Posted on April 6, 2017
Over the past few months, my skin has completely changed. This is not something I normally talk openly about, but I think it is important to know that not everyone is perfect! I went from having crystal clear skin with a few bumps here and there to having flare ups of tiny little bumps all over my face. Let me tell you: it isn’t fun!
I have always stuck to a strict skincare routine involving a lot of high-end products that worked wonders for me for years and I had not recently changed anything so I was puzzled. I go for a monthly facial at Cowshed Spa in Chicago (I see Ashley- she is a miracle worker!) and found out that my sudden little bumps were not acne, but bodily toxins trying to expel themselves through our largest organ: my skin. Ashley had me switch all of my beauty products over to being 100% plant based, organic + all natural and I was totally lost. I started researching brands that are gentle but effective and stumbled upon TULA.
Each TULA product nourishes your skin with a balanced meal of good-for-you ingredients, the same way a healthy diet nourishes your body. At TULA, they are not just looking at what we put on our face, but looking inside at internal medicine to improve the health and appearance of our body’s largest organ, the skin. That means leveraging the power of probiotics, “the newest breakthrough in skincare.” TULA uses carefully selected skin superfoods and probiotics AKA good bacteria to help skin reveal it’s best self.
My personal favorite and new hero product is the Exfoliating Treatment Mask. I have never used a mask that has exfoliating particles in it, but was pleasantly surprised at the texture. This particular mask contains Lactic acid and Bentonite clay to gently peel away impurities, dead skin, and debris and the tiny beads are plant-based and biodegradable. They release hydrating nutrients including Jojoba and Vitamin E to heal and calm skin.
If you have sensitive skin like me or are
making a conscious effort to switch what you put on your body to being plant-based, TULA is the perfect line to dip your toe into. They offer this great little started pack so you can try different skincare items to see what works best for you.
PS: how funny are these products from Anese? The silly names make me laugh every time I look at them. Currently obsessed with this hair elixir. PSS: take 20% off your order with code FIRST20. No…I do not earn anything from this.
Thank you TULA for working with me on this post!
Posted on April 4, 2017
This past weekend I turned 24! My family has always celebrated “birthday weeks” and I look forward to it every year! My parents and I tried out a new restaurant in Chicago called Giant. Not going to lie- I was a little nervous when I first took a glance at the menu, but everything they put down on the table was more delicious than the last. It is in Logan Square, about a five minute drive from Lost Lake. I have professed my love for Lost Lake here before, and recently made a tiki cocktail inspired by their tiki drinks. Needless to say, we stopped at Lost Lake for a cocktail to top off the night. Saturday night we went to The Aviary– my all time favorite cocktail spot in Chicago. If you have not been to The Aviary- you need to RUN there right now! The things they do to alcohol are truly incredible. We ended the night at Swift & Sons. I got a few questions about the outfits I posted on Instagram, so I thought I would share them!
My mom called me last week when I was in Nashville to see if there was anything I had wanted for my birthday. Honestly- I 100% forgot to tell my mom that I wanted anything because of my foggy Lyme brain. Whoops. BUT- my mom found this beautiful python lips bag from designer Gelareh Mizrahi- you can scoop one up exclusively at Barney’s or on her website, here. Fun fact: you can order a custom bag of your face. I collect (hoard) bags (and shoes and clothes- HA) and this was the perfect, unique addition to my collection.
Posted on March 2, 2017
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!
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.
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.
Posted on March 1, 2017
This past Friday evening, hundreds of Chicagoans came together to generate awareness about breast cancer and celebrate with the brave survivors through Chicago based charity Tickled Pink. For those of you who don’t know, Tickled Pink is an annual fundraising event that has partnered with Bright Pink since 2013 Bright Pink is the only national non-profit organization focusing on prevention and early detection for breast cancer in women.
One of the many issues with detecting breast cancer at an early enough to stage to be able to aggressively treat it is that women are not often educated on how to self-check and what signs to look for in their body. Tickled Pink helps to educate women on what to look for and supports survivors. If you want to check out an easy to digest symptom and sign article, check this out.
From dancing to the live band (who rocked!) the event was nothing short of dazzling. Tables were lined with amazing little bites from Chicago’s hottest restaurants- not to mention the donuts from Stan’s. The event location, Morgan Manufacturing, is such a beautiful space in Chicago, and the best part was it never felt too crowded or spacious – it was just right.
We really enjoyed being able to attend such a beautiful event and support a great cause. See below for more fun photos from the event and the looks we went with!
Al + Lex
Dress: Missoni (Similar: here)
Posted on January 31, 2017
Last week I talked about the FTC Blogger Guidelines and how Edelman is changing the data analytics game for bloggers- both important subjects to have a basic understanding of in the day and age of the career blogger.
When I first started blogging my Freshman year of college, I had no idea that in a few short years there would be a “business” side to something that I found pure enjoyment in. As I progressed in my blog and ultimately started working with brands, I had to learn the basics, like how to create a simple media kit and how to send a pitch to publicists and journalists. Being a PR professional, it is slightly comical to look back at something that caused me so much anxiety!
According to Webster’s Dictionary, the textbook definition of PR is: professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person. The state of the relationship between the public and a company or other organization or a famous person. While this is true, a PR person is as follows: the gatekeeper between you and the brand. To work with a brand, there are numerous people that have to approve: the marketing director, the PR director, the social media strategist…and on and on.
With blogger + brand partnerships being extremely prevalent, something I often get asked is “what does a proper pitch look like?” While that is a tricky question to answer because every PR professional has their own style of pitching, there are some basics that will help you get across the finish line in a brands’ inbox and hopefully a response!
