MAMA STYLE…AMBER

this weeks mama style is featuring one of my dearest friends and sister in law, amber kennedy.
when i was twelve years old i met this woman, then a sixteen year old girl, with brown lipstick (revlon coffee bean ), long dark hair parted down the middle and the prettiest smile. and to top it all off, she was funny…like really really funny. i thought she was the coolest. luckily for me, she thought i was something special too. we became immediate friends…so what that i was in sixth grade and she was in tenth?
we played pranks on people together.
we talked fashion and style.
we both possess the same sick, self deprecating sense of humor.
nine times out of ten, when we show up to some family event together we have at least one item the other person is wearing.
she is an amazing aunt.
the most fun on girl’s weekends.
my children are obsessed with her’s. myes borderline stalks her son, jack.
she is married to my brother and i am married to her’s. what? did i say that out loud? yes its true. one of those “oh let me set you up with my brother” situations that actually works.
i have always admired her style and once actually heard a woman say, before i buy something i think to myself “would amber wear this?” if you have met her, you might have thought that too. she always looks great. put together and naturally beautiful.
so lets get this party started…
here is my little q&a with amber…

i live by…lululemon workout clothes, lunch with my husband eric,
How would you describe your style?
The funny thing about my style is that it is kind of all over the map. I have days when I stay in my comfortable lululemon workout clothes because it is just that good. Other days, especially the days I meet Eric for lunch or work in the school, I plan it out and get excited about getting ready, because let’s be honest, you have to dress to impress for your people.
I love preppy and yet I still wear a casual mix and even some bohemian in there too. This year I went back to my roots and bought a pair of high top converse and kind of feel at home in them.
What/who inspires your style?
More often than not I walk into a store or online and see a piece I like and then I obsess until I get it. I don’t try it on, I don’t make sure it looks right on me or is flattering I just buy it. it’s an instinctive thing.
When I was in 5th grade my mom hid my flamingo button up shirt that was out of this world cool because I wore it too much. I remember thinking, NO!, I cannot be that kid, I will not repeat my outfits any longer. From then on, I made it a point to log my outfits. I would write them down, put them together in a book, and have a running wish list as well. I am a freak.
My sister and sister in laws have incredible style and when one of them finds something it’s pretty much a shoe in that all of us will want it too.
What is your process of putting an outfit together?
I kind of touched on this with my “outfit book” which I no longer have for the record…
Cassaundra joked about this when she emailed me, but it is entirely and embarrassingly enough true. When I need to get ready I stand in my closet and rub a shirt that I have had for 16 years, (gross), between my thumb and middle finger and gaze at my options. I really am a freak. I realize how bizarre this is so I give myself a time frame and I try to beat it so I don’t waste too much time standing and rubbing my shirt.
You are a busy busy mom with four very active kids. What is your daily routine?
I have a sleeping addiction. I set my alarm every day for 6:45. I try to give myself 15 minutes to get happy before it all begins. Two of my kids wake up happy and the other two wake up ready to fight. To wake the brawlers I get in each of their beds and attempt to squeeze the crazy out of them. Gratefully, 9 times out of 10 it works.
The oldest three are out the door for school by 8:05. Jack rides his bike to school with friends, and Shayne and I walk the other two across the street to school. Coop walks steps ahead of us so he won’t be late, he NEVER is, but always thinks he will be. Em holds my hand to the bitter end at which point we exchange kissing hands and Shayne and I walk back home. I work out while Shayne plays WII, eats his 2nd and 3rd breakfasts, sneaks into everyone’s candy and watches TV. We walk back over to school for Shayne at 10. Mondays are my grocery shopping days. My children are eating me out of house and home.
I really love to eat and I really love my friends, so I like to combine the two as often as possible with lunch sprinkled in my week. Sometimes I try to make an appearance at Eric’s office, I like to keep an eye on the women you know? When I do he always takes me to lunch. Once a month my mom, sister and I meet for lunch and shopping, one of the greatest gifts Wendy (amber’s mom) taught us is lunching and shopping. Thursday’s I work in the younger kids classes. I love this day, my kids all LOVE when I come. After school is crazy train with practices, activity days, scouts, youth programs, piano, violin and gymnastics.
I see why a lot of moms complain about driving, it is a lot; however, the conversations that ensue in the car are so worth it. I love having them captive. Saturday is game day. I love sports, I especially love watching people I know play, and so watching my kids is bliss. I come from an insanely competitive family. So you can imagine the self-restraint I must use to keep my mouth shut when at these games. Sunday is our Holy Roller Day. I get to teach a class of 17, 15-16 year old kids at church and I can safely say I adore this age. Teenagers, at least the ones I know, are hilarious, insightful and authentic.
What is the one thing you could not live without?
I am addicted to SkinCueticals C E Ferulic Vitamin C. I am sure it isn’t the magic answer for everyone but it’s done a number on my skin so I am loyal. ( i have to agree with amber here, it is one of my fave products)
I try to spend a few minutes with each child at night at bedtime. It is most often a catholic confessional, and we are not catholic. But, I love that they will confide in me, share their innermost thoughts and devilish acts with me.
Eric has made a goal of making me laugh every day. I absolutely love this goal because I love to laugh and I adore that he knows this and has made a point that it happen. I look forward to the hilarious email he will send, the inappropriate joke or text or just the goofy commentary he runs.
What are the top 5 Fall items on YOUR wish list this year?
amber’s fall picks
green top / denim vest / printed leggings / suede boots / horse top

