01/27/14

A Jersey-Free Super Bowl

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I’m no football fan but even I  think Super Bowl is a cause for excitement, mostly because wings/nachos/pizza/buffalo chicken dip (my personal favorite.)

Super Bowl Sunday is essentially the ultimate Sunday funday, so even those of us who don’t care much about the actual game can still find a way to enjoy the experience. And if you’re one of those people who just can’t get excited about the score, focus instead on putting together the perfect Super Bowl Sunday outfit. After all, your opportunities to look really freakin’ cute are limited in the winter (Uggs are never a good look but damn, they’re comfy) so why not take this chance and run with it? No pun intended.

In previous years, I’ve done one of two things on Super Bowl Sunday. The first is the more common choice: Throw on a sweatshirt pledging my allegiance to a certain team (in my case, The Steelers – Blackandyellow blackandyellow.) If they’re not playing, I’ll usually just wear jeans and a big comfy sweater. My parents threw a Super Bowl party a few years ago and I added a big black and gold hair bow to the aforementioned sweatshirt – but other than, I haven’t really used the Super Bowl as an excuse to have some fun with my outfit.

That changes this year. The timing couldn’t be more perfect – athletic influences have been huge in the fashion world for over a year now. Really, is there any more perfect opportunity to incorporate some of these than on Super Bowl Sunday? Here are a few of my favorite picks.

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01/24/14

Cocktails 101 With Drumbar’s Alex Renshaw

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We’ve all been to our fair share of generic bars and cheesy clubs. I’ve certainly grown tired of both of these  options…but at the ripe old age of not-quite-26, it seems premature for me to give up on nightlife altogether. I discovered Drumbar in Chicago a while ago and it really is the answer to my nightlife woes. It’s a beautiful space where you can actually wear a nice dress if you wish (read: not some skintight cotton number with cutouts everywhere) and meet interesting people (who will not grope you.) It’s nice without being flashy. It’s sophisticated but still fun. It’s a completely welcome change.

Drumbar has a great little rooftop space, making it perfect place to hang out on a summer day, but you really don’t have to wait until it gets warmer to stop by if you’re in Chicago. The indoor space is super cozy and the top-notch cocktails, which are Drumbar’s calling card, are available year-round.

I caught up with Drumbar’s head bartender, Alex Renshaw, to talk about winter cocktails, the ingredients he loves for cold weather and his advice to aspiring mixologists and people who just want to impress guests alike.

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01/22/14

The Season’s Must-Have Shoe

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When I was young my mom used to bring me hot water bottles every time I had any kind of ache or pain. I would press one against my back, my stomach, my legs, even my head for almost instant relief. There’s something so comforting about the heat from the bottle…let’s just say I use mine once a month (at the very least.)

Back in the day, you’d have to unscrew the top of the water bottle, pour boiling water in, and often wait for it to cool to a temperature that’s comfortable against bare skin, which wasn’t always the most convenient way of going about it. Enter the modern, microwavable version. My mom came to the rescue (again!) a few years ago when she found me some lavender-scented microwave-safe bags that make soothing any soreness or cramping easier than ever. I pretty much thought these were the best things ever….until I discovered heated booties.

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01/15/14

Sequins and Stripes For Work Or Play

anntaylor jacketRemember back in college when you could easily squeeze in a nap between skipping class and going out circa midnight? Yeah, that probably doesn’t happen for you anymore. These days it’s a lot of suffering through an eight (but probably more like 10) hour day, then dragging yourself to happy hour, sucking down some house red and retreating home to sweatpants and glorious bralessness.

The point of all this? If you don’t have time to go home, you don’t have to change into a cute little “going out” outfit and apply a smoky eye or curl your hair or whatever. The solution to this, of course, is to wear a something that looks professional enough for work but interesting enough for an outing. Also, always stash a red lipstick and your go-to concealer in your bag. That helps.

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01/14/14

Monika Dixon Shares The Secret To Starting a Business You Love

Welcome to BYOB: Be Your Own Boss, a feature series highlighting some of the stylish self-starters we love.

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Monika Dixon, the powerhouse entrepreneur behind the eponymous PR firm, didn’t plan to start her own full-scale business. But two years after its birth, Monika Dixon Public Relations has all the benchmarks of a successful company – an impressive roster of clients, a team of enthusiastic full-time workers, a downtown Chicago office space. The fact that Monika, a native of Poland, got this business off the ground single-handedly is impressive enough. But add a few details about her background and rise to success and you’ll see that her  story is not also impressive, it’s also interesting and – quite frankly  - inspiring.

I caught up with Monika over lattes at Beatrix (chai for her, white lightning for me) to discuss her own success story, how to create a job you actually love and (of course) style. Read on for this installment of BYOB: Be Your Own Boss.

