Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What Do Clementines, Red Undies, and Bubbly Have In Common?

new year traditions

Growing up, I remember us kids would be so excited to stay up on new years eve to bang pots and pans at midnight on the front porch – that's the thing about traditions, you follow them without knowing why exactly we do them. It turns out noisemakers, horns, and clanging pots and pans is meant to ward off evil spirits.

A tradition that most everyone takes part in is the midnight kiss. Whether it's a significant other or a friendly peck on the cheek, grab someone and plant one on – not doing so will ensure a year of loneliness ... so goes the tradition. 

Just as popular is toasting to the new year. Clinking glasses is what started the term "ring in the new year" and was also meant to ward off the evil spirits.

Perhaps not as popular is colorful underwear. It's said that wearing certain colors can determine your year ahead ... yellow is meant to bring prosperity and success, red is said to bring love and romance, green brings health and well-being, and white, peace and harmony. Hey, it's worth a try!

Before midnight, place a coin or dollar bill outside your front door – either under a doormat or in the mailbox. Bring the money inside new years day to symbolize incoming wealth in the new year.

Serving round foods like cake, cookies, and clementines on new years eve signifies the old year coming to an end and the fresh start of a new year.  
Whatever your plans or traditions, have a safe and happy new year!

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Monday, December 30, 2013

Holiday Mode

There's no rest for the stylish during the holidays ... it's time to get your getup ready for New Years Eve! Below are a few of my fave ModeWalk looks (check out the full write up here), so whether you're going casual, or dressing to the nines, there's a little inspiration for everyone.   


And if your new years resolution is to introduce more style into your wardrobe, let me sift through all of the fashionable fun ModeWalk offers and find those perfect pieces for you. Get started here! 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!

Christmas Wreath

With family visiting and celebrating to do, I will be signing off for the holiday week. I wish you all a very merry Christmas and hope that you enjoy your time with family and friends. And don't forget to check out the after-Christmas sales ... that's what I'll be doing Thursday!

I'll leave you with this adorable mistletoe wreath DIY from the blog Urban Comfort.

Photo courtesy of Urban Comfort

Monday, December 23, 2013

Gift Guide: Last Minute Loot

No matter how organized I may be, there always seems to be one last person I need to buy for. Luckily it's always been a near miss, never an oops-I-forgot-a-gift moment. So in honor of those last minute presents, I've rounded up some options below ...  

gift guide

1. I'm not usually a fan of pre-boxed gifts, but Sephora really knocked it out of the park this year
2. A cool coffee table book is always fun to flip through
3. You can't go wrong with something homemade (or better yet, home baked!)
4. I can't resist the scent of Christmas, and this soap captures it perfectly (and pretty)
5. I love a large shopper tote, and this one comes in 6 colors and a pretty price
6. These new iphone5 backup batteries are genius – and adorable
7. A girl can never have enough cute scarves, I love this fox print one (and it's 20% off with code GAPNEW).
8. When in doubt, give the gift the keeps on giving ... a subscription to a magazine that piques their interest. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Have a Holly Jolly Weekend!

The Nutcracker

I don't mean to stress you out, but this is the last weekend to shop for those Christmas gifts (!) ... luckily there's still plenty out there (I should know, I just did a marathon shopping day yesterday) ...

• Plenty of shops have huge sale sections, or additional discounts on most merchandise. J.Crew is offering 30% off regular priced items, or 40% off sale stuff with code GIFTNOW. And I can attest to the great sale racks at Banana Republic, Zara, Bloomingdales, and Nordstrom

• Find some fun gifts for foodies at the Lush Wine & Spirits. The Chicago Avenue location is hosting a holiday market this Sunday featuring other food and drink specialists. And speaking of foodie gifts – complete the perfect gift basket with some items from Eataly ... their selection of preserves alone is amazing (and mouth watering).    

• When you've finally finished your shopping list, why not take in a holiday show. Steve and I are heading to the play version of The Nutcracker at the Chopin Theater. Of course, you can still check out the traditional ballet put on by Joffrey Ballet at the Auditorium Theater.   

Have a great weekend!

