Friday Five Finds for Mom, Baby and Home

It’s snowing. It’s Friday. It’s time to shop. Here are my Five Finds for Mom, Baby & Home.  I’m sending you lots of love and wishing you a relaxing weekend.

Bootights – I love wearing dresses during the winter with fabulous tights, but I hate when my toes get cold. I used to layer socks over tights, which was too thick, too sweaty and constantly bunching up. Thank goodness someone came up with Bootights, tights that have a sock foot base, making it a dream for pairing rugged Sorel boots with a fab knit dress. (That’s going to be my #ootd for a casual birthday party, tonight.) $36

IT Cosmetics Hello Lashes Extensions – This new mascara just came across my desk, this week, and I’m beyond obsessed. With a one-of-a-kind Melted Fiber Technology that melts the blackest black nylon fibers to create crazy volume and lash-enhancingc ingredients like peptides and collagen, this mascara is a jacked-up version of the original Hello Lashes. $24

Kelly Wearstlericon Sculptural Legs – Not going to lie, I don’t actually own this scultpure, though I’ve been drooling over the original gold version for years. It’s not toddler friendly, which means in my current home, given the open layout plan of the living/family/kitchen area, the only place I could safely place it would be my bedroom. Oh, but wait there’s no more extra space since I now have an office in my bedroom thanks to baby 2 taking over my former office! So, can someone out there please buy this and love it for the both of us? PS Dear Sculptural Legs, I’ll see you in the next house. Love, Pamela $1495

Gamboree Valentine’s Day CollectionI hate the concept of Valentine’s Day for adults … really, you only take your wife out and give her an overpriced red rose once a year? Or, you only put on sexy lingerie for your man one night out of 365? Stop the madness. But, give me an excuse to dress up my kids and I’m in for that Valentine’s Day party. I’m getting my little ones stylishly loved-up with these adorable looks from Gamboree. $6-$35 (currently on sale $5-$28)

Kusmi St. Petersburg Black Tea – In case anyone is wondering, I’ve been up since 4:50am! Getting a kid potty trained during the day is one thing. The nights are a whole different animal. The current cup of tea by my laptop is my happy salvation. The hint of caramel makes this a yummy treat for your taste buds and nose. I love it so much, I packed a tin in my labor & delivery bag for both births. #TeaNerd $18

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How Mom Can Look Stylish at Home with Lysse Fashion

Dressing up at home, even if the only person that sees you is the mailman, is essential for positive self-esteem. I’ve preached this on TV in numerous style segments, but the concept only became my reality in 2013 when my daughter was born and I gave up my office in the city and the daily, running-in-heels life that came with it.

When I first started to work from home, I would wear dresses, tons of jewelry, even heels. (The heels never left the office. And the floors in that room were constantly vacuumed!) But, as Ilana got older, and then David was in my belly, I began to need home clothing that made me feel stylish, while allowing me to jump from Work Mode to Mommy Mode.

Lysse Fashion, pictured in all the images in this post, is a great choice for stay-at-home moms, women that work from home, and everything in between. It’s the 30-something gal’s fashion essentials for an Always Be Your Best You life. The collection has body-hugging pieces that are age appropriate and ideal for casually entertaining friends and family. There are lots of layering options, including the Martine Wrap flyaway black cardigan with leather trim. That piece is an essential. Get two and keep one for out-of-the-house wear.

As a company that originally only produced leggings, it’s pretty clear they  have mastered the art of the perfect legging. For those of us who’ve had babies or one-two-many of Santa’s cookies, it’s scary to think about wrapping our thighs so tightly to fabric. You have to take a leap of faith and try ANY of Lysse’s leggings to understand why they are so much better than the competition.

So, if you’re sitting at home in sweatpants and a baggy shirt, shame on you. Get up. Look in the mirror and ask yourself “What am I doing? Why don’t I love myself enough to take care of myself and slip into something better?” We all have days when we want to be in pjs, but those should be the rare – VERY rare – exceptions. If it has become your norm, stop the madness. If you want to be loved, look like somebody who deserves to be loved on. What you wear, even at home, says a lot about what you think about yourself. I want you to say to yourself, “I love me enough to get up, get dressed, put on a little mascara, and spend my day in the light of confidence!”

Top – Lysse  Damaris Long Sleeve Tee $88  /  Bottom – Lysse Vegan Leather Legging $84

Top – Lysse Martine Wrap $118  /  Bottom – Lysse Vegan Leather Legging $84

David is happy mommy wears clothing that not only looks good, but let’s her move around and play with him. Ya, he said that during the photo shoot!

