Fab mama


Kate Pancero


Find your outer peace

Ring in the New Year peacefully with a stylish silver "peace" envelope from Dante Beatrix, www.dantebeatrix.com. The images on the front of the envelope give it versatility. You can use it to carry a few diapers and travel wipes or all of your mama gear that floats around the bottom of your bag.

The envelopes, designed by company founder Dante Pauwels with the fashionable mom in mind, are like "little license plates for your stroller that mean something." Think of this cute little clutch-like carryall as your own personal statement, like wearing your heart on your… oh, never mind.

The envelope sells for $28 and comes in nine other designs, including a gold or red "love," green peace sign and yellow happiness. The company also sells baby bags, kids bags and dog carriers, only the cute kind.



Givin’ you something to stomp about

Napoleon Dynamite, eat your heart out: These snow boots are cooler than yours. Inspired by the snow boots of the ’80s, Rubber Duck’s Snowjoggers marry the old-fashioned boots with sensible sneakers, perfect for those slippery ‘black ice’ sidewalk moments.

Snowjoggers are $80, while patent leather Snowjoggers are $100. Both may be purchased online at www.rubberduckbrand.com.



Fab sites on the Web

I thoroughly enjoy www.thisnext.com. This site has taken shopping to the next level, no pun intended. The site calls itself a "shopcasting network." Think of it as an online shopping experience with a few thousand of your closest friends. All of the products have been recommended by the site’s members, which means you can add your own favorites.

Chitown queens celebrate life

Jill Conner Browne, known for her "Sweet Potato Queen" series, which is all about celebrating our inner queen, has a fantastic philosophy, "laugh through the hard stuff." Moms know life sometimes hands us lemons. Browne’s new book, The Sweet Potato Queen’s Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit, $22.95 from Simon and Schuster, is a great way to make lemonade. Not literally, but she does offer some fantastic recipes for other types of food.

The self-confessed southern beta mom gives a no-holds-barred look at parenting, covering everything from mischief-making little boys, to being a "beta mom," to our "igmo husbands." But the hilarious stories—which had me laughing out loud on several occasions—don’t just come from the author; they come from her fans, the sweet potato queens she meets on her tours.

Browne has seven registered Sweet Potato Queen fan chapters in Chicago on her site alone and more than 5,000 around the world. For more information on the Sweet Potato Queens visit www.sweetpotatoqueens.com.

The best way to bundle up

Now that the holidays are over, the decorations are put away and your life is finally returning to normal, take a little time to pamper yourself. A great way to give yourself a pick-me-up is to invest in something new. Why not treat yourself to a new winter coat?

But with so many options in the department stores, what is a Fab Mama to do? "The hottest thing right now is wool …," says Julie House, the women’s coat buyer for Macy’s in Chicago, www.macys.com.

According to House, the biggest and best coat trends are belts and big buttons. Hounds tooth fabrics are very popular, with chocolate, charcoal and winter white the hottest colors this season.

But if you are an active mom, wool might not be your speed, she says. A great way to stick with these trends, stay warm and still maintain your active lifestyle is to consider down coats. House points to coats by Jessica Simpson, Laundry, which uses flattering pillow collars in its designs, and Calvin Klein.

When buying your new winter coat, think about where you will wear it. "If you are going to an ice arena, make sure it is washable," says House. Also consider your body shape. "If you are pear shaped, you want to make sure you cover your rear end," she says. If you have a broader body type, House suggests looking for something that is broader in the shoulders with wider shoulder sleeve openings. "A lot of people in the city like longer down coats because it covers their legs and keeps them warmer."

Wool coats are about $200 and up. Down coats are $100 and up, with an average of $120.


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