FOUND! The Best Brand For "Grown Up" Dresses You Will Wear Constantly.

 

When I was in my 20's, I lived in cute, colorful mini dresses that I would buy en masse from brands like Tracey Reese, Rebecca Taylor, Nanette Lepore and Milly. The brighter the hues, the pouffier the skirt, the shorter the hem, the better. I was working in beauty PR at the time, and went out to parties after work pretty much nightly. And I was (relatively speaking) a baby! So these pieces made sense for me, and I would wear them ALL. THE. TIME. For, like, years. 

Then, life changed. I grew up, started working for myself from home, had kids, moved to the 'burbs- you know the drill. And when I needed a dress for anything- a TV appearance, a charity luncheon, a client meeting, a dinner party- I was still, often times, recycling the dresses of my "youth" but topping them with a blazer and more "sensible-ish" shoes.

What I needed to find was a go-to dress brand (or 2 0r 10) that hit the sweet spot of "functional for adulting" yet still fashion forward and throw-and-go/easy to wear. And, worth investing in. Since I no longer need to wear these dresses daily, if I am give a a $350-$500 dress real estate in my closet, it must be able to stand the test of time and lend itself to versatile styling- i.e. work with tights and pointy toe pumps, as well as bare legs and knee high boots.  

If the above scenario sounds relatable to the fashion demands of your life- let me introduce you to Sandro.  This French brand, that had been on my radar peripherally for years, happens to make dresses that fit the bill PERFECTLY and you really must become familiar with it immediately.  I recently purchased 3 dresses- this conservative but cute long sleeve velvet frock, this ultra-flattering dress up/dress down lace number, and this gorgeous green go-to. They have already gotten a bit of wear, and I know there is MUCH more to come. Mom-friendly (i.e. just enough coverage to chase a kid around without looking matronly), well- fitting (no tailoring needed, which is rare for me!) and on trend but versatile and truly timeless (at least for the next 3-4 years, in my estimation), they really check all the boxes.

Trust me, I have tried on a TON of dresses over the past couple of years in an effort to recreate the "never stressed about what to wear/get dressed and out the door in under 10 minutes and look totally put together" ease of my twenty-something dress arsenal. The styles from Sandro are the first ones I have found to consistently deliver- love having anew go-to brand to instantly edit the shopping process- because really, at this stage in life, who has the time?

 

Mom Moment: OMG Both Kids Are In School!

Felt Letter Board: $32 HERE / STATE x Rockets of Awesome Backpack: HERE

Felt Letter Board: $32 HERE / STATE x Rockets of Awesome Backpack: HERE

I cleaned out the playroom and scheduled an extra garbage pickup for Saturday to remove the old broken toys. I found a bin in the basement suitable for storing Alexa's Barbie collection. I measured the wall in Alexa's room for a dresser and starting finding quick ship options online. I invoiced 4 clients, filed 2 insurance claims with Cigna, and the list goes on.

Oh- and BTW: All of the above (and more) happened between 8:30 and now (10:55am). 

Wanna know how I accomplished so damn much in so little time?

Today, for the first time ever, BOTH OF MY KIDS ARE IN SCHOOL! The house is quiet and peaceful and...QUIET. And yes, I have had both girls out of the house before on many occasions- but this is different because there is no guilt involved on my end. It is not like I COULD even be there with them (whereas, say, for gymnastics or a playdate, I technically could have been the one to drive them and stay and hang out within arm's reach in case they wanted/needed me). It is that lack of "could I/should I?" self-doubt that makes this morning totally different than any other.

Now I get it when friends have told me that I am still "in the weeds" and to give it time because even though in these moments now (especially the past 2.5 years having Goldie at home 24/7)  being a mom feels all-consuming and my brain can't ever seem to breathe, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Yes, there is a bit of sentimental sap in me that can't believe my little Goldie Goose is in preschool and yeah yeah yeah she is growing up so fast and time flies and the days are long but the years are short and so on and so forth...But Goldie was ready for school (even if she played it up like she wasn't this morning). And "school" is only 3 days a week, for 3 hours at a time. So I will still have plenty of time to nuzzle her neck and squeeze her belly and take her to the diner for french fries and watch her perform ballet for hours on end all over the house. 

