Public Parks Make me Happy.

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Victor. San Francisco. February 2017.

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Victor isn’t dressed like a fashion plate, but he and his son are so cute.

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I love water fountains at parks, I know they are probably filled with the most disgusting germs – but it’s something that hasn’t changed – like the library or post office.

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When my boys were little, I lived at the park. The playground was the only place, I could sit my tired booty down and not worry about anything – the kids were free and so was I. I’m thinking I should personally thank the Parks and Recreations Department for allowing me that time to socialize, read magazines and yes, beg other parents to push my kids on the slide….

When you live in cities, parks become the glue that keeps parents of non school age kids together – I made so many interesting friends at the park, especially in Miami.  Neal’s first friend was a child of a Japanese diplomat and his mom, a police officer in Tokyo, was one of my first “mom” friends.

My point: It’s lonely out there, bring your kids to the park. You may learn how to take down a Japanese thief in two easy steps, or just get to have some old fashion small talk with adults. But don’t go without your kids, because that’s weird.

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Running after two kids is serious exercise, you have to be in major shape – I used to play mind games with older kids to get them to play with my little ones at the park.. what?

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Yea, how can you not look at them and smile.

 

Man Bags can be so Haute…

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Ethan. Marin County, California. October 2016.

Fine, Ethan is an artist, a professor, drives an old school VW van, has a beard, grew up in Kenya and pulls off a man bag beautifully…but don’t feel bad guys – you can do it too – even if you grew up in suburban Ohio, I believe in all of you, I really do.

Ethan’s handmade woven basket bag was a gift from his family who live in Nairobi, Kenya, where Ethan spent part of his childhood. These bags can be purchased on line, try to find a website where the crafters live in Africa and are making the money directly.

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High top Vans will always remind me of cool skater kids… and they haven’t lost that nostalgia, or style.

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This is style – Van high tops paired with a handmade Kenyan basket bag.

Men, Fitted Clothing is Haute. French Dudes know.

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Noe Valley Farmers Market. San Francisco. February 2015. iPhone shot.

Fashion Notes:  I knew this couple had to be French, and I was right, at least about the dad. He explained how he mostly wears one brand of clothing, J.Crew, www.jcrew.com. The reason he wears mostly J.Crew is because the clothing fits like French brands – slim and narrow.  I tell guys all the time, the narrower the better. Sunglasses, Ray Ban Wayfarers, www.rayban.com

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Men’s Tailoring: I can’t emphasize enough the importance of well fitted clothing for men. It doesn’t matter your size – it’s always better for clothing to fit narrower. Ralph Lauren gave his daughter Dylan advice a long time ago – when you feel like you’ve gained weight – wear your clothing even narrower, don’t bury yourself in baggy clothing, because it will make you look heavier. My own father wore his suits extremely narrow, and I spent a lot of my childhood sitting on the floor of his seamstresses’s floor playing with knitting needles. When it comes to casual clothing, it’s the same idea – jeans should fit VERY narrow, show off those strong legs guys!

 

Curl Doctor. LA Drop-Off. Haute & Famous Hair Stylist Papa.

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unnamedunnamedShai. Los Angeles, California. 2015.

Unless you have curly hair, you won’t relate to this at all. But curly hair people stick together, we can relate to the many, many awful hair cuts we’ve received. When I was a little girl, I had long, thick and knotty hair -So thick, I almost drowned from my hair blinding me while swimming.  I wish the former was one of my Mara exaggerations, but it’s actually true. I think that’s when I decided to chop that drowning hazard off, so I looked at some magazines for inspiration. My former self, decided to go with whatever the supermodels were sporting, because at 8 with a heap load of self-esteem (before it was slowly ripped away), I thought I looked very similar to the girls in the fashion rags.

But the issue my friends, was not me; a naive young girl.  The issue was with the hair stylist. How dare she not warn me of what curly, thick hair looks like when it’s short.  Who wouldn’t point out that the model in the fashion magazine I chose, actually had thin, straight and blonde hair – and a thin symmetrical face, I might add?  I was so little, I didn’t even care that after the haircut, people kept saying to my mom, “wow, you have four boys” – it took me a month to catch on to my change from girl to boy, merely from a pair scissor shears.

I grew my hair back (put a stop to all swimming activities), and really had no trauma from the incident. Back then, I had a great attitude about beauty, and rarely showered – so the fact that I looked like a boy, didn’t mean much.  But this incident is only a small example of the hair situations I’ve been involved, because of my curly/wavy hair.  And if I knew someone like Shai, the Curl Doctor, just maybe, just maybe – I could of avoided multiple awkward hair situations over the years.

