4

Do Your Denims Match?

matchydenim

Four years ago, when double-denim first came “back” the rule was to make sure your denims had a high contrast. Meaning: If your jeans are dark denim, your shirt must be light denim. These days, there are no rules with denim. You can mix your denims. And you can match your denims. It’s all pretty much whatever works.

Lately, though, I’ve been finding that I love matching my denims as closely as possible. Low contrast denim has a sort of jumpsuit feel without the disrobing fiascos in the restrooms. Who wants that? Not me. Jumpsuits make me claustrophobic. But I do love the look.

This Sunday, we had a family brunch with Coquette and her family. Sunday brunches are always tough. You want to look nice, but you don’t want to try too hard. My answer to “not trying too hard” is always double denim. Double denim is trendy, but casual, and always easy to wear. Especially easy to wear if you’re still trying to get enough coffee in you to be human. (For me, that’s basically any time before noon.)

So my lovelies… are you a denim mixer or a denim matcher?

Wearing: Jeans: Paige Denim • Top: 7 For All Mankind • Bag: Proenza Schouler • Sunglasses: Celine • Shoes: Dolce Vita

jennineDo Your Denims Match?
2

11 American Fashion Inventions We Just Cannot Live Without

When it comes to thinking of “American” fashion, most of us just think of American designers. That the real innovators of fashion somehow all go to Paris or Milan, maybe even London. The truth is, beyond design, Americans have also innovated the fashion industry by inventing things we cannot live without. No, not the iPhone. I’m talking things like jeans. What wardrobe is complete without a tee shirt and jeans? Can you imagine life without zippers? Remember before we had Spanx?

Tomorrow is the 4th of July. While most of us will be wearing red, white and blue to show our appreciation for the good ol’ US of A with fashion, those who really wanted to take it up a notch can wear items of clothing invented in America.

The Blue Jean

bluejeans

 Seriously, everyone wears jeans, even my baby!
1873 Levi Strauss & Jacob Davis

The T-Shirt

tee_shirtIf you don’t own at least one tee shirt… come on. Who are you?
1913, US Navy. (Image Source 21st eme)

Pantyhose

pantyhoseEven though pantyhose isn’t required anymore for office attire, during the winter they will save your life.
1953, Allen Grant, Sr.

The Safety Pin

safetypinsThe savior to all wardrobe malfunctions.
1849, Walter Hunt 

The Modern Bra

braSomething’s gotta hold my boobs up.
1914, Mary Phelps Jacob

The Zipper

zipperEven Houdini couldn’t get out of this dress without a zipper.
1851, Elias Howe

Spandex

spandex Oh Spandex, you have so many uses. Thank you for making my jeans more comfortable.
1959, C. L. Sandquist and Joseph Shivers (DuPont) 

Spanx

spanxNot Spanx pictured above but to be clear, I would not wear that dress without Spanx.
2000, Sara Blakely 

The String Bikini

stringbikniSelling fad diets since 1974.
1974, Glen Tororich and Brandi Perret-DuJon (Photo via Nieman Marcus)

Mass-Produced Sunglasses

sunglassesSo the rest of us can be like Anna Wintour.
1929, Sam Foster

The Pedal Pusher

pedalpushersProbably the most feminine pant.
1944, Dede Johnson

jennine11 American Fashion Inventions We Just Cannot Live Without
1

Stylish & Eco-Friendly Lounging in Les Lunes

les_lunes_lookbook1_1024x1024

I would like to say that as a fashion blogger, that I am always perfectly dressed at all times. Even if I’m working from home and am not seeing anyone who doesn’t live in the apartment all day.

The truth is, a lot of times I’m wearing sweatpants or leggings or jersey shorts, with a tee shirt, or a tank top in the summer, a cozy sweater in the winter. A comfortable bra. And a ponytail. That is what I wear while blogging most of the time. Heck, I even sleep in one of those Barely There sleep bras.

Les Lunes, a San Francisco based company creates eco-friendly, yet stylish morsels to wear around the house. Most of the pieces are made of rayon from bamboo, a sustainable fabric that is super soft to the touch and almost weightless. The cozy cardigans which are perfect for wearing around the house, yet not too pajama like, if you need to run errands. Hey, there isn’t a day where I don’t leave the house in almost-pajamas.  Might as well make sure they’re stylish pajamas.

LL_LB-3_2048x2048 LL_LB-7_1024x1024 LL_LB-5_2048x2048 LBx2-4_2048x2048_2

jennineStylish & Eco-Friendly Lounging in Les Lunes
3

How I Almost Became an Anti-Vaxxer

vaccination

Over the weekend I read the article, “Putting Us All at Risk for Measles” which documented the outbreaks of the once eradicated disease among educated, affluent populations. Why? Some parents are opting out of immunizations.

