Summer Fashion Trend Re-Cap

How has your wardrobe stacked up this summer? Do you have any favorite trends for 2015 that you hope will return next year? If you took a moment to notice, you may recognize two fairly polar opposite trends occurring. Whether you welcomed them or just adopted a few subtle influences into your traditional summer outfits, we break down the full spectrum of this year’s hottest trends and catalog our favorites:

Brazilian Bikinis

brazilian bikini

Teeny bikini trends continue.

The barely-there-Brazilian-bikini styles are ever present. As these itsy-bitsy bikini cuts become more popular year after year, courageous women who are neither model-skinny nor 21 embrace the style. (For those with less courage, try adding a beach sarong to tie around your waist – or a see-through netted cover-up dress.) Prepping for this swimsuit generally requires a spa visit for a service of the same name—or delicate work on your own—to keep unwanted hair discreet.

Baring a little more skin than usual might prompt some sunless tanning in advance. To feel more comfortable in the bathing suit you select, choose a color or pattern that complements your skin tone. Feel like you want to jump right into the style before testing the waters? Go for tribal designs. These are hugely popular, and it just so happens my new fashion line, Asher Marie features these colorful prints in a variety of beach-worthy tunics and travel dresses.

tribal fashion trend

One of our Asher Marie dresses (Full Spectrum Rachel Dress) with a tribal print on the runway at L.A. Swim Week, July 2015.  Click to purchase from Asher Marie Collection Now!


On the opposite end of the sexy-relaxed spectrum is the fairly new hybrid trend ‘athleisure.’ For those who have business-casual or casual dress codes at the office, athleisure might be a good fit. Athleisure styles offer a professional appearance and at the same time they could potentially be worn to the gym. I know for many working moms I’ve spoken to, they are thrilled with the growing trend of athleisure pieces that allow them to be comfortable, versatile and still look “put together.” Athletic apparel is appealing on a national level as more people gravitate toward healthier lifestyles and incorporate workouts into their day-to-day routine.


Athleisure items are catching on.

Ann Taylor LOFT exemplifies this trend through their Lou & Gray collection. According to their site, their latest styles pair casual and luxurious fabrics: “Luxe linen and pure silk hang out with slouchy joggers and cotton jackets.” Most of the styles translate easily from a casual business meeting, an after school picnic, to an evening jog.

If you are looking for more vibrant prints and patterns, Asher Marie is also launching it’s own athleisure pieces for Spring/Summer 2016. With spandex blend shorts and capris, our pieces will easily transition from the beach, to the gym, to a girls’ lunch date.

athleisure shorts

We debuted a forthcoming athleisure piece for Asher Marie on the runway at L.A. Swim Week, July 2015.  Coming SS16 in a few outrageously hot prints!!!

Of course, with the right accessories you can formalize almost anything! Overalls are tricky though, but those are not trending right now…and I am grateful for that!

What is Your Favorite Summer Smoothie?

smoothie recipes

Do you prefer smoothies over juices?

Whether you prefer smoothies or juices, we are curious what your favorite ingredients are during the summer. Did you miss our ‘Summer Shake Up’ post on the Asher Marie Collection blog? We provide a breakdown of seasonal summer fruits, simple ways to pack more protein into your smoothies, and how to sneak in a few extra veggies.

Read more about Shakes, Smoothies, Juices & More.

Dog Days of Summer: Summertime Pet Gadgets

dog friendly travel

Travel smart with your furkids.

Summertime is full of outdoor activities that are perfect for bringing along the family dog. Hikes, beach trips, dining al fresco – your pup enjoys spending time with you and experiencing new sights and scents. The warm weather definitely promotes more time outside, but sometimes the heat is too much and can be dangerous to canines. When you spend time with your dog traveling this summer or at home on a staycation, here are a few gadgets that can help:

  • Cooling accessories. Aside from hydration, another way you can help keep your dog comfortable is with a cooling collar. Several brands, like KoolCollar, are worn on your dog’s neck and help regulate your dog’s temperature. Some varieties work with ice cubes, while others can be soaked in cool water and then worn. For greater surface area, some manufacturers create vests that operate a similar way. (Some are made for humans too!)

    beach tent

    Tents are not just for camping, they can provide shade for your pup on beach trips.

