10/12/13

Why Cory Monteith’s Death Has His Fans So Gutted

Just a little something I needed to write…

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I didn’t know him – and he certainly didn’t know me – but I am truly, genuinely sad that Cory Monteith died.

It’s been three months and the tribute episode of Glee Fox aired last night still deeply moved me. Not just because of the way it showcased emotion, but because I realized that when he died, something was a lost and can never be regained. A good something. A good person.

The cynics out there may say that I can’t possibly know that he was a good person, or worse, that a good person would have never become a drug addict (which is simply untrue, but a matter for another discussion.) But the viewers who mourned Monteith’s passing last night will agree: There was a goodness, a light of sorts, that transcended the fourth wall of television when Glee featured his character, Finn Hudson. He had a quality about him, a supreme likeability. He wasn’t the best singer or actor or dancer, he was unformed and unfinished, but he was irreplaceable. In a world full of talented people, his talent was the ability to unify, to lead, to connect.

He was classic in a way that verged on retro – awkward in the most charming way. He was 31, and raw and troubled as his past may have been, he always exuded something childlike.

In the business of acting some performers are credited as being “generous.” The first time I watched this tear-jerking scene of Glee, Monteith’s generosity as a performer, as a person, was so obvious to me. His eyes shift towards his real-life love, Lea Michele when she emotes; he lets her shine. He elevates her performance, just like he elevated the acting of every other character on that show. It’s a beautiful thing and it’s a true gift – an underrated one.

And that’s where Cory wins, because that is the kind of quality that makes a person win. That’s the kind of the thing that makes a star out of a man and an icon out of a star. That’s why the circumstances surrounding this person’s death cannot and should diminish the beautiful life he lived. Controversial (and – admittedly  - frustrating) as the show’s decision to leave those circumstances undefined was, it made sense. The tribute episode was, like the actor and character it honored, imperfect but powerful. It shouldn’t have been any other way. Whatever he struggled with, Cory Monteith was a star. More importantly, he was a son to two people, a friend to many, and the love of someone’s life. He was taken too soon and my heart hurts for all those who loved and will continue to love him.

Image via We Love Soaps

10/10/13

Your Chance to Meet Kristin Cavallari Today

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Image via Fashion Sophie

 

She’s been a teen queen reality star, an actress, a shoe designer, a football wife and a mama. Did you know she’s also a philanthropist?

Kristin Cavallari is teaming up with ULTA to host an event that will benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Interested in meeting the star? Details are below.

The event will go down at Pioneer Court (that’s 401 N Michigan) from noon to 4 pm. Guests can show up, donate $1 to the cause at the event’s “Kiss Kart,” and walk away with a “kiss sticker” representing the donation. Hit this up before happy hour: Those who donate will get a free lipgloss application from Jane Cosmetics - and they’ll get to take home a tube of the gloss as well.

100% of money raised will go to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

So there you have it. See you there!

10/9/13

Black and White and Red All Over

Photo on 06-10-13 at 8.02 PM #6

You know that feeling you get when you randomly visit a shopping site for the first time in months, only to find that they’re having their biggest sale of the year? It’s a good one and it’s exactly how I felt last week when I decided to stop by Piperlime’s site. I only bought one thing – the dress in the picture above –  but I think it was a pretty solid purchase.

I’m generally not a huge fan of shift dresses for two reasons. One, the length isn’t the best on me. I’m petite, so a shorter hemline tends to make more of my frame – shifts generally hit me just above the knee. Two, I’m only 25 and I feel the style is a little too mature and serious for me at this point. Still, when I saw this dress I was struck by how fun and it different it was…and the fact that it was on sale for only $28 didn’t hurt.

I had a lot of fun putting this look together. Originally I thought of breaking out a contrasting purse – the black and white clutch I went with originally seemed a little too matchy-matchy when paired with the black and white dress – but then I decided to just go with it. I’m happy I did because the texture and sheen of the sequins worked well against the geometric print. Of course I had to go with a red lip to pull the whole thing together – it isn’t exactly an original idea to pair a red accent with black and white but it is timeless. I haven’t pulled the front of my hair back like this since high school (back when my thick hair totally overwhelmed my small face. Which I guess it still does) but it seemed like a cool way to add to the mod feeling of the dress. (It probably would have been more effective had I flat ironed my hair but ain’t nobody got time for that. Also I don’t actually own a flat iron.)

Anyway, I’m guessing y’all don’t really care that much about #WIW so let’s get to the part that you’ll actually enjoy. I’ve chosen a few of my favorite black and white pieces for your perusal. I really like this color combination (in case you can’t tell from the design of this site) and I think you will too. I’m particularly obsessed with the Dolce Vita “Ollie” flats and I’m determined to make them mine.

 

 

Which piece is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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10/8/13

Easy, Healthy Mini Pizzas

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Aren’t they cute? Image via Mar & Bean

Fact: I love pizza. A lot. I mean, I always have but lately it’s been something of an obsession. I’m craving (and eating) it a few times a week. Unfortunately, I also really love clothes –  and conventional logic tells me I won’t be able to fit in mine if I continue to eat that much pizza when my early-twenties metabolism turns into a late-twenties metabolism. That’s why this little snack/meal idea is so key.

