Little Red Christmas Bag

Al Plus Lex

Little Red Prada Bag

Al PLus Lex

Little Red Prada Bag

 

Al Plus Lex

Hat: JCrew (New style here) | Long-sleeve Top: Free People | Vest: Nordstrom (Love these here and here) | Jeans: J Brand | Boots: Tory Burch (Loving these dressed up tassel boots and these for sloshing through the Chicago snow) | Bag: Prada

 

Lexi and I met a few weeks ago on Southport. We walked by the prettiest Christmas decorations right off the main street and a cute red door in an old brick building. I got this vest last year from Nordstrom for easy layering while working in Park City at Sundance Film Festival. Park City has tricky weather because there is a ton of snow, but it stays in the 50s (at least when I have been there!)

I got this little red Prada bag when I was in Milan this past November with my parents. It was a quick trip, but my mom and I spent four straight days shopping and I think I died a little (a lot) and went to heaven. Each store was set up like an art gallery and was truly an experience in itself. I have always been in love with these cute pint-sized bags and as soon as I walked into Prada, knew that one was coming home on my arm.

In my current bag collection I mostly have blacks and nudes that are timeless and will pair well with anything. I chose to go with the little red bag because it still acts as a neutral, pairing well with almost anything you put on.

This little red Prada bag has quickly become my go-to Winter accessory- what is yours?

 

<3 Al

Photos: Theresa Ferrell

Tropical Tiki: A Light Rum Cocktail

 

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This past weekend Chicago got our second heavy snow of December. Trying to not let our moods dip because of the snow, we decided to drown our snow ridden sorrows in some Tiki cocktails. I recently visited Lost Lake for the first time and was blown away by the fruity drinks that were as tasty as they were beautiful.

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The ]”Lost Lake” at Lost Lake Tiki in Chicago.

The Tiki cocktail I made on Sunday night was a play on the Saint Tiki” from The Complete Cocktail Manual. It was originally supposed to be a mocktail but I added light white rum to the mix and thought it was pretty tasty. The unusual thing about this particular tiki cocktail to me was that it called for bitters. While I don’t drink them, I frequently make the classic Old Fashioned for friends. Old Fashioneds are made with bourbon or whiskey, so I had assumed that bitters only paired well with dark liquors. I was wrong.

The Saint Tiki, unaltered:

2 oz orange juice

2 oz pineapple juice

3/4 oz lime juice

1/2 oz Cinnamon Simple Syrup (Simply combine one cup water to one cup fine white sugar with cinnamon sticks in a sauce pan. Let cool.)

2 dashes cocktail bitters

Top with ginger beer

Mint sprig to garnish

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake for 8-10 seconds. Pour into coup cocktail glass and top with ginger beer and mint leaf.

 

Saint Tiki With A Twist

2 oz orange juice

2 oz pineapple juice

3/4 oz lime juice

1/2 oz  Simple Syrup (Simply combine one cup water to one cup fine white sugar in a sauce pan. Let cool.)

2 dashes cocktail bitters

2 oz white rum

Top with ginger beer

Mint sprig to garnish

Because I did not have cinnamon sticks at the ready, I simply used regular simple syrup and added 2 oz of rum per cocktail. I topped my cocktail with ginger beer, but I think an orange LaCroix would be tasty and would not give you a strong ginger taste which was a tad overpowering. Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake for 8-10 seconds. Pour into coup cocktail glass and top with ginger beer and mint leaf.

 

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<3 Al

Questions About Monetizing Your Social Accounts

Just because you are on social media, does not mean you are a social media expert. In the same way, having an Instagram…does not make you a professional photographer. I joined Instagram at the end of my Freshman year of college when I first started my previous blog, StreetStyleChi. I knew little about how to use social media, or, how beneficial it could be. After spending so much time working with the women of Nike in Chicago, I got to see first hand how one of the most influential companies in the world crafts their brand voice.  I quickly gained insight and learned how important a strong social media voice is. After spending the last few years creating brand images on social media for my clients, I have learned that everyone has to have their own unique voice and each fan base responds positively to different content. The fact is, that good social media can move mountains between a brand and it’s consumers.

