Ina Garten’s Aperol Spritzer

There are very few “famous” people that I admire, and it is an odd assortment at best! I love Lori from Shark Tank, Mike + Frank from American Pickers…and of course Ina Garten from Food Network. I do not just admire Ina for her cooking skills, but for her ability to turn something out of nothing: IE the failing Hamptons grocery store she bought all those years ago and then flipped into a cooking empire.

This month, my mom took me to see Ina Garten “in conversation.” She told old stories of when she met Jeffrey and what it was really like opening up that tiny grocery store. I also got a signed copy of Cooking For Jeffrey, which I have already made three recipes out of. They were shockingly simple to follow and came out exactly as they were supposed to.

If you have ever watched a single Ina Garten cooking show, you know two things: she loves Jeffrey, but she LOVES to drink cocktails in her garden. My kind of girl. I made Ina’s Aperol Spritzers for my family and they were a hit. It is the kind of cocktail you want to sit in the warm sun and drink, plus it does not require a lot of ingredients. Here is what you will need:

 

Ina Garten’s Aperol Spritzers:

Ice

1 bottle of Prosecco, chilled

12 ounces Aperol

1 bottle San Pellegrino (any sparkling water will work!)

6 half-round orange slices (I prefer blood orange!)

“For each drink, fill a 14- to 16-ounce tumbler three-quarters full with ice. Fill each glass two-thirds full with Prosecco, add 2 ounces of the Aperol, a splash of San Pellegrino, and an orange slice, and stir. Serve ice cold.”

 

Do you have a favorite summertime cocktail? The Eastern Standard is another one of my favorites.

 

❤ Al

Downtown Chic

Chicago Style Chicago Style Chicago Style Chicago Style Chicago Style Chicago Style

Sweater: Nordstrom (Similar here) // Jeans: Topshop @ Nordstrom // Boots: Aldo

Hair Products: Moroccan Oil and Blowout Sealing Serum

Shampoo: Fekkai // Conditioner: Fekkai

I have been meaning to channel my inner tourist and share some images that really capture the epitome of Chicago. I wanted to live here for a reason, right? One of the most iconic pictures in Chicago is the infamous CHICAGO marquee located at State and Lake at the Chicago Theatre. I work right next door to it so I get to see it every morning and night as I get off and on the redline. State street is great for shopping (I call the Macy’s the Disneyland shopping adventure of Chicago) and you’re in the heart of the city’s Theatre district where you can easily snag student rush tickets to a show.

It has still been a little colder than usual in Chicago, so I went with a black sweater, torn jeans, and ankle boots. I tend to lightly style my hair during the work week and use more products/ heat on it during the weekends, so I think that could be a reason as to why my hair grows so fast (I am in a desperate need of a haircut…). I shared a few of my hair products I use in case anyone is looking for new product recos! Moroccan oil has been my go to for years, and sometimes I mix it with my Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial to give my face ultimate moisture before bed. Any must have black clothing items you have spotted? Let me know!

XO.

Lex

Stay-caytion in Chicago

Waldorf Astoria Chicago

I love my city. One of the things I love most is you never feel too consumed from living in Chicago. You can always go to different places throughout the city to get fresh air and clear your mind. One way Bill and I decided to get some savvy R&R was to take a little stay-cation. Our stay was made extra special thanks to the hospitality from the Waldorf Astoria Chicago. We are familiar with the Gold Coast neighborhood and have many memories there but being a guest in your own city for once is pretty fun and something different. Bill and I relaxed, did some shopping, and had delicious dinners during our stay. I think my favorite thing about our short and sweet vacation was the fireplace in our hotel room.. it’s the little things that matter right?

I encourage you to take a stay-cation in your city, whether it be by yourself, with a friend, or lover.