I was inspired to try out this recipe after eating a seriously delicious zucchini-and-arugula-topped pizza at Uncommon Ground in Lakeview. It was one of those pizzas that tasted really healthy – but in a good way. We’re talking fresh, local ingredients and minimal grease/maximum flavor. I’ve never topped a pizza with zucchini before and I really loved the combination. Eating Uncommon Ground’s take on it made me think of a recipe I saw a few months ago. This recipe turned zucchini slices into teeny tiny pizza crusts. which is a healthier take by all accounts. Gina Homolka, the genius blogger behind Skinnytaste gets credit for this one. If you’re not familiar with Gina or her blog, check it out immediately (unless you’re hungry right now, in which case her food photography may drive you crazy.) She posts awesome, easy-to-follow recipes that are slightly healthier versions of our favorites. It’s not a typical health food blog, all kale salads and bland grilled chicken, which I love. Because really, who wants to eat a kale salad everyday?

But I digress. I tried out this recipe and loved it so much I made it two days in a row. First of all, it was so ridiculously quick and easy. If you choose to use jarred marinara sauce (which is what I did) it’ll take less than ten minutes to throw this together. The most surprising thing about this is how filling it was. I planned on snacking on these before eating my lunch of leftover pasta, but it turned out I didn’t even need the pasta after eating 12 of these bites (then again one serving is 4 pieces according to Gina’s blog, so….)

Just broil zucchini slices (coated with olive oil spray and s/p) for two minutes on each side, then add marinara and mozzarella and broil again for about another two minutes. Here’s the full recipe. One thing I’d change? I will probably brush real oil on the zucchini slices. I know people love the sprays because they’re calorie-free, but they just smell so chemical. I’ll take the calories over the chemicals, but it really is a matter of preference.

Regardless, I think you should give this idea a try. I’m not much of a cook so I won’t be sharing too many recipe type things here, but when I find something that’s worth sharing – like these little zucchini bites – well, I can’t really resist.

 

 

What are some of your favorite easy recipes? I’d love to hear about them in the comments. 

10/7/13

Product Review: Ginger + Liz Nail Polish in “Jeggings.”

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Jeggings. Image via Ricky’s NYC. 

Nail polish and I have a shaky relationship. I actually didn’t even wear it until my junior year of college – I just never really saw the point. But after getting a mani for a wedding, I realized I’d been missing out: Nail polish has got to be one of the quickest ways to switch up your look and “make a statement” (see what I did there?) without much commitment. It’s fun and it shouldn’t be taken too seriously. With that being said, I really think we should start being more mindful of the things that go into our personal care products. After all, we’re finally realizing that consuming chemical-laced food is harmful – we should start being as vigilant with the things that we use externally as well.

Ginger + Liz nail polishes are not only vegan-friendly, they’re also free of toluene, formaldehyde, DBP, camphor and resin, which are chemicals that still appear on the ingredient lists of some polishes. I ordered these online  in three shades: “Jeggings“, “Got My Grove Back,” and “Tough Luxe.” I think the names are cheeky and creative. They really help establish the brand, which feels modern and a little bit badass. There are so many beauty products out there that are all cutesy and feminine, and while I think that’s adorable and appropriate for the beauty industry, I also find it kind of cool that G+L sets itself apart.

I ripped right into “Jeggings” when these babies arrived in the mail. How did it stack up? Read on for my thoughts.

Overall: I tought the formula was strong and the color was awesome. It’s definitely a trendy shade but it achieves that trend factor without being over-the-top bright, which makes it a great pick for fall. I would recommend this product.

Pros:

  • As mentioned above, this product is formulated without a bunch of harmful chemicals. Definitely a plus in my book.
  • The opacity was great. I only needed one coat for this to be totally solid and smooth.
  • The packaging – it’s way, way easier to store bottles with straight edges, since they can be lined up flat against one another. Round bottles are just not as space efficient (sorry, OPI.)
  • “Jeggings” is a really cool shade. It’s described as a “denim blue,” but I saw a bit of a gray undertone in there. It looked almost violet on my skin. I’ve been into mixed manis recently but this shade is edgy enough to work on its own.
  • The brush. Super thick and flexible. None of that annoying drag across the nails.
  • These polishes are $12 a pop, which is more than standard OPI polishes but less than an item from, say, Deborah Lippman. I think the price is really fair considering this is a high-quality product.
  • Removal was a DREAM. I hate taking off nail polish but this just slid right off. One remover-soaked cottom ball was enough for both hands!

 Cons:

  • Honestly for me the biggest drawback was the online ordering. I haven’t found these polishes anywhere in Chicago (if anyone out there knows where I can get them around here PLEASE let me know!) Shipping was around $6 and the package took about a week and a half to arrive. Luckily the color was true to what was shown on the company’s site.
  • The brush. Okay, I know I listed its width as a pro, but it was almost too thick for me. I have narrow nail beds and clumsy hands; the thick brush made application a little messy for me. Wasn’t a big deal, though. The out-of-the-lines color fell away when I washed my hands.
  • Longevity wasn’t great. I applied on Thursday and saw chips by Saturday. I did skip a top coat, so maybe it’s my own fault.

I was happy with this purchase. I think “Jeggings” is going to be a major player in my fall/winter polish game this year, and I also already tried another one of my shades last night and will be doing a product review of that soon. Spoiler alert: I liked the second one even more.

 

10/3/13

Fall Fashion’s Favorite Pieces

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Rag and Bone Newbury Booties. Image via In Their Closet. 

It’s already October 3rd, which means a few things. But for the sake of this post, I’ll just focus on what it means in the sartorial sense: It’s time to break out your fall wardrobe. And even if you live in a place like Chicago – where summer reigns superior over all other seasons because it’s just so damn fun – fall style staples are something too look forward to.

Booties, leather jackets, olive green – these are all good things – and if you need a little bit of style advice for the colder months, check out this Huffington Post article by yours truly. #shamelessselfpromotion.

I’ve handpicked a few of my favorite fall pieces. Click through, enjoy and please comment with links to some of your favorite fall pieces!