When we think of the anti-vaxxer movement, images of celebrity airheads pop up (Jenny McCarthy anyone?) Emotions range from eye rolling to outrage. Who ARE these people? Why would anyone ever think not vaccinating was a good idea?

Well, for a minute there… Me. I was one of them.

OK, I considered it for a minute.

Now, I’m a person who gets the flu shot EVERY year. I had the Pertusis vaccine. I think if there was a vaccine out there I haven’t had, I would probably get it.

Let’s just say, I have no aversions to Western Medicine.

So what happened?

A couple of things happened. Not one of them by themselves would have pushed me over the edge, but all together it sent me down a road where I doubted the system.

What’s up with conventional medicine?

It all started in June of 2012. I had just had a miscarriage. Not knowing what to do, or what could have been done. Or anything for that matter, I asked my doctor for guidance. She suggested I had a D&C procedure to remove the fetus. Granted, it was a highly emotional time for me, I didn’t research entirely what that meant, or why she suggested it. To be honest, I really wanted the whole thing to be over. I was so heartbroken.

So, we scheduled the procedure. I had to go to the hospital. We lived in New York at the time, and the hospital the doctor worked at had, let’s say, an “eclectic clientele.” It’s what our insurance covered. I was in a waiting room for two hours until they herded me into another waiting room partitioned by curtains with several patients waiting for surgery. Where they gave me a paper gown, slippers, and a hat. They took my vitals. It was all very matter-of-fact and impersonal.

I felt powerless.

Then I was escorted to a room where they put me “under” I counted backwards, and the next thing I know I was being shuttled to another room with several patients, separated by curtains. I was to recover there for a few hours. Then take a cab home.

I didn’t get a follow up call from the doctor. And all just went as though nothing had happened. The whole experience left me feeling distrustful because even though I COULD have objected, I don’t feel like I was really presented with the facts, and/or choice. What’s more, was I really didn’t know there was any other way.

How can you know to ask for something that you don’t know exists?

So Many Choices…

Luckily, by September, I was pregnant again. Horray! I was so excited. Going back to the doctor, she was thrilled. We took ultrasounds, monitored the progress of the fetus. Everything seemed to be coming along. Weeks went by, my fetus was growing from a poppy seed, to a grape, then to another fruit… and once we passed 13 weeks and everything looked good, I started to tell people.

“What kind of birth will you have?”

I dunno.

Then I started researching different birthing styles. Now, anyone who has done this will tell you, there is A LOT of different opinions. But what really struck me was the Business of Being Born documentary by Ricki Lake. The documentary revealed the broken birthing industry. They showed almost exactly my experience with the D&C. Women feeling powerless, without choice, uninformed.

That’s when I started to look outside the “system” for medical care.

I met with midwives, I joined natural resource centers for parents. I read that hypno-birthing book and that other “mindful pregnancy” book. Pre-natal classes, you name it. I was in it. I was going to be a “natural” parent. Fuck those doctors who herded me like factory farmed cattle.

Because of my insurance, I ended up going to St. Luke’s Hospital for their midwife program. There they have a rather progressive pre-natal program called, “Centering” where expectant couples meet once a month, take their vitals and learn about pregnancy. The group is lead by a midwife, and she encourages discussion among the moms (and dads) about healthy pregnancy, what to expect with labor, etc.

It was a complete 180° difference from my previous doctor.

I felt empowered. I felt like there were choices. It was amazing.

Questions About Vaccines

As we neared the end of our pregnancies, we started to have conversations about what to do with the babies once they were born. Of course, I was going to have that “natural birth.” I had read all the books. I was really going to do it. My baby wasn’t going to get the toxins in his body that I had done to me as a child.

When we came to the point of talking about the Hepatitis vaccine, one of the expectant mothers said, “Don’t vaccines cause autism?”

What?

The midwife just smiled, and asked the group what we thought. I do remember that one year that I got a flu vaccine, then caught the flu, like 20 years ago.. But, other than that, I never even debated the whole vaccine thing.

Was their something I was missing?

Around that time I went to a Labor class at Natural Resources to learn about actually getting the baby out of my body. When we came around to the birth plan, again, the whole discussion about IF we should vaccinate came up. The leader of the class said to put it off. Don’t vaccinate right away. To be honest, I can’t remember why. If it were about putting vaccines in their little bodies, or I don’t know.

So here were my two experiences with birthing styles. One was the conventional way, the other a bit esoteric and crunchy. Surely the people who empowered me had nothing to hide. All they let me know was I had a choice. And I liked that. Maybe, just maybe there is something in this vaccine thing that’s making us sick.

At what point do you separate overwhelming scientific evidence with “propaganda?”

For me, it ended up boiling down to this.

I looked on Google. Duh. It’s amazing though, how many people DON’T do this. Anyway…  I read how the links between the MMR study linking autism and vaccinations was discredited.