A few tips I have when you are thinking about taking a stay-cation:

  • Plan ahead: Think of where you ideally want to stay, and a few new dinner spots you have been wanting to try.
  • Bring an outfit you normally wouldn’t wear out: I don’t mean bring something outrageous. Just bring a dress you never have a chance to wear but always receive compliments on. Dress up because it makes you feel fabulous.
  • Do something tourist-y: Yep. You read that correctly. Bill and I went to the Lincoln Park Conservatory on an off day when it wasn’t busy. It reminded both of us what a beautiful city we live in and how nice our local attractions are.

I shared a few photos from our stay-cation below: Fireplace, Balcony, Outfits and more.

If it’s not going away from your home for a weekend, find a great movie, make your favorite snack and splurge on that fancy candle you have been dying to try.

XO.

Lex

The Waldorf Astoria Chicago

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Dinner at Merlo Maple
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Top: Free People (similar here!) // Boots: Steve Madden

A Day as a Tourist at the Lincoln Park Conservatory

Lincoln Park Conservatory

Jacket: Hinge @ Nordstrom (Another fave here) // Hat: BP @ Nordstrom // Leggings: Zella // Shoes: Nike (similarLincoln Park Conservatory Lincoln Park Conservatory Lincoln Park Conservatory Lincoln Park Conservatory Lincoln Park Conservatory

Conference Call 101: How to Chat With Brands

 

In the past few weeks I have talked about the FTC Blogger Guidelines and how Edelman is changing the data analytics game for bloggers- last week was How To Pitch. Your goal after sending a pitch should always be to get XYZ Brand PR person on a call.

A simple phone call is something that is often overlooked, but can make a great impression on someone. One of the things that has stuck with me through my years in PR was Hillary Sawchuk of A Drink With telling me that when you want to work with someone, always try to get them on the phone. It is much, much harder for someone to say no to you on the phone than via email. Phone calls can be scary, especially if you are like me and do not particularly love chatting on the phone.

Below are some helpful tips for brand phone calls and a sample call agenda that I use for calls with clients and the people I work with for my clients. It helps me stay organized and not feel unprepared.

sample call agenda

Organizing a call can be difficult- but including extra information in the calendar invite helps to keep everyone on the same page.

  • Title the call invite with your name and the brands name.
  • Put a quick discussion overview so your team is prepared. If it is just you, it gives you a simple guide so you do not get stuck in an awkward silence.
  • Always put the titles and contact numbers or emails of everyone joining the call. This helps call attendees to know who is from where so there is no confusion.
  • Use a service like FreeConferenceCall.com. FCC gives you a free dial in number and access code. Using FCC looks professional, and helps avoid confusion about who is calling who.

Knowing what to ask can be tricky. Here are some sample questions that you can talk through with your brand:

  • What are their initiatives for the year?
  • What is the brand’s target demographic?
  • How would they describe their current consumer?
  • When does the brand plan their budget?
  • Is social media a top priority for them?
  • What information can you provide them?
  • Do you have any upcoming initiatives you are trying to promote?

 

❤ Al

 

Alexandra Moresco is the owner and founder of A Moresco PR + Digital Strategy.

 

 

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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How To: Land Your Fashion Dream Job According To An Insider Part II

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In a two part guest series, Ashley Altstadt let’s you in on her tips and recommendations for going after what you want, and ultimately landing a coveted spot in the fashion industry. This is part II.

 

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Do as much as you can on the side.

When I’m not at my current job, I’m writing for online fashion magazines. Start a blog, take photos and show off your work anyway that you can. Companies want to see someone that takes the time to do what they love. Having a blog will also show off your personality and point of view to future employers.

 

Dress the part.

When you’re trying to land your dream job, you want to be taken seriously. I always go for a tailored pant or a midi dress for an interview. Employers want to see that you can put yourself together, but you also have your own personal style. Don’t wear too much jewelry, keep it light on the make-up, and always wear heels that you feel confident in.

 

Research.

Before every interview I always research the company inside and out. You want to impress these future employers by knowing the company background and philosophies. Doing your homework shows that you’re serious about the job.

