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Celebrity Style: Because Prints aren't Plain

It seems like prints are here to stay for celebrities. There are several different prints that all of Hollywood has been wearing. On everything from dresses to even shoes, prints are definitely in this season as a celebrity fashion trend.

Celebrities are sporting one surprising print: plaid. Now, you may think of the old, plaid, flannel shirts that are popular with lumberjacks, but this is an updated plaid look. The key to wearing plaid is including some sort of feminine touch. It should not look like you borrowed your boyfriend’s old flannel. Vanessa Hudgens was a great example of this trend when she wore a fitted plaid dress that showed off her curves. Other celebrities indulging in the plaid trend are Lauren Conrad and Ellen Pompeo. If you are not sure about wearing plaid, start off small and wear a plaid scarf with your jeans and tee. You also may want to avoid the plaid mini-skirt, as you may give off the trampy school-girl look.

A not-so-surprising print that is popular with celebrities is a sophisticated floral. Floral prints are still in style for the fall, but you have to choose the right print. The floral prints for fall are richer and deeper in color, such as purples and dark pinks. Kristen Davis and Reese Witherspoon have worn floral dresses, which were feminine and flirty. If you are not comfortable wearing a whole floral dress, opt for a shirt or even a floral silk scarf. Floral clothing pieces are a great way to show off your feminine side and keep things light going into fall. Celebrity designer Roberto Cavalli has been designing for this trend. He made both dresses and blouses in sophisticated floral patterns, which celebrities have worn. With this celebrity trend, you want to avoid any floral patterns that look like baby or little girl attire. Make sure your floral pattern is sophisticated and modern.

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Fitness Resolutions: Marathon Season

You’ve been looking for athletic inspiration after Olympic fever has blown on through, but how do you reach that Greek god (or goddess) level of fitness? Training for a marathon is one way to get started, a chance to put your athletic abilities to the test and show off that superior muscle strength, if you must. Running a race could be a much-needed break from the usual fitness rut, and you can get into a training routine within a few weeks with the right gear.

Your first step in the right direction will be to track down the right running gear. Start with the soles, because you’ll need plenty of support as you tackle the running trail and work on building up strength in the lower legs. The Mizuno Wave Creation 9 is one running shoe that’s built to last and support you through that challenging track. It’s made with extra cushioning and gel support in the heel; plus, it has its own inner cooling system to keep those feet in great shape no matter how hard the course may be.

Next up: some protective eyewear. Sporting a pair of Oakleys down the track is a surefire way to attract some attention and keep those peepers safe from the sun. Polarized Oakleys like the Half Jacket Array can be used on even the less-than-sunny days, and these stylish lenses suit almost any face shape.

The layers have it when it comes to running in the great outdoors, so you’ll need to wear the most versatile outfit to get you through that race with ease. When you’re hoping to clock in at superhero time at the finish line, aim for a lighter-the-better approach for the clothing lineup. Hoodies, half-zip base layer shirts and comfy, moisture-wicking pants are your best bets for finishing that race in record time. If the day calls for a super-hot climate, consider wearing a tankini-style top or vest instead.

Marathon season is underway as nonprofits and charity organizations set up races all across the country in hopes of raising funds. You don’t have many excuses to stay in and sit on the couch this season, unless you’re training with a Wii Fit.

Fashion Show of the Month: Seam Collective Presents Phenomenon

Some of the most innovative ideas in fashion shows lately have come from charity events. One fashion show I’m really looking forward to was conceived by Seam Collective, an initiative that matches female designers whose styles complement each other with their ideal customer, the chic, urban boutique shopper. These designers and their ideal customer have heart, though, as they’re now working hand in hand with Women Rising, a Hudson County based charity that serves women and their families in Jersey City and the surrounding communities, allowing them to achieve self-sufficiency and live safe, fulfilling and productive lives through social services, economic development and advocacy services.

Seam Collective is presenting Fenomenon, a fashion show whose proceeds benefit Women Rising, at the Canco Lofts in Jersey City on Saturday, October 25, 2008. Fenomenon will also incorporate a dance party with DJ Jen Johnson. Doors will open at 6 p.m., with a complimentary wine bar until 8 p.m., when the runway show will start. Other entertainment includes interactive photo shoots, burlesque dancers and visual art.

