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Outfits Not Just Clothes ...
Mom Style
By Bernadette Ulsamer

My style has definitely taken a hit since becoming a mom — as it does for most women when they have a family. I’m not suggesting that moms are dowdy or unkempt, but they usually aren’t as fashionable as non-moms, which is to be expected since style gets knocked down a few rungs on the priority ladder when you have to keep another human being alive. And even if you are tight on time, money, and opportunities to be stylish, it doesn’t mean that style is totally off the ladder of important things for modern-day mothers. Here’s a rundown of how to overcome the obstacles to being a stylish mom.
Lack of funds is the biggest hindrance to having up-to-date style for many moms. As a mother, you’re less likely to splurge on a fashionable item, because A. you don’t have the deposable income you once did (hello diapers!) and B. even if your budget does allow for updating your wardrobe on the regular, it’s hard to justify spending money on yourself when you can be saving it for your family. I’ve definitely become more frugal in my clothing purchases since having my baby, but I recognize that’s it OK to spend money on myself because shopping for new clothes isn’t always a frivolous activity. For working moms, it’s quite important to their jobs to have the appropriate wardrobe. Plus, for new moms, your body is in flux and your pre-pregnancy clothes may not yet be available to you, so you may need a “transition” wardrobe. Regardless of your reason for buying new clothes, just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you’re relegated to boring or frumpy options. You can still wear the same chic and modern styles you did before motherhood, but you may need to allow for a few adjustments in size, silhouette, and fabric. You may have to go up a size, or trade in the mini-skirt for a midi-length, swap out halter-tops for sleeveless tees, and of course forgo those dry clean-only garments for machine washable, wrinkle-free pieces.
Lack of time is also a barrier to good style for many moms. When given the choice between sleeping an extra 10 minutes and planning an amazing outfit for the day, 9 women out of 10 are going to choose sleep. I am one of those 9, but even when time is tight, you can still make it out of the door with a put-together look. The key for me is having “go to” outfits planned ahead of schedule. On Sundays when I do laundry, I set aside the clothing I’ll wear for the coming week. And, I’ve developed some failsafe outfit formulas. For work days with meetings, it’s black trousers, striped button-down, blazer, and loafers. More laid-back days, I’ll switch out the pants for jeans, and the blazer for a sweater. For church and family parties, a long dress with a belt and flats. For running errands, I go with khakis, slip-on sneakers, and a striped tee. Of course, some “go-tos” can have more bells and whistles than others, but if you boil it down to the main parts — bottom, top, shoes — you’ll at least be covered (literally) and stylish without sacrificing those precious 10 extra minutes of sleep.
I like to joke that my husband and I have become “reverse vampires” since having our daughter, meaning we can no longer go out at night. Hence, the opportunities to leave the house in style are very few and far between. So, when I do have the chance to go out in the evenings I like to bring out my big guns, e.g. dress, heels, lipstick. But, even for the daily daycare run, errands, or just walks to the playground, I try to put a bit of effort into my style — sneakers instead of flip-flips, jeans, not sweatpants, a clean (not stained) T-shirt, or even throwing on an easy maxi-dress to appear a bit more polished, even if my mom-brain is frazzled.
One last takeaway to remember is that fashion and style are two separate concepts. Fashion is the business and of selling clothes and trends, while style is an inherent aesthetic sense. Or, as a very wise woman once said, “Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess.” For moms, that means this — while you may not have the most fashionable “it” bag/dress/shoe, you can still have style, even great style. And, don’t forget that style is timeless, so while the foreseeable future may be a bit of style drought, as your children get older, style will be there waiting like a welcoming oasis.

The Pennsylvania Garden
Growing Gold
By Jeffrey Allen Federowicz

Although summer has recently arrived I'm already looking forward to Indian summer and the golden hues it brings to the garden.
The Indian summer I'm talking about isn't a time of year but a showy flower that's part of the Rudbeckia family — the proper moniker for brown-eyed-Susan. (Some folks say black-eyed-Susan, I opt for the color brown. Black-eyed gives the impression Susan was in a fight. Not very nice.)
One of my all-time favorite plants, Indian summer attracts attention no matter where it’s planted thanks to its large blooms and warm golden color.
Indian summer features dark green leaves that accent the daisy shaped flowers featuring golden yellow petals surrounding a chocolate brown cone.
These plants thrive in locations with full sun and well-drained soil.
Blooms typically measure 4" or 5" in across and make for an ideal pit stop for hungry butterflies.
Best of all Indian summer doesn't require a lot of care, however, it does require a lot of sunshine and admirers.
With their sunny color and long slender stems, Indian summer may also be used as a cut flower.
Plants average about 3' tall and bloom from July to the start of September.
Indian summer is a must for any garden and will quickly become a favorite plant for so many reasons.
While Indian summer is casting its golden glow across the garden it’s not the only bright bloomer.
Gaillardia, sometimes called blanket flower, puts on a spectacular show of bold colors like red, gold, rust and yellow.
One word that best describes gaillardia flowers would be original.
And it’s true — the flowers are bold and loud.
The blooms have a flat daisy shape with the ends of the petals serrated or somewhat ruffled in appearance. The blooms center features a large, textured cone most often in a rust color.
What also makes these blooms so fantastic is the color design on each bloom that sometimes takes on a southwest appearance.
A prolific bloomer, gaillardia is also a low-care plant that likes the sun — so be sure to plant in the correct location. (It’s been my experience the brunt of problems people have with plants, especially ones they never grew before, can be traced back to one thing. The plant's requirements were not taken care of. This would be placing the plant in shade when it needs sun, or not providing the right amount of water. To avoid this follow any directions that came with the plant or do some online research.)
Also, be sure to remove any spent blooms to encourage future blooms.
And did I mention gaillardia is a perennial? I always think of gaillardia as a plant one would find in mature, well-tended garden since it provides character, color and variety.

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