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Lorraine is a style obsessed mama to two young kids, a wife to a supportive husband and a family photographer. Lorraine graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2006, with a degree in advertising photography. She enjoys quiet moments, silly kids, clothes, shoes, coffee and a little wine too. Can't get enough of her here on FredParent? Check out her personal blog: Rain in Style.

 

Rain in Style

Who's Watching: A Discussion About Social Media

For this week, I want to take a step back and talk about social media. Specifically, how I have come to handle juggling my social media presence and protecting my kids. So let’s chat a little bit about what it means to not only be a style blogger, who relies on social media outlets to promote herself, but to also be a mom.

My Instagram account has rapidly gained followers since I started this blogging gig. And, while I don’t have a ton of followers, I have way more than I did when I first started. Back in my early days of IG, my posts were all about my kids. If not my kids, it was nature photos, or places we visited. It was great for just catching snaps of my kids...and having them in one place, like a story board of their little lives. I didn’t necessarily worry about it back then when I had like 10 followers, all of whom I personally knew. Currently, I have 600 followers and 4,509 posts. Now, that’s not a huge following, but that’s 590 more people then I used to have and I probably only know maybe 20 personally. Everyday the number of followers grows. And everyday I wonder, who’s watching.

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And, honestly, there is no way to know. What I can tell you is that i’ve seen some profiles of people that follow me, and what they post is not something that I want to be involved with, so they are blocked, immediately. Faster then you can say Instagram. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t more. My IG profile is public, anyone can see it. For me and my social media presence, it has to be, as I rely heavily on social media to promote my brand. Anyone can follow me, although I can remove them and block.

Anyone can message me. And some do. Some are honest inquires, some are sales pitches, some are notes from friends... and then there’s the "others". It’s the "others" that worry me sometimes. When I start getting messages requesting that I smash bugs in my heels, or asking me how soft my boots are on the inside, or asking me about my feet, or what I wear to bed...these are the others that cloud my vision. These are the "others" that have turned me. Like a nuclear fallout shelter..I am near capapcity.  

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So what do I do? Recently, I started noticing that I haven’t been posting images of my kids on Instagram. I don’t remember when I stopped, and I don’t think it was intentional at first. Maybe subconsciously I thought it was the best way to protect them. And I think it is, at least for me, for right now.

I can’t shield them from the craziness of life forever, I’ve never believed that that’s the right way. I have always talked honestly but gently to them about adult matters. I’ve even talked to them about my job, and that I have to be conscious about what I post online, hoping to teach them early about using social media correctly and smartly. But, do I want the “others” seeing my kids? Not if I have a way to prevent it. I’ve put myself in a position to be attracting “others”, whether they are devious or not. I’ve accepted that, sort of. However, my kids didn’t. It alarms me to think that if these are the messages that I get what kind of messages do I not get, and do these involve my kids. If these distasteful profiles are representative of those bold enough to put themselves out there and follow me...who is watching without the bold outreach? Who's watching from the side lines? 

Then there is Facebook, which is a little bit different. On Facebook, I have separate accounts. I have a business page for my photography, a style page for Rain In Style and I have my personal page. Both business pages are public, but not my personal page. On my personal page, you have to request to be my “friend” and to be able to see what’s on my page. Yes, I have received random friend requests from people that I do not know. Just recently, it was some sort of "service" page that someone had set up...I don't even want to discuss it on here. Of course those are denied, but so are seemingly regular people's friend requests. Sometimes I apologize to people for not accepting their friend requests, but really I'm not sorry.  My personal Facebook page will remain closed to anyone that I do not know.  There are ways to follow my style adventures, and my photo business that are separate from my personal page. Sometimes, I find myself seeking solace in that personal space, even though nothing online is ever really "personal", is it?