Designers showing at Fenomenon include Elizabeth Rynish, a founder of the Seam Collective, who primarily designs women’s dresses; Deepti Moti Babani, whose Indian heritage is a strong influence on her designs; Kattina Hilton, whose unique specialty is well-constructed and sexy one-piece swimsuits; Annie Lim, who focuses on clean-lined, wearable sportswear separates; Elizabeth Kosich, who designs high-fashion knitwear bikinis and loungewear; Shiana, an alumni of Ebony Fashion Fair who designs elegant evening wear; and Bieja-Flor, a mother-daughter team who produce designer jeans with a Brazilian body-conscious aesthetic.

The concept of Seam Collective is to present female designers who excel in a particular fashion niche together, so that this ideal customer, an affluent young professional woman, can utilize this seamless shopping experience to fill all her wardrobe needs at once. Fashion designers are often criticized for excelling in one area above others (“She’s just a dress designer” is the kiss of death from reviewers), but if we’re honest, most of them do anyway, so why not be upfront about it? This is one fashion show where I’ll genuinely want to shop.

Treacherous Climbs: Sierra Navada's Mount Williamson

There are plenty of places to go mountain climbing in the United States, but few are as beautiful – or as treacherous – as California. The Sierra Nevada range is chocked-full of mountains that range from rocky to grassy and from tall to broad, and Mount Williamson is the second highest of them all.

Standing at an elevation of 14,389 feet, most people climb Mount Williamson via the west side route from Shepherd’s Pass. Unfortunately, the access routes to Mount Williamson are often closed, and early summer is about the only time this mountain is accessible to the general public.

Many of the mountains I’ve written about in the past are difficult because of their rocky faces or particularly icy routes toward the summit. Mount Williamson is different, however, in that the ascent isn’t particularly treacherous. It is the sheer length of the climb that makes this mountain worth a notch on your belt.

First, the winding, forest-flanked trail that leads to the mountain is just over 11 miles long, which means that many climbers are exhausted by the time they even begin their ascent. The trip up gains about 8,000 feet total, which decreases oxygen supply and really puts pressure on those leg muscles. It isn’t for the faint of heart.

You’ll also have to make it across the treacherous Williamson Bowl, which is carved by numerous glaciers that remain difficult to traverse through the late spring. The mountainside itself will seem like a picnic after what you endured to make it there, but always remember that you have to go back after you’ve descended the mountain.

Since much of your climb to and up Mount Williamson will not be shaded by trees or other vegetation, sun exposure is an important consideration. Make sure that you bring sufficient sun block for your entire party, and you might want to bring a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face from sun and wind.

The Ugg Crochet Cowboy Hat is an excellent choice for women, while the Greg Norman Straw Hat is a great pick for men.

You’ll also want to bring along a tent and a sleeping bag for camping at Anvil, and an ice pick or axe if you plant to be climbing during the early part of the year.

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Tips for Parents of Mulitples: Safety First!

All parents need to worry about safety. However, when you are the parents of multiples your safety concerns are double, tripled or quadrupled. Because of this, you need to take extra steps to keep your home safe, and you need to implement different safety strategies to keep all of your multiples safe from harm.

Safety Tips for Parents of Multiples No. 1: Electricity Safety

One of the biggest hazards in your home is electricity. Electrical devices and outlets are found throughout your home, and they are necessary parts of modern life. Some of the steps you can take to safety proof the electrical devices in your home are inserting outlet plugs in outlets not in use, taping down electrical cords and keeping all outlets barricaded with furniture.

Safety Tips for Parents of Multiples No. 2: Daily Safety Proofing

Because things in your home are moved around on a daily basis, you need to search for safety hazards on a daily basis. The best way to do this is to get down to your children’s eye level and scan your home for safety hazards. You will be surprised how many hazards you can find like open drawers, uncovered outlets, small toys and sharp corners. Make it a point to conduct a safety check each morning before your multiples wake up or each evening after your multiples have gone to bed.