Back in 2011, social media was looked at as purely an egotistical and frivolous (which it still can be). It was just a silly place for teens to express their love for the latest member of One Direction (again, still very much alive). Only in the last few years have we started to fully take advantage of what it really is: a direct line to your consumer.

 

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While many view giving bloggers monetary compensation to wear certain products as deceptive, it is truly just another form of advertising for these large brands trying to tap a specific market; and it is SUPER smart. Consumers no longer want to click on a banner ad or follow a brand on social media; they want to follow a personality. Bloggers and “influencers” being sent product help brands build a direct relationship with their consumer through this third party (being the blogger) that consumers already deeply trust.

A great example of Instagram marketing can be found at @WeWoreWhat, founded by blogger Danielle Bernstein. Her Instagram account boasts a million followers, with sponsored posts trickling down her feed that to an untrained eye look organic. In reality, Bernstein charges $5-15K per Instagram photo, with monetary compensation going up as the number of Instagrams goes up. So why would a brand be willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a single photo on a social network? Bloggers build lasting relationships with their readers for years, thus, when they promote a brand, the brand gains that loyalty as well.

WWW Sponsored Insta Post

When looking at famous instagram accounts we are not just talking number of followers, but engagements, which are measured by number of likes and comments on a photo. If you have 20K followers on Instagram, but are consistently getting 15 likes on your photos, there is a very fair chance that you bought 19K of those followers and brands will keep their distance. Essentially, your data will speak for itself.

If you look through any “instafamous” personalities, their content glows. Their photos boast the same filter to show consistency, and their snapshots are taken with fancy camera attachments or a Nikon. Every photo is strategically placed on their feed with the same intensive thought that goes into a full-throttle pr campaign. Why? They are their brand, and their social tool of choice is their main place of marketing themselves, so it better be good. To see what I mean, check out our tips for Instagramming like a professional.

What are your opinions on sponsored posts? On growing your social media accounts?

Make sure to follow me on Instagram @AliTMoresco. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

<3 Al

 

 

The Classic Negroni

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Count Camillo Negroni was a smart guy. He picked up a taste for hard liquor while working as a clown in the US (no joke…) and asked his bartender to alter his favorite drink at the time, the Americano, to be a bit stronger by adding gin instead of seltzer. While this is a classic cocktail, I personally could not drink it regularly. The strong dose of Campari gives this libation a bitter taste that is better sipped on slowly after some ice dilution.

I made this classic Italian cocktail the night before I left to go to Milan with my parents. Most of my cocktail recipes are from The Complete Cocktail Manual, but may be slightly altered to my own taste. This recipe is unaltered from the original, and is incredibly simple to make due to the equal parts of each ingredient.

Classic Negroni:

1 1/2 oz Gin (I prefer Hendrick’s but Koval also makes a great gin if you are looking for something smaller batch and local to Chicago.)

1 1/2 oz sweet vermouth

1 1/2 oz Campari

Orange peel to garnish

Combine all ingredients without the garnish in a rocks glass with ice (I prefer one giant ice cube- you can get this with these ice cube molds.) Stir with a cocktail spoon and add garnish.

 

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I would serve this with a hearty cheese board with different flavor profiles, charcuterie and an assortment of toppings and olives. Who doesn’t love cheese? Try to have three to four different kinds of cheese plus prosciutto and salami- then load up on the less expensive accompaniments like sliced Italian bread, assorted olives and nuts. Personally, I like a hard cheese like Parmesan, a soft cheese like brie or blue cheese and a cow milk based cheese that is mild. A cheese board doesn’t have to be gigantic to be delicious, as demonstrated below!

