Trips With Yacht Rentals

yacht rental vacations

Make your next trip on the open water.

We added a new luxury travel post on the Asher Marie Collection blog. This is our first post on travel for Asher Marie. As the pieces are designed for resort wear – we thought a post outlining basic options for renting a yacht would fit well. Since we have strong personal ties in Florida we focused the post on the various port options on and off the coast of The Sunshine State. Bon voyage!

Photo Shoot Collaboration

asher marie spring fashion

Models wearing items from Asher Marie Collection’s inaugural line. Who designed the clutches? Who took the photographs? We collaborated with great vendors.

Curious how to maximize your efforts and time when planning a fashion photo shoot? Here is the story behind how the Asher Marie Collection connected with vendors for our photo shoot launch: Best Ways to Collaborate for a Photo Shoot.

Launching a Fashion Line: Sample Production Process

Asher Marie fashionThe Her Heel Flops team wishes you a very belated Happy New Year and would like to explain the delays between posts. As revealed last fall, I’m starting a fashion line and subsequently, have been in the thick of scheduling photo shoots, planning a launch party (March 13th!), and finalizing all the last details for the Asher Marie Collection.

If launching a fashion line wasn’t exciting enough, we thought you may be interested in the nuts-and-bolts process should you be interested in following our fashionable footsteps.

Asher Marie Fashion

One of our pieces from Asher Marie’s inaugural collection. Read on to learn how it came to be.

How does a fashion line start? Beyond the initial creativity and sketches and years of perfectly organized card-catalogued tear sheets and mood boards, the sample production process is your big first move. It involves several steps. Do you find yourself doodling dress designs and outfits when waiting on hold? Do you have every fashion app on your phone? Did you follow #NYFW? Then the first step is right up your fashion runway:

  1. Sketch and concept. Gather your fashion sketches in one place. You may have dozens of ideas. For your inaugural line, choose 6-10 concepts or sketches. Consult with an established designer or stylist to get a real-world perspective.
  2. Tech designers. Technical designers in the fashion industry will take your sketches and translate them into workable designs to help create patterns. Tech designers work down to the finest details: The size and placement of enclosures, patterns of embellishments, and more. Manufacturing fashion is not possible without the proper design.
  3. Pattern maker. Now your proper designs make their way to patterns. Patterns are one dimensional cut outs of your concepts.
  4. Cut pattern. The patterns are then cut. Contemporary pattern cutting is highly accurate. If you have a great tech designer, today’s digital technologies let your designs come to life exactly how you envisioned them.
  5. Sew samples. Samples are then constructed from the pattern.
  6. Fitting. Then it is time to hire models and schedule the first fitting. The Asher Marie team worked remotely via videoconferencing from Los Angeles. It’s important to involve as many people as possible in the fitting experience to be sure all-important modifications and fit notes are conveyed. For example, the designer may be able to articulate their vision for the garment while the technical designer may work with the sample maker to ensure technical accuracy during the fitting. (Of course, be ready for technical difficulties. I managed to keep a virtual fitting going when one of our team member’s Skype connection cut out by using my smartphone and tapping them in through a regular call.)
  7. Repeat. Fashion is a tremendously collaborative experience and requires great patience. Sometimes the technical, pattern, sample and fitting process occurs two or three times before an actual garment is produced the way it was initially envisioned.
Asher Marie Collection

Another one of Asher Marie’s samples…You’ll have to wait to see the finished product!

More news soon about our upcoming photo shoot and very exciting launch party!

3 Surprises When Starting Your Own Fashion Line: My First Experience

fashion design

Here is what I’m learning as I launch my first fashion line!

How does one start their own clothing line? The first step is deciding to do it…and to be 100% committed to your vision. At least, that is how my current experience started. With my background in interior design and my personal love for fashion, merging my interests felt natural. The desire manifested itself for over a decade with a drawer filled with sketches, fabric samples, magazine clippings and proposed silhouettes.  In fact, I still have a handful of cocktail napkins where I scribbled concepts and ideas from the year 2001.  The timing may have been off in the past.  However, with a bit of grit and determination the stars strategically aligned this year.

I am beyond thrilled to officially announce my new clothing line, the Asher Marie Collection. Coming Spring 2015, the resort and lifestyle collection will deliver globally-inspired pieces at an affordable price point, graciously complementing today’s most dynamic women!

Asher Marie fashion

So how did the name come about? ‘Asher’ is my son’s name, meaning happy and blessed; and ‘Marie’ is a long-time family name with deep personal reference of grace and strength. Asher Marie fused together offers a piece of me and my family and a vision for my customers of strength, beauty and grace. I hope my pieces will inspire and deliver a bit of joy through color, pattern and silhouette and encourage women to be independently beautiful!