  • Dog beach tent. You can enjoy a break from the sun and a cocktail in the cabana with your dog. Canine tents and beach cabanas offer a shady, ventilated spot where your dog can relax.
  • iFetch. You might have your hands full with a toddler or two—keeping your dog entertained might be challenging! iFetch can help manage dog play time. This device launches a ball, the dog places the ball back inside, and the fun keeps going. They work indoors and outdoors!
  • Foldable bowls and bottles. Foldable food and water bowls and bottles are perfect for traveling. Several lined cloth options can fold up in your suitcase or even in your pocket, and take up just about as much room as a pair of socks.
family dog

Our dog Cinnamon enjoying summer.

You might have peace of mind keeping your dog with you while you travel. Our dog Cinnamon is a notorious escape artist. When tethering her in our yard, we went through a few dozen different restraints until finding one that safely and successfully keeps her at home!

One of the challenges when traveling with pets is finding dog-friendly accommodations. You might find a pet-friendly hotel at the beach, only to learn there is a weight limit. We have had multiple positive experiences with Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO), both within the United States and abroad. Generally, dog-friendly rentals on VRBO will require an additional pet deposit or cleaning fee. Having all the amenities and familiar comforts of a home might be a better travel experience for you and your dog. A bark-happy dog might fare better in a private home than with hotel room neighbors a wall away!

Summer Beauty Prep Time

summer beauty

Streamline your tan and protect your hair this summer.

Now that Memorial Day has passed and marked the start of the early summer season, we gathered helpful summer beauty routines and featured them on the Asher Marie Collection blog. From affordable mobile tanning options that can cater to parties in your home, to deep conditioning hair treatments that minimize sun, salt, and chlorine damage – we covered all the necessary basics. Check out Summer Beauty Prep to read about them all.

Summer Re-Cap Part 1: Tampa, Naples, Key West, Birthdays and More

naples beaches

Myself, Asher & Jake in Naples.

Why have posts been infrequent? In addition to managing the first stages of my new fashion line, I spent much of the summer and early fall away from home.

It all started in May with Marissa’s graduation from the University of Tampa. We spent an extended weekend in Tampa followed by three weeks in our beloved Naples. Enjoying time with family and friends was priceless and offered many great memories…boating, fishing, beach time, and swimming in the backyard pools of our vacation rental homes. Shopping and dining out on the world renowned 5th Avenue and Historic 3rd Street were some of our highlights.

florida fishing

Jake enjoyed some great Florida fishing.

We rented a golf cart to cruise around town…some called it “The Banana” as it was an extended, yellow 8-seater! We loved it! We also re-considered a more permanent move to Naples and enjoyed a few outings with our very patient broker. It was eye opening to see what our money could buy as Naples is bustling and the real estate market is very healthy…up almost 27% year over year! It’s great to see the market so healthy, but we feel we may have ‘missed the boat’ so to speak. Our perfect Naples property may need to wait just a bit longer. The time will come.

naples family vacation

Getting ready for another ride in “The Banana”!

Our first trip of the summer to Florida offered a great place to get away and enjoy some fun in the sun with those closest to us.

naples family trip

A family ‘selfie’ in Naples.

Here are some of our highlights and ‘must sees’ if you plan a trip to Naples soon…

Campiello on 3rd Street – Great food and awesome staff. They treated us like family and we must have shared a handful of dinners and lunches with them while we were in town.

Sea Salt on 3rd Street – One of Jake’s favorites for amazingly fresh seafood and great indoor/outdoor ambiance.

Tommy Bahamas on 3rd Street – Great cocktails and live music weekly.

Jane’s on Third – Amazing breakfasts – every omelet you can think of.

Cafe Lurecat on 5th Avenue – Great al fresco dining (Please recall, I have a thing for eating outside…check out some outdoor dining in Raleigh.)

Bice on 5th Avenue – Great al fresco dining and people watching right on the western most corner of the main shopping district.

The Cafe (on 5th Ave) – Great stop for breakfast and fresh juiced drinks…our favorite stop to bring “The Banana” with our friends and family.

In July, Jake took a trip to The Maldives to surf and enjoy some time with the guys. (More to follow on that as it’s definitely worth chronicling with some images…amazing trip for him!) I certainly didn’t want to be left behind with a toddler, so I decided to go back to Naples to spend The 4th, my birthday and some more time with extended family…almost another 3 weeks!

naples beaches

More time at the beautiful Naples beaches.

Jake’s plan was to meet us just after he returned to the states to enjoy some more fun in the sun. The trip started out great, with an amazing 4th of July with family, dinner and cocktails out and fireworks on the beach. However, the trip didn’t continue so seamlessly. I woke up on my birthday feeling ill. A not-happy birthday surprise. Perhaps with all of those good meals out with friends I ate something not so friendly.