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01/9/14

The Easiest DIY Keychain

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I lost my keys last weekend (standard) and after making a few phone calls, doubling checking my coat pockets and retracing my steps, I bit the bullet and bought a new set. Unfortunately, the new set didn’t come on a ring – just two little keys and one building fob in a  little brown envelope.

I’m obviously not great at keeping track of my keys as it is, so I knew I couldn’t just carry them around like that. I probably would’ve bought myself a keychain under normal circumstances, but it’s offing COLD in Chicago (those of you who are saying we’re having a post-polar vortex “heat wave” because it’s all of 21 degrees now…just stop.) I’d rather just rummage around my apartment and find a makeshift keychain than walk to Bloomingdales for a new one.

Enter this DIY idea. I feel a little silly calling this a ‘DIY’ because there isn’t really much doing involved. It’s more the idea that’s worth mentioning. I knew I could just shove a ribbon through the holes of all three keys, but that wouldn’t be very interesting, would it? Instead I took to my jewelry box, selected a bejeweled hair tie, untied the knot at the end of it and strung the keys before retying. It isn’t fancy but I think it’s cute. It’s certainly cheaper than buying a keychain (which you’ll likely lose at some point anyway) and a little bit more creative. The best part, though is the color. The neon yellow is so much easier to spot among the sea of loose coins in my bag.

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Like this  hair tie? Get similar ties at Anthropologie.


01/8/14

‘Tis The Season To Be Sparkly

Welcome to ‘What I Wore Wednesdays,’ a personal style feature highlighting – you guessed it – what I wore. Because nothing gets me over the hump like a touch of vanity. 

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DSCN0235 The holiday season may be technically over but (and I hate saying this) we’ve still got a lot more winter to endure. I don’t know about you, but I feel like everything gets a little bit more challenging this season – maintaining a decent level of energy, getting up in the morning, walking down the street, meeting up with friends, resisting that box of cookies, getting through the day, staying hydrated and last not certainly not least, putting an outfit together. Getting dressed in the summer is so easy. The more effortless you look, the better. Winter dressing, on the other hand, requires thought. You have to plan your outfit out carefully – not just for style, but also for comfort and warmth. And styling an outfit that must include several layers is much more difficult than choosing which sandals to sport with your jean shorts and white tee. I’ve always been a big believer in the idea that dressing up can do wonders for your mood. The way you feel on any particular day and the outfit you choose influence each other. Haven’t you ever woken up feeling like crap, only to realize that your all-black outfit conveys this? Or, on the flip side, noticed that you feel so much happier the minute you swipe on a hot pink lipstick? One of my favorite ways to counteract this depressing weather is by incorporating a little bit of sparkle into my wardrobe. I use basics as a canvas – like jeans, a black long-sleeved top and a waterfall cardigan. Then I let the accessories do the talking – a sparkly scarf, some blinged out booties (thanks for letting borrow those, Mom!) and a Ostrich-striped carryall can always lift my mood. The next time you’re feeling like you just can’t get through the relentlessly cold day, try adding some sparkly additions to your outfit. I guarantee it’ll make a difference. ZaraHusaini_saint_laurent_roady ZaraHusainiStyle Zara_Husaini_Rag&Bone Outfit details: Splendid cardigan, Rag & Bone jeans (similar), BCBG booties (sold out, similar), Saint Laurent Roady (sold out in this style.) Note: These pictures were taken a few weeks ago when it was much warmer and not snowing (duh.) Also, these were taken before I upgraded to a DSLR, so image quality should hopefully improve in my next few posts. One last thing: I know destroyed light-wash jeans aren’t really seasonally appropriate but they were new and I wanted to wear them. Judge me.

01/6/14

What To Wear When You’re Interviewing For A Fashion-Focused Job

IMG_0138If you’re aiming for a job in a creative industry, you already know you’re in for a tough time. Jobs are scarce and when you actually land one, security and salaries are both woefully low. Creative jobs are incredibly fun and satisfying – but the hours are long, the competition is rough and the talent is often viewed as dispensable.

The bad news is, I have no solution to any of these problems. The good news? I can help you get your job interview outfit in check. It seems like a really small factor in the grand scheme of finding and keeping your dream job – and it is – but in this economy, every little piece of advice helps. It goes without saying that you should look professional for any job interview, but you can’t exactly show up to a job interview at, say, Vogue in a power suit. Which means that ladies who would rather push magazines than stocks are out of luck when it comes to scouring traditional job interview dress code pieces.

Back in college when I started interviewing for magazine internships, my friends used to tell me that instead of sporting business attire I should look “trendy” for my interviews. But honestly, I feel like this is the worst piece of advice for any kind of job interview. Trying to hard to work multiple trends into one look is just never a good idea – and at a job interview, it can leave you seeming less than polished. After all, you want to look put-together, but your work ethic is more important than your wardrobe. So pass up on the peplum top and focus instead on giving job interview staples a slight tweak.