Come to think of it, the past 24 hours of motherhood have been pretty damn adorable. First, at Back to School Night for Alexa last night, I peeked inside her writing book to find that she had written a story about falling off her bike. She was about to cry but then her sister calmed her down and giving her a hug. And she drew the sweetest little picture of Goldie walking over to her (bonus points for the fact that she colored in our front door purple, accurately.)

Then, this morning, Alexa gave Goldie a pep talk over breakfast, and even got her dressed for her first day. Lex was so worried Goldie would cry, she kept telling her that if she didn't cry she would get a lollipop. Which reminds me, I better run out and get some lollipops before I pick Goldie up in- gulp- 18 minutes. Wait a second- where did my morning go?!

 

Get Glitter Sneakers. Ideally, These.

GLITTER SNEAKERS.jpg

Not to gloat, or anything- but...I scored the most insane deal on the most awesome glitter sneakers. (Okay, maybe that was a gloat. Sorry.)

While I feel silly even typing the words "glitter sneakers" given that I am a grown woman, the truth is, they are a very handy shoe to have in your closet. They dress up jeans and t-shirt- either in a whimsical way if you just keep the rest of your look simple, or in an actual dressy way if you layer on jewelry and a cropped black blazer.

Also, I have seen so many women perfectly pull off sneakers with a cocktail dress- I know it sounds crazy, but I am serious- I had major style envy at this cocktail party a few months back when one of the women chairing the event was darting around, happy as can be, clad in a super cool cocktail dress and glitter encrusted Golden Goose sneaks. 

So anyway- back to ME. 

I was shopping for back to school clothes from my daughters when I spotted THESE at Gap Kids. My first instinct was to get a pair for Alexa- which I did. As I searched for her size, I noticed that the last pair way back in the rack looked kinda big. So, while nobody was watching, I slid off my Golden Goose sneakers and popped my foot in.

The shoe was a size 4 and it fit perfectly (I am somewhere between a women's 6.5 and 7). 

The price? $54.95. But they are currently on sale here for under $40! 

You can probably fit into these shoes if you are a size 7.5 or below (figuring a Gap Kids size 5 would fit a 7.5 women's foot- and the size 6 is sold out, so for all intents and purposes, size 5 is the largest option). 

And if you are looking for other sizes or styles that make the same overall style statement, may I recommend one of the below? 

 

 

The Best Finds To Extend Your Summer Glow, As Seen On "TODAY"

Because you want to keep that summer glow going for as long as possible, and you may not have not been glued to the TV on the Friday before Labor Day weekend, I wanted to make sure to share my latest "TODAY" segment with you all.

Here is the deal- when I have a tan, I feel like 20 pounds more svelte. And after the amount of alcohol and ice cream I consumed this summer, I can use all the help I can get. Watch the video for the full rundown of products that will get the job done, and in case you want a short list cheat sheet of what I am now using on the reg after testing tons of stuff for the segment, see below:

1- St Tropez One Night Only Body Gloss: Gorgeous glossy finish without any of that strip-club sparkle (because come on, people, I'm a mom now...)- it instantly re-ups a fading tan, doesn't come off on clothes, and gives me the illusion of triceps even when they are hidden under layers of vodka and french fries. 

2- Huda Beauty 3D Highlighter Palette in Summer Solstice: So, get this- purple is one of the best hues to enhance a tan look- it works on every skin tone (especially darker skin tones) and never looks orange. Dust the purple Mykonos shade on your cheekbones (it goes on way more sheer than it looks)- and just try to resist dabbing the Poured Melted Strobe in shimmering gold St. Tropez over, well, every inch of yourself. 

