About

Welcome to my Blog

  • What do you get when you take a southern gal out of Texas and move her to California? A whole new beginning.
  • What happens when you mix a southern gal with the big city? You get Lemonade to Lace…
  • What is Lemonade? Well….It’s southern. It’s simple. It’s refreshing. It’s happiness. It’s a throwback in time to the basics in life. It’s a great big smile.
  • What is Lace? It is feminine. It is sophisticated. It is elegant. It is design. It is a bunch of woven threads leading to all things beautiful.
  • I hope you enjoy reading my blog filled with ideas, inspirations and tidbits of information relevant to style and your lifestyle.

           xx Barbara

           

 

APRIL SHOWERS

A few months ago I was at my niece's bridal shower in Texas and believe it or not, there were ...
Read More

GINGER’S BRISKET

GINGER’S BRISKET Just the smell of this brisket in the oven takes me back to my childhood home and my ...
Read More

AUNT REBA’S MATZO KUGEL

Stirring up matzos for this recipe also stirs up fond memories of our family seders at my in-laws, Inez and ...
Read More

CHOCOLATE TOFFEE MATZO CRUNCH

Some people call this recipe Matzo Crack because it’s “crackly like toffee” but it’s also highly addictive. Dangerously buttery, crisp, ...
Read More

MINT MATCHA LEMONADE

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, check out the recipe below courtesy of Cori Hertz. This green sparkling drink ...
Read More

8 Pairs of Shoes That Every Woman Needs In Her Closet

Everyone who knows me well knows that I’m a shoe lover and I’m always searching for the perfect pair of ...
Read More
Beauty, Pretty Things, Random Things

APRIL SHOWERS

A few months ago I was at my niece’s bridal shower in Texas and believe it or not, there were 30 hostesses giving the luncheon (which means 30 names on the actual invitation!) It may sound difficult to co-host an event with 30 people, but once you learn a few tricks, it’s actually easier. I know for sure my Houston friends have this system of co-hosting down because they do it with perfection all the time.

When my son got engaged, I got many calls from friends sending love and congratulations. Soon after that initial phone call, many called back and asked to be put on “the list” to entertain. This is a tradition across the south and midwest. Our family and friends came together to make sure my son and his fiancee were “showered with love”. They offered to entertain by either hosting a bridal shower or an engagement party. Everyone wanted to host something to help create more room for love and celebration.

Over the years, I’ve co-hosted many of these celebrations for both family and friends and I’ve learned what makes an event memorable. Here are some of my favorite tips and ideas for a fun and flawless bridal shower.

Ask How Many?
Before you can begin to plan, It’s important to get an idea from the Bride, Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom how many guests they’d like to invite to the shower. Will this be the bride’s only shower or party or will there be a few? Determine how many hostesses will be giving the event. The answers to these questions will help you determine if it will be an intimate gathering or larger event.

Pick Your Venue
Once you determine the number of guests, the venue often falls into place quite naturally.  If it’s a smaller shower, one of the hostesses might offer her home while a larger guest list may require outsourcing to a restaurant. Once you’ve settled on the venue and size of your party, your group can then decide how to proceed.

Stick To A Budget
Most people usually have a budget when it comes to entertaining. It’s normally less expensive to entertain at home whether you cook, order in, or have the party catered. However, an at home event may become expensive if you need to rent chairs, tables, china and tablecloths. Restaurants have their own hidden expenses; many restaurants have a minimum guest requirement if you are requesting a private room. When researching restaurant options, be ahead of the game and ask questions to find out all additional costs they may charge for private events. If there are a lot of other hostesses sharing the costs of the event, having the shower at a restaurant might make sense and be cost-effective. Every scenario is different so do your research!

Delegation is everything
It’s the norm that one of the hostesses (usually a close friend of the bride or groom’s mother) takes charge of the event. She secures a date from the bride and sends out an initial email asking the other hostesses how they’d like to help and what they’d like to help with. People offer to do different jobs like ordering the invitations, addressing and stamping the envelopes, choosing centerpieces, buying the bridal gift and choosing the party favors. The different duties and jobs are divvied up amongst everyone. The hostesses split all expenses, and it works out beautifully.

 Know Your Bride
Every bride is unique and if you tailor the experience to her, it will be all the more meaningful. My daughter-in-law Jayme loves shoes and the color pink. For her bridal shower in Houston, the hostesses carried out that theme just for her. From the invitations to the cake, the flowers, the napkins and the party favors; everything was personalized and picked out just for Jayme!


