Hallmark Channel

Packing for a vacation that will take you on the high seas? I've got you covered with what to pack and what to know before you go with great information from Ask.com.

 

Left to Right

Jessica: Kadarshian Kollection, on sale $20 Sears

Tote bag with clutch, Sole Society

Navy kitten heels, Sole Society

Arianna: Fuschia cowl neck dress, Ann Taylor

Floral paten leather belt, Ann Taylor

Wedges, Sole Society

Milena: Striped top, Canvas Lands' End

Pleated maxi skirt, H & M

Striped wedges, Ann Taylor

 In a poll posed to over 100 million Ask.com users we found

 

- Royal Caribbean was the favorite cruise line among almost half of respondents, beating out Princess, Carnival and Norwegian.

- The Mediterranean is a top spot for cruises.

- Of all the general questions about packing for travel, cruises took the top spot. One of the most important things to keep in mind is what types of activities you’ll be participating in when you’re actually off the ship.

- The all-inclusive nature of a cruise is the number one feature that appeals to them about a cruise.

- While we love the buffets and endless food options on a cruise, I always pack a body shaper when I travel so I look smoother in my clothes. Nobody wants to look back on photos later and wish they had skipped dessert.

- When packing think about how an outfit can work double duty. One day it’s a dress and then next it’s a cover-up.

Pack items that are wrinkle resistant so you can pull them from your suitcase and throw them on. Nobody wants to iron on vacation. 

 

Cristina & Alison

 

As a luminary member of Step Up Women's Network, rewarding one of our professional members who mentors teen girls and her mentee was near and dear to my heart.  Marie Osmond and I wanted to reward, Lindy and Ashley with a fun update to their look.

    

Ashley:

Graduation ready in a floral dress by Lauren Conrad

Black jacket by Jennifer Lopez

Metallic wedges by Apt. 9

Lindy was Ashley’s mentor:

Ready for a night out in a chic red dress by Apt. 9

Black scalloped heels by Jennifer Lopez

All clothing and accessories available at Kohl’s.

For their head-turning, gorgeous new hairstyles, the very talented, Anthony Morrison, owner of The Londoner Salon gave them new hair color and cuts. You probably recognize, Anthony as the winner of the first season of Shear Genius on Bravo and one of my co-hosts of TLC's 10 Years Younger.

Some information about the Step Up Women’s Network

* A national organization with chapters in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York

*Partners with inner-city high schools to help teen girls fulfill their potential

*Most girls’ families live at or below the federal poverty line and face difficult situations like violence, abuse, addiction, unemployment, homelessness and illness

*Offers after-school and weekend mentoring programs

*Focuses on helping girls become confident, college-bound and career-ready

*Believes that “you can’t be what you can’t see” – so they offer girls various professional mentors for career role modeling

*For 3 straight school years, 100% of Step Up seniors have graduated high school and have been accepted to college (their peers have graduation rate of less than 60%)

*Almost all Step Up girls are the first in their family to go to college and are on track to change the course of their family’s future earnings

*Additionally, Step Up propels profession women through connections, collaborations, and continuous support.

Find out more at SUWN.org

facebook.com/stepupwomensnetwork

twitter.com/suwn

 

Could your home use a little boost? A little freshening up for Spring? I've got some simple, stylish and inexpensive tricks to turn your home from a case of winter blues to spring sass.

For more details, watch me on Marie Osmond's show on Hallmark Channel.

TempaperDesigns.com, $75-98

Temporary or permanent you choose - so simple - self adhesive, “peel and stick” eliminating the need for water and paste. High impact decorating for those who don’t want to make a long-term commitment. One roll will cover about 8 x 6 or 7 ft.  Apply to walls with painted surface  Plus you can wipe it clean.

    

Cabotstain.com

You can create simple decorative DIY projects and stain then with custom tints. Gets you a pop of color, but also protects and preserves the wood rather than just coating it. Moonshadow tint for the tray. Sanibel and Limed Oak for the birdcage.