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gellin' Like Majella

Red Lipstick

Well I've done it, I've found the perfect shade of red lipstick ... only, it's not a lipstick, it's a pencil, and it lasts about 100 times longer than the traditional tube of lip color. I've had a longtime love affair with NARS lip pencils, even choosing to wear this one on our wedding day. So when looking for a good holiday red, I marched straight there (actually to the new NARS shop in Soho, which was heaven). I find that reds are often too orange, but this pencil in Majella is a deep garnet color. It's bold, perfect for a festive look (I wore it here), but I also love it to dress up a casual look. It's amazing the power red lips have on a look ... I was just wearing jeans, my black coat and gray cap while holiday shopping, I stopped in a store mirror to apply this, and bam! I went from drab to fab in the swipe of a pencil.    
Red Lipstick

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Collection of Style


It's still a few months away, but even the news that COS is coming stateside is an early Christmas present. When I'm in Europe, COS (Collection of Style) is one of my first stops to browse their clean classics. You won't find any fleeting trends here ... just timeless pieces that can easily mix with your existing wardrobe, and will last you forever. COS is slated to open in NYC in spring, but they have plans to open multiple standalone stores (here's hoping Chicago is on the short list), and an online shop. In the meantime, we can peruse the pretty pieces here.


Photos courtesy of COS, top photo courtesy of Selectism

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Glittery Gear

Chicago Stylist

Personal Style

Personal Style

Personal Style

The goods:
• black dress and ankle booties from Zara

• tights by HUE
• jacket from Côte a Côte, Paris 

Tis the season to wear a little sparkle! I picked up this gold and black jacket at a little shop in Paris with holiday parties in mind. The structured shoulder pads and golden threads are a perfect addition to a simple LBD and black tights. It would be equally as festive with a blouse and skinny jeans for a less formal affair, or dress up a comfy maxi on Christmas day.

Also adorable are this black cropped tweed jacket and this great gold piece.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Gift Guide: The Host(ess)

If you're like me, you think ahead of time what gifts you will get your loved ones and best friends ... but there's a VIP that shouldn't be forgotten – the host or hostess of that lovely holiday party. It doesn't have to be much, but a festive little fragment is much appreciated in return for a fun fête ...   

Hostess Gift

1. A festive knit koozie to keep those toddies hot
2. Some notes on entertaining from the French masters at Laduree
3. Chocolate, good, stout, good ... stout dark chocolate? Amaze
4. Bring the entertainment with Cards Against Humanity
5. A classic offering, this olive topiary will last well past the party
6. One of my new faves, the Capri Volcano candle
7. More fun than a flute, the Sofia mini cans
8. One of the best scents, Nest Bamboo hand soap

Friday, December 13, 2013

Have a Wonderful Weekend!

Wonderful Life

Happy weekend people! Nothing says holiday season quite like the annual Christmas Show at the Music Box Theater. It's probably the most delightful, festive event you can attend – two of the best holiday classics (White Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life), a carol sing-a-long, and the beautiful theater all decked for the season. Get your tickets for the double feature and just try to contain yourself with all the cuteness around you ... 

Also this weekend ...
• It's hard enough figuring out a fab outfit for that holiday party, so leave your hair to the experts at the newly opened Drybar in Lincoln Park. All blowouts are $40, which I would gladly fork over for that voluminous "Southern Comfort"!  

• There are only two shopping weekends left for your gift list, luckily there is another festive market this weekend. The Randolph Street holiday market takes place this Saturday and Sunday in the West Loop. Snag some one of a kind gifts (and if you're wondering, my list always includes estate jewelry!)

• For those brave enough to bundle up and head out into the chilly temps, check out the Lincoln Park Zoo Lights. Grab your warmest coat (and maybe a hot toddy to go) and check out the illuminated zoo – though you'll probably have to head indoors to see any animals, except the polar bear. 

Have a great weekend!

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Deck the Halls

I love the holiday season – the spiced drinks, wrapping gifts for loved ones, and probably most of all, the decor. While I love the smell of a fresh balsam fur, we just don't have the room (which could be due in part to my filling our place to the brim with furniture). So I've found other ways to turn our place into a winter wonderland, even the smallest spaces deserve a little holiday spirit!    

vintage Decor

Holiday Decor

Holiday Decor

Holiday Decor

Vintage Holiday

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

8 Fab Finds at Forever21

It may be called Forever 21, but for me, it will forever be (insert my age here). It's no secret that you need patience and time to sift through the hundreds of items in store, but finding diamonds in the rough like the round-up below are worth it ... and none cost more than $60!      

black knotted jacket  //  studded stiletto boot  //  cream beaded tank  //  baroque midi skirt

French terry dress  //  bouclé coat  //  illusion black shift dress  //  studded sandals

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Deck the Hair ...