Just Chip In
Sometimes the event is happening out of town and you can’t be there to organize or help with the nitty gritty. If this is the case, it’s ok to leave the specifics to the local hostesses. They will appreciate you “chipping in.”  When the tables are turned and the event is in your hometown, you can take more responsibility…it all evens out in the end!

Play Games
When you have a more intimate shower, games are a great way to break the ice between guests and a fun way to pass the time. A few personal favorites are wedding jeopardy or trivia, wedding bingo, and heads up. For instructions and even more ideas, check here. Pinterest is full of great ones and is my go-to for great bridal shower games.

Shower Gift For The Bride
The hostesses usually go in together and get a nice shower gift for the bride. Some ideas include pieces from her Bridal Registry like place settings of her everyday china, pots and pans that she registered for or a special kitchen appliance that she’s been wanting.

Hostess Gift
It’s also customary for the bride to give a hostess gift to each person hosting the shower or luncheon. Some examples of this are a personalized memo pad or stationery, monogrammed napkins or gift enclosure cards, a beautiful candle, or an accessory for entertaining like a set of appetizer spreaders.

Click here Barbara’s Bridal List to download my personal checklist for a flawless event.

 

Random Things, Yummy Things

GINGER’S BRISKET

GINGER’S BRISKET

Just the smell of this brisket in the oven takes me back to my childhood home and my mom’s delicious cooking. This brisket is pure comfort food that continues to be a staple around my family’s dining room table not only during Passover but at other gatherings throughout the year.

Here is my mama Ginger’s foolproof recipe:

Ginger’s Brisket

Ingredients:

3 – 4-lb. brisket (buy only the flat part of the brisket; have the butcher trim off the fat
but leave a little on top so that when you cook it, it’s not chewy and tough)

1 jar of Heinz chili sauce

1 pkg of Liptons dry onion soup

Method:

Rinse off the meat and pat it dry with a paper towel. Smear the chili sauce and the dry onion soup on the top and bottom of the brisket. Leave it in the fridge overnight to season and marinate. Wrap the entire brisket up airtight in heavy duty foil and put it in a shallow roaster. Cook 1 hr. per pound at 250 – 275 degrees.

The pan should come out clean, then let the brisket cool down to room temperature and refrigerate overnight. Slice it when cold.

Enjoy!

And by the way, if you’re cooking for a large party, you can easily make 2 briskets at a time. Just double the recipe!

 

Random Things, Yummy Things

AUNT REBA’S MATZO KUGEL

Stirring up matzos for this recipe also stirs up fond memories of our family seders at my in-laws, Inez and Maurice’s home with all the kids, cousins and Aunt Reba’s delicious matzo kugel. This recipe adds just that special touch of sweetness to the meal. If you’re a fan of sweet kugel, you’re gonna love this!

Ingredients:

3 Matzos (soaked in cold water)
3 Eggs, separated
½ C Sugar
½ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Cinnamon
3 Tbsp. Canola Oil
2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and sliced
1 Lemon, zested
¼ C Pecans, chopped
½ C Raisins

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Separate eggs. Beat egg yolks and add salt, sugar and cinnamon.
Drain matzos and mix into egg yolk mixture. Add 3 tablespoons oil.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture.

Grease pan. Pour half of mixture into pan;
Slice apples and add 1 tablespoon grated rind of 1 lemon on top of the mixture.

Add nuts and raisins. Pour rest of mixture in pan.

Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes in an 8 X 8 pan. Double the recipe for a 9 X 13 pan.

Enjoy!

 

Random Things, Yummy Things

CHOCOLATE TOFFEE MATZO CRUNCH

Some people call this recipe Matzo Crack because it’s “crackly like toffee” but it’s also highly addictive. Dangerously buttery, crisp, sweet and salty, you’ll be surprised at how much it resembles the typical toffee or brittle. A total yumfest and it’s so easy!!

Ingredients:

4 – 6 unsalted matzos
1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 C firmly packed brown sugar
1-½ C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 C toasted chopped almonds, walnuts, pecans

Method:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet completely with foil. Cover the foil completely with parchment paper. This step will save you a lot on clean up time because the mixture becomes sticky during baking.

Line your prepared cookie sheet with the sheets of matzos. Cut any extra pieces, as required, to fit any open spaces.

In a 3-quart heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter and the brown sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil (about 2 to 4 minutes). Boil for 3 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and pour over the matzos, covering completely.

