Organically Gorgeous

 

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.

 

<3 Al

Thank you TULA for working with me on this post!

Birthday Weekend Outfits

 

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.

 Oxford: JCREW: Skirt: JCREW (now on sale, similar here, also on sale.)

Loafers: Madewell (Also obsessed with these that Jenn Lake recently wore- but alas they do not have my giant size.)

Leather jacket: All Saints. Striped T-shirt: (Similar) JCrew. Belt: Louis Vuitton.

Jeans: Good American. Bag: Gelareh Mizrahi.

<3 Al

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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<3 Al

Chicago Events: Tickled Pink

Tickled Pink

 

Tickled Pink

 

Tickled Pink

 

Tickled Pink

 

Tickled Pink

 

Tickled Pink

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!

XO.

Al + Lex

Al

Dress: Missoni (Similar: here)

Lex

 Dress: Bloomingdales // Shoes: Target

Tickled Pink

 

Tickled Pink

Tickled Pink

Tickled Pink

Tickled Pink

Tickled Pink

Tickled Pink

Tickled Pink

How To Pitch Brands and Influence Media: The Basics

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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:

 

 

Example Brand  pitch:

Hi Kaylee,

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.

(What are you asking for? What are you going to do in exchange for XYZ?)

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?

(Try to get on a call- it is MUCH harder to say no to someone on the phone than email. Offer to send media-kit if you have one!)
Alex
###

Example Press Pitch :

 

Hi Stanton!

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.

 

Things to ask yourself when writing a pitch:

  • Who gives a crap? Why should someone care about what you are writing?
  • What makes your story outshine the others?
  • Where does your story fit into the writers world? How can they use you to make news?
  • When is this most important? (EX: if it is a pitch about Lollapalooza, make sure you send it out 4 weeks prior.)
  • Timeliness to a pitch presents a sense of urgency to the Journalist/Publicist.
  • Why would people want to read your story?
  • How can this story help readers?

 

 

General Tips on PR:

 

  • Have an idea for a specific niche collaboration? Offer it up!
  • If you aren’t comfortable with your stats yet, don’t offer them up right away! Focus on the gorgeous photos you take of your reader demographic.
  • Make sure your public image is clean, brands do not want to be associated with people with dirt in their closet (or on their timeline.)
  • If you can’t find the direct PR contact for a company, try multiple versions in the BCC. Ex: info@morescopr.com, alex@morescopr.com, am@morescopr.com. One of them is bound to work!
  • Know when to follow up: follow up a few days prior to your first email.
  • The best time to pitch is first thing in the morning when a journalist/publicist gets to their desk (9am) or midday when they are not buried in emails.
  • Have a catchy subject line that fits the length of the line.

 

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!

If you are looking for more information about the business side of blogging, please check out: FTC Blogger Guidelines + how Edelman is changing the data analytics game.

 

<3 Alexandra Moresco

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

 

 

 

Girls Night At Celeste With Crown Royal

Crown Royal Vanilla release at Celeste

Crown Royal Vanilla Moscow Mule at Celeste

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 Vanilla release at Celeste

Crown Royal Vanilla release at Celeste Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016 in Chicago, Ill. (Taylor Glascock)

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

Lime

 

Vanilla Mule
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.

celeste-bar

Mule

Try these cute cocktail glasses for your next recipe: Smoke Grey Cocktail Glass | Light Pink Juice Glass | Classic Highball Glass |

All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Crown Royal Vanilla for working with us on this recipe!

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.