Safety Tips for Parents of Multiples No. 3: Safety Is a Team Sport

One of the challenges of being a parent of multiples is keeping the multiples from dividing your attention when you are trying to keep them out of trouble. It is inevitable when you are dealing with the crisis of one multiple, the other sneaks away to get into a similar predicament. You can keep all your multiples safe by making it a point, at least when they are young, to treat crises as a team sport. If one multiple is injured or gets dirty, then have the other multiples act as your helpers. They can hand you supplies, bring you a change of clothing and throw items away for you. This will not only keep them in your line of sight, but it will teach them about how to treat minor injuries and how to clean up after a minor accident.

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My Mythology - Laura M. Content Manager for Fashion at Zappos.com

My Mythology – Creating our own living legacy at Zappos.

One of the joys about working at Zappos is the freedom to be ourselves through our own personal style. Style shouts! Individuals identify themselves through their personal style. Taking the chaos out of the closet and using clothing as a celebration to create personal
mythology or legend is something I have been fascinated by.

What is someone trying to say through their style?

Join me in the discovery. Each week I will take an employee from Zappos and find out their personal psychology through their favorite outfits.

Today we study the mythology of Laura M., Content Manager for Fashion at Zappos.com.

Today Laura is wearing a BCBGeneration top , “AG Adriano Goldschmied “Angel” jeans”:http://www.zappos.com/n/p/p/7284844/c/150651.html and Vince Camuto shoes.

How would you define your look?

I would say eclectic, mixing and matching vintage with new. I’m really attracted to unique prints and one-of-a-kind items, but I try to sprinkle those in with basic pieces that fit my body type!

What inspires your style?

My mood, I guess! Sometimes I mix together different prints and accessories and leave the house like I got dressed in the dark, while other days I keep it simple with a black top and dark jeans.

Who is your favorite designer?

I don’t really have an answer for this! I appreciate all designers and the spectacle that is Runway, but I don’t really follow any one in particular.

What fashion item would you never leave the house without?

A funky, patterned bag and a zip up hoodie!

Who are your fashion/style icons?

I do not follow trends or trendsetters…I’m an instinctual shopper. I buy what grabs my attention!

What are your favorite labels?

I’m not too into labels, but I like BCBG Max Azria , French Connection , anything from ‘Anthropologie’, Moschino

How would you define your mythology that you portray through your style?

High-Class Hippie!

What is your favorite decade for style?

For me, I find the 60’s and 70’s styles to be wearable and they fit my personality. I love wedges, flared denim, flowing tops. However, my favorite decades for style are actually the 20’s-40’s. I absolutely love those structured dresses and suits, t-strap spectators and fancy hats. Even more, I love red lipstick, matching nails and pin curls. A big part of me wishes that fancy, ever day fashion was still the norm. The bigger part of me loves to throw on a ‘wife beater’, jeans and a pair of Converse. Ooh how my split personalities conflict!

What is your favorite fabric? Modal and pima cotton, for sure!

Keep it comfy. :8}

What is your favorite color?

Right now…blue! Baby Blue and Bright Blue. Navy too!

What item do you allow yourself to splurge on?

Denim. I used to snub designer denim and never understood why anyone would pay so much money for a pair of jeans, but after my first pair of Seven for All Mankind jeans I’ve been hooked. I also love AG jeans .

Do you need to take out a second mortgage for your style?

I don’t have a first mortgage…possibly because most of my extra cash goes to clothing, shoes and fun stuff for my apartment, rather than saving up for a first.

Diamonds or pearls?

I don’t care much about either! I like funky necklaces with unique charms or beads. I only really wear necklaces and on the rare occasion, a bracelet!

Which bag?

I like Lucky Brand bags a lot. I am not one of those woman who spend hundreds on the ‘it’ bag of the moment. Lucky bags are really good quality and they match my vintage look…

Sunglasses?

Give me a headache!

What are your fashion rules?