Place the cookie sheet in the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes, checking every few minutes to make sure the mixture is not burning (if it seems to be browning too quickly, remove the pan from the oven, lover the heat to 325 degrees and replace the pan in the oven.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle immediately with the chocolate chips. Let stand for 5 minutes, then spread the melted chocolate chips evenly across caramel. An offset firm spatula works great here. While the melted chocolate is still warm, sprinkle with toasted chopped nuts or flaked sea salt. (If nut allergies are an issue, sprinkles or shredded coconut are other great options.) Put the pan in the freezer until it’s set. Break the matzos into pieces (all different shapes).

Can be made in advance and stored in a ziploc bag in the freezer. I make this all year long – not just at Passover!

Enjoy!

 

Random Things, Yummy Things

MINT MATCHA LEMONADE

 

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, check out the recipe below courtesy of Cori Hertz. This green sparkling drink is inspired by the Matcha Sparklers at Shuhari Matcha Cafe on Abbot Kinney in Venice, CA. They make a mint matcha drink and a version with Yuzu as well. For the rare cold day in LA – they also make amazing Matcha Lattes! Try it – You’ll love it!!

Mint Matcha Lemonade

Ingredients:

1 – 2 Lemons, small

¼ tsp. Matcha powder

2-3 Mint leaves

2 T Sugar (can substitute 2 packets stevia for calorie free version)

¾ C Sparkling water

¼ C Water, boiled

Method:

Dissolve the matcha powder and sugar in the hot water. Chop or tear the mint leaves and add to the hot water. Stir and let the mixture sit for a few minutes. Cut and juice your lemon, removing seeds, and add to the mixture. Add ice and chilled sparkling water. Adjust lemon or sugar as needed to your taste. Enjoy!

 

Beauty, Fashion, Pretty Things, Random Things

8 Pairs of Shoes That Every Woman Needs In Her Closet

Everyone who knows me well knows that I’m a shoe lover and I’m always searching for the perfect pair of shoes that have the two C’s. They must be Cute and they must be Comfortable, and when I can score on both of these, I truly feel like I’ve hit the jackpot.

The right pair of shoes can make or break your whole day. Shoes can make you feel great when they pull your outfit together, or they can make you miserable forcing you to limp around town in pain. It’s not until we actually wear a new pair of shoes that we realize whether the shoes are a big hit or a big mistake. I’m sure we’re all guilty of buying a pair for a special event that are perfect for that special outfit, but by the end of the night you just want to chuck them in the garbage because your feet are killing you.

Over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that there are 8 “must have” styles that every gal needs in her closet. Once you find the right pair of each – both cute and comfortable – you’ll never need to shop for shoes again, but don’t let that stop you!

A feminine and classic pair of black pumps are a must for everyone. This is the LBD of shoes.  They are perfect to dress up jeans and a blazer and are chic enough to wear with almost any dress. Make sure to seek out a comfortable pair with a heel that is not too high to wear during the day, but high enough to wear out on the town at night. If you want to splurge on the ultimate classic black pump, you can’t go wrong with the Manolo Blahnik BB, the Jimmy Choo Romy and the Stuart Weitzman Nouveau. Kate Spade, J. Crew and Aldo make some great-looking shoes on the affordable side as well.

A great-looking pair of ballet flats can make the most casual pair of cropped jeans and  oversized men’s button down shirt look incredibly chic. Flats are a practical shoe for traveling and daytime wear. J.Crew, Chanel and Chloe all make great pairs and you will find a range of styles, colors, and prices. Repetto, an actual ballet company, also makes a good looking flat.

Sneakers are not so much a “want” purchase as they are a “NEED” purchase. Everyone needs at least one pair of comfortable and classic sneakers. If you seek out a fashionable pair, they can take you beyond your morning workout as well.  My favorite sneakers for a real workout are Asics. Then I have a more fashionable pair for those days I’m feeling “feh” or have a million things to get done. Nike, Adidas, Converse and Superga all make good looking shoes that won’t break the bank, while at the same time there are many brands of designer sneakers in upscale retail stores that are incredibly pricey.

Wedges are the most comfortable heels you can buy. They are the perfect pair to keep you looking great and feeling tall, or tall-er. If you’re a fan of the classic style, you’re in for a treat with a pair of Stuart Weitzman’s but other brands that offer great options are Jimmy Choo, Prada and Dolce Vita.