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01/3/14

Making Statements, Causing Scenes In 2013

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I didn’t start blogging here until the tail end of 2013, but STATEMENT/scene has already had a few highlights that I’m recaping today. I’ve wanted to start a blog for a while now – I actually have started a few for various classes in college and grad school, plus one  extremely neglected restaurant review blog. STATEMENT/scene is something I started because I needed an outlet that could essentially be a collection of my creative impulses. I work for a variety of clients, including newspapers, magazines, web sites and PR firms. It’s all lots of fun and exactly what I want to do for a living, but this blog is the only piece of work I have that is 100% mine. I can set everything from the tone of the site to its exact focus (which is lifestyle, though I hope to further define exactly what this blog is about in the coming year.)

So here’s a little bit of a year (or two and a half months; I just started blogging here in October) in review.

STATEMENT/scene’s birth: I wish I had some great anecdote about how I named this blog. The reality is that good domain names are extremely difficult to secure. I actually had a completely different name in mind, but after over a month of working to negotiate a price on that particular site name from its current owner, I decided to just go in another direction.

I initially wanted to name the site after a certain accessory that functions as a statement piece. That was something that really stood out to me – the idea of the statement piece. So when I decided to choose another domain, I knew that the word ‘statement’ should come into play. I was drawn to this word for a few reasons: one, because my own wardrobe is made up of statement pieces (see the spiked pumps that appear at the top of the page.)  I wear a lot of black, so I like pieces that add interest to my basics. Two, I’m primarily a writer, so I knew this blog had to be statement-heavy as opposed to photo-heavy. I plugged in a few other words that stood out to me and finally I found an available domain: statementscene.com. I tried a few more combinations after that but in the end I decided that STATEMENT/scene was right. I like the juxtaposition between the two words – ‘statement’ feels big and bold, ‘scene’ feels ladylike and glamorous and a bit more demure. I want the site to always walk the line between daring and feminine. STATEMENT/scene just seemed to get that message across, especially since I capitalize the word ‘statement’ and leave ‘scene’ in lower-case letters.

Exciting moments: Joining Lucky magazine’s contributor network was definitely a high point. It’s not only exciting to be a part of a national magazine’s pool of bloggers, it’s also been amazing getting to interact with other members. The girls I’ve ‘met’ through this platform are so sweet and helpful. I feel like bloggers should never be in competition because blogging is so personal – every blog should be a reflection of its owner and completely unlike anyone else’s, so to compare blogs and pit them against each other is just silly. The Lucky girls really seem to understand that. I have another partnership in the works as well (more on that once everything is finalized!)

Honestly, every single interview I’ve done has been a high point as well. From locals like Coco Meers and Graham Elliot to national names like Robert Rodriguez and Alli Webb, interviewing incredible people has been my favorite part of this whole thing.

 

Let’s keep in touch: Follow me on social media and/or drop me an email! I’ve revamped a few of my existing profiles to reflect the blog. I also created an email address for the site.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/statementscene

Instagram: http://instagram.com/zarhus

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/statementscene/

Bloglovin’: http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/11224899/statementscene

Lucky mag: http://contributors.luckymag.com/user/zara-husaini

Email: contact@statementscene.com

 

My blogger goals for 2014:

  • Figure out the exact balance between style guides, recipes, interviews, existing feature series (like BYOB: Be Your Own Boss) and personal style photos – though I don’t see this blog ever being totally devoted to my outfit pictures. More power to the bloggers who post these everyday, though. You are all far more photogenic than I am.
  • Post more interviews and enlist some guest bloggers to contribute.
  • Blog more frequently
  • Perfect the layout
  • Secure more partnerships
  • Publish more original photos. And make sure they actually look good. Hopefully my recent holiday gift to myself, a Canon Rebel T3, will help with this.
  • Learn a thing or two about graphic design and include some original art on the site.
  • Continue to blog because I love it and never see it as a ticket to score free shit or get invited to parties or get Instafamous or whatever.
  • Stop being afraid to share the blog with friends and family. The hardest thing about being a blogger – for me, anyway – is putting it all out there. It’s tough to open yourself up to ridicule. I haven’t done nearly enough to promote this blog in my existing network. Hopefully it’ll become easier this year.
  • And of course, get more readers and hits. The blog brought in 44,828 hits from October 18 to the end of 2013. Let’s see how much I can grow that number in 2014!

 

Thanks for reading. I hope you have your happiest year yet.

XOXO,

Zara

Isn’t the greeting card pictured in this post cute? Find it here.