Pitching brands versus media is very different. A brand pitch is tailored to one specific product and has a call to action. For example: “Would you like to partner…”, “Will you send me XYZ product….”. The question to ask yourself is, what do I have to offer this brand that the ten million other bloggers do not? Make sure you are asking for the right things. While these pitches will help you be professional, also know what level of goods to ask for. If you are a new blogger, request samples to review and start building a relationship with a brand you love.
Remember that when you are pitching media outlets, you are pitching to a writer/journalist. When you are pitching to a brand, you are pitching to a publicist. The job of a publicist is to protect their brands image and think about the business side of how actions will benefit the brand. Also, keep in mind timeliness: if you are pitching a holiday style segment positioning yourself as a fashion expert, give at least a month leeway for scheduling.
One thing that will help to set you apart is using PR to your advantage and aligning yourself with a brands current initiatives. If you directly link your blog or Instagram page and a brand immediately sees their product pop up, that helps set you apart. Below are an example of a brand pitch vs. a media pitch:
I hope you are having a lovely week! I just wanted to shoot you a note getting Chicago based blog XYZ on your radar for the upcoming Spring months! We explore career, food and fashion combined with unique elements.
(Introduce yourself and tell the publicist exactly what you do!)
Utilizing our background in public relations and digital strategy, we have tapped into a demographic of 21-27 year old women that value experiences over physical items.
(What sets us apart.)
With “spring break” season quickly approaching in Chicago, I just wanted to reach out and see if you would be interest in a collaboration post with us across XYZ and showcasing XYZ HOTEL as the ultimate alternate hotel from getting away from the craziness of the strip but still having all the amenities you could ever want at your fingertips.
I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have and am happy to shoot over my media kit. Do you have any time for a call next week?
Hope you are having a lovely week! I just wanted to shoot you a note getting XYZ BLOG on your radar for XYZ PUBLICATION. Utilizing our backgrounds in public relations and digital strategy, we decided to launch XYZ BLOG as a culmination of our passions. Do you have any “Real Women, Real Style” segments coming up?
(In this case, we are asking to be featured for a specific segment “real women, real style.” This lets the journalist/producer (if a tv show) know that you did your homework and actually know what they cover.)
XYZ BLOG is based out of Chicago and will be on the ground at Lollapalooza for activations. I just wanted to reach out and see if you would be interested in any kind of festival fashion piece or behind the scenes Snapchat takeover for XYZ or a “10 Craziest Things We Saw At Lollapalloza” segment for the WXYZ Morning Show?
(What can you offer that is different: come up with a catchy headline and offer it up. Also, mention specifics of what you can talk about.
I know this is a lot of information to take in, but it is worthwhile to know in the long run. Next week I plan on covering the basics of a brand phone call, a sample call agenda and what questions you should be asking. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments!
<3 Alexandra Moresco
Alexandra Moresco is the owner and founder of A Moresco PR + Digital Strategy.
Posted on January 4, 2017
One of the first drinks that truly helped me to begin appreciating a quality cocktail was the Moscow Mule. While most spirit experts would scoff at this- I do not like the “taste” of alcohol but appreciate a flavorful drink profile. I am a self admitted sissy pants!
Towards the end of December, Lexi and I had the chance to experience the new Crown Royal Vanilla whiskey at a tasting in Chicago as a little “girls night.” You can probably guess that I am not a big whiskey drinker based off of my previous drink recipes ( I typically prefer gin or clear spirit based cocktails.) Shockingly, I enjoyed the Vanilla flavor of the Crown Royal Vanilla and it paired nicely with all of the cocktails I tried. While it is still a bold flavor, the hint of vanilla adds a complex taste to the classic Moscow Mule that I did not necessarily expect.
Crown Royal Vanilla is a great, versatile whiskey for all seasons- it tastes great when mixed with sodas (for a Vanilla take on hard sodas), or when used to create a Vanilla twist on classic cocktails (like a Vanilla Old Fashioned and Vanilla Hot Toddy) or simply sipped on the rocks if you are stronger human than I! Crown Royal Vanilla begins with aromas of rich vanilla bean and delicate hints of oak. The taste opens with a delicious, not-too-sweet vanilla flavor followed by Crown Royal’s signature smooth finish. The aftertaste is best described similar to crème brulee.
Crown Royal chose the perfect location for the tasting- Celeste. The bartenders at Celeste were phenomenal and made the Mules with real, fresh ginger (I included that recipe below) but if you want to break this down into a simpler concoction, I altered the recipe as well. While you do not shake a Moscow Mule because of the bubbles in the ginger beer, I do recommend stirring the Crown Royal over ice to keep the drink cold. I like this modern cocktail spoon from CB2 and this sleek cocktail mixing glass from Crate & Barrel.
Vanilla Mule (Crown Royal + Celeste)
1.5 oz. Crown Royal Vanilla
2 oz. Ginger
1 oz. Soda
1.5 oz. Crown Royal Vanilla
3 oz. Ginger Beer
1 oz. Lime Juice
A few months ago, I was researching the “best new restaurants” of 2016 and Celeste consistently popped up on every list. Celeste described itself as a “modern American cocktail bar” and I would have to agree- every drink we had was equally as tasty as the one before it and the little bites at the party were delicious. Hoping to make it back soon for a full meal! The fried chicken is calling my name.
All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Crown Royal Vanilla for working with us on this recipe!
Posted on December 14, 2016
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!
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.
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.
Posted on June 22, 2015
“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.
Posted on June 1, 2015
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.
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.
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.
Posted on May 21, 2015
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!)
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.