As I navigate designing, sourcing, and supplying my new clothing line, a few figurative ‘trips on the runway’ occurred. Below I include a few of my experiences that may help you:

Be conservative. Originally I was looking forward to introducing the Asher Marie Collection with fifteen or twenty inaugural pieces. However, after consulting with fashion industry veterans (including authors of NY Times best sellers and couture experienced designers) I realized my inaugural collection should be limited to less than a dozen pieces.

Not just fashion design. Creatively conceiving a few designs is not your only job when you launch a clothing line. It is up to you to source materials, check with textile suppliers, price fabric by the yard, find a sample maker, research stores and distribution expenses, and the list goes on. If having your own fashion line is your dream—be ready to be hands-on for business operations. You absolutely need to be all in and adopt a strong work ethic before you start any creative concepts.

Fabric! Speaking of business operations and fabric sourcing, all decisions were complete and materials scheduled to order over the summer. Then I received a call that the one of the fabrics we selected was only obtainable in bulk supply and not available for our limited initial collection.  Strike one.  Within days, I also learned that three additional fabrics had completely sold out.  Strike two and back to the drawing board.  Overall, this delayed production of our samples. I had to be resourceful and flexible in selecting quality replacement fabrics that wouldn’t compromise my overall vision. Fortunately, we found stunningly beautiful substitute materials – but accepting these changes early and moving forward without too much emotion has made the line even better.

fabrics

Many fabric choices are available today!

Please stay tuned for a behind-the-scenes breakdown of more details as we navigate our way! Plus, a sneak peek of the debut collection, fun fabrics and the launch of the Asher Marie Collection website in just a few short weeks.

Spa Days at Home

diy spa

Spend time with a friend, sister, or invite another mom over to your personal spa retreat.

As a parent, stealing a moment for yourself is a challenge. Scheduling a spa day requires child care arrangements and advanced planning. Once you are relaxed from a massage you may be stuck in traffic rushing to get home to relieve a babysitter. Why not make an oasis in your home?

Spontaneous Spa Days

Creating a spa day at home can be as quick as an at-home pedicure during your toddler’s nap time, to a full day of tub soaks, facials, and gourmet meals delivered to your door. I love spending time with my sisters Marissa and Rachel, but when they are far away it’s nice to relax with a close friend or another mom. If another mom wants a spa day too, chip in on a babysitter together, hire an in-home masseuse, paint each other’s nails, or leave the cooking to the professionals:

DIY face mask

You probably have the ingredients for a DIY face mask already in your kitchen.

  1. Pre-soak body scrub. Baking soda or brown sugar mixed with coffee grounds and olive oil is a quick and easy exfoliator. To ensure you don’t clog your drains, use a mesh drain catch.
  2. Post-soak moisture. Before you step into the tub, place lotion on a radiator or in a microwaveable bowl. When you are finished soaking you will have warm lotion and no chilly surprises.
  3. DIY face masks. If you have the right ingredients, you don’t need to order supplies in advance. Even WebMD says chocolate is great for your face! Use a blender to mix aloe vera gel, honey, avocado, cocoa, oatmeal, or yogurt. (No worries if you miss an ingredient.) This is an easy face mask that you can rinse after 15 minutes. Don’t forget the classic cucumber slices over your eyes! Chill in the freezer before using. Whole Living also recommends chilling pre-steeped tea bags in the fridge to use in lieu of cucumber.
  4. Mani-pedi time. Before picking out a nail color, exfoliate hands and feet with the scrub above. Heat honey in the microwave—not too long to prevent burning yourself. Apply the honey to hands and feet and wrap both with plastic wrap for 15-20 minutes. After filing and a cuticle trim, apply a color – maybe one to match the season’s fashion trends. Or skip the color entirely—a simple exfoliation and moisture service may be all you need.
  5. Indulge. Several gourmet food services deliver delicious meals straight to your door. One service, Impromptu Gourmet, offers complete customization. Maybe you just want dessert? Simply order that or a five-course meal.

How can you be ready to treat yourself at any time? With these three items you can’t go wrong:

Towels. Invest in spa bath towels. These are usually longer and softer.

Lighting. Aromatherapy candles create a relaxing glow and you can pick a scent you love. You can even make your own candles with your little ones during the day as you work up to your spa time.

Heat. Don’t underestimate the relaxing power of a heated blanket. Even if you don’t have time for all the activities above, simply relaxing in bed or on the couch under a heated blanket after a shower can help de-stress.