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There are days when I have to block numerous people, on both social media channels, and I sort of feel like this photo...looking over my shoulder, trying to detemine who is actually watching.  Sometimes I feel like completely giving up on this blogging thing, that the craziness of the social media world isn't worth it.  Like I want to go back inside that fallout shelter and let the world just be. But, in the end, I choose to keep going. That's part of the social media lesson, especially for my kids. I can shelter them for a little while, but eventually the world will open up, the crazy will come in, and like the fallout shelter...we must be prepared.  

 

So, for now, I will continue to discuss the do's and dont's of social media with my kids, while excluding them from it. I've told them that I am careful not to post anything showing my address and never anything involving nudity, or anything purposefully hurtful to others.  In another post, I will talk about how sometimes social media has not just alarmed me, but has dulled me. There is a part of social media that can be defeating and can crush your confidence. That's a topic worthy of its own post, so be on the lookout for that. Until then, I encourage a discussion about how you all handle social media and your kids.  What about older kids? Has anyone had run ins with questionable people?   

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Fall Layers

I’m back, spreading my fall joy everywhere! Have you seen me around town all bundled up? LOL. It’s true. But the weather has been kind of fall-like recently. At least in the mornings it has. So here’s a question, how do we bridge the transition from season to season? When it is cold in the mornings but warm in the afternoons? 

Layers. But let’s talk about stylish layers, and using them to not just keep warm, but also to add interest. A few weekends ago, I was downtown. I know surprising right? The kids were hunting for rock; it’s something that they love to do. It was chilly in the morning, but was supposed to warm up in the afternoon...typical for fall around here. So I took it as a great opportunity to do a few photos for this post. This outfit is also one of my top 5 fall outfits (which I will talk about in another post).

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By taking a basic dress, and adding layers to it, I was able to bundle up when cold, but then remove the layers when it warmed up. Try using a fitted jacket and scarf over a dress. This scarf... I know! I posted about it last week, here, but it's from Grace and Lace, and you need to get it. The colors in it are perfect for fall.

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Also mix your textures, it adds interest. My faux leather jacket, scarf and dress are all different textures. And then there’s my boots... yes, stylish friends, my over the knee boots, I will use the acronym OTK. They are also a different texture - these are like a faux suede. I got them at DSW last year. I saw them there again recently, or find them online, here. OTK boots are great for wearing with a dress, or jeans. I will talk about different ways to style them in a different post. For this post, they were a great way for me to be able to transition this outfit from chilly in the morning to warm in the afternoon.

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I changed my shoes, took off the jacket and scarf, and magically it became an entirely different outfit. And, yes I could have worn regular black booties with tights in the morning, but I find it easier to change my shoes while out and about, then trying to take tights off discreetly. That’s probably because I am like the least sly person ever. LOL. #truth

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And then there’s another added interest for when I took my scarf off - wear a long necklace under your scarf. That way when you take the scarf off, you aren’t loosing an interesting piece of your outfit, you are simply changing the focus. Genious. Except, I forgot to take my earrings out. I usually don't wear big earrings with a necklace. But, I don't hate it.  

 

So come on and join me in welcoming fall.  If I see you around town bundled up and looking stylish, I will smile and introduce myself...and probably ask where you got your outfit. Then we could go for coffee!

 

Be on the lookout for upcoming posts about how I've decided to handle my social media presence and wanting to protect my kids, and more fall outfit ideas! Plaid, vests, scarves, boots vs booties, and so much more.   

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Let's Fall In Love With Fall Fashion

Oh, I know I had said that I would discuss date night stuff this week, but I got distracted. If you missed last week's post, it's an important read. Find it here. I was going to do part two of that post for this week, but then this week has felt like fall, sooooo...fall it is! There were even pumpkins at Wegmans today; I took it as a sign.

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I love fall fashion, that’s no secret. For this week I thought I’d write about how to take a fall staple, an olive jacket, and style it three ways. In fact I like this format so much, I’m going to do a few more like this, maybe plaid next week?

