12/31/13

In Honor Of 2013′s Most Polarizing Trend

sneaker_wedges_targetAnother year, another litany of trends. 2013 saw everything from crop tops to entirely too many Celine bags, but nothing was quite as trendy as a certain shoe that stepped into town this year.

Here’s the thing about trends: They aren’t supposed to appeal to everyone and they’re certainly not built to last. The best trends are outlandish, the exact opposite of classic, universally flattering pieces (think not-too-fitted white button-downs.) I’d even go so far as to say that the best trends are….kind of ugly.

Wedge sneakers fit this definition perfectly, probably better than any other 2013 trend. When I first saw a pair of ‘snedges,’ my initial thought was “why would anyone ever wear those?” I’m not a fan of sneakers at all. I think they’re shoes that should be used but not seen, reserved only for gym sessions (there are exceptions – like these insane Miu Miu sparklers.) The idea of adding even more bulk to a pair of sneakers just seemed a little ridiculous to me.

But somewhere between seeing Rihanna rock the eff out of her snedges and watching the infamous Isabel Marant version take over, I had a complete change of heart and suddenly I just needed a pair. I wasn’t willing to shell out for the aforementioned Marants ($695 for shoes that don’t have stiletto heels? No.) and even the more reasonable version by Ash seemed steep, so I scoured lower-priced retailers until I found a pretty fantastic, insanely affordable pair of my own. The good news? They’re still available and even cheaper than ever.

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12/30/13

It’s Too Cold To Wear A Dress On New Year’s Eve

One of the best pieces of advice I can give you? Don’t go to a bar this New Year’s Eve.

I can’t speak for everyone but paying $100 to go to an overhyped party where you’ll spend a few hours having drinks spilled on your brand new outfit, taking elbows to the the ribcage and clamoring for watered-down cocktails, only to leave at 2 am and spend over an hour trying to find a cab….that’s not my idea of a good time.

But then again, you don’t exactly want to ring in 2014 on your couch in a pair of sweats either. If you plan on venturing out for an NYE  celebration – either to a bar (I won’t hold it against you if you don’t take my advice) or a house party – you are going to want to stay warm if you live in a city like Chicago. Sadly, that may mean a cute little dress is out of the question.

I posted about some of my favorite holiday party looks recently. All these rules still apply but since NYE does fall at the very end of the holiday season, you may have already exhausted all your best party duds. And since you’re almost certainly going to have to fight off a gaggle of miniskirt-clad college girls to hail a cab on your way out, (even if you do forgo the bar option) you’re going to want to stay warm. So here it is: It’s okay to wear pants on New Year’s Eve. 

Just add tons of statement jewelry, a cute clutch and and perhaps a sequined top and you’re all set. Click through for some of my favorite pairs of festive pants. Oh, and someone please buy me the BCBG sequined sweatpants at the top of this post.

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12/24/13

Last Minute Holiday Gift Inspiration

holiday_giftNeed some help dreaming up a (very) last minute holiday gift? Look no further.

If you’ve neglected a few people on your list you may be forced to resort to the dreaded drugstore gift – since most stores close early on Christmas Eve and stay shut through Christmas day, your local Walgreens might have to suffice for that one gift you forgot to buy. Luckily, you’re not completely doomed if this is your only option.

The trick to making a lackluster gift seem decent is in the presentation. Even if what’s inside the box isn’t great, a well-packaged gift makes it look like you put in some effort. My mom, the unofficial queen of all things pretty, is great at making something really simple seem elaborate and thoughtful. She threw this box together in a matter of minutes, so I figured I’d snap a few photos of it for some holiday gift inspiration. All it takes is a little ribbon, a plain hat box, a glue gun and a big fake flower – but feel free to us whatever you have on hand.

Stuff this box up with candy, nail polishes, small keepsakes, whatever. If you have a little more time, grab a stack of old magazines, cut out relevant phrases and pictures, and collage an old shoe box. I’ve done this a few times and it always goes over really well (especially since you can match the box to the recipient’s personality and likes.)  I’ll do a full post on the shoebox collage soon, but until then…enjoy this simplified version. Photos after the jump.

 

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12/17/13

How You Can Score Rag & Bone Jeans For $70

DSCN0195Most things tend to expand during the holiday season. Your social calendar. Your stack of responsibilities. Your waistline.

My shopping problem is no exception. My inbox is constantly flooded with promotional emails from some of my favorites brands – emails that I really should not be be opening or even receiving (but then again, don’t I have the right to know when Helmut Lang is slashing its winter merchandise by 50%?) These emails and the sales they promote are freakin’ everywhere right now. Makes a shopaholic’s life good hard.

Sofia, a Chicago-based boutique with goodies from both local designers and large brands, is letting its online shoppers take 40% off all sale items right now, which is sort of amazing but also completely dangerous. I came out of this one relatively unscathed – I did buy two items but I swear I got fantastic deals on both.

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12/16/13

Just Another Holiday Gift Guide…

bleecker_street_bond_9Yes. Christmas is approaching. There are some other holidays that involve gift giving/receiving on the horizon as well.