I just can't get used to how time flies around the holidays – there are only about two more weeks until Christmas! Holiday party season is in full swing, and if your social calendar isn't full before December 25th, New Year's is just around the corner. Little else makes a look than a perfect hair do .. so I've rounded up a few of my fave looks for completing your holiday ensemble ...   

Holiday Hair

Clockwise from Top:  Try adding braids to a messy bun  //  add a jeweled accessory like these  //  pull hair into a low bun and just add colored bobbies  //  you can't go wrong with bodacious waves  //  a sleek ponytail completes a ladylike look.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Gift Guide: Your Gal Pal

Shopping for my mom/sister/bf is one of my favorite things – it's as easy as gifting items that I myself would like to receive! I find that as I get older, the less big-ticket items I need, so I've rounded up some fun small gifts for your gal pal ...  

Gift Guide

1. Set of pretty nail polish minis
2. Holiday edition Diptyque candle
3. Simple gold stacking ring set
4. Monogrammed classic clutch
5. The prettiest jewel-tone bottle of perfume
6. A Fashion Insiders Guide to Paris - fun even if she isn't traveling there soon
7. The classic striped Saint James shirt

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Have a Fantastic Weekend!

New York Christmas

I hate to cut this week short, but Steve and I are heading to NYC this weekend for a little getaway and some Christmas shopping! I'm super excited, but bummed to miss all of these fun things going on in Chicago this weekend ...

• There's so many new places to explore ... the foodie paradise Eataly, the Marché de Noël at The French Market, and, not for the faint of wallet – I mean, heartSaint Laurent opens today. 

• Since I'm on a home decor kick, I'm sad to miss out on the late night shopping extravaganza in Andersonville tomorrow night. Tons of shops will have special sales, snacks, sips and entertainment (my fave shop, Brimfield, will be open til midnight and offering 20% off store-wide!).

• If you still haven't completed your xmas lists after that, head to the Do-Division Holiday Fest. Not only are many local shops offering big sales, but revel in the holiday cheer with decorated windows, carolers, and hot toddies. You can also hit up the Renegade Craft Fair nearby, and the Unison Pop-Up shop party tonight for discounts, drinks, food, and fun.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tis the Season for Tea

Holiday Tea

One of my favorite traditions of the holiday season is high tea. I love gathering my mom and sisters, or good girl friends for a cozy pot of tea (or better yet, bubbly). Whether for brunch, the evening, or taking a shopping break, I love taking a load off ... and filling up on finger sandwiches and sweets. Below are a few places around the city to enjoy the festive finery. 

The Drake - $40/adult - very popular
Atwood Cafe - $35/adult 
The Lobby at The Peninsula - prices vary
The Ritz Carlton - prices vary - perfect for kids
Allium at Four Seasons - $39/adult
Lockwood at The Palmer House - $40/adult

Photo courtesy of PInterest

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Gift Guide: Your Dude

With Christmas only weeks away, it's time to get your shopping lists together. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say finding gifts for guys usually stumps me ... but I think I've got a few ideas that may fit the bill ... 

Gift Guide

1. Terre d'Hermes is one seriously sexy men's cologne.
2. Buying him a car may be out of budget, but this remote control car is still fun.
3. If he doesn't already, a shaving brush and soap are classic grooming tools.
4. Goose Island's Bourbon Country Stout is both delicious and potent (and popular – I recommend checking local liquor shops since it's often sold out at the big names)
5. Mr. Fancy Feet can keep his spiffy shoes all shined up with this kit.
6. These magnetic collar stays keep his collar perfectly smooth
7. These tumblers are vintage inspired, but updated with the ombre metallic touch.
8. Sure every guy has a bunch of hats, but this one adds a little style (plus you can borrow it).

Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday Funday

Cyber Monday Deals

I hope you all had a fantastic and filling Thanksgiving! It's officially the holiday shopping season, so get those wish lists ready. While I stayed away from the Black Friday madness, I will gladly hunker down at my computer to check out the great deals listed below (and I'll try to remember tis the season of giving – that is, to others, not myself!). 