Flat sandals are a summer favorite when it’s hot outside and your feet just want to be bare. There is a huge variety of styles and colors to choose from, and it’s always fun to pick out a trendy pair when the weather warms up in spring. Some go-to brands for comfortable and stylish sandals are Birkenstock (most of them slides with the buckled double strap), Manolo Blahnik, Sam Edelman and Bandolino.

Heeled sandals can be worn day or night and (in California at least) they are not simply just for summer. The right heeled sandal can take you from casual to more formal occasions depending on the style. Stuart Weitzman has some great styles as do Loeffler Randall, Jimmy Choo, Prada and Manolo Blahnik.

Chelsea Boots are a great option to a flat shoe especially if you want to wear socks. They’re classic and a little bit tomboyish but are “on point” when worn with a pair of jeans and a cashmere sweater. It’s actually my favorite accessory once the weather cools down. I would recommend checking out Isabel Marant, Alexander Wang, Saint Laurent and Sam Edelman.

No matter if it’s open or closed toe, the heeled bootie is the perfect shoe for winter, spring or fall and a night on the town. Paired with skinny jeans and a chunky sweater or a sweater dress and tights, this boot is a dressier option than the Chelsea boot. Check out options from Chloe, Jimmy Choo, Gianvito Rossi and Rag and Bone. I’m a huge fan of the open toed Mason Margiella bootie; they’re Cute and Comfortable (the 2 C’s) and I can walk for miles in them and still be a happy camper.

What do you fashionistas think of this list? Did I miss a pair that you think should have made my list? What are your favorite shoes and why? Let me know in the comments.

Beauty, Pretty Things

FLOWER POWER

A beautiful bouquet is the perfect way to say ‘Thank you’, ‘Get well’, ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I love you’. Cut flowers make us feel great, put a smile on our faces and help us celebrate special occasions. Flower lovers, rejoice! Valentine’s Day is your day and it’s almost upon us!

Flowers are among the most popular gifts given on Valentine’s Day. For every florist in the country, it’s their “make it” or “break it” time of year. Receiving a bouquet of flowers any time of year is joyful. But on this day, it means a bit more: it’s a traditional expression of love and romance.

Anyone receiving a beautiful flower bouquet knows that nothing ruins the joy of a beautiful fresh flower arrangement more, than having it wilt after only a couple of days. From the time a blossom is cut from the plant, the slow decline of the bloom begins. An important thing to be aware of: a flower’s purchase price doesn’t guarantee its lasting power. I’ve experienced this problem more than once, so I’ve become a little more picky when it comes to choosing cut flowers for my home or as a gift.

My go-to flower for my home is the Phaleonopsis Orchid plant because I can keep it alive for about 2 months depending upon the time of year. I also have good luck with the cut Dendrobium Orchids (orchid sprays). These last about 3 weeks, which for cut flowers, is a long time and they look beautiful in any kind of vase. My go-to color is white for all orchids and the thing that’s wonderful is these flowers work in both traditional and contemporary settings.

Roses are always a top choice for people and especially for Valentine’s Day but sad as it is, the longevity of cut roses is only 3 – 7 days. There are many varieties, sizes and colors to choose from and the fragrant roses – well they just speak for themselves.

The Peony is my favorite flower. Its blooming period is very short and, like the old saying goes, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Late spring is the best time of year to find peonies and luckily, peonies last about 2 weeks. If you live in LA, Trader Joe’s has an amazing selection of peonies when they’re in season at the best price. I like buying a bouquet of both blooms and buds so that after the blooming stems die, I still have the blossoming buds to enjoy.

Tips for keeping flowers alive:

  1. Trim the stem of all cut flowers at a 45 degree angle before you put them in a vase. Don’t use scissors. They can squish and damage the end of the stem which can prevent them from absorbing the water in the vase. Use a sharp knife instead. For flowers with thicker stems, use garden shears. Orchid stems need to be trimmed every day or every other day.
  2. When shopping for roses, squeeze the rose where the petals meet the stem. If it’s firm, the roses are fresh. If it’s soft, don’t buy them. The roses are old.
  3. Always use a clean vase that has been rinsed well and is free from chemicals. Change the water in the vase every day or every other day. Cool water is best. If you’re not willing to drink the water that’s in there, why would your flowers want to?
  4. Don’t put the vase of any flowers close to an A/C vent or near a window with direct sunlight. Indirect sunlight is best. Also, a room temperature of around 70 degrees is ideal for most flowers.
  5. The best way to water an orchid plant that is not in a pot is to put 3 ice cubes under the leaves once a week or when the plant is dry. If the orchid plant is in a pot with drainage holes at the bottom, running the plant under cool water for 15 seconds works well but make sure to avoid the core at the center of the plant. Also make sure to let all the water drain out before placing the pot back in the saucer.
  6. For orchid stems that have multiple blooms or buds, remove the dead ones to restore energy and growth back to the stem with the remaining flower.
  7. With all of the lily varieties, remove the pollen pods when the lilies begin to bloom to extend its life and to remove staining. Use paper towels or gloves when removing as the brown powder will stain your hands.