I looked at my own personal experience. How many people my age had polio? Measles? Surely, since everyone I know has been vaccinated, that if vaccines DID cause autism, I would know at least one autistic person.

While natural birthing and anti-vaxxing are not inherently connected. The only people who I have met that have talked about this “conspiracy” as if it were real are pretty crunchy. I can’t help but to think if I had a natural birth (I tapped out at 5cm… epidurals are AMAZING). If that acupuncture or that special tea did what they said it was supposed to do, I would have gone down that path as well.

IF alternative medicine worked for me, I might have felt different about, you know… science. I mean, doesn’t doing things the “natural” way sound nicer than “that chemical way?” The current system still is pretty broken. The insurance companies, the doctors, the hospitals, the pharmaceutical companies, all that crap on the internet with differing opinions, differing studies. Horror stories. Oh, the horror stories. What can a person believe these days?

That all said, here I am, believing in science. My son is up to date on all his vaccinations. He won’t even get chicken pox. Amazing! Do you remember getting chicken pox? That was the worst.

Ok… I’m pretty sure polio is worse. But I never got polio because I got vaccinated.

 

[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]
jennineHow I Almost Became an Anti-Vaxxer
3

The LBD With a Twist

simple_summer_dress

I have a thing about dresses. Ok, I have a thing about my arms. Dresses I’m fine with. My upper arms are not a part of my body I enjoy sharing with the public. If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you might think, “Wow, Jennine has a lot of insecurities about her body.” And you are right. I would get into the whole “self-acceptance” thing, but then, what would obsess with in my spare time? World peace? Gender equality? The environment?

Kidding!

Sort of. Actually, I do think about the aforementioned things, but then get overwhelmed, and think, “Oh hey, my hands are looking old. Wonder if there is a creme for that.” Then I start googling anti-aging hand cremes.

To get back to my original point… The thing that used to deter me from dresses was the whole body/shame thing that made me have a list of requirements to fill:

  1. It has to cover my upper arms.
  2. It has to cover my cleavage.
  3. I have to be able to wear a bra with it.

And for about a year, the dress also had to be accessible for nursing my son.

Often times black dresses that fill all those requirements will also look like something an Old Italian Widow would wear. I don’t know what they wear exactly. But I imagine it’s black and modest.

So yeah, when I found this Acne dress, I was happy. It covered where it needed to, but the beige mesh (similar to what a figure skater wears) was just enough to give a hint of flesh without actually showing the objects of my insecurities. I wore it to my anniversary dinner date and it was able to still look sharp after eating a three course meal. It’s also versatile enough to wear to a meeting or on a hot day. So yeah, I’d say that this little black dress, minimal in character can get maximum usage.

Wearing: Dress: Acne • Bag: Sophie Hulme • Sunglasses: Celine • Shoes: Clarks

jennineThe LBD With a Twist
14

I didn’t eat those donuts, but posted them anyway.

diy_3tier_dessert_cake_stand3

On Monday, while putting together a post on how to make a dessert stand, I realized that the post needed something to illustrate how desserts would sit on the stand. I have a strict “no sweets in the house you’re not willing to eat” policy, since I’m trying to curb my sugar intake, there were no desserts lingering around the house. I mean, who can live with donuts laying around? Those things are going to get eaten, right?

I put fruit on the dessert stand, meh. Not exciting. I put fake food on the stand. Even weirder. I realized I had to put SWEETS on the dessert stand, so off to the supermarket. I looked around for the biggest visual bang for the buck… cupcakes were kind of pricey. Cookies weren’t big enough. Donuts. Now we’re talking. The whole while, I was thinking… “But I’m trying to cut sugar. Will I be able to resist? What will I do with these donuts after I photograph them?”

The anxiety kept building. I had 18 donuts in my possession and I wanted to eat them all. Or at least one.

So I photographed the donuts, and each time I smelled them, my mouth watered. I started to shake like I really wanted to eat them.

But I didn’t.

I washed my hands even, not even licking my fingers for a “taste.” Because the previous week I fell for that while making cake for my son’s birthday party and ended up eating at least one cupcake’s worth of cake batter.

Sugar is a slippery slope.

I battled with the notion of throwing them away. Of spraying Windex on them so they would smell disgusting. Or ruining them somehow so I wouldn’t be tempted.

Then I thought how fucked up it was to think of that.

So at the end of the photo session. I washed my hands again, and placed them all neatly back in the packages, and drove the donuts to my son’s daycare, and gave the donuts to the care workers.

I did not eat the donuts.

photo (18)

I didn’t eat those donuts, but I DID eat this pizza.

While it was fucking hard to do (yes, that f-bomb is completely necessary)… NOT eating the donuts made me think of all the beautiful photos of food we put out there. How much of that food was junk food and why we fetishize gluttony. Posting the donuts on my Instagram account, I even got a comment… “I’m liking this post for the donuts.” Yesterday I posted a pizza (which I DID eat, and have witnesses to prove it!) and people commented how delicious that pizza looked. Yes, pizza is my favorite food. I love donuts.