Top – Lysse Leather Modal Top $98 / Bottom – Lysse Cotton Tight Ankle Legging $64

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Top – Lysse – Summer 2015 collection / Bottom – Lysse Cotton Tight Ankle Legging $64

Playing with my little man, while wearing Lysse Fashion. David is sporting his signature smile.

Photo credit: Lasting Memories

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PS If you like this post, check out my thoughts on wearing sexy lingerie more often. It could save your marriage!

8 Modern & Stylish Menorahs, Hanukkah Home Decor

Hanukkah is my  absolute favorite holiday. I love the songs, the family gatherings, the food, and the extra excuse to decorate in theme. At the center of the festiveness is a beautiful menorah. If you’re still on the hunt for a unique, modern menorah, take a look at the eight chic options I’ve uncovered. Not sure why I’m showing eight? Here’a quick 411 on what Hanukkah, aka the Festival of Lights, is all about.

Happy shopping and Happy Hanukkah.

1. Jonathan Adler Brass Bird Menorah, $350
2. Michael Aramicon Rock Menorah, $179
3. Marit Meisler Cement Menorah, $99 at The Jewish Museum Shops (normally $299)
4. Nelson Crossing Chanukah Menorah in Solid Walnut and Copper, $98
5. Jonathan Adler Ceramic Dachshund Menorah, $128
6. Mary Jurek Temple Menorah, $140
7. Michael Dreeben exclusively for The Jewish Museum Shops Sharsheret Link Brass Menorah, $958
8. Copa Judaica Family Elephants Menorah Ceramic, $105

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Hostess Gift Guide to Win Best Guest at Holiday Party

Having just hosted my first Thanksgiving, I know how hard (all-be-it-rewarding) it is to entertain nearly two dozen guests. If you are heading to a home party this holiday season, don’t forget a little hostess gift. From a luxurious box of teas, to a unique vase, look for gifts that can be useful during the soiree.

1. Natori Votive Set 3 Candles $65

2. Jonathan Adler I-Scream Vase $68

3. Kusmi Tea Wellness Teas Gift Set $34

4. L’Objeticon Malachite Tray $120-$195

5. Michael Aram Rock Cheeseboard & Knife Set $199

6. Jonathan Adler Animalia Coasters $78

7. Vosges Library of 12 Exotic Chocolate Bars $105

8. Tom Dixonicon Plum Cocktail Shaker $135

(Michael Aram Rock Wine Coaster shown in top image $99)

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Happy National Housewife Day, & Products that Improve Home Organization

It’s National Housewife Day.

According to Wikepidia, a housewife is “a woman whose main occupation is running or managing her family’s home—caring for and educating her children, cooking and storing food, buying goods the family needs in day-to-day life, cleaning and maintaining the home, making clothes for the family, etc.—and who is generally not employed outside the home.

OK, technically I’m not a real housewife on account of my employment outside the home, but the rest of the list is spot on. And, if I may toot my own horn – toot, toot – I’m becoming a better housewife every day. The key is prioritizing tasks, working efficiently and knowing when to ask for help.

Prioritizing – Sunday night or Monday morning, I make a dump list of everything that is on my mind. Then, I prioritize which items need to be handled on Monday, which need to be allocated for the rest of the week and which need to go in my “parking lot”.

  • TIP: “parking lot” board houses tasks/ideas/items that you will address at a later time. By parking them, you are giving them a temporary home without forgetting them. At the end of the week, review the board and decide if it’s time to place one of these tasks/ideas on your daily to-do list.

Working Efficiently – There’s no room for dilly dallying when you’re a super housewife. I can’t get sucked into sorting the mail, when I’m on my way to the office (aka computer in my bedroom) for the 1.5hr work period in the morning during David’s first nap. Picking up the phone and talking to my great-aunt for 30-minutes is plausible after 8pm, but a time zapper at 1pm. If I’m heading out of the house for groceries and I know the dry cleaners and bank are on the way, it’s important to plan ahead so that all tasks can be done in one swoop, as opposed to venturing out again and wasting time on two or three trips. You get the picture. Efficiency improves with time. I’m still a work in progress, but I have two tips.

  • TIP: List all the home-related tasks you know happen every week. Allocate set days for certain tasks, i.e. Monday is laundry day, Tuesday is grocery day.
  • TIP: For a week, keep a journal of all your activities. You may be surprised to spot pesky, time killers.