I have a couple of olive jackets. I know you’re shocked. Why do I have more than one? They are different enough that I decided to keep both - I’m style crazy like that. For this post I will focus on the one that I just got at Target. That way, if you fall in love with it you can go get one! Target actually asked to use a few of my images from this shoot; it’s very exciting! You can see them here and here. What I love about this jacket, is the embroidered sleeves, which makes it different, and it ties at the waist. It fits true to size, and the sleeves aren't tight, which is a bonus for my muscular arms...LOL.  Find it at Target, here.

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So, what to wear with it? Olive pairs well with lots of colors since it’s a neutral. My favorite thing is to pair with an olive jacket is a white and black striped dress and booties. Also, with leopard pattern shoes. Let's look at three different ways to wear it, with different color schemes.  I want to start with my favorite outfit of the three. In this outfit, I did a bit of pattern mixing. The floral on the jacket, the plaid on the scarf and my most favorite leopard shoes.

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The jacket is from Target, of course. Gind it here. My scarf is from Grace and Lace, here. Ladies, GET THIS SCARF NOW. I’m not kidding. It will sell out, and I get so many questions about it. It has a toggle on it so it can double as a poncho. It’s large, so I will show you how to tie it, in another post. Why are you still reading? GO GET THIS SCARF. Then come back and finish the post. LOL. My shoes are from DSW a year or so ago; they are BCBGeneration. I tried to find them to post the link, but they aren't available anymore.  I will keep searching for a link to a similar pair.  I love these shoes, so it's worth the hunt. My jeans are Hudson jeans. I found them on Thredup, but Nordstrom sells them, here.

Second outfit...and yes I did change in public. It was discreet, no worries. This time I went with a white and black dress. This one is by H&M, and it's similar to this one, here, but I don't see the striped version. My booties are Steven by Steve Madden. I found them on Thredup, but I will search for them elsewhere and report back.  They are my current favs...in booties. 

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Third outfit. Brings me back to pairing it with jeans, this time black. Now, some people might not think burgundy and olive go together, but they do. Especially since there is burgundy in the embroidery. These booties are burgundy (although they photographed more purple). I wasn’t entirely sure if I liked how they photographed, so I also put my leopard shoes back on for a few shots. Because, you know, I have to have options! These jeans are Adriano Goldschmied, of course from Thredup.  My burgundy booties are JustFab and of course the same leopard shoes.  

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So what do you think?  Ready to grab some pumpkins wearing a super cute olive jacket?  Too soon for pumpkins??? Show me how you wear your jackets and if you have any amazing recipes for pumpkin stuff, send those too.  

 

-xo

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A Story About Compliments

Date nights. I love them. My husband and I try to go out at least once a month for a date night. We are fortunate that his parents live close by and since we can drop the kids over there to spend the night, sometimes our date night turns into a date weekend. It has proven to be just what we need, in an often stressful everyday life with young kids.

Well, that’s all well and good, but what does this have to do with style? To answer that, I think I will split this post into two parts. This week, I want to talk about a situation that happened while we were out on our recent date night. Next week, I will talk about what I wear for date nights, where we typically go, etc. Let me begin with Saturday morning.

My husband was supposed to take the kids to the grandparents' house in the morning, and then we were going to go out alone, to shop for a few things that he needs. But, plans changed when he got a call from work...they needed him ASAP. So, he dropped the kids and then left straight from there to go to work, promising me he’d be back by noon. Well, that didn’t happen. I went shopping alone, ate lunch, did my workout, showered, dressed, danced, sang and even had time to surf Facebook before he came back. Growing irritated, I had texted him asking if he just wanted to meet me at the restaurant... or if I should just plan on going out solo. He insisted that I wait. And, ya’ll...I’m glad that he did.

He finally arrived home around 5pm, and he insisted that he take my pictures for me...even though we were both starving. This is what I was wearing that night, My dress came from Thredup, and my shoes were a gift from a friend.

