Meet The Author

Contributing Writer

Jen is a Texas girl, who landed in the Midwest after 14 years on the East Coast. A girly girl at heart, she has come to embrace her inner Adam Sandler while raising her three crazy boys. Jen is an avid runner, weightlifter, and triathlete who parlayed her love of fitness into a career as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor. Her passion is in helping women look and feel their best, through both fitness and fashion. Jen recently launched a new venture as an independent personal stylist for cabi, a Los Angeles-based fashion house.

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Fall Fashion

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The kids are in school, pumpkin spice lattes are back and fall is right around the corner! Fall fashion is my absolute favorite as there are so many great opportunities to layer your wardrobe. I have so much fun in the fall, mixing and matching in my closet…throwing on a cozy cardigan, laying a pattered blouse under a sweater, or topping off my outfit with a chunky plaid scarf.  

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Fashion's "Rule of Three"

The rule of three or power of three is a principle stating that things that come in threes are funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. The rule of three is often applied in writing, public speaking, and marketing: “Friends, Romans, Countrymen”…“Blood, sweat and tears”…”Real. Comfortable. Jeans.”

The rule of three also applies to aesthetics. Photographers use the “rule of thirds” in their compositions. In home décor, vignettes are often comprised of three items, as it is more pleasing to the eye. When it comes to fashion, incorporating three key pieces into your outfit can turn a boring, basic ensemble into a stylish, pulled-together look. 

To apply the rule of three to your wardrobe, start with a top and bottom, say a shirt and pants, and add a third piece, such as a cardigan, a jacket or vest, or scarf. Or, you can begin with one item, like a dress, and add a statement necklace and striking handbag. Admittedly, the rule of three is easier to apply in the fall and winter months, when layering is practical as well as fashionable. It can be a little harder to implement in the summer while trying to stay cool, but by adding lightweight jackets, vests, scarves and statement jewelry to your summer wardrobe, you can be both stylish and comfortable. 

For example, here I took a basic summer outfit comprised of a T-shirt and denim shorts, and added a gauzy kimono. Still breezy and cool but a little more stylish than the tee and shorts alone. 

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A lightweight cardigan, jacket or vest also makes a great third piece. I wear a LOT of jackets and vests, and I find they are often the key to making an outfit look complete.

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A lightweight scarf, statement necklace, or killer handbag can also be an essential component of a stylish summer outfit. When it’s super hot, even a cute hat can be all you need to up your style factor a notch.

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Next time you are getting dressed, give the rule of three a try. You may be surprised by how much more put together you look and feel. 

 

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Southwest Quinoa Salad: Recipe of the Week

Being from Texas, I love any food that is Mexican-inspired. When the weather starts to heat up, and we are constantly running from one sport to the next, I love to have a big bowl of salad in the fridge that I can grab on the go. I came up with this recipe, and it totally satisfies my Tex-Mex cravings while being quick to make and easily portable. Win-win! It is a vegetarian recipe, but you get plenty of protein from the quinoa and black beans. It’s also chock full of fiber, so it’s very filling. It can work on it’s own as a light meal or as a side dish.

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Ingredients:

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup corn kernels (I used Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn)

1 cup quartered grape tomatoes

1 medium avocado, diced

1 jalapeno, minced (optional)

2 Tbsp minced cilantro (optional)

Juice and zest of ½ lime

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Cook quinoa according to package directions. I like to use chicken or vegetable broth instead of water to add a little extra flavor. When finished cooking, chill quinoa in fridge for 15 minutes.

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Drain and rinse black beans. Chop grape tomatoes, avocado, jalapeno and cilantro (optional.) Add all to a large bowl. Once the quinoa is chilled, add to 1 cup cooked quinoa to the bowl.

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To make the dressing, combine the juice and the zest of ½ of a lime. Add 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar and 2 minced garlic cloves. Finally, drizzle in 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and whisk until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Pour dressing over the other ingredients in the bowl and stir to combine thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!

