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

Almond Chia Pudding

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Sticking with the theme of breakfast this week, I discovered  that I am behind on a delicious, healthy breakfast trend: chia pudding. This past Tuesday I had breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien and was shocked at how many allergy sensitive breakfast options they have to offer. I settled on a bowl of fresh fruit with coconut and raspberry chia pudding and went home and immediately started searching the internet for what measurements to use to make my own.

This chia pudding recipe is dairy, gluten and soy free but you do not miss those flavor profiles. If you love almond and raspberry, please try to make this and let me know how it goes!

Almond Chia Pudding

1 cup vanilla almond milk ( I prefer the taste of Califia Farms!)

1/4 cup chia seeds

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine your almond milk and chia seeds in a bowl to make sure seeds are evenly coated. Add in vanilla and cinnamon and whisk with a fork. Take a medium size mason jar and pack soft raspberries at the bottom, pour chia mixture on top. Let sit in the fridge for a minimum two hours or overnight.

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I love these fun bowls from William Sonoma. They are plastic, easy to clean and add a nice pop of color to any meal. You can shop the whole collection, here.

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❤ Al

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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The Inside Scoop On Monetizing Your Social Accounts

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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 (sorry…duck lips don’t count). I joined Instagram at the end of my Freshman year of college when I first started my blog, StreetStyleChi. I knew little about how to use social media, or, how beneficial it could be. After spending a year working with the women of Nike in Chicago helping to open a concept store called NTC, I quickly gained insight and learned how important a strong social media voice is. 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 form of media (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.

In Style Sponsored Insta Post

If you read my post about the FTC blogger guidelines last month, you know all about how paid endorsements online are supposed to work. 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.)

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 camera. 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.

 

Check back for tips on growing your social following shortly.

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.

Tanqueray Brings Innovative Minds To Chicago: Coltrane Curtis, Ronnie Fieg, Jason Geter, and Maxwell Osborne Talk Building Their Brands

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“We see this program as a riff on the traditional trunk show,” said Keith Scott, Tanqueray Senior Brand Manager. “The leaders on our panel are sharing both their in-demand physical creations, as well as their personal take on how to play and win the style game. Our goal is to inspire and equip the next generation of successful entrepreneurs, while enjoying some great cocktails and compelling music along the way.”
 Top industry leaders don’t follow the yellow brick road, they pave their own path.  This past week, Tanqueray brought Common, Maxwell Osborne of Public School and Black Apple, Ronnie Fieg of Kith NYC, Jason Geter of Grand Hustle Records and manager to Iggy Azalea, and Coltrane Curtis, founder of Team Epiphany, together in Chicago for a unique panel discussing their rise to the top of their fields. In a culture that is constantly changing, Coltrane Curtis, Maxwell Osborne, and Jason Geter continue to dominate at the top. These men are responsible for setting the trends for mass amounts of consumers and have an in depth knowledge of the fields they play in.
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Gin brand Tanqueray launched Tanqueray Trunk Show in January which aims to bring mentorship through progressive style via six private events across the country. Style aficionado Marc Katz was on site to chat with Curtis, Osborne, and Geter in between panel sessions. Katz sat down with Curtis, Geter, and Osborne to get the scoop on topics you won’t find by googling their Wikipedia page.
Team Epiphany recognized early on that brands need new ways to connect with consumers, offline as well as online. While this might seem simple in theory, it isn’t an easy task to take on. Coltrane Curtis recognized this hole in branding early on, and after exiting his first two large corporate jobs at Complex Media and Ecko, created Team Epiphany as a full service creative agency. Curtis credits his father as being the driving force behind creating Team Epiphany, who sadly passed away three years ago and ran his own marketing firm for 25 years. Curtis says: “It was a way for me to put my dreams and goals together and follow my passion of marketing with a twist of creative culture.”
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Public Schools co-founder Maxwell Osborne was born and bred in New York City. Osborne credits his deep interest in fashion and music as being his driving force for choosing to attend fashion school and soon after make it a lifestyle. Like many aspiring designers, Osborne spent years working the undesirable odd jobs required before making it to the top. If Maxwell could give one tip to designers on the rise, it would be to truly know and understand the business side of fashion. Orborne credits part of his success to partnership with Dao-Yi Chow, saying that collaboration in creative thought is necessary in any industry.
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Like Maxwell Osborne, Jason Geter was raised in New York and grew up in the Bronx and Brooklyn area. Geter came from a traditional family that believed in attending a four year college and then going straight into corporate America. While he did not know exactly what he wanted to do professionally, he decided to move into the music industry after being connected with family friends that worked on The Notorious B.I.G’s albums.. Geter signed his first artist by the name of T.I. and has continued to help clients climb to the top, including Iggy Azelea.
 To keep up to date with the Tanqueray Trunk Show, check out their video on Style & Access.
 Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 4.43.52 PMReporting via Marc Katz and Sarah Aiken for StreetStyleChi.com
Photography: Marisa McWilliams

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.