Because of all this, you’ve probably seen more than a few holiday gift guides in the past few weeks…but if you’re still scrambling to get your gifts in check, here’s just one addition to the ever-growing pile. And if you happen to be one of those responsible types who has already picked, bought and wrapped a gift for everyone on your list…well, there’s no reason you can’t start working on a holiday wish list of your own, right?

This season I’m coveting things that I’ll use over and over again: Statement necklaces that work with little black dresses and plain white tees, books that’ll keep me entertained and look great on a coffee table, the perfume that is clean enough to wear everyday but distinctive enough to become my signature scent. Those are the most sensible gifts you can give to yourself and to others. Need some inspiration? Click through for some of my picks.

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12/13/13

Drybar’s Chicago Debut + Words From Founder Alli Webb

Welcome to BYOB: Be Your Own Boss, a feature series highlighting some of the self-starters we love.FSCN0184Here’s some game-changing news for all Chicago girls: We finally have our very own Drybar location!

If you’re not familiar with Drybar, here’s the skinny: It’s a blowdry-only salon, which means no cuts, no color, just amazing blowouts. You can choose your ideal blowout from their lookbook (which is set up like a cocktail menu, complete with beverage-themed names for each style.) An appointment at this chain will only set you back $40 – even if you have the world’s longest, thickest hair. I have a lot going on on my head and often get charged for two (yes, two) cuts…so this is awesome news for me.

I was lucky enough to attend the grand opening this morning, where I was able to chat with Drybar’s founder Alli Webb and have my hair styled – I went with the “Cosmo-Tai” blowout, a hybrid with elements of a Cosmo (major curls) and a Mai Tai (loose, beachy waves.) Perfect timing since I’m going to a holiday party tonight! Read on for photos of the space (which looks amazing) and a few words of advice from Alli.

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12/11/13

Product Review: YSL’s ‘Love and Lacquer Reds’ Set

ysl_makeup_set

If you’ve stopped by before you know I’m a big fan of Sephora’s value sets. Scoring multiple products for a lower price is almost never a bad idea. So you can imagine my surprise when I found myself sort of regretting my most recent value set purchase. It’s even more surprising when you consider that this set was by YSL, a brand that consistently knocks everything from clothing to accessories to makeup out of the park.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

Right of the bat, the value of this set isn’t really the best. I spent $58 on the set, which is understandably steeper than the price tag you’ll find on a lot of other kits at Sephora – but then again, YSL is a much more luxurious brand than say, Tarte, is. You’re essentially getting three high-end products for around $20 each, which is a good deal by all accounts. But when you really break it down, you realize that this just can’t stack up to the stop-everything-and-buy-it-now deals you get on some of the other sets. For example, last year I got a Tarte Lipsurgence gift set, a collection of five full-size lip stains for $25. One of these amazing lip crayons goes for $24 and some of the shades in the set I got were limited-edition, so I was not only getting a huge monetary value, I was also scoring colors that aren’t normally available.

This set, on the other hand, is about the same as buying a full-size lip stain plus a YSL nail polish – those two products alone will run you $59, only a dollar less than  you’re spending on this set. Sure, you’re getting a mascara too, but not a full-sized one. The tube of this is tiny; I’ve actually scored it as a free gift twice. I feel like you’re almost better off just choosing one lip stain and one polish and spending that extra dollar, because at least you get to choose your own colors (let’s face it, we all have a red nail polish already.)

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12/9/13

Peanut Butter + Nutella = Best Cookies Ever.

peanutbutter_nutella_cookies

You love peanut butter. You really love Nutella (oh you don’t? Then there’s probably something off with your tastebuds, you should get them checked.)

You could take the easy route – slather some Nutella in place of jelly for more delicious take on the PBJ classic (this makes a great on-the-go breakfast; I’m fairly certain I would not have made it through grad school without it.) Or you could kick it up a notch by swirling some Nutella into a peanut butter cookie batter. Trust me when I say that you’ll never want to eat a plain peanut butter cookie again.

We made these for an impromptu get together, but they’d be perfect as a holiday party dessert. Feel free to eat what’s let (pro tip: stash a few away because otherwise there may be not be anything left) and eat them for breakfast the next day. Peanut butter has protein. It’s legit.

All you need is:

  • One stick of butter
  • 3/4 cup of peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tablespoon baking soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • One and 3/4 cups flour
  • One egg
  • At least 1/3 cup Nutella. Continue reading
12/5/13

Holiday Party Style Guide

sequindressnicolerichie

 

It’s already December (weird) which means a few things: It’ll likely get colder in the next few weeks and your social calendar will probably fill up with holiday parties galore. Whether it’s your company’s annual shitshow or a friend’s tame dinner party, you’re likely going to hit a bit of a snag while getting dressed….because let’s face it, looking nighttime-cute is no easy feat when it’s 20 degrees outside.

Thankfully, I’m here to report that – at least in my humble opinion – barely there dresses just aren’t cute, especially when you’re shivering uncontrollably while wearing one. Your holiday party ensemble can still be fun, festive and fancy even if you choose to keep some of it under wraps. Here are a few of my tips, complete with inspiration from some stylish celebs.

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