Shai Amiel is a Los Angeles based stylist, a guru in the curly hair community – with the nickname “Curl Doctor” it’s no wonder Shai has curly hair groupies, including a long list of celebrities.  Shai is the owner and master cutter at Capella Salon in Studio City.  In addition to running this successful salon with his wife, Shai is a dad, who has lots of fun long boarding.

Fashion Notes: Shai loves hats and scarves..and he wears them quite well. He also works in lots of man jewelry – cool bracelets and necklaces..which I really dig. It’s tough for a guy to get away with wearing jewelry, but Shai makes it work like a charm. Please read below for the best tips for curls, Shai’s CurlMandments….beauty tips and wit  – love this dad! If you live in LA, check out Shai at http://www.capellasalon.com

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Haute Malibu. Actor-Surfer-Cowboy-Cool Dad at Drop-Off.

unnamed-6Rodger Halston. Dad. Actor. Malibu, California. December 2014.

Fashion Notes: Rodger, Shoes: Clarks, Jeans: Levis, Flannel: Abercrombie, Vest: One Star, Sunglasses: Ray Ban. Avalon, Kicks: Converse, Jeans: Joe’s Jeans, Vest: Pop Out, Tank Top and Back Pack: Roxy

About: Rodger and family live in Malibu, where he takes advantage of the California life style.  His talents are abundant…. Actor, Musician, Singer, Surfer, Skateboarder, Cowboy, Writer, Producer, Director, Motivational Speaker and DAD.  I don’t know what it means to be a cowboy, but it sounds pretty fun.

Hair: I mean can this dad get any cooler? Rodger is a great looking dude, with major style and an awesome beard.  I have this beard style philosophy  – it can’t be neat or overly trimmed. A beard I like, is more free spirited in its presentation.  A little messy and unruly, but only slightly…Rodger has perfected my beard ideal. The long, straight hair reminds me of late 70’s folk rock hair…it just fits this dad well, and man is he lucky!

Style: I love the fitted vest with a little plaid peaking though – -and the thick wrist cuff.  A great example for men on how to wear accessories. The rolled sleeve is a great way to add some masculinity to any look – especially when its plaid.

Film: Below is a photo of Rodger from his upcoming Universal Pictures film, Scorpion King Quest for Power.  Check out this stylin’ dad in his new film coming out in January.

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String Cheese in Your Flannel Pocket. Haute Prepared Dad.

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Mike. San Rafael, California. November 2014.

I love that Mike has a loose string cheese in the front pocket of his flannel.  How symbolic a metamorphosis for parents, I bet it wasn’t string cheese in that pocket 10 years ago, when Mike purchased the flannel at Old Navy.

Fashion Notes: Flannel: Old Navy, Jeans: Gap Raw Selvedge (Mike wears these often to break them in), Sunglasses: Gant (love these), School Boy Cap: From Mike’s late Father-in-Law, who was British, the hat is probably 50 years old! The company is called Lockhatters, and you can find them on line.  Shoes: Clark Wallabees, Mike has been wearing Clark’s since he was 5.

Mara’s Input: Personally, if I see anyone in Clark’s – I chase them.  What is it about these amazing shoes? They are intellectual – they are kind – they are nostalgic  – they are stylish.  When I see a man in Clark’s, I immediately assume a membership in Mensa (by the way, I had to look up the spelling, no need to let you people mock me).  And then I start asking them a lot of questions, to prove my ridiculous theory.  I wish all Professors and teachers had a uniform which included Clark’s, school boy caps and a loose fitted wool scarf.

About Mike:  Mike works for Mozilla, a non-profit that supports an open internet and is known for making the Firefox web browser. Additionally, he plays guitar and sings in the Indie rock band, The Wild Kindness, http://thewildkindness.bandcamp.com/

I think it’s awesome that so many people have passion in life – music is incredible.  Ted-ED  just put out a video detailing how playing music impacts your entire body – it actually makes you smarter, retain more information and physically works you out.  Mike and his crew recently moved out of San Francisco and into Marin County.

 

 

 

Soccer Dad Style. Men Tips on looking “Haute”.

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Loïc. Fairfax, California. October 2014.

Fashion Notes : T-shirt: H&M, Hat: Gypsy and Loïc, Jeans: G-Star.  I love how Loïc wears small accessories well – Being French, he learned about style in utero. But men take note – it’s all simple really with a flash of a leather cuff and a small string necklace.  A bright green shirt gives the face some color, and a cool hat is an instant fashion step-up. Being “trendy” is tough for any guy, but adding slight style is so easy – and we women appreciate a man with some style :) (for me it’s especially great, if it seems “unintentional”)

Loïc’s son was playing against my son Neal’s soccer team.  This family captured my attention with authentic Northern California free-spirited style. I wasn’t surprised to learn about their fashion company.

