Nestled in the heart of quaint downtown Mariemont, Sara Benjamin’s has always been a staple of sophisticated, yet hip fashion that appeals to both the young…and yes, us Cincinnista’s!
Well it gets even better…Sara Benjamin’s has a new owner, Emily Jackson, whom I fortuitously met my last visit in to one of my favorite Cincinnati stores. Emily recently took ownership of the premiere women’s boutique about 1 month ago. With both a strong business background and love for fashion, Emily plans to maintain the strong brands (such as their amazing jeans selection!) while integrating some new lines in a range of styles and prices.
A native of the the midwest and recent Chicago resident (I can totally relate!), Emily has always been the go-to-girl for fashion expertise with friends and family, coordinating outfits for various events and weddings, or even just dinner out on the town.
Well, I’m certainly grateful that this Cincinnista has another source for great fashion and style! Sara Benamin’s is located at 6810 Wooster Pike in Mariemont. Hours: M-F 10-6, Saturday 10-5 and now in December Noon-5!
While certainly not a licensed aesthetician, ever since my last dissasterous visit to the tanning booth at 29, I’d like to consider myself somewhat of a skincare connoisseur. I started in my early 30’s getting chemical peels simply to reduce fine lines and create a more even skin tone. However, I’ve after talking to experts working on my fair and hopeful skin….these are a few tips tried and true:
-Vitaman C: I swear by using a vitamin C serum every morning to stimulate cell production to the skin cells. Especially in the am when you may be dragging, vitamin C instantly brightens the skin. The antioxidant production shields skin form damaging free radicals…yes, those pesky rogue molecules we can’t escape….sun damage, pollution and oxygen.
-Retin A: Initially an acne drug, retin-A’s strong resurfacing abilities came to be known as an agent in resurfacing the skin. Retain-A prompts surface skin to turn over and die rapidly, making way for new cell growth underneath. Retin A is available through many manufacturers: what works for you is the strength and amount you use it. I’ve found that everyday use for me causes just too much peeling and irritation, but every other day or bi-weekly use seems to be ideal for most people. Your aesthetician or dermatology/plastic surgery group can best advise on what’s right for you.
-Sunscreen and hats: Need I say more? Even on an overcast Winter day, it’s a fact that those UV rays are getting to you. Sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 (more than 30 is considered ineffective) during the day is a must.
Finally, I never trust my skin care to an over priced cosmetics counter. None of their products are of medical grade and the strength that you can find with a doctot or medical skin consultant. I personally trust my needs to Pelle Medical Skin Care conveniently located on Red Bank Road!
So I admit it, despite being a creative person, the most I can handle in terms of costumes is those for my kids. I guess you could say this Cincinnista isn’t the first pick for the big Halloween Party. However, for those of us at home handing out candy with a cocktail in hand…the fashion code is way different. While orange and black are definitely the Halloween standards, you can still look “Halloweeny” without looking like the Great Pumpkin. I mean, don’t we all have tons of black? Pair that simple great black top with a pop orange like this classic logo scarf from Gucci…stylish AND warm. Or check out this nature inspired burnt orange flowing top from Free People: Sophisticated with a bit of hippie. Still cold? Just throw on that fringy black cardigan with studded biker boots and you are good to go!
Call it oatmeal, swan or ecru: that off-white color or reeaallly light tan is classic in fashion and design. Paired with a stronger graphic pattern or your favorite black pants, a solid winter white top, sweater, or jacket add both contrast and style to an otherwise dark wardrobe for the winter. While I’ll always be a “black” fan, the use of winter white lightens your look during these upcoming drab days!
So why winter white vs. “white white?” Well I have many philosophies on this, but the first is that in the winter our brighter complexions fade (and no-Cincinnistas do not sun bathe in the summer, just get a healthy glow!) hence that crisp white shirt just isn’t as contrasting and flattering. Not that a great white shirt won’t work, it just looks better layered under cardigan for example. The softness of winter white is simply more seasonal. In addition, winter white works better with the darker, richer colors of fall. Think about it. What looks better paired with your jewel toned skinny jeans? “White white” or cream? The answer is obvious. I mean who wants to match that big embankment of snow we have coming in a month or so?
After a fairly stressful work week, it’s amazing what an hour of pilates can do for your mind, let alone for the body. Are we talking pure meditation here? Why no, but a combination of breathing, strength and athleticism wrapped up in one class. While I prefer the reformer versus mat version, both have incredible benefits.
As a very athletic teenager, I played all the traditional sports: swimming, track, basketball and yes, even softball. Being a total “jock” (yes, Cincinnistas can be jocks, just don’t look it:) I was un open to the idea of a “non-traditional” work-out. However, about a year and a half ago, I decided that the typical long elliptical workout accompanied by sit-ups and weights weren’t cutting it. The tone in my body and waist line were simply getting soft. Don’t get me wrong: I’m still 47 and no longer have my 26″ waist from my thirties, but baby if I can fight gravity I will!
As most of us know, fashion design often mimics interior design and many other types of design. As one of my stylish Star Designers, Hillary Randall, recently blogged, “Gray is the new Neutral”. Not only are we seeing that direction in flooring, fabrics and wallpaper: gray has replaced tan as the “in” neutral. From dresses, to jeans, to accessories, the coolness of gray transcends us in to the coolness of fall. Paired with rich jewel tones such as mulberry or emerald green, gray is the perfect backdrop to a versatile wardrobe.
Here are some other Hot Trends for the Fall:
-Anything 70’s! Don’t throw out those skinny jeans as they are still classic, but flared higher waisted jeans are back with a vengence. And flared jeans with a worn vintage look are especially hip. Pair them with a more dressy, slightly cropped top (no belly buttons please) for an even more chic look. And speaking of tops….those 70’s style tie neck blouses under a fitted blazer speak professionalism but style. I’m proud to say I bought my Alice and Olivia tie neck chevron patterned top two years ago….supposedly before it was in!
-Cold Shouldered Tops: So okay, I also thought this was a cool look last season, but its the newest sexy and stay warm combo this season. The open shoulder cut-out of blouses have now morphed in to sweaters and dresses that are actually warm, yet provocative in a non-cleavage way.
-Fringe is in! Again, under the Anything 70’s category, but fringe is everywhere from a practical black cardigan, to a fun evening dress, to booties. However, FRINGE ALERT! Don’t be a confused hippie. Do not mix different fringe items in the same outfit! You will look like you OD’d on the fringe memo and didn’t have enough creativity to make the outfit unique. Mix fringe with cleaner lined pieces to vary things up and add interest.