Kicking It In The City: New Balance Brings The Heat For Spring

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A few years ago, I would walk around in a dress and sneakers and people would look at me like I was crazy. If you threw on sneakers with your outfit, no matter the brand, observers assumed you were lazy and couldn’t be bothered with proper footwear.

Take it back to Fall of 2014 and fashionistas running between fashion shows in New York were photographed in bright kicks and clean New Balance slip-ons. Suddenly, it became the “it” trend and was the new norm. While a sneaker has always been an essential part of my everyday rotation, I am happy to see people embracing how great a classic sneaker in the right colorway can be.

This spring will be no different for me. While Chicago seems to be stuck in the dog days of winter, the light at the end of the tunnel is near. New Balance makes the perfect classic shoe, with clean colorways to add an effortless pop to any outfit. Grey is my personal favorite color for Spring and it pairs nicely with everything which is great for transitioning from winter’s dark tones to spring’s bright colors and pastel hues.

Many times, I have trouble finding a colorway I want in the women’s sizing. I usually wind up taking home a men’s shoe. You can find out what size you are in men’s shoes, here.

How do you like to style your sneakers?

 

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Alex_NewBalance_3802Photos: Kohl Murdock for StreetStyleChi.com.

This post was sponsored by Finish Line and New Balance.

Foreign Skincare Takes Off In The US

Photo: R29

Photo: R29

Skincare overseas, for example Korea and Japan, is serious business. It is a daily essential that involves many, many steps and is quite exhaustive. Yet, in the US, we are still trying to figure out what the wonder is behind Korean skincare. Beauty blogger Coco Park recently discovered Korean beauty care in her Korean-American boyfriends parents bathroom, and decided to check it out for herself. She went from using only a few products a day…to 17. On her blog, she says that she saw an immense difference in just three weeks, and her red spots and pores have essentially disappeared.

When you think about it, the invasion of Korean beauty products started a while ago. More specifically, in 2011 when companies started introducing the originally based Korean BB cream. BB cream is said to be an all in one product that will take care of the skin. Soon, American companies started producing their own versions, and we have BB creams, CC creams, and so on. As it turns out, this was just the Americanized version of Korean skincare because in the US, we like to keep things simple. In reality, we should also be scrubbing, moisturizing, cleansing, and treating.

Now that the beauty obsessed in the US are starting to reap the benefits of foreign beauty traditions, other interesting new treatments are starting to pop up. Two weeks ago, I got my monthly facial. I was surprised in my sleepy state of mind when something ice cold rolled around my face…under my eyes, down my nose, on my neck…it never seemed to stop. While reading Refinery29 this morning, I discovered that it was an ice roller. Essentially, this is a fancy substitute for throwing some spoons in the freezer. The ice roller can swiftly clean up the look of tired eyes, redness, puffiness, and minor bruising. My first question is…where do I get my hands on one?

For more information on best Korean beauty products, I would check out:

A Beginner’s Guide To Korean Makeup

Soko Glam

Peach and Lily

Photo: R29

Photo: R29

 

Not Your Average Snowboot

With the first real snowfall of winter hitting Chicago hard the last few days, it left me with a style dilemma: to Ugg or not to Ugg? I haven’t worn Uggs in public in two years, but these last few days have tested my devotion to looking stylish top to bottom. The powdery white fluff left me pulling old favorites out of my closet; my beloved Nike duck boots, Tory Burch fur lined wedges, and beat up Air Force 1 sneakers. While I am often guilty of leaving my boots at coat check and swapping in heels, my tried and true options allow me to not worry about schlepping around more than I have to. Here are the best, stylish, boots out there right now that will allow you to get around without falling flat on your ass.

 

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1. Nokian, Warm Boot. 2. Sorel, Joan of Arctic Wedge Boot. 3. Nike, Air Force 1 Duckboot (Men’s Style.) 4. Aquatalie, Chance Boot. 5. Hunter, Original Shearling Boots. 6. IRO, Hannah Shearling flat Boot. 7. Alexander Wang, Anouch Chelsea Boot. 8. Nokian, Wedge Ankle Boot.