Shopbop  –  save 15%, 20%, or 25% with code BIGEVENTS13
AllSaints  –  20% off with code THANKS 
ASOS  –  20% off with code GIMME20
C.Wonder  –  30% with code GIFTS30
Genetic Denim  –  35% off with code GENETICBF35
Necessary Clothing  – 10% off with code BLK
Nasty Gal  –  30% off site-wide
Mikkat Market  –  30% off with code THANKS30
Henri Bendel  –  Up to 40% off with code CYBER13
Intermix  –  20% off site-wide
Maggy London  –  40% off site-wide
Gorjana & Griffin  –  40% off with code BEMERRY
Anthropologie  –  extra 20% off all sale

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Festive Feast


Get your stretchy pants ready! Tomorrow is the big feast. I'm looking forward to my old standbys, and also trying some new twists on the classics. I'll be signing off for the weekend to hang with family (and hit up some sales!).

Also this weekend ...
• I'll be making my spiced pumpkin bread – it's so easy, and always a hit!

• Shopbop is having a spend more, save more sale ... how perfect is this for hiding that post-meal food baby tomorrow!

• Sure there's Black Friday, but don't forget about Small Business Saturday. Support local businesses and get started on that holiday shopping. Some of my faves? Eskell for jewelry and unique clothing, Merz Apothecary for amazing bath products, and Stitch has by far the best hostess gifts. 

Have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wrap Star


Lately I've been cuddling up in my oversized scarf – a warm layer when I leave the house, and it doubles as a cozy blanket in front of the fireplace. I've decided that they're so versatile, I probably need more color/pattern options besides my neutral camel (this is one of those instances where I justify purchasing unnecessary items that are so totally necessary). Below are a few I've been eyeing ...   

Clockwise from top:  leopard print  //  fringed plaid print  //  charcoal shawl wrap  //  light gray wrap  //  jacquard blanket wrap

above photo from Pinterest

Monday, November 25, 2013

Crossing the Threshold

Sure, all of the pretty home pics on Pinterest are inspiring – the marble countertops, gilded mirrors, and mid century finds – but I'll tell ya, it's amazing how expensive home decor can be (I was totally shocked how pricey even the littlest lamps are!). Well how about a home line that is actually attainable. Threshold at Target is the perfect mix of seriously stylish furniture and accessories, but at those oh-so-awesome Target prices. Easily mistaken for a designer piece or vintage treasure, the entire line adds a dose of cool to any abode ...       

Target Threshold

A few fab finds from the always wallet-friendly, Target:  gold bar cart  //  faux fur throw blanket  //  mercury glass hurricane  //  side chair  //  industrial stool  //  marble coasters  //  plaid floor pillow  //  mirrored cabinet  //  starburst mirror  //  glass feather figure  //  brass floor lamp

Friday, November 22, 2013

Have a Fun Weekend!

DIY Christmas decor

Happy Friday! While I do love the holidays, I wait patiently (or impatiently) until the day after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas. But it's only a week away, so nothing's stopping me from admiring all the fancy, frosted decor in stores this weekend ... or better yet, getting a head start on my own with the dipped DIY above.

Also this weekend ...
• It's time to start buying holiday gifts for your loved ones, so hit the holiday sale at the School of the Art Institute Chicago. It's a great opportunity to meet the student artists while they show and sell their unique, one of a kind items like paintings, ceramics, and sculptures.

• Not waiting until after Thanksgiving to start the Christmas cheer is the Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza, starting Tuesday. And after visiting Germany last month, I cannot wait to get some bratwurst and hot mulled wine while perusing all of the handmade gifts.

• Even if you aren't a bride to be, there's no denying BHLDN is a gorgeous store. All of their sparkly shoes/accessories/dresses aren't just for weddings, they work for the holidays too! So try your luck at winning a $200 giftcard with their colorful online contest.

Have a great weekend!

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Keepin' it Cozy

Chicago Stylist

Personal Style

Personal Style

Personal Style

The goods:
• jacket (from my mom's closet)

• leggings from Nordstrom Rack
• sweater dress (underneath) by Elizabeth and James
• ankle boots from Zara
• Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Cherry
Whoa! It's been too long since I've done an outfit post. Now, I practice what I preach, so don't worry, I'm not wearing leggings as pants, there's a short sweater dress under there. And since the snow hasn't hit, but it's too chilly for my classic trench, I've been sporting this wool jacket which I snagged from my mom (she relied on this pretty plaid number in college ... and my sisters and I did the same).