Asking for Help – When given the choice, I always prefer home cooking. However, with two little kids, a career I’m trying to keep alive, laundry, grocery shopping, and, of course, my need for me time, it’s difficult to find time for cooking. Fortunately, my mother-in-law lives blocks away and is a kitchen ninja. That woman can make a seven-course meal with sand and stones. Between her and my own mother and grandmother, I have the culinary support needed to fuel my family. Knowing when to ask for help in any career, including that of a housewife, is essential to running a successful business aka family.

  • TIP: Show your thanks with a brief thank-you card or flowers. Mother-in-laws, also enjoy spa packages.

Here are some clever products to help you become an amazing, well-organized, never-forgets-a-thing, and always-looks-fabulous housewife.

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1. ShugabeeLane, Framed Dry Erase Board $159 – Ideal for your “Parking Lot”, this Etsy vendor lets you customize the frame around your erase board.
2. Knock Knock, Check It Off Wrist Note $6 – This is an ingenious essential! Now, I’ll never forget those easy-to-forget tasks.
3. Bob’s Your Uncle, 8 Days-A-Week Planner $18 – Keep this by your computer area or in your purse, for instant access. The extra 8th-day, space is great for items you can later put on your parking lot.
4. Erin Condren, Weekly Schedule Pad- oh! what a week! $30 – This is way chicer than the hand-made, calendar currently hanging in my kitchen.

The Dump LIst

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Recipe: Simple & Yummy Butternut Squash Soup

I’ve always been intimidated by soups. In fact, prior to my daughter eating solid foods, I had never even made chicken broth. Yesterday, I took the plunge. The result:  a marvelous (totting my own horn!) Creamy Butternut Squash Soup that rivals some of the ones I’ve had at top restaurants. Enjoy the recipe I borrowed from Chow.com, and made some modifications. I picked this version because I liked how simple they made it to work with butternut squash. Those suckers are difficult to cut and the skin is very hard to peal. Slicing just in half (see image below), and placing the squash in the oven to bake, so that the flesh easily removes from the skin, is easy and gives me 50 minutes to play with the kids or work on another blog post.

INGREDIENTS 
2 medium size butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium Granny Smith apple (I’m pretty sure I used Golden Delicious by accident … still tasted good)
1/2 medium yellow onion
4 fresh sage leaves (add more for extra flavor)
3 cups of home made chicken broth (it’s always low sodium!! Make a lot of broth and freeze it for the future.)
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the squash pieces cut-side up on the baking sheet. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and brush all of it over the tops and insides of the squash halves. Season generously with salt and pepper. (So I actyally forgot to season with salt and pepper, and it was fine. Opps.) Roast until knife tender, about 50 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Meanwhile, peel, core, and cut the apple into medium dice. Cut the onion into medium dice. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the apple, onion, and sage, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
4. When the squash is ready, set the baking sheet on a wire rack until the squash is cool enough to handle. Using a large spoon, scoop the flesh into the saucepan with the sautéed apples and onions; discard the skins.
5. Add the broth, water, and measured salt and pepper, stir to combine, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking up any large pieces of squash, until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream.
6. Using a blender, purée the soup in batches until smooth. I used my beloved Magic Bullet! It’s become my best friend, in the kitchen.
7.Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve garnished with the pumpkin seeds, if using.

Malachite Jewelry and Home Decor Accents

Gold and malachite watches from Piaget. Simply stunning craftsmanship!
Malachite is one of my favorite stones due to its luxurious and vibrant green hue; and, thanks to my Russian heritage, I’ve been heavily exposed to this jem in jewelry and home décor. Until recent times, large quantities of malachite were mined in the Urals, Russia. In fact, there is an entire MalachiteRoom in the Hermitage, which I hope to see some day.
The Malachite Room at the Hermitage is classic, Russian opulence.
Malachite has been on my mind ever since I was gifted a gorgeous, Isharya pyramid malachite ring after hosting the Accessories Council’s Mother’s Day Gift Guide event. As many of you know from Instagram, the ring has been on my finger nearly every day for two weeks.
 
Here’s a roundup of some of my other favorite malachite items for spring/summer fashion and home décor.
 
