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

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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

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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.

 

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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

 

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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.

 

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Bold Patterns at Dylan’s Candy Bar

I got an invite to an event last week that said “candy colored cocktail attire required.” What exactly does this mean? Who knows. I left it up to interpretation and went as a Zebra Cake (not exactly a candy, but cut me some slack here!)

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I picked up this Parker maxi skirt last year for Snowball, and am constantly thinking of ways to re-wear it. Although it’s meant to be for black-tie affairs, I tend to pair it with a simple tank-top or fitted t-shirt for events and everyday wear. While dressing up is fun, cocktail attire always confuses me…will I be overdressed or under-dressed? I wore this specific outfit for the Dylan’s Candy Bar opening last Thursday, where the theme was “candy colored cocktail attire.” This long sleeve t-shirt paired with my flouncy Parker skirt seemed like a good balance, so I went with it. I kept it simple with nude lace-up sandals, and stuffed my cards and Chapstick in my beloved Sophia Webster bag.

 

Top: Similar, HERE. Skirt: Similar, HERE. Shoes: Here. Clutch: Similar, HERE.

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.

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

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.