Pretty Smitten.com, $80-120

Lucite monogrammed trays. You choose the background and they add your initials.

Minted.com, starts at $38 - $375

Limited edition, Custom Art Prints created by independent artists and printed on archival paper. Available in mutiple sizes and frame choices. The art we featured:

All in the Details, Highway Wildflowers, Home Sweet Home, Ligurian Houses, and Love Letter

Décor items: Rug, pillows, throws, ottoman, decorative items in our spiffed up livingroom:

    

Home Goods, a great choice for designer items up to 60% off specialty stores.

West Elm

My fabulous blue Tulip dress by Azadeh, azadehcouture.com  Thank you Azadeh!

Plenty of invites and so many bottles of wine are endlessly toted to party after party. It’s time to be more thoughtful with your choices of gifts you bring to the hostess.  As the style contributor for Marie Osmond's show, I shared a variety of choices that satisfy everything from a host with a sweet tooth to a green thumb.

 

Let the host have a reprieve from the kitchen. Bring the hors d’oeuvres so friends and family can have a chance to socialize before sitting down to the main meal.  Or if it’s a causal gathering watching football or playing board games, this mix of savory and sweet options from Hickory Farms satisfies everyone’s snacking needs.

    

HickoryFarms.com $25-65

The host has enough to deal with after the party cleaning up so make the next morning easy by filling a basket with gourmet goodies to take care of breakfast. If you’re spending the night, be sure to get up and make the host breakfast as an extra bonus.

Gourmet goodies and basket all from HomeGoods, $30

Sure you could bring wine, but if your host is a dog lover, why not bring treats for their animals. Make sure it’s a healthy treat and add a dog toy or canister to hold the treats.

Dog treats from Wellpet.com

Does your friend have a green thumb? Everything he or she touches just grows with abundance?  Or perhaps a friend who would like to do some planting? Give them a garden they can grow inside or enjoy when the weather turns warmer.

Herb garden, butterfly habitat and bonsai trees from Overstock.com

Sweet tooth? Skip baking and bring the host some our her favorite candy and instead of wrapping it up put it into lacquer boxes that she can place on a coffee table or once empty use for jewelry. Going to home with kids then bring along Nestle holiday boxes with candy inside and trivia to keep them occupied.

Nestle holiday candy and lacquer boxes from Home Goods

The host has enough to take care of without taking out the camera and snapping lots of photos. Take the pressure off him or her and offer to take all the photos and instantly share with all the guests using the new free app from Familiar.

Free photo app from Familiar.com

Share one of your favorite recipes with the host and wrap it up in a new apron or pot holder, napkins and wooden spoon.  I’m a fan of sharing a carrot soufflé recipe that I make every holiday.

Apron, napkins, pot holders from HenHouseLinens.com

Carrot Soufflé recipe

A delicious side dish, dessert or breakfast!

Ingredients:

1-lb. cooked carrots

   (I use a 1-lb. bag of baby carrots)

3 eggs beaten

½ cup sugar

½ cup melted butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

1/3 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon baking powder

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

Cook carrots and mash them. 

Put mashed carrots into a blender and add milk. Blend.

         Mix all other ingredients together in a bowl. Then add mixed ingredients into blender. Blend again.

Pour into a butter greased round soufflé/casserole dish or small ramekins for individual servings. 

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour at 350°.

It will rise like a soufflé and get slightly brown on top.

 

 

Jeans Makeover segment on Marie on The Hallmark Channel

Alison in jacket and jeans by Joe's Jeans

    

             Stacy in Levi's jeans from Kohl's, $50     Judy in trouser jeans available at Marshalls, $19.99

Brooke in boot cut jeans from NYDJ, $104

 

Friday Favorites -  July 27th

Hey, It's Friday! You know it, we know it and we can't wait for 5pm. While you read this I will be shooting with Marie Osmond for her new show "Marie" on the Hallmark Channel. Yes, Marie from the Donny & Marie Show! She's taking Martha's Stewart's spot, and today I'm helping four lovely women with a jeans makeover segment. I'm thrilled they asked for my help, and I pulled in almost 300 pairs at last count (and, because I'm me, that means a mission for everyone to look good, so I'm also going to dress them head-to-toe.)