The next time you buy fresh flowers or get a beautiful Valentine’s Day bouquet from that very special person, feel the love, enjoy its beauty and rejoice in the fact that you know what it takes to have flower power.

 

Yummy Things

BETTER THAN SEX PIE

I tried this pie for the first time at a dinner party in Dallas, Texas and for me it was love at first bite. This dessert is crispy on the top, gooey in the middle and so yummy. It literally melts in your mouth and is best topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to cut the richness. I couldn’t leave that dinner party without the recipe, so here goes…..

BETTER THAN SEX PIE

Serves 8

Ingredients:

9-½” pie crust

3 large eggs – lightly beaten

1-½ cup sugar

6 tbsp butter melted and cooled

2 tsp vanilla extract

¾ cup flour

1-½ cup semi-sweet chocolate mini chips

1-½ cup chopped walnuts

Method:

Beat together your butter and sugar until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until just combined. Mix in flour then fold in chips and walnuts. Pour combined ingredients into the crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour – 1 hr. 5 min. Let it cool. Chill 6 hours or overnight.

Take the pie out of the fridge midday and let it stand until it gets to room temperature. To serve warm: cover the top of the pie with foil and bake at 250 degrees for 10 – 15  minutes.  Top with vanilla ice cream, creme de cocoa and chocolate shavings.

This recipe is a great one for entertaining. It can be made the night before a dinner party and it’s oh so easy! In other words, this dessert is a sweet ending……..memorable and divine! You decide if the pie’s name holds true…..(wink, wink.)

Beauty, Pretty Things

The Nose Knows

A spritz here, a spray there and a little dab will do when it comes to perfume and cologne. Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and fragrances are one of the most popular gifts bought for sweethearts around the world. This bit of feminine charm is a great way to showcase your personality and style and can actually be your symbolic trait that people remember you by. In other words, the nose knows.

This past summer I traveled to London. One afternoon when I was browsing around at Harrod’s department store, I accidentally took the wrong set of elevators and wound up in the Salon de Parfum on the 6th floor. There were little perfume boutiques in the salon with exclusive brands that I had never heard of before. Some of these exclusive brands even displayed crystal vats of ancient perfume oils that were hundreds of years old.  It was totally unintentional but this wrong turn ended up being a sensory overload, a sweet smelling secret getaway and an educational experience all in one! The sales team explained to me the difference between perfume, eau de parfum, eau de toilette and cologne and also explained that fragrances are classified by the concentration of essence oils.

Here is a handy breakdown:

Perfume – between 15 – 25% perfume oil and between 85 – 75% alcohol/water

Eau de Parfum – between 8 – 15% perfume oil and between 92 – 85% alcohol/water

Eau de Toilette  – between 4 – 10% perfume oil and between 96 – 90% alcohol/water

Cologne – between 2 – 5% perfume oil and between 85 – 75% alcohol/water

The quality of the fragrance oils (not the concentrations) determine how strong and how long a fragrance is going to last. Because the formulations differ, an Eau de Parfum of a certain fragrance will not smell exactly like the Eau de Toilette version with the same name. Also, an eau de parfum and perfume will last longer than eau de cologne or eau de toilette. After all these years of wearing perfume, it was thrilling to learn something new about scent. Here are some other tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years:

  1. Rub Vaseline on your pulse points before spraying your perfume and the scent will last longer than if you spray it on dry skin. Your pulse points are behind your ears, on your neck, inside your wrist, inside your elbow and behind your knees.
  2. Don’t rub your wrists together after spraying your perfume. Your fragrance won’t last as long because the top notes disappear faster.
  3. Apply an unscented lotion before spraying on your fragrance. Oily skin retains fragrances longer.
  4. For a lighter scent, spray the fragrance into the air and walk through the mist. When  you don’t want the scent to be quite so strong, this will leave you with just a hint of fragrance evenly distributed around your body.
  5. Lightly spray some perfume on your hairbrush and brush your hair. Be careful though because too much can dry out your hair.
  6. Don’t store your perfume in the bathroom. The humidity will break down the perfume oils. Tip: Store it in your bedroom instead.
  7. After you spray the scent, wait until it dries before you get dressed. Otherwise, it will rub off when you put on your clothes.