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Spring Fashion Trends

As I sit here on a cold rainy day, it’s hard to believe that Spring is really here, but thinking about the season’s fashion trends gives me hope that blue skies and sunny days truly are ahead. The stores are full of new Spring fashions, and while I’m not feeling all the new trends (Wide leg cropped pants? 70’s fashion? No thank you.) some of them will make a great addition to your closet. Check out the following Spring fashion trends and how you can incorporate them into your wardrobe.

1. Fringe: Fringe and tassels are everywhere this Spring. I am loving all the fringed sandals and wedges. They look great with everything. Fringed suede bags and fringed scarves are easy ways to add this trend to your wardrobe. Or, go all our and add a fringed sweater or kimono to your Spring closet!

Fringe

 Fringe by jenjenfirenjen featuring lightweight scarves

2. Bare Shoulders: If you are a child of the 80s like me, then the bare shoulders trend will feel very familiar. Maybe too familiar? I swear some of the off the shoulders dresses are the very same ones I wore to high school dances. Luckily, there are several updated ways to bare your shoulders without going full-on 90210.

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 Look for dolman sleeve tops with shoulders cut-outs or peasant-style off the shoulders blouses. These styles can be worn super casual with shorts or dressed up with skinnies and heels.

Shoulders

 Shoulders by jenjenfirenjen featuring short sleeve tops

3. Lightweight Denim: If you don’t already have a chambray shirtdress in your closet, now is the time to get one. This will be a workhorse in your wardrobe, going from the office to date night to casual weekend outings. You can find cheap ones at Target and Old Navy or higher end pieces at department stores. Other lightweight denim pieces like blousy tops look great with spring florals, bright colors, and even white jeans. If you are into rompers (I swore I never would be but then I tried one on) then a chambray romper is perfect for wearing spring to summer.

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 Denim by jenjenfirenjen featuring Old Navy

4. Lace-up Shoes: Lace-up shoes are all over the place right now. There are tons of pointed-toe lace-up flats, but also lace-up shooties, booties, and even full-calf lace-up gladiator sandals. Since we never know if trends like these are going to stay, I usually look for cheaper options. I have yet to try on a pair of lace-up flats and I am curious how comfortable they are but I’m really crushing on these pink lace-up flats from Target.

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 Lace-up by jenjenfirenjen featuring ballet flats

5. Orange: As a pale redhead, I’m not personally super excited for the orange trend, but I know it looks fabulous on lots of other girls, so if you can rock orange, then you are in luck this Spring. Orange is everywhere! If you don’t feel like you can pull off a larger orange piece, then try adding orange accessories. An orange belt would look fabulous with your new chambray shirtdress…just saying!

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What To Wear At Disney

My family just got back from a magical week at the happiest place on Earth, Walt Disney World. I spent months planning this trip, from researching hotels and park attractions to making dining and Fast Past reservations. And of course, I also put a fair amount of thought into what I would wear. Those of you who have been there can attest, you do A LOT of walking at Disney. Upwards of 7-8 miles a day! So comfort is key. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still look cute. You are likely going to be taking tons of pictures that you’ll cherish for years to come. If you don’t want to be immortalized in yoga pants and a T-shirt, here are a few ideas for cute and comfy Disney wear.

Disney 1

 

Comfortable footwear is a must at Disney but that doesn’t mean you have to wear your workout sneakers. Fashion sneakers like these Pumas are a cute alternative. Pair them with distressed jeans and a fun graphic tee. A field jacket is a great piece to throw on for cool mornings or evenings. A crossbody bag with lots of pockets will give you quick access to all your necessities throughout the day.

Disney 2

 

Elevate a basic casual outfit, like these dark wash denim Bermuda shorts and simple linen tank, with this darling tassled scarf. Throw a hoodie in your stroller in case of cool weather. Sandals with arch support and ankle straps, like these from Vionic, will keep your feet happy much longer than a cheap pair of flip-flops. If, like me, you are past the diaper stage, a compact crossbody bag will be all you need.

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A casual dress, like this T-shirt dress from Athleta, can be a great alternative to shorts. Pair it with a denim jacket and some slip on sneakers like these Skechers and you’ll be comfy and cool walking through the parks. I couldn’t resist adding this adorable diaper bag that features a subtle Minnie Mouse design. To sum up, casual layers with comfy shoes are a must. Add accents like a colorful scarf, a jacket and a cute bag, for a more polished and pull-together look in the most magical place on Earth.