Loïc and his wife Gypsy are creative souls, designing environmentally conscious accessories.  Based in Arcata, California, Gypsy and Loïc is “on a mission to create fun and unique accessories made here in the USA from up-cycled and recycled fabrics.”  click on the link to check out their stuff:

http://www.gypsyandloic.com

 

Haute Brooklyn Family. Fanny Packs all Around at Drop-Off.

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Evan. Sage. Ashley and Oscar. Williamsburg, Brooklyn. October 2014.

Such a Haute Brooklyn family we have here!! Well, we all can agree, if they’re wearing fanny packs in Williamsburg, the comeback is real and hip.  After writing my article on the pros of the fanny pack, published in The Huffington Post Comedy section, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mara-menachem/i-love-fanny-packs-and-im_b_5791738.html (not sure why they thought it was funny, fanny packs are no joking matter), I received several lovely correspondence from people who agreed with my highly complicated break down of this throw back accessory.  One of the fans of my piece is Michael, the owner of Jaunt.  Jaunt creates stylish and functional fanny packs, locally in Brooklyn.

Michael explains his company, “Jaunt is a New York City fashion company that makes beautifully crafted fanny packs. Contrary to the traditional big and bulky fanny packs, Jaunt packs are slim, sleek, and meticulously designed with purposed pockets for only the bare essentials needed for adventures. The minimalist design of the Jaunt pack is meant to help “jaunters” be less bogged down with what what they are carrying so they can connect more with the moments at hand. “Walk Slow, Dance Fast” is the mantra, or soul, of the company”.

It seems to me that Jaunt is a trail blazer or shall I say fanny blazer – in bringing back this amazing accessory, without the poking fun – ya see Jaunt is, along with many in the fashion industry  – making fanny packs not only cool and hip, but affordable!! Check out Jaunt’s website, where a video shares Jaunt’s story – and you can see stylin’ music festival attendees sporting their fanny packs.  http://jauntshop.com

Fashion Notes: Dad: Fanny Pack: Pacha style Jaunt Pack, Shirt: Brooklyn Industries
Sage: Fanny Pack: Caro style Jaunt Pack, Pants: Leighton Alexander
Ashley: Hat: Vintage from 10 ft. Single by Stella Dallas, Baby Wrap: Gerisol, Leggings: L.A.M.B., Oscar: nununu outfit

Here are some photos from Jaunt’s website, wearing their stylish fanny packs at a music festival, including Michael, Jaunt’s owner:unnamed-15

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Punk Guitarist Papa. Sausalito Drop-Off.

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John. Dad. Musician. Record Lover. Sausalito, California. October 2014.

RECORDS: John adores records. Currently, he’s digging (I’m trying to be really cool here) his early King Crimson and Cheap Trick records. John continues to buy new music on Vinyl, because he loves the sound coming from a good ole’ record player. Now, John is not a hipster.  He’s been a musician since middle school, and a life long record lover.

CALI RAISED: I’ve witnessed his collection, and the man loves hardcore and punk.  I wasn’t surprised that John was raised in the Southern California surfing town of Dana Point – only because I picture that area being filled with punk tunes, skateboarding and surfing..and serious style influenced by the aforementioned.

SHREDDER: John became a guitar player in 6th grade. It was then, this blonde, Cali kid decided to buy a guitar in leu of a surf board. John continued to save his money and spend it all on records – of the hard rock and metal variety.  Soon after, John heard his first punk record and transformed into a punk and post-punk loving musician.

CAREER: After attending the prestigious Berklee School of Music, John formed a Boston based 90’s band called Pie, signed a recording deal and toured.  But and I quote John “Being averse to elective poverty, I wouldn’t tour regularly and pretty much squandered my opportunity in the music business.” Currently, John woks in advertising and technology, has a gorgeous family and plays in his band, Verst, www.facebook.com/verstmusic

FASHION NOTES: T-Shirt: Fender, Boots: Blundstones (John’s 4th pair), Sunglasses: Vintage 1980’s Ray Ban Wayfarers, Pants: Rhythm Clothing,

Haute Miami Heat. NYC Drop-Off.

DSC_2287New York City. Fifth Avenue. September 2014.

Love this dad’s Miami Heat hat..see Miami is “cool” even in NYC. And I kind of dig with both ears pierced..

These sneakers are probably a brand I should know, but I don’t..I didn’t have time to ask him… Men who love sneakers spend serious money on them. Love how his daughter is posing like a pro…