How would you describe your kids’s style?
It is pretty safe to say describing my children’s’ style resembles my own. They like what they like. They wear what they like, whether it matches or looks right for some; they have their own distinct unique taste.
Jackson is crazy over style he always has been. Obsessive is another word. Sometimes I want to choke him so he will stop. But, mostly I am just impressed with his sense of style and his commitment. He has recently declared that he intends to bring back Stussy. What.
Coop has no style, which is what is his style. He loves to wear gym shorts and a t-shirt. The brighter the shoes the better and the messier his hair the better. It has been known to drive me batty but I am working very hard to adopt the attitude of, he is who he is, embrace it, because if you know Cooper, he is more than secure with it. Which I think is kind of amazing. He’s 9 and totally secure in his own skin.
Emma Jane, my only girl, and from a mother who LOVES clothes, she doesn’t really get too excited over them. She is happy when I bring something home but if it doesn’t feel comfortable or hang just right she doesn’t make an issue she just won’t wear it too often. She dresses for comfort. Luckily I buy her clothes so she has only my options. I have been able to maintain the theory in her mind that I have never seen a “Justice” store.
Shayne somehow has come to the conclusion that he is the coolest kid around. You would never guess that upon meeting him, he hates attention. But, he tells us that the reason everyone likes him is because he just looks so cool. He dresses himself merely by picking what he thinks is the “coolest” thing. He idolizes Jack so it usually is similar to what Jackson is wearing.

Your family pictures always look so good. How do you decide what to wear?
I usually choose the outfits based on the location of the shoot. This year I knew I wanted them at Point Dune in Malibu. It is where Eric and I got engaged. Romance baby. So I knew our clothes needed to be casual and soft since it was the beach. I like how they photographed and I love the pictures!

photo courtesy of michelle hanson photography

In our family photos last year I wanted them to be in a field by our house and I was looking for dressier i.e. my boys in ties. I loved how those turned out as well.

photos by ashlee raubauch
Your family all has freakishly good hair, how do they come up with all their different styles?
They do have great hair.
Jack as I said, he knows what he wants, always has. He pays attention to detail and is willing to go out on a limb.
Coop just wants what is easiest to maintain. He has such a sweet face it doesn’t really matter.
Shayne makes every girl jealous with his locks. I recently had my girlfriend thin it out and it is darn cute.

Eric’s hair looks good no matter what, short, long, clean cut shaggy? What is his secret?
All I can say about this is he knows what is up with his hair. Very rarely do I comment on what he should or shouldn’t do, he knows his business. He has run the gamut with his styles and right now it is my very favorite. It’s pretty dreamy. Sadly my sister doesn’t live next door, but my girlfriend here in Orange County does a great job with his hair too.

Emmy has naturally curly hair, for mom’s with girls with that hair type what would you tell them to do? how do you manage it? what are her favorite styles?
Emmy had a beautiful Afro until she was 4. I still miss it. Now that her hair is long it has body but very few defined curls. For her I make sure she uses good quality shampoo and deep conditions once a week. When I remember to deep condition I use Pureology supermooth. The daily detangler I use on her is Bumble and Bumble tonic. She, loves her hair down for the most part. A few times a week she will come up with little do’s in her mind to try. It’s always fun to hear what braid crown, or side pony bun she has dreamed up for me to try.

once and for all can you dispel the rumors…do you have hair extensions or not?
This is hilarious! I thought my brother Shane was the only one who thought this. When I had to prove to him that I did NOT have them, I thought the coast was clear. No, I do not have extensions. I was cursed with a massive head of thick, course hair. It can take me 40 minutes to blow this beast dry. Over the years I have lost a lot, like, some days when I look at the drain I scare myself. But the blessing of that massive head of hair was that I would be able to have my own long hair today.

thanks amber!
does anyone else have trouble telling the hairdresser how to cut your son’s hair? look for a post soon dedicated to the coolest hairstyles for boys right now, written by a hairdresser, translated by a mom so you know what to say to get the best look.

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