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What To Wear Survival Guide: Valentine's Day Edition

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us! If you have plans to celebrate with your sweetie but are struggling with what to wear, I’ve put together a few ideas that may help.

 

For a casual night out, perhaps dinner and a movie, you can’t go wrong with dark-wash skinny jeans and a tunic-style sweater in a bold hue. Pull on a pair of over the knee boots to really add some oomph! A layered necklace, glittery cuff and neutral handbag complete the look.

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If your plans include a fancy dinner or show, a body-con dress, like this gorgeous velvet piece in a deep burgundy hue, is sure to impress. Add a faux fur wrap to keep warm, statement heels and pearls, and your date will not be able to take his eyes off of you.

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Maybe, like me, you are planning to stay in and have a little low-key celebration after the kids are in bed. In that case, you can keep it cute and casual in a fitted boyfriend jean and whimsical sweater with an airy scarf and Chucks. Add some sexy lingerie and a racy movie for a romantic at-home Valentine’s date.

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Images courtesty of Polyvore.com

All outfits designed by the author using Polyvore.com

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Five Must-Try Winter Trends

Happy New Year! This is a time for renewal and fresh starts. As such, it is the perfect opportunity to revamp your wardrobe and break out of your fashion rut. I know it’s winter and it’s easy to just hide under a big coat in yoga pants and a t-shirt, but with just a little effort you can forget the frump and feel confident and stylish. The following five trends are easy to add to your current wardrobe and are sure to make you feel fabulous, even when the weather outside is gloomy and gray.

 

1. Blanket Scarf

Blanket scarves are all the rage right now. They are cheap, add a pop of color to your outfit, and they are super warm. Blanket scarves are nothing more than a big rectangle of fabric, usually a plaid flannel. If you are petite, you may want to cut your blanket scarf in half so that it doesn’t overwhelm your frame.

Blanket scarves can be worn in several ways:

  • Folded in half to form a large triangle and then worn kerchief style
  • Draped across shoulders and belted
  • Folded lengthwise into a long skinny rectangle and worn as a traditional scarf

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Images courtesy of www.thesweetestthingblog.com and www.lamariposablog.com

 

2. Ponchos

Knitted ponchos are another popular trend this winter. Throw one on over skinny jeans or leggings and a top and add some instant style. Bonus-they hide all manner of sins so if you gained a little extra padding over the holidays, ponchos are your friend.

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Images courtesy of www.stylishpetite.com and www.mymomista.com (featuring yours truly!)

 

3. Faux Fur

There is just something so warm and wintery about faux fur. Right now, faux fur accessories are everywhere. The faux fur vest is a huge trend. Add a faux fur vest to jeans and a button-up top or even over a dress and tall boots. If the vest is outside your comfort zone (like it is for me) then try small touches of fur accessories, like scarves and hats.

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Images courtesy of www.laurenmcbrideblog.com and www.mommainflipflops.com

 

4. Booties

Tall boots and skinnies have been part of the mom wardrobe for a few years now, and they are still a great look. However, if you haven’t added some booties to your closet yet, now is the time. Booties come in so many different styles. Flats and heels. Dressy and casual. With fun details like studs, fringe or fur. Best of all, you can find cute booties at any price point.

Booties look great with all types of jeans: skinnies, boot-cut, boyfriend and flared. You can wear them to the office with pants or a skirt and on date night with tights and dress. Quick tip: roll your skinnies or boyfriend jeans to show a little skin at the ankle.

booties_1.jpgbooties_2.jpgImages courtesy of www.thesweetestthingblog.com and www.mommyinheels.com  

 

5. Winter White

I know, I know. No white after Labor Day. However, this is one fashion rule that is past its prime. Break it by pulling out your white denim and pairing with a cozy sweater. Winter white looks great paired with other neutrals as well with bright colors. You cannot go wrong by adding this summer staple to your winter wardrobe.

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Image courtesy of www.thesweetestthingblog.com

 

There you have it. Five easy tweaks to update your wardrobe for 2016. Which one will you try?

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