NOT eating the donuts made me think of all the beautiful photos of food we put out there. How much of that food was junk food and why we fetishize our gluttony.

But in a world that rewards thinness and the ability to eat crazy food  (as long as you’re thin) what message does that really send? It’s ok for some people to eat certain food, but not others? That some people are above the laws of caloric intake?

How much social media love do you think broccoli gets?

A few years ago, the Daily Mail reported a new trend in eating disorders called “Liarexia” going out to eat and eating horrendous portions of carbs with your friends, then eating “clear soup” or whatever low calorie diet that person has at home in order to stay thin. Stating that thin women feel pressure to eat large portions or high-calorie junk foods either as a way of avoiding commentary about their bodies or as a way of giving the impression they don’t have to try to be thin.

It’s the dietary version of “having it all.” “Having it all” is the purple unicorn that makes us all feel bad about ourselves because it seems really cool, but doesn’t really exist.

I recognize I’m relatively thin, but not always. I have been everything from a size zero to a size 12, and I recognize I can comfortably hover around a size 4-6 without trying that hard. Like, pizza once a week, a burger once or twice a month and sweets, and walking for exercise. Granted a lot of my other meals are measured out and loosely portioned, it doesn’t feel like WORK. But to be a size 0? That always takes a lot of work and concentration for me. Sometimes I think it’s worth it, sometimes I don’t. Thus, I fluctuate.

This donut was photoshopped into the picture.

That said, I can’t help but to feel that this fetish of the thin person who eats junk food is weird, not cool (eloquent today?) and certainly not healthy. It’s the dietary version of “having it all.” “Having it all” is the purple unicorn that makes us all feel bad about ourselves because it seems really cool, but doesn’t really exist. Sure there are people who eat junk food and are thin, but they aren’t eating 4000 calories a day, every day, and not exercising.

There is the hugely divisive Instagram account of “YouDidNotEatThat” which satirically, albeit sometimes brutally, documents thin women who pose with carbs. I’ve been in the fashion industry long enough to know that a lot of size zeros have crazy eating habits that rarely includes donuts. For example, going to a lunch and ordering a iced coffee with half a Splenda. Or just pickles  Or take you to a bakery and order nothing at all. YES ALL THOSE THINGS ACTUALLY HAPPENED. So while it’s not cool to make fun of people, there is the larger issue of rewarding thin people for eating crap, or at least giving the impression they are eating crap. What’s interesting about YDNET is that it’s one of the first viral social media accounts that addresses the absurdity of this fetish.

Obviously, I don’t have a real answer here. I’m very aware of my own bullshit. It’s just this thing that I’m noticing, and it kind of needs to be talked about.

What do you think about the obsession with food that’s bad for us?

jennineI didn’t eat those donuts, but posted them anyway.
4

Konjac Cleansing Puffs Make Washing Your Face Way Easier

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Ever since our trip to Korea, I’ve been obsessed with Korean beauty products. Granted, this trend in skincare is Japanese in origin, I first discovered Konjac cleansing puffs at The Face Shop, a Korean beauty brand.

An avid, avid, avid Clarisonic user, the idea of gently exfoliating and deep cleansing has been one of my key goals with my face. However, the Clarisonic is no Holy Grail. It’s rough on my skin, it’s expensive, the batteries run low, when you change the head there is all kinds of gross stuff wedged in there. Oh man, I just threw up. Not to mention, it’s probably not GOOD for the environment, with all it’s electronic bits and pieces. Not to mention, I accidentally left my Clarisonic at my brother’s house, and he hasn’t mailed it back. Hey John, I can you mail it back already?

Anyhoo, instead of replacing my Clarisonic, I opted for buying the Konjac and Charcoal Cleansing puff from The Face Shop. I have to say, at $7, it’s really quite amazing. I’ve been using it for the past nine months, and to be honest, I haven’t felt the urge to get my Clarisonic back. And I tell you, I used to freak out if the batteries ran out and I couldn’t use it that morning.

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Made from Devil’s Tongue Jelly and Bamboo Charcoal, this cleansing sponge is gentle enough to use every day, yet it exfoliates and cleanses pores. What’s more, is that it’s completely biodegradable.

 

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I got sick of transporting my Konjac puff from the shower to the sink every day, so I decided to get a gentler version, which is just pure Devil’s Tongue Jelly. So, to cleanse twice a day (I use different cleansers for night and day) it will be gentler when I don’t have to scrub off that makeup from the day.

Using this sponge sure as hell beats using washcloths too. Because really, who wants to wash all those washcloths every week?

 

jennineKonjac Cleansing Puffs Make Washing Your Face Way Easier