By the time Jake arrived, I had recovered mostly and we were able to enjoy some more salty air with our son. This time we rented a house further north of our normal stomping ground in an area called The Moorings. It’s a bit more residential and quiet, but offered a great place to retire at the end of the day.

While the neighbors were very gracious and the beaches beautiful, we decided we must be located in Olde Naples when we decide to eventually build our home. Closer to shopping, walkable to dining and everything in between. Olde Naples stole our heart years ago. In fact, it’s where I attended Elementary school in the 80’s. 😉 St. Ann’s Catholic School. We used to walk to the beach with our Girl Scouts troop to pick up trash as our community service project. A really “tough” place to grow up! I certainly don’t take it for granted!

key west vacation

Back to Florida for child-free time with friends in Key West!

After returning home for a couple of weeks, Florida was back on the agenda. We went to Key West to celebrate our good friend’s surprise birthday the first weekend in August. This was a five-day “parents only” trip! It was hot and muggy, but we couldn’t have had a better time with such a great group of people and dear friends. We stayed in an amazing VRBO rental called Cloud 9. It was perfectly located just steps from Duval Street and all the hustle, but it felt like we were in a different world—a secret garden behind a wall and iron gates. Absolutely stunning and a real vacation FIND.

key west trip

5 days with great people.

We spent two days fishing and snorkeling. Some of the guys went diving, including Jake! We had some great dinners out and enjoyed a night of dancing. Great fun and just a well-deserved and long overdue “parents only” trip. While hard to leave my little one behind, he was well taken care of by Nana and Papa and enjoyed quite the social calendar while we were away.

End-of-Summer Barbecue Tips

outdoor entertaining

Whether you’re looking forward to the start of school again, or just trying to squeeze in a little more fun before the summer’s end, there are plenty of things you can do with your kids in the waning weeks of the season.

Nothing says summer quite like a barbecue. In the South ‘barbecue’ has a different meaning than other parts of the country. Barbecue in North Carolina means pulled pork—with vinegar-based sauces in the Eastern parts of the state, and tomato-based sauces in the Western areas. What I’m referring to is what the rest of the country calls a barbecue, and what folks here in the greater Raleigh area call ‘cook outs’. Barbecues are always a great casual way for kids to socialize and adults to have ‘grown-up time’.

watermelon recipes

Your color theme can translate into food choices.

Pick a food theme for your barbecue:

A food item. Corn peaked late this year. Grill corn and sprinkle it on salads, bake some buttery cornbread, and check out our popcorn bar idea below. Pineapple is another great option. It’s perfect served chilled, you can use the juice for making cocktails, sprinkle some brown sugar on slices and grill, or even try adding a slice inside your burgers. Top with a zesty cheese, like pepper jack for some sweet, savory goodness!

Color. Want to go red? Stock up on watermelon, strawberries, and an assortment of peppers. Let your little one pick their favorite food and plan your color theme around that. Try juicing and making colored ice cubes from your extra ripe strawberries or watermelons.

Dip. Don’t just have your guests take a dip in the pool, create a variety of dips and complementing snacks. Your guests won’t be bored when they can choose from white bean dip, dips made with Greek yogurt, and salsas. And for dessert? Fondue dipping creates an experience for just about every guest!


Who wants to be Grillmaster?

Here are a few ways to minimize the stress of hosting an end-of-summer celebration:

  1. “Child labor.” Whether you’re at the pool, or at your own backyard bash, you can get the kids involved by letting them make their own refreshment stand. Grab some lemonade mix and let your kids decide what flavors they want to create: Mixed berry, raspberry, strawberry, or any other concoction they can think of. Freeze whole fruit ahead of time and use it in lieu of ice for your kids’ drinks and your own. (Have an adult bar for some spiked lemonade—and check out our Vitamins and Vodka post.) Use fresh garnishes including Rosemary and Mint.
  2. Delegate. Assign one person Grillmaster duties and stock them with hot dogs, burgers, chicken, veggie kebabs and other staples. Go for a classic potluck. Everyone pitches in for a dish or drink, and you won’t have to worry about getting overwhelmed taking on the majority of the load.
  3. Outdoor theater. Relieve yourself of some responsibility. You won’t be able to entertain everyone, so have movies playing on loop. Choose Disney beach movies for kids—like The Little Mermaid or Finding Nemo. For setting up an outdoor theater, choose a shady part of the yard or make your own ‘movie tent’ with a picnic shelter or brightly colored sheets. Hang a white sheet from the side of the house or a solid surface, and project a movie or video game. Set up a popcorn bar with different toppings and a variety of popcorn (caramel, chocolate-covered, traditional butter) and guests can keep themselves busy if needed.