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Everything else was pretty normal, until we got to our favorite restaurant/bar for happy hour. I won’t say which one. Matt and I sat at the bar, as per usual. I noticed behind us, at one of the booths, there was a group of burly guys being a bit loud and rowdy. We didn’t really pay them much mind, until I had to use the bathroom. They were clustered around their booth which was the closest one to the hallway where the bathrooms are. Now, ladies, I know you will understand this feeling - you know when something doesn’t feel right, the hairs on your neck stand up, and there’s a knot in your stomach. I told my husband that I didn’t want to walk by them. He offered to go with me, but, as everyone should know, you never EVER leave your drinks unattended. So he stayed, and I...near nausea with nerves...walked past the group of guys.

Now, I’m going to take a minute here to side step. I am used to people staring at me, I am used to men complimenting me, I’m used to pick up lines. I don’t mean that to sound self absorbed, but I want to note here, that I know the difference between what happened next, and a normal compliment. Most men that I’ve come across, offer a compliment in an appropriate manner, which I love. I love compliments, when they are given in an honest, not creepy way. But that’s not what happened here.

The guys were blocking the path to the bathroom, they saw me approaching, stared at me and nudged each other. I made no eye contact. The cat calling started, “hey girl”, “ain’t she a sweet little thing”. I said “excuse me”, and they let me squeeze by. After I came out of the bathroom, one was waiting outside the door in the hallway. That feeling arose...the fight or flight feeling. The guy watched me, and said “Hey”, but I kept walking. Again, being forced to barely squeeze through the rest of them. A few others said “look at her!” some even whistled.

My husband was watching very closely and he looked irritated as I came back. He asked if I was OK. I told him what happened. The guys behind us stared and watched us the entire time. Unfortunately, I had to use the bathroom again. I waited for as long as I could, hoping that they would leave. I turned to Matt and said “If one of them touches me, I will fight, I will scream for you, and you better come running.” Matt said he’d be there in a heartbeat. The same thing happened this time, the cat calls, they played the game called “there’s not enough room for us to move and let you walk by unscathed”. Because that’s always fun. As I came out of the bathroom a different guy was standing outside the door. It was not a coincidence. They were hunting me, sizing me up. I was scared. He said something like “hey girl.” I ignored it, kept walking, but he followed me. I hated having my back to him. As I approached the rest of them, one of the most vocal and abrasive guys was standing right next to me, and as I squeezed by, he said “that’s a nice dress”. I responded with “thanks” and kept walking. He was so close to me that his hand brushed my leg as I squeezed past. That was not a coincidence.

As I approached Matt he was visibly angry. What made the situation even worse, was that the most brazen one of them, kept pacing behind our seats...back and forth, staring at Matt, watching me. There was no reason for it, except to intimidate. We waited at the bar until the guys gave up and left. Matt watched which way they went, and when we left, we went the opposite direction.

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Matt said to me later “I am thankful that you didn’t come out alone. This could have been very different”. And, he’s right. Matt also knows that I am not one to back down or let someone else dictate how I should dress. I know, we all know, how some people think that when women wear short dresses that we somehow beg the wrong attention. If this situation has taught me anything, it would be that I must start teaching my kids now, how to give appropriate compliments in a meaningful way. A compliment should be given to uplift someone, not to intimidate someone. For my son, I used this story to let him know that It’s never OK to purposefully intimidate or scare a woman. Compliments are lovely. Intimidation is not. He is to understand that a woman can wear whatever she chooses and that choice does not open the door for bullish behavior. For my daughter, I used it to teach her to always trust her instincts. If a situation feels wrong, it probably is. She is always to be present and aware of her surroundings. She is always to have an escape plan, and to fight if she needs to.

I know this is a long post, but it’s one that I feel must be talked about. As a woman, and especially as a woman who is in the social media world, who is not afraid to wear what she likes when she likes, I will not let this deter me. It scares me, but it also fuels me. I am a pretty nice person, I will say thank you to a compliment, I will say thank you if you hold the door for me, I will say excuse me when I need to pass by, but never ever mistake my niceness for weakness. Yes, I am tiny, yes I smile a lot, yes I wear heels and sometimes short dresses, yes I love and welcome compliments...but let's remember that a compliment should be used in uplift and to make someone feel good.  You know, like rainbows. This one that someone drew downtown made me giddy, and it didn't even have to say a word.  So, give compliments like rainbows give smiles...freely and beautifully and never dark and dreary.   IMG 6612

Stay tuned next week when I discuss date night outfits, unless I get distracted by fall style... because that's definitly possible.  Forget winter...fall is coming! :)

 

-xo  

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My Closet Quit Me

Something happened a few weeks ago that is both humorous and sad. My closet gave up on me. It called it quits, threw in the towel, cried Uncle...I think I even saw it waving a white flag.