 

Be smart on social media.

Make sure that you’re putting out a positive image of yourself on every social media platform. Employers will look there first to see what you’re like and who you are. I always stick to classy and respectable posts because you never know who is looking. Social media has become the largest representations of ourselves whether we like it or not.

 

SMILE.

I’ve learned that being nice to people will get you further in life than anything else. Always be pleasant, be nice to everyone you meet and SMILE! Also, HAVE FUN! Fashion is supposed to be creative, artistic and exciting.

 

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

How To: Land Your Fashion Dream Job According To An Insider

Ashley Alstadt Post

Ashley Altstadt completed seven internships throughout college, studied abroad, and got her dream job right out of school. With an internship at InStyle and Paige Denim under her belt, it’s no surprise that Joie, Current Elliott and Equipment scooped her up without thinking twice. In a two part guest series, Altstadt let’s you in on her tips and recommendations for going after what you want, and ultimately landing a coveted spot in the fashion industry.

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How To: Get Your Fashion Dream Job

By: Ashley Altstadt

At the age of 24 I’ve just landed my fashion dream job of working as an International Sales Assistant for Joie, Current/Elliott and Equipment. My duties involve helping to manage accounts internationally, while also prepping for appointments abroad. My love of fashion and worldwide travel has finally come into one, and this is how I got here.

 

 

Intern.

 

Throughout my years of college, I managed to complete a total of seven internships. I worked in every area of the fashion industry to not only expand my knowledge, but to really grasp what I was good at. I did internships ranging from Public Relations at Paige Denim to styling on movies to Editorial Intern at InStyle Magazine. Take every opportunity you can, even if it means working for free. The lessons that you will learn at each internship are absolutely priceless.

 

Study.

 

I was lucky enough to receive my Bachelor’s Degree in Apparel Merchandise and Management from Cal Poly Pomona. From sewing to managing my own business, I was set to go into the real world once I graduated. Even if you aren’t doing a four year degree in fashion, taking a class here and there will help tremendously when working at your dream job. Some things you need to know can’t be taught through real-life experience.

 

Study abroad.

 

My last quarter of college was spent studying International Fashion in London. While studying, I also worked as an Editorial Assistant for Verge Magazine. Studying abroad expands your mind to different cultures and how unique the world is. All of my travels taught me so much about myself, but also taught me how beautiful fashion is in other countries than my own. I was able to fully step outside my comfort zone and grow as a person.

 

Never take ‘no’ as an answer.

 

During my life I’ve been told ‘no’ more times than I can even remember. I’ve gone on multiple interviews, sent out thousands of e-mails, and followed up with every employer I could. From all of this work, I’ve usually only gotten a few responses. If I gave up I would have never gotten the dream job that I have today. Always stay positive and know that the right job is out there and what’s meant to be will always find its way.

 

Go for those once in a lifetime opportunities.

 

In college, I was so honored to be accepted to Teen Vogue Fashion University two years in a row. This was a weekend of seminars in New York City at the Teen Vogue offices. The speakers at these seminars ranged from Alexa Chung to Grace Coddington. When I got my acceptance letter, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up even if it would cost me a pretty penny. I’ve learned it’s worth it to save that extra money and spend it on experiences rather than possessions.

 

Check back on 5.25 for Part II.

What You Need To Know About The FTC Blogger Guidelines

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In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released updated guidelines and regulations for advertising in relation to social media and bloggers. When the guidelines were first released, there was not much talk of it. In the last week or so, blog readers raised eyebrows when 50 bloggers coincidentally wore the same Lord & Taylor Design Lab dress on Instagram. As it turns out, it was not a coincidence and Lord & Taylor had sponsored the posts and gifted the dress to each blogger. The goal was to cause a social media frenzy, and it worked: the dress sold out by the end of the weekend.

While there is no proven statistical correlation between Instagram and ROI, there is no denying the influential power of social media as the latest advertising tool. With social media being unregulated, it is difficult for the Federal Trade Commission to keep an eye on.