I’m mad for malachite!
1. Stephanie Kantis, Malachite Button Ring, $475
2. Christian Dior China, Guadron -Malachite Green napkin rings circa 1990s, $49 
3. Isharya, Green Malachite Goddess Honeycomb Earrings, $218
4. Istdibs.comValerie Egee – Bronze Cuff Bracelet with Malachite and Rodocrosytis, Price Upon Request
5. Isharya, Green Malachite Goddess  Pyramid Ring, $78
6. L’objet, Malachite Espresso Cup & Saucer Gift box, $580
7. RubyLane.com19th Century French Figural Ormolu Bronze and Malachite Candlesticks, $3980
 
Gold with malachite is a lux way to dress up a dining table or office. If you’ve never shopped L’objet, I highly recommend the brand. As summer soirées roll in, this brand makes excellent hostess gifts. The packaging alone will wow your friends. 
L’objet malachite and gold dinnerware and hostess gifts.
L’objet malachite dinnerware

5 Stylish & Zen Ways To Channel Spring, Happy Spring Solstice

Happy Spring! Wait, it’s actually sunny today and above 40 degrees. I’ll take it! Us East Coaster are ready for the new season and I’m jumping in full force with a little decorating and style changes, and playful R&R.;

Here’s how I’m celebrated spring solstice:

1. Holding my belly and dancing to Pharrell  “Happy” song. I’ll have to have the hubby take a picture tonight.  

2. Swapping out my living room pillows for something a bit more yellow and joyful. I love these from the Happy Chic by Jonathan Adler collection for JCPenney. This man can do no wrong and these prices make me very, very, sunshine happy. 

Happy Chic by Jonathan Adler for JCPenney = happy living room

3. Making sure the hubby comes home today with fresh flowers. A few more calls to the office should do the trick!

Peonies are such a delicate flower, and a great way to welcome spring

4. Shopping for a pink coat – I’ve been seeing so many and it’s such a mood lifter.

1.ASOS Vintage Cocoon Coat, $207
2.Boss 
Cesinala Wool-Cashmere Coat, $417
3.
CHAREX Wool Coat, $54
1. REISS Regale Mandarin Collar Coat, $500
2. 
ASOS Skater Coat with Zip Front, $141

5. Heading for a walk in the park with my daughter. It’s 5pm and this mama needs to go play with her munchkin. 

Happy Spring. Enjoy and embrace the sunshine, ideally while wearing cute shoes ;-). 

Pregnant Girls Cocktail, Plus Repurposing Glass Bottles

I’m indulging in a Pregnant Girls Cocktail.

Fine, no alcohol. But, I want a fabulous glass for my drink!

Ingredients:
– Pretty Glass
– Water
– Slice of fresh squeezed lime
– Dash of sparking pomegranate spritz (for added flavor and color)

Sometimes, you just need to have a pretty drink in a pretty glass to kick off the day. 

FYI This glass actually used to contain preserve. I love turning glass containers into unique cups an vases. This particular one contained Braswell’s All Natural Chocolate Raspberry Preserve. Yes, it tasted as good as it sounds! I got it at HomeGoods for about $4. 

Here are some other products that come in glass containers you can repurpose.  

Make the most of your food/beverage purchases, by giving them new life.

Reuse glass jars for drinking, making your own preserve with custom labels (here’s a fun idea from craft store MIchael’s), pencil holders or other office organizing, vases, etc. With the later, I love the idea of bunching mismatched glass containers and placing low cut flowers in them. Place three or four, with flowers, on a mirrored tray for added glamour in your bedroom or office. The littlest details can make the brightest impact on your day. Have a wonderful Wednesday! 

What Your Bedroom Nightstand Reveals About You

(L) My nightstand (R) My husband’s nightstand

A person’s nightstand can reveal quite a bit about their personality. What are their interests? What are their evening rituals? What or whom matters most to them? Here’s a look a my nightstand. Just for fun, I’ve included my husband’s, as well.

Ever since I read it back in 2010, I’ve kept Eat, Pray, Love by my bed. It’s like a Bible I go-to on difficult days. The second book, Bringing Up Bebe, is a great evening read that I still haven’t finished after a year. I’m also reading Lean In, finally — it was in my bag at time of picture. Then, I have my trusted leather, blue journal. For beauty, Lucky Legs by Mama Mio is a must to sooth tired legs in need of major loving, and Noodle and Boo Glowology The Balm hand and foot cream has a dreamy scent that reminds me of my daughter’s nursery. I also keep a small enamel elephant and Jay Strongwater pill box where I store my home earrings.

My husband’s nightstand has the last two issues of The Economist and a small picture frame of the first movie we saw back in 2002.  

My nightstand says:
“I’m pregnant, love to be pampered and enjoy my own thoughts!”

What’s on your nightstand? Leave a comment below or tweet me @PamelaPekerman