainly gratifying, to say the least.

Laz & Liza (me). <3

The Bergen County Horse Rescue operates on donations and volunteerism. Consider a trip solo, with your family, Daisy troop … whatever … just get there! I promise that you won’t regret going. In fact, you’ll be better for making the trip. Our family will certainly be back.

My littlest has always been a huge animal lover. She jumped right in to pet every horse she met. This is Goldie, the oldest horse on the farm at age 43. (Horses typically live 25-30 years.) Goldie has a sway back and a kind soul. She strolled alongside all of us to walk us out.

Have you ever visited somewhere and left better? Some places speak to our souls and leave significant imprints on our hearts. The BCHR was certainly one of those places for me … what special place has had an everlasting effect on you? Tell me in the comments below.

Liza XO

P.S. Want to learn more about the Bergen County Horse Rescue, including ways in which you can help? For more information on the BCHR, visit their website. You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Click to head back to the Stylish Mama site! 

Thanks for bringing us, “Mimi”! XO