We were sitting at dinner, and we heard a very loud crash. My kids, of course, decided that it must be Santa, or some sort of dragon on the roof... how they went from Santa to dragons, is beyond me. I assured them it was probably something falling upstairs. My husband went to check, and when he came back, he very solemnly looked at me and said “First, I’m just glad that you are ok...and second, don’t curse too loudly when you see what happened.”

Curious, I went upstairs. Surely, it cannot be that bad, I thought. And, then, there it was ... one entire side of my closet collapsed. The rack and shelf pulled right out of the wall and dumped everything on to the floor.

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Now, I didn’t curse, I just sort of laughed. You know that laugh, when it’s not really funny, but you’d rather laugh than cry? That’s the one. That’s where I was. My husband and kids came up and found me just sitting on the floor, doing this weird laugh. My little girl says to me “oh mama! Oh no!!! I’m so sorry mama, this is awful.” She gets it. It was awful. My husband, bless his heart, jokingly said “Maybe you have too many clothes.”

Me? Have too many clothes?? But once I thought about it, he’s right. Although, the closet rack shouldn’t have pulled off the wall in the first place, regardless of the amount of clothes. It has one job! I had even gone in there earlier and purged a few items. I was feeling pretty good...but my closet, clearly, had other ideas.

So, what does one do when you are faced with a mountain of clothing, and nowhere for it to go? Well, friends, you declare that the guest room is now your closet, until your closet is given a make over and is rebuilt into a fabulous room fit for a stylish mama.

And you also start the great closet purge of 2017. Yup, I embarked (or am embarking, because it’s a slow process) on a closet purge. I figure, as soon as my closet is redone, the only things going back in it are things that fit me well and that I love. So fare thee well, beautiful sequin skirt that’s too big for me now...I bid you adieu, itchy too big sweater... adios dress that I never wear...

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Hold on, wait...but what about my shoes!!!!!!!! This was hard. I honestly love every pair of shoes that I have. In my new closet, I will have a shoe wall. A whole wall entirely devoted to shoes. Guess how many shoes an entire wall can hold? 64-ish. Guess how many I have? Over 100. I stopped couting at 100, it’s probably 125. But, sadly, I had to get rid of some of them... and I did. I’m slowly parting with more every day. I even had to put them in a bag out in the garage, because I was tempted to grab them and save them.  

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And, even though this project has become a bit overwhelming, it is a good thing, in a way. It has once again forced me to take a hard look at what’s in my closet and purge what should no longer stay. We should all do this on a regular basis, you know, so your closet doesn't quit you...It's a terrible breakup. But then, of course, I got sidetracked a few times by my messy closet drawers, which also got the once over. I went through everything, even my socks! Who even needs this many cardigans?!? I got rid of half, folded everything else neatly, and I made a promise to always keep these drawers this neat (wishful thinking).

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So as I wait for my husband's help to take the rest of the racks down, patch the holes, paint, and rip up the carpet (replacing with hardwood) my current situation looks like this; a practically empty closet, and a guest room full of my clothes...

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Then I started thinking, what am I going to do with the outfits that I have planned out, and how can I keep them hung up and readily available. Maybe my husband has some space to spare? So, I go and check, and that my friends, is something I wish I hadn't done. Horrors. I will save that story for another day. So, for now, excuse me while I ponder why in the world my husband owns a turtle neck sweater and like five shirts that are more like Swiss cheese than they are shirts. HORRORS.  

 

As always, head on over to www.raininstyle.com for more style fun.

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