Ask your spouse or partner to tend to the kids before bedtime so that you can have a relaxing end to your day. This does not have to be for a special occasion! Treat yourself. Maybe it’s the end to a long beach day with your toddler, or you are overwhelmed with back-to-school errands. Either way, you can have a spa day. At home.

5 Creative Graduation Gifts

graduation gifts

Congratulations to Marissa and her boyfriend Nick for their graduation from The University of Tampa!

Graduations – for both high schoolers and college students – are significant life events. These moments often bring students to a crossroads. Will a high schooler move on to college right away? What major? For a college graduate—is a job available and will it require a relocation?

Money is universally a “good” gift idea. Gift cards are also great for students leaving academia. But don’t you want to give something special to someone special for such a special rite of passage? My sister Marissa just graduated college in Florida. This is a time to show how proud I am of her success. I want to get creative with graduation gifts!

Time to start cooking!

Time to start cooking!

  1. Cooking classes. Students are notoriously strapped for time and money. Macaroni and cheese and ramen are typical dorm room staples. Learning how to cook from a professional chef is knowledge that your loved one can use for the rest of their lives. Maybe they will cook you a meal in thanks!
  2. Subscription gifts. What is your graduating friend or family member interested in? Forget magazines or book-of-the-month clubs—there are more creative subscription gifts available today than ever before. Gift a monthly or weekly meal. Craft Coffee offers a monthly java surprise. For sweet-toothed graduates: Mouth offers chocolates-of-the-month.
  3. Gym membership. With a new routine and stresses to get used to—you want your graduate to be healthy, right? Give a one-year gym membership and/or one-on-one personal training sessions. Maybe even the new fitness trend of rowing classes. This way they can grow into a healthy lifestyle as they navigate post-academia life.
    decoration gifts

    Offer to buy furniture or decorate the graduate’s new apartment.

  4. New apartment furnishings. If the graduate will be moving—whether a short distance or a long one—offer to pay for moving expenses, a couch, a new bed, or a dinette set. The expenses of furnishing an apartment for the first time can easily exceed a few thousand dollars. Help curb the costs and outfit your graduate’s new home.
  5. Trip. Whether you want to join the graduate or give them the gift of traveling solo to a dream destination—surprising them with a trip after years of study and dedicated concentration is a great way to celebrate their accomplishment. Plus, you can customize a trip specifically for them. Maybe cooking classes in Paris or a guided hike in Nepal?

Triathlons in the Triangle!

Five Female Runners Training For Race

Dust off those running shoes and break out your swimsuit. It’s time to leave the indoor rowing classes behind and take your workouts outside. Summer is always the most popular time of the year for those looking to push themselves to the physical limit during the heated competition of triathlons. Not only are triathlons a great way to stay in shape, but participants can also help support some great causes. Luckily for all those interested, the Triangle has some amazing races scheduled this season.

Smile Train Sprint Triathlon
Wake Forest
Sunday, June 22nd
Since 2008, SmilesTrainTri has helped raise over $188,000 to support local charitable organizations including food drives, as well as several local children’s organizations. The race includes a 250-meter swim, 12-mile bike ride, and 3.1 mile run.

Rex Wellness Sprint Triathlon
Garner, North Carolina
Sunday, July 13th
This triathlon is open to participants of all ages and proceeds benefit the Rex Healthcare Foundation – a nonprofit organization that promotes community health awareness programs. The race includes a 250-yard pool swim, 10-mile bike ride, and 2-mile run. (Don’t forget my guest post about outdoor toddler activities on Rex’s blog.)

UNC Wellness Super Sprint Triathlon
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Sunday, August 10th
The UNC Wellness Triathlon benefits the UNC Wellness Medical Fitness Scholarship Fund – a group that provides local healthcare services to those in medical and financial need. The race includes a 250-yard swim, 9-mile bike ride, and 5K run.

running

Get the right gear, check with your doc, and pace yourself.

If it’s been awhile since the last time you’ve participated in a triathlon—or if you are a first-timer!—remember the importance of preparing for any strenuous exercise that might be unusual for your body. You should always check with a physician before taking part in any new physical conditioning. Your doctor will be able to tell you whether your body is able to compensate for the added strain on your joints, muscles, and heart. Sadly, earlier in 2014 two young participants died while running in Raleigh’s Rock-n-Roll Marathon.

For those that haven’t trained as much leading up to the event, even if it might be difficult in the heat of the moment, you should pace yourself. Take the thrill of competition as motivation to finish – not as a push to come in first.

What are your experiences with marathons and triathlons?