 

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  <3 Al

 

Lululemon: Artistry In Motion Chicago

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On Sarah: Nike Air Force 1 | Fendi bag (on sale!!) | On Alex: Rag & Bone dress (Out of season but similar here) | Adidas Stan Smith Sneakers also love these “winterized” version |

I was always a weird duck in college. I started out at DePaul as an accounting major (WOW was that a mistake- eventually switched to PR/AD) and was looking for a little bit of a creative outlet- this was how my first blog, StreetStyleChi, was born. Starting StreetStyleChi gave me insight into marketing to the college age girl and I wound up working with Nike on Nike Training Club, a new concept store in Chicago at the time. Being submersed into the sportswear world made me value the technology and time that go into designing everything from the top you wear to the socks you hit the gym in.

Lululemon recently put on “Artistry in Motion” throughout major cities in the United States. I attended the Chicago event with my friend Sarah, where they took us through the craftsmanship techniques in each product and previewed their fall and winter collection. For a sneaker and sportswear geek like myself, this was the perfect night to learn about a brand that I have always loved. Lulu put this on at Lacuna Artist Lofts. My friend Sarah and I wandered the old factory style building for part of the night checking out the art that covers every floor and the neon signs that are tucked around every corner.

 

 

Lululemon sent every guest home with a “Chicago Illinois” Apolis bag with the little reminder “choose a life you love.” The goal of Artistry in Motion was not just to promote a product, but genuinely bring the community closer together. I loved the hometown tie in by using local Chicago farms and distillers. I know that Nordstrom and Art Effect both carry Apolis bags in Chicago!

 

 

 

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Lulu just came out with some fun new pieces for the holidays and clearly I want everything, but my favorites are this multi-colored top, the Vinyasa Wrap that is basically just a cozy blanket, and these splatter reflective tights that would look just as cool on the street as in the gym.

<3 Al

Make sure to follow me on Instagram @AliTMoresco. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

 

Photos from the night were taken by @Multimarz for Lululemon.

Instagram Tips: Build Your ‘Gram Like A Professional

With personalities building their whole career off of Instagram we often find ourselves wondering how they did it. Here are a few tips to help you ‘gram like a professional.

Rach Parcell

 

A snap from top blogger + RewardStyle earner @RachParcell

1. Keep it simple. Think of something you are passionate about and keep within that theme. Whether it be street-style or donuts, having a neatly curated ‘gram will help you grow a niche following. One of my favorite themed accounts is The Bannerie.

2. Create a quirky name. Having a recognizable name will help your Instagram stick in the minds of your followers and even get approached by brands for collaborations. Use the description box to plug your other social media accounts. You never know what social media platform will be the next big thing in a week or so, so I recommend growing a following on multiple platforms and cross promoting.

3. Only share quality images! Sharing glowing images is half the battle of having a neatly packaged Instagram. Blurry or low-resolution snaps will not get many likes and may even result in lost followers, so just say no!

4. Practice your snaps. Many accounts have all of their photos taken in similar styles. Against a brick wall…food on a marble counter-top. If you are serious about upping your ‘Gram game, practice a few different styles to get familiar with what you like and how to get the best shot. Soon enough it will become second nature and you will get the right shot every time.

5. Be consistent with hashtags. Want to grow a following that also shares photos with you? Create a hashtag to promote. Not only is this an optimal way to engage your community, it will also give you additional content to #ReGram when you do not have anything new. Shai Chung over at @DrunkonShoes does an awesome job of this with the hashtag #Drunkonshoestoo.

6. Be unique. While it’s always a great idea to peek around at “instafamous” accounts for inspiration, do not try to copy them. Take notes on why you think these accounts are popular (ex. cohesive theme), and think about what you could do better. You will not amass tens of thousands of followers by doing the same thing as someone else.

7. Give credit where credit is due. With millions of brilliant photos circulating on Instagram everyday, we are bound to #Regram here or there. Just give credit to the original poster to practice good etiquette. You may even make a new IG friend along the way!