With the recent rules coming to light, here is what you need to know:

  • The largest point: All endorsements, sponsored pieces, and gifted items need to be disclosed on all forms of media, including Instagram and Twitter.
  • The disclosure must be made close to the original post (ex. If you promote a bag on Instagram, it must say “sponsored” in the same post.)
  • Disclosure is required in videos, not just written posts.
  • The FTC leaves it up to the brand to make it clear that they require the proper citations, and will ultimately go after the brand if the blogger enlisted to endorse their product does not follow the rules.

If you are looking for more information on brand/blogger relationships and disclosures, I recommend you check out this link.

Wasalu Jaco (Lupe Fiasco) Spoke At Soho House Chicago And It Was Inspiring

This past Saturday, Wasalu Jaco, better known as rapper Lupe Fiasco, spoke on his growing interest in painting and art, as well as his latest album. The talk took place at The Allis inside of Soho House Chicago and Sky Gellaty of Team Epiphany moderated. These were my favorite things he said that I found the most inspiring:

Photo via Soho House Chicago

Photo via Soho House Chicago

1. “I felt like my music career, even though successful, you can’t touch it. It doesn’t live in the world, it doesn’t take up space in the world,” Wasalu on why he started painting.

2. “How can I take something that is a pure raw experience and turn it into some type of narrative,” Wasalu on his creative process.

3. “More than being black, more than being a Muslim, I am an American.”

4. “Chicago is one of the few cities that actually influences global changes.”

5. “Just trying to stay creative and trying to constantly learn. If I have time, go back to school,” Wasalu on what’s next for him.

6. “When it comes to painting, I’m a starving artist. Even beyond being Lupe Fiasco, when you put paint to paper, you’re at zero. You have to go through the same struggles, through the same strife…”

7. “I don’t approach the world by being redundant.”

A Night of Hidden Gems: Complex Magazine and Chevrolet Help Us Explore Chicago

Complex Magazine is always at the forefront of social media trends. One look at their Twitter or Instagram and you automatically know who they are and what they are about. When the magazine was founded in 2002, they were way ahead of the game and the only outlet of its kind. Last week, Sarah and I spent the day with Chevrolet at the Chicago Auto Show and fell in love with the brand, which is creating cutting edge technology in every single vehicle produced. Hello WiFi hotspot and On Star in every car.

Complex joined forces with Chevrolet this past Saturday to put the brand new Chevy Trax into the hands of 20 people in Chicago. Luckily, I was one of them and dragged SSC PR girl Sarah and Marc Katz along for the ride. We were sent on a night to explore “hidden gems” throughout Chicago. Complex created 20 unique itineraries, so no two were the same. We started off our night by picking up our car at The James hotel, and off we went.

We had three stops. The first was The Empty Bottle, an underground punk bar/music venue. They happened to be throwing a block party that night, so we spent a few hours drinking cold brews in the mud before wandering inside. Did we look a little out of place in our six inch heels and leather jackets? Absolutely. Did we mind? Not at all. Inside, we found bad ass decor and intense games of pool happening.

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For our second stop, we went to a magical place called Sprout Home. The owner took us through how to build the cutest little terrariums.The whole store is wall to wall plants and you cannot help but smile as soon as you step foot inside. I chose a colorful fern with moss and started planting.

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Our third and final stop of the night was dinner and drinks at Fulton Market Kitchen. Right off the bat, we were very impressed simply with the insane decor. Walls are covered in graffiti murals, sculptures, and unique paintings. The FMK website boasts that it is “the intersection between art and culture,” and I must agree. I would highly recommend my other car is the batmobile, a sweet drink consisting of Spanish pear cider and brandy with notes of citrus.

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The night wrapped up a little bit before midnight, and we wound up at Soho House listening to old school hip-hop and sipping on cocktails.

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Content sponsored by the Hidden Gems campaign.