I mentioned my love for plaid pieces for autumn before, but I also love these vintage pieces similar to mine – this button down coat, this mini cape, and this pretty plaid cape.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Icons of Style: Linda Rodin


I read a recent interview with the incredible Linda Rodin, and found myself laughing, being inspired, and scrambling to get my hands on her beauty line.

The silver foxy lady went from model, to editor of Harper's Bazaar, to (the original) boutique owner in SoHo, to major stylist, to beauty maven with her best selling line of oils (phew!). She's an incredibly chic inspiration to businesswomen of all ages, with one seriously cool wardrobe. Just check out some of my fave looks from this 65 year old! (and someone pass me some Olio Lusso so I can look that good at her age) ...



Photos from Pinterest

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Cozy Collection

Now that the temps are steadily dropping, it's time to get cozy. My go-to piece is a big, warm sweater – but that doesn't mean sacrificing style. I like to pair an oversized sweater with skinny jeans and ankle boots for a chic, but ultra comfortable ensemble. Below are some of my faves for a stylish winter ahead.

Cozy sweaters

Clockwise from top:  cashmere cardigan  //  gray cashmere poncho  //  light gray oversized turtleneck  //  multi-way sweater  //  cape cardigan

Monday, November 18, 2013

In Holiday Mode

The holiday season is right around the corner and that means two things, spending quality time with your loved ones, and looking fab doing it! ModeWalk, the online purveyors of some seriously swanky duds, has marked down much of their collection in time for the holiday social season. Brands include contemporary faves J Brand, Theyskens' Theory, and Vince, but ModeWalk also introduces sophisticated designers like Martin Grant, Christine Phung, and so many more.

I've partnered with ModeWalk as a stylist, and armed with your sizing and wish list, can send styles for your consideration directly to your inbox. Think of it as shopping online usual, but having me pre-select items I think you'll love!     

Below are some of my faves that are on sale now on ModeWalk ...


Check out all of the stylish duds here.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Have A Warm Weekend!

afternoon tea

Happy weekend everyone! I hope you've all licked your wounds after the slaughter that was Isabel Marant X H&M (did you score? I was a big zero, oh well). It's supposed to be a cool and rainy weekend, so I'm playing hostess and having friends over for dinner one night, and family the other (it's just so much easier when people come to you!). 

Also this weekend ...
• The Atwood Cafe is starting their holiday tea service this weekend. Nothing is better than teeny tiny sandwiches and cookies ... except maybe the tea and champagne.

• Speaking of holidays, The Golden Triangle (the posh and pretty home store downtown) is holding their holiday market, complete with an opening day discount of 20%. I may have to hit this up ... I won't – er – can't stop with the home makeover

• While you're out and about shopping Saturday, swing over to to Wicker Park/Bucktown for ChillFest. 100 bands will be performing at "venues" like Antique Taco, Alliance Bakery, Penelope's and more ... how chill is that?!

Have a super weekend!

Photo from Pinterest

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Intimate Gathering

Last night was the Victoria's Secret fashion show, which won't air until December, but Instagram and Twitter were abuzz with the "Angles" posting all of their fancy pants ensembles (or lack thereof). It got me thinking – very little, if anything, of what goes down that runway is actually wearable. In reality, I'd say most women opt for comfort over sexy ... but there is a balance that can be struck. Below are some cute but still coquettish pieces that I would happily don (in private, not on the runway) ...  


Clockwise from top:  blue and white teddy  //  black cotton robe  //  navy swissdot panty  //  black dot set  //  pink jersey robe  //  pink swissdot set  //  lace trim romper

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

La Maison

When Steve and I moved in together years ago, I think we did a fairly good job of blending my vintage style with his more contemporary. But after being so inspired by the amazing interiors in France, we immediately got to work giving our place a mini-makeover upon return. It didn't take much to brighten our living space and give it a bit more sophistication ...

Our entry wall before ...
After ... 
A much more functional use of space, this salvaged shelving unit from Nadeau actually serves a pretty purpose with added storage.
Vintage furniture

Our living space before ...
French interior
After ... 
a new coat of paint and new couch, my handy husband added reclaimed wood to our CB2 coffee table, we swapped out the old artwork for this bright mirror, and I made over our Ikea side tables to be gold with white lacquer top. 
French inspired home

Next up ... An update to our bedroom and a french-inspired guest room.