Need more dessert ideas? Check out our No Bake Summer Recipes. You won’t even need to turn on the oven! Keep the fun, guests, and food outside and enjoy the end of summer as you ease into fall. Cheers!

Beach Trips With Toddlers Guest Post

beach tripsIf you are a mom or dad in North Carolina you have likely heard of or referenced Carolina Parent at some point. In addition to their beautiful glossy magazine, they run a fantastic parenting blog on every topic under the sun. I recently contributed to Carolina Parent‘s blog with a post on ways to simplify beach days with toddlers. After a busy summer at Florida beaches in Naples and Key West, we are back in Raleigh and happy to share insight from our experiences in the surf.

carolina parent

I’m including the beginning, then click the link to read the full post:

Family trips to the beach should be memorable for all the right reasons. The work to calm a cranky toddler who misses nap time is magnified at the beach. Sunscreen stings eyes, direct sun exposure exhausts little ones faster than adults, and picky eaters may not find something they like from concessions at the beach—if there even are any. North Carolina beaches are diverse. Some offer a variety of food services and modern conveniences, while others let you truly get away and you need to be self-sustained. With the right planning you can make a trip with a toddler to any beach more enjoyable.

Sun protection at the beach makes for a more comfortable experience, prevents your toddler from days or weeks of painful sunburn recovery, and avoids the permanent long-term damage a sunburn causes. Some toddlers do not care for sun block…

Read the rest of “How to Make Beach Trips With Toddlers Easy.”

Summer Dress Trends

maxi dress

My stylish sisters Rachel & Marissa.

This is the first time I am revealing that I am working on a clothing line! Soon I will share details in an official announcement. In the Spring/Summer of 2015 I will launch an exciting new line inspired by global elements, my love for travel, and nature’s beauty.

For now, we are in the middle of summer and we are in the thick of the season’s fashion trends. The classic colors of yellows and pinks, as well as spaghetti straps and backless styles are just as hot as ever (which fits the bohemian style), but this year, there are a few looks that will bring out your inner fashionista’s creative side:

Small floral prints are expected to be quite popular, especially on unexpected colors for the season, such as navy and dark purples. The look is very flattering for paler skin tones. Model Karlie Kloss recently donned the look with a backless maxi dress, while out shopping in NYC. To really make the outfit pop, contrast the darker hew of the dress with a bright yellow heel or bold red lip.

The opposite is usually best for a darker skin tone. Your dress should be the brightest part of your outfit, with your accessories and makeup in neutral tones. Jessica Alba nailed the style on the red carpet late last month in a burnt-orange, strapless pencil dress from Vivienne Westwood. Made of satin, her dress is perfect for a formal event, but the same style can be reinvented into more casual look in a different fabric, such as cotton.

For the perfect universal cut, an empire waist and a solid print looks good on almost any body type. Maxi dresses are also versatile option, and can easily be worn day-to-night. However, if you’ve got a part of you that you want to show off, by all means this is the season to do it! Have you been working on your arms in rowing class and want to show them off? Go strapless or opt for spaghetti straps.

Of course summer is the season to show a little more skin, and designers are definitely delivering. There are plenty of shape-flattering cutouts, long slits, and breezy backless options. Crisscross straps have been particularly popular, and allow you to show off your summer glow. For a twist on your summer dress, try a high-waisted skirt with a crop top that subtlety exposes your midriff. Most women find this to be the narrowest part of their midsection. When exposed and paired with a high-waisted skirt, it creates a longer leaner appearance.

summer fashion

Fitted high waists can make you look leaner and a bold print can be your statement.

For good measure, try and follow the 40% rule: An old-fashioned rule that says showing 40% skin is the ideal ratio to keep in mind when putting together an outfit. Applying this rule, you’ll be able to show off the areas you love, and downplay those you want to draw attention away from.

You’re sure to feel cool in these hot summer looks this season. Pick your favorite look and (safely) enjoy the warm sun on your skin – don’t forget the sunscreen and check out these sunless tanning options!

Happy Dressing!