I used to change the words to Donny & Marie's famous song to "I'm a whole lot city" (rather than I'm a little bit country) and I'd let my brother stick to "I'm a little bit rock n' roll," since he was a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen. Tune in this Fall and you'll see many of my style segments on "Marie"!

Now start shopping!

Alison's Pick

So my favorite for this Friday is a bra. Not a lacy, sexy, seductive bra, but a bra that is super comfortable, flattering on, dare I say it, my "small breasts," and is a cross between looking like a super-stylish sports bra and a casual bikini top. It is offered in sizes x-small to x-large. I believe it probably gives the best support for women from A-cups to C-cups, and for the more endowed gals it's probably more about comfort. But I digress. This bra has become my go-to for SPX Pilates, which is a serious hard-core version of Pilates that, even eight months in, I'm still sweating through three times a week. The bra holds up and looks good under casual clothes, worn with tank tops for non-aerobic exercise, and I admit I could even sleep in it comfortably (a la Sarah Jessica Parker'- Carrie character) if ever needed, but I doubt I'll need to.

Barely There Custom Flex Fit Reversible Bra, BarelyThere.com $29

 

Christina Wright's Pick

With 2 months to go until I leave for europe, my shopping focus has been on anything that I can take with me on the trip!!! Since my husband and I are doing 3 countries, 6 cities, with 6 month old baby in tow (crazy, I know!) I am all about keeping things streamlined...but I don't want to sacrifice on style. From planning our outfits, to travel necessities, to even what bags we are taking, keeping it simple & chic are my main focus.

So I am totally loving this weekender tote from deux lux!!! Not only would it make a fabulous carry-on for change of clothes, extra shoes, baby items, and of course any souvenirs on our way home...it's also super stylish. Yes!!!! Thank you deux lux for thinking about those of us who like to travel with bags that aren't plain, boring black. A girl just needs a touch of fabulousness in her travel gear, and this is totally on point with what I want!! Gimme gimme!!!!

Felix Weekender Bag, Delux.com, $137

SimplyModernWeddingsBlog.com

 

Lauren's Pick

I'm not one for floral fragrances, and anything that's overly sweet or fruity reminds me too much of my dollar store watermelon lip gloss days. Escada's Sunset Heat is the perfect balance of floral and fruity, with hints of hibiscus, peach lotus flower, papaya, mango, and - yes - watermelon. It's tropical, refreshing, and perfect for a night out when you want all your friends to think you spent the day at some beach resort, sipping mango margaritas and getting back rubs from an off-duty cabana boy. I mean, why do you think they call it Sunset Heat?

Escada Sunset Heat, Amazon.com, $59.99

EndlessAmusement

Cindy's Pick

I've been dying for these all summer. I like the style, a glammed up flip flop that could go with a sundress or shorts, or jeans and not look out of place. Living in California, you see flip flops all year long so they never go out of season. There's something about the Tory Burch sandal that I really like. And the patent leather spices up a casual sandal. I imagine wearing this with a  long Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress and chunky jewelry.

Tory Burch Black Patent Thong Sandal, Bloomingdales.com, $195

HelloDollface.com

Christina Moffitino's pick

The Eve, Siccouture.com $265

This summer is all about color! From the designer fashion lines to the concrete runways, you can't miss the chromatic couture. What better way to indulge in the trend than investing in a LRD (Little Red Dress). Yes ladies a LRD is a must to have, especially this summer. The silk material is lightweight and breezy with a great keyhole back, so it's perfect to sport in hot weather. Pair it with wedges and a blazer to wear at work, then swap out the wedges for some heels and a popping collar piece for a night out. This dress is the perfect staple piece for any lady's wardrobe. 

Street Swag

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