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

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

Today Laura is wearing a BCBGeneration top , “AG Adriano Goldschmied “Angel” jeans”: 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…


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 This Web site will gives even more reasons to participate in this race.

Vacations for the Outdoorsy Type: The Gulf Shores of Alabama

When you think about taking a beach vacation with the family, a number of destinations probably pop into your head: Palm Springs, Destin, Miami, Myrtle Beach, and the list goes on. The problem, of course, is that these well-known tourist magnets are as expensive as they are popular, which can really ruin a vacation if you’re looking to have some fun.

A few years ago, my wife and I decided to take our first vacation in about ten years, and instead of running toward one of these famous beach vacation spots, we opted instead for the beautiful beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama. Most people don’t think of the Yellowhammer State for its white sand and clear blue waters, but that is exactly what we found.

One of the most exciting things to do in Gulf Shores, Alabama, is snorkeling. The water is so clear that you can see all the way to the bottom if you’re anywhere near the shore, and you’ll find that the best shells are actually in the water rather than on the beach.

You can also go kayaking, whale-watching, hiking, beach walking and participate in tons of other adventures that you’d find in any other beach-front community. Best of all, however, Gulf Shores is much cheaper than Palm Springs or Miami, and you get the same glorious views with about a quarter of the tourists. Just make sure you bring plenty of sun block and treat yourself to a new pair of Crocs for the occasion.

The best time to visit Gulf Shores is in the late summer when the meager tourist season dies out almost completely. You can score a beautiful condo on the beach for less than $900 for an entire week.

Since this local isn’t as populated or popular as some of the other beach destinations in the U.S., there are fewer restaurants and businesses. However, if you rent a condo or beach house for your stay, you can use the full kitchen provided and cook your own meals to eat on the beach.

Gulf Shores, Alabama might not seem as exciting or exotic as some of the other beach vacation spots, but it’s certainly just as much fun. And, if you find you can’t keep busy enough, Florida is literally a few miles away, so you can always escape to more populated areas.

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Coolest Skate Parks: Northern CA, Yuba City Skate Park

If you are a Northern California skateboarder looking for a great park to try out, you need to get to the Yuba City Skate Park. With 14,000 square feet of terrain to explore on your board, you will have plenty of room to stretch your skills and develop sick tricks. To find this park, you will need to go to the Sam Brannon Park in Yuba City, California.

Yuba City Skate Park – The Basics

The Yuba City Skate Park has a great vert park and a great street course. The crown jewel of this skate park is the interconnecting bowl feature. This is a three bowl configuration that includes three-foot, five-foot and seven-foot deep bowls. Outside the bowls you will find a pyramid, steps, boxes, a quarter pipe, ledges and spines. There is a lot of space at this park to practice in, and the crowds are minimal. This park is open year round and even offers lighting for night skating.

Yuba City Skate Park – The Rules

To use this skate park you will need to follow the rules. Fortunately, this park has very few rules to deal with. Like most public skate parks in the United States, you are required to wear the appropriate skateboarding gear like helmets and padding. While you don’t have to sign a waiver, this is still a skate-at-your-own-risk park, so be smart about your skating behavior. Now for the no’s. There are no bikes, pets, bottles or alcohol allowed. Beyond these basic rules, you are free to skateboard and inline skate in your own style.

Getting the Most From Your Yuba City Skate Park Experience

Yuba City Skate Park is one of the parks found on the Northern California-Oregon skate park circuit. This means that you will inevitably run into skaters from both California and Oregon. Take advantage of this skater diversity by learning what skills and tricks that California skaters bring to the game and what skills and tricks Oregon skaters bring to the game. Also, don’t be afraid to show off what makes you a unique skater. Above all, have fun and enjoy the air under your wheels.