If you choose to layer your perfumes just be careful not to layer more than 2 perfumes at a time. You don’t want people to smell you on the other side of town and remember, the nose knows.

 

Fashion

The Perfect Workout Legging

It’s 2017 (big yay!) and at the beginning of the new year comes a whole list of popular and trending New Year’s resolutions. Eating healthier and getting in shape are always close to the top of that list and in the past, it has been at the top of mine as well. Come January 1st, after the big holiday food fest, the gyms are all overcrowded and exercise classes are full.

Whether you’re a fan of spinning, jogging, crossfit, pilates or yoga, the right exercise gear for each type of workout is essential. With so many brands and styles out there, it can be overwhelming to figure out what to invest in. One of the challenges that I always have is trying to find the perfect pair of workout leggings that both look and feel good on my body.

Alo Yoga, Athleta, lululemon and Nike (in alphabetical order) all have stores on the westside of Los Angeles in the neighborhoods that I frequent. They have an online presence which makes it easy, but I like the fact that I can go to the actual stores to to try on the items first. Just like shopping for a new bathing suit, I’d much rather shop in the stores to find the best style with the best fit before I shop for leggings online. Then, when I fall in love with a pair I can reorder another whenever I need to online. I tested all these brands for fashionability, price, comfort and utility. Read on to find your perfect pair!

Fashionability: 5/5 score reserved for trendiest pair; most brunch worthy workout wear.

Comfort: 5/5 score reserved for comfiest pair; most couch worthy on a lazy Sunday.

Utility: 5/5 score reserved for best performing pair; perfect for any marathon workout.

Price: Here I’ll give you the full range the brand charges for leggings.

Alo Yoga – Alo Yoga makes leggings that are super chic and incredibly trendy. The latest styles have slashes and holes that give them an ultra edgy look. Alo makes high fashion exercise wear that will get you from your workout to your brunch out. Alo’s leggings are adorable and flattering – but if comfort is your priority, these are not your best bet.

Fashionability: 5/5

Price: $78 – $125

Comfort: 2/5

Utility: 3/5


Athleta
– This line is tops when it comes to price. Currently there are coupons on the website for an extra 20% off on all sale items. Since this line is part of the GAP, Banana Republic and Old Navy group, they always have good sales. The prints are cute and some styles feature “Sculptek”, Athleta’s new compression fabric that offers not only great support, but also helps to hold you in in all the right places.

Fashionability: 4/5

Price: $89 – $108

Comfort: 4/5

Utility: 4/5

Nike – For hardcore outdoor sports like jogging and hiking, the Nike leggings are hard to beat! The zip pockets come in handy and the Dri-Fit fabrics help to keep you dry when exercising outdoors as it enhances breathability. There’s a higher percentage of spandex in these leggings as well, which adds more stretch, promotes mobility, and provides better support. Some of the styles have fabric so smooth that it feels like you’re wearing a second skin. Cool and comfy!

Fashionability: 3/5

Price: $60 – $115

Comfort: 4/5

Utility: 5/5

lululemon – For me, lululemon’s leggings are my absolute favorite, and when it comes to comfort, this brand is hard to beat. I love them for pilates, walking, yoga and all other kinds of moderate workouts. These leggings suck me in right where I need it and when it comes to lifting the booty and slimming the thighs, these rock. I like the high rise “Wunder Under” crop style the best because not only is the style flattering but the length is also perfect for my short stature. It just hits me at that perfect spot. Although the lululemon stores offer free hemming it’s pretty great to not have to deal with it.

Fashionability: 3/5

Price: $88 – $128 (with one pair coming in at $298!)

Comfort: 5/5

Utility: 4/5

The other brands to keep a look out for are Sweaty Betty and Rese athletic wear. Currently Sweaty Betty has locations in London, New York and right around the corner from me in Santa Monica. The styles and prints are bright, super cute and have an “uptown” look. The fabrics are comfortable and provide the right amount of stretch as well. The other brand to keep an eye on is Rese which has so many fashionable styles, a great website and plenty of online sales.

In the fitness wear world, it’s “game on.” On your mark. Get set. Go and check these stores out to look and feel your best when you hit the gym in 2017. Happy New Year!