3- Nars Laguna Body Tint SPF 30: The smartest way to show some skin- I tested this on the tennis court a few times and my whites remained unscathed- impressive. Plus, it smells freaking incredible. 

4- Butter London Glazen Eye Gloss: A tad glittery, but it dries down into a powdery finish and gives this glimmery effect to your lids that brightens up your entire being.

Oh- and not featured in the segment because, well, you only have so much air time :

5- Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer: It's affordable, and it's amazing. I use it pretty much every single day, and you should too.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation, An Essay.

Jenn-Falik-Summer-2017

Here is a hint: I just opened my trusty "to do" notebook and realized that the majority of tasks I listed for myself in June were not only still incomplete, but I had totally forgotten said tasks even existed. Because I don't think I even opened the notebook since the last day of school, which was somewhere around June 22. Oops.

But not really oops. I knew what I was doing. I acknowledge that, by giving myself permission to mentally check out of most extraneous adult responsibilities for two months, things would fall through the cracks. However, I decided to test the catch phrases that many have espoused (and I never believed because I am so not that girl) which state things along the lines of: don't sweat the small stuff/if it is truly important, it will get done/enjoy the moment/etc. 

So- this summer, sure, I worked a little. I did a couple Today Show segments, a few Facebook Lives. I blogged a bit. I still made sure all the bills got paid on time and we had toilet paper in the house and there were healthy snacks in the pantry. I tested beauty products, read up on trends, and stayed current on all the marketing, retail and social media blogs that I love to devour daily.

You know what I did a lot, though? Planned fun activities with my daughters. Took them to the beach as often as I could, spent afternoons with them swimming, let them go to bed way later than planned. Ate too much ice cream. Skipped bath night a few times. Played a sh*tload of tennis. Cooked dinner. Worked in my garden, and learned recipes to use all the veggies we grew. Spray painted our adirondack chairs orange. Found the perfect accent pillows for our outdoor sofa. Perused 1st Dibs and Chairish endlessly in an effort to furnish our living room. Took the girls to New York City. Ventured to Quassy Amusement Park. Visited cousins in Cheshire, CT. Enjoyed every second of a visit by my cousins from Alabama. Went out for some impromptu date nights with my husband. Hosted college friends for a Sunday Funday. Planned my 20th High School reunion. Hopped in the car on a whim with a friend and went to the Elephant Trunk flea market. Learned to make pom poms. Got the shelves that had been sitting on the floor of Goldie's closet since before she was born put up on her wall.  Let our full time nanny go (heartbreaking as it was) and welcomed an au pair into our home.

I finally allowed myself to realize the power that comes with being a wife and mom, and instead of hiding from it, owning it. And as such, vowed to become a more active determinant of the energy within our family. It's all a work in progress, but you gotta start somewhere, right? Right.

I spent so much time doing so many things that used to make me feel so guilty (there are emails to be replied to! segments to be pitched! content to be written! meetings to set up!), and it was awesome.

Yesterday, as I packed Alexa's snack for her first day of school, a sadness washed over me. And not for the reason I would have expected. While I- like every other mom I know, pretty much- said many times over the past few weeks "I CAN"T WAIT FOR SCHOOL TO START!"- I wanted one more week/month/year of the carefree, barely-scheduled summer situation. Even though I still have 2 more weeks before Goldie starts class, the energy in the air changes once public school begins. Everything feels different- and perhaps the reason I notice it more this year than in the past is because I am different. I guess 9 weeks floating in an alternate universe I like to call "Summer in a Suburban Beach Town" can do that to a girl. 

Which is probably a good thing.

Okay- off to figure out why our Flex Spending credit card isn't working, book flights for my cousin's November wedding in Florida, pitch fall trend segments, list 10 ideas for live video broadcasts, and start that pesky 2016 Falik Family Year In Review photo album. The 5 things which I asterisked like 6 times on my list- apparently to indicate urgency.

Clearly urgency is a relative term. And that, my friends, may be the best lesson learned of all.