8. Monitor when your followers are online. Do not overlook all the tools at your fingertips with Iconosquare. Iconosquare allows you to monitor what times are best for you to post and when your community is the most active. Post during those times.

Simply Stylist

 

Simply Stylist

If you have followed StreetStyleChi in the past, you know I love a good fashion + tech conference. My two favorite things combined…what could be better? I had the pleasure of going to Simply Stylist this past week, and California Tan was nice enough to give me a golden glow that lasted well into the next week.

This was my first year attending the conference, and I am so happy that Simply Stylist decided to bring their ideas to Chicago. Corri McFadden, Jacey Duprie, Joey Maalouf, and Sazan Barzani spoke as the main feature event, and I was blown away! I love listening to other strong women and men in business making a name for themselves. It also doesn’t hurt that Duprie is a fellow DePaul University alum.

 

Didn’t make it to Chicago? Head to Simply Stylist in New York this October.

 

Not quite getting that golden summer look you had hoped for? Try hopping over to California for a tan.  ; )

 

I Spy: Custom Cocktail Napkins

 

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Lettermade is a brand for the modern traditionalist, who values classic design and decor stirred up with a contemporary flare,” boasts the Lettermade About page. I would say…I have to agree.

I have always loved picking up small treasures at street markets and boutiques throughout my travels. Putting them in the perfect place when I return home makes me smile and remember the memories that are held with that piece. I stumbled upon the Lettermade Instagram last week, and loved the line “modern traditionalist.” If I had to describe myself in two words, this would be it. I love a classic palette (hello light-grey walls!) mixed with pieces from my favorite street artists.

The next addition to my home-goods collection will be these hashtag cocktail napkins. The dainty design will look great out on a bar cart, as well as scattered over end-tables and beneath unique glassware. Quick tip: steal the idea in the above champagne photo and rim glasses with glittery sanding sugar to kick your cocktails up a notch.

 

 

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Embroidered White

 

Saturday was the first (semi)relaxing day I had in a while. I took my math final in the morning, walked around Green City Market, and then relaxed in the sun. I picked up this simple cotton dress with bright blue embroidery on a vacation in December and am ecstatic that it is finally warm enough to wear it over a bathing suit.

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After a long week, sometimes all you can do is go get a glass (pitcher) of sangria and cozy up to the bar. I stumbled upon a photo of sangria and a cheese board from Black Bull a few months ago. DJ and I finally went and tried it out Saturday night. Black Bull definitely lives up to the food porn photo hype splattered across my news-feed.

On our walk home from the roof a butterfly started landing on me. Health wise, I have had a very rough few months with a lot of tests in the horizon. I have always taken butterflies as a sign of my grandfather’s presence, who passed when I was in high school. I would like to think that this is him keeping an eye on me.

 

LET’S GET SOCIAL: Snapchat: StreetStyleChi / Instagram: Follow Along / Twitter: Tweet Me

Sunday Stripes

Brunch is one of my favorite meals of all time. When else can you eat breakfast foods, lunch, pastries, all topped off with a mimosa and have it be socially acceptable? Exactly. My family loves brunch at The Publican. The avocado scramble with a side of frites if my dish of choice.

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My mom brought this dress home for me from J. Crew last year. Being a little curvy, I wasn’t sure that it was the right fit for my body. I put it in my closet, and did not touch it for a full year. I stumbled upon it two weeks ago and fell madly in love with the blue and white color palette and high-neckline cut. I have worn it quite a bit since, often with a leather jacket thrown on top or with a brown leather belt wrapped around my hips for a boho look. The best part? The loose fit allowed me to consume all the baked good and scrambled eggs I wanted. Now, that’s a real winner

 

LET’S GET SOCIAL: Snapchat: StreetStyleChi / Instagram: Follow Along / Twitter: Tweet Me