It is all about the fit for me! You can be wearing the most expensive outfit, but if it is ill fitting or just doesn’t flatter your shape, it doesn’t matter. It took me a long time to accept the fact that I can’t wear spaghetti straps, tube tops or long skirts. Accentuate the positive and divert attention from the negative!

What is the most you’ve spent on a handbag?

$160 at the most.

Would set foot in a thrift store?

Any time, any thrift store!

If your answer was yes, what is the best thing you’ve ever found at a thrift store?

A really cool vintage bag. Luggage leather, drawstring bag with a long strap. It was my favorite bag up until an ex-boyfriend spilled juice all over it.

What is the most you’ve ever spent on fashion and for what item?

Beautiful tan Hugo Boss boots (about 230$).

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Recipes For The Family: Healthy Hearty Meals To Warm Up The Family on a Cool Night

Cooler weather makes you crave hearty meals. This is one time you won’t find what you’re looking for in a fast food restaurant. Instead, you need to spend a few minutes in the kitchen. You don’t have to slave over a stove to prepare a hearty meal. Best of all, you don’t have to slip into those elastic waistband pants to enjoy a hearty meal. There are several hearty meals that are actually good for you.

20 Minute Beef and Vegetable Soup
Serves 4 to 6

1 pound 93-percent lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
4 cans of reduced-sodium condensed tomato soup
4 cans of water (use the soup cans)
2 to 3 cups of frozen mixed vegetables, depending on the thickness you prefer

1. Brown ground beef with onions until the ground beef is cooked through and onions are translucent.
2. Stir in the tomato soup, water, and frozen vegetables.
3. Cook until heated through.
4. Serve with side salad and whole wheat rolls.

Cheesy Chicken with Broccoli
Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup
1/3 can of milk (use soup can)
4 ounces of 2-percent shredded cheddar cheese
Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
2 cups of frozen broccoli, thawed
4 cups of cooked brown rice

1. Bake chicken in a deep pan at 425 degrees until cooked through, about 30 minutes.
2. In the meantime, combine the soup, milk, cheese and pepper in a large bowl.
3. Add the broccoli to the soup mixture and pour over the cooked chicken.
4. Bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
5. Serve over top brown rice.

Tip: Microwavable rice saves time and dirty dishes.

Hearty meals don’t have to be loaded with fat and calories. They also don’t have to take hours to cook. Even on a Monday night, you can have a hearty meal that you can feel good about serving to your children. Best of all, you didn’t have to grab your wallet and head for the drive thru.

Best Marathon: Slow and Steady Does Not Win This Race!

Runner’s World magazine has deemed the Albert Bartlett Edinburgh Marathon the fastest marathon in the UK. Why? The race is located in Scotland, and runners, on average, complete the race with faster running times than the ten most popular races in the area. Of course, this fact brings up a lot of questions. The main one being, “Why do the people in the Albert Bartlett Edinburgh Marathon run so fast?” I think I have a few plausible answers:

Answer #1: The Loch Ness Monster is chasing them throughout the race.

Answer #2: Little leprechauns carry them quickly over the finish line.

Answer #3: The ghost of St. Patty spooks them at the starting line.

Answer #4: They can’t wait to drink a pint of ale at the after party.

Answer #5: J.K. Rowling promises to name a character after the winner in the next Harry Potter book.

Answer #6: Britney Spears threatens to become a legal citizen of Edinburgh, Scotland if they slow down.

Answer #7: Brownies have created special shoes for the runners in order to speed up their times.

Answer #8: These kilt-clad runners are more aerodynamic.

These are just a few of the things that I think make runners of the Albert Bartlett Edinburgh Marathon run like the wind. However, there are other less important ones that motivate a few runners. Runners who participate in this race get to associate with athletic manufacturers like Asics, support charities like the Macmillan Cancer Support organization, participate in team relays and trek through a beautiful terrain. These things are what some Scottish folks say make Albert Bartlett Edinburgh Marathon a great race.

If you are interested in running a marathon filled with spirit, fun people and few worthy causes, you should sign up for this race. You can get more details about it at www.edinburgh-marathon.com. This Web site will gives even more reasons to participate in this race.