Tag Archives: Shop Local

#WWAW: Pampering is The Cure For Anything!

Being always on the go traveling for work coupled with a hectic work schedule that demands a lot out of me during the week it’s such an amazing treat for when the weekend hits to spoil myself with a little pampering.  This past Sunday not only did I indulge myself in a blow out but I topped my day off with champs, lots of laughs and all while feeding my nail crack fix with stunning nail art.

meFirst Stop: I’ve been a fan of the Drybar ever since they tamed my tresses for New York Fashion Week last year.  Long story short, I committed a major hair faux pas and forgot my hair product.  I literally did a small prayer to the beauty gods that I would be able to get in on a last minute appointment and with a lot of amazing customer service from the Drybar team they secured me an appointment with plenty of time for me to get my tresses treated before I hit my long day at the tents.  When I heard they were opening a location in Chicago I squealed with joy because with that one accommodating appointment they had secured a customer for life (I mean seriously, the pricing is unbelievable and coupled with customer service that is out of this world what more can a girl ask for right?)  So on this trip I decided to change up from my ‘Cosmo-Tai’ and opted for some glam & volume and chose the ‘Southern Comfort.’

me 2Second Stop:  Set with my Hollywood glam hair I made my way over to the #AuthenticBliss being hosted by Authentic Noise PR media event.  What better way to continue my day of pampering than attending an event all about mini massages, make-up consultations and nail art manicures by Astrowifey & Notable Nails featuring beautiful nail lacquer by LVX.

photo 3

photoAll in all Sunday was such an amazing day filled with glam hair, some new nail crack and all with bottomless mimosas and bellinis with amazing company.  Never underestimate the power of little pampering treatments and I would highly recommend treating yourself to some glam hair & nail crack!


John Rocha Spring/Summer 2014

John Rochas Board

  • Who’s the Designer: John Rocha
  • What’s the inspiration:  Rocha’s spring/summer collection was inspired by the love of his life, his wife Odette.
  • Why it’s relevant: Spending a few months out of the year here in Hong Kong it is extremely hard not to fall in love with the fashion and style aesthetic that defines this beautiful culture.  One of Hong Kong’s most prominent designers is John Rocha.  Rocha’s signature mantra of effortless beauty, arduous effort are the defining metaphor for fashion itself.
  • Where to wear it:  His gowns are the perfect stand out pieces for any event that you are wanting to make an entrance.  When making the perfect statement needs to be done through appearance alone let Rocha’s impeccable textures, appliques and mix of fabrications do the talking for you.  After all, isn’t all you want to say is “Bam! I’ve arrived” (wait, or is that just me…)




The Glass Slipper Project

GSP Logo

This time last year I decided to finally start crossing off items on my bucket list of goals and experiences I’ve wanted to accomplish and have.  Like a lot of people I always try to pull from my bucket list every year when New Year’s eve rolls around and the infamous “New Year’s Resolutions” start to become the buzz phrase of the day.  So near the top of both lists was to do some volunteer work.  As weird as this may sound you would assume that deciding to do volunteer work should be simple as pie.  But for me it wasn’t because I really wanted to give of myself and my talents and knew that I needed to find an organization that would allow me to do so.  Upon the recommendation of my best friend I discovered the phenomenal work of The Glass Slipper Project.

The Glass Slipper Project is an organization that gives away free prom dresses and accessories to high school juniors and seniors in the Chicagoland and other surrounding areas.  The unique and stand out experience that this organization provides for all of the girls they help is so awe inspiring.  GSP creates a “boutique” like feel by enlisting volunteers to work as personal shoppers who give each girl a personalized shopping experience by helping her find the perfect dress then ushering her throughout the “boutique” to find the perfect fashion accessories (handbag, shawl, jewelry, shoes and make-up).

Volunteer PicI volunteered last year as a personal shopper and helped 3 beautiful girls find that perfect look that they will have memories about for the rest of their lives.  It was such a fulfilling experience to be able to bring so much joy and excitement into these girls lives that it reminded me of why style and fashion are so important to me.  It’s not simply because of the stunning aesthetic of artful design that is brought to life by fabrications and texture but it is the idea that style and fashion aide to give all of us a renewed confidence and echo so loudly CSM’s mantra of, “Using fashion as armour to walk life’s runway”.  

I will be returning again this year to GSP as a personal shopper volunteer and would love to see you all there too!  Visit their website to get more info and details on different volunteer opportunities and boutique dates as well as more information on submitting donations.  They are a 100% volunteer based organization that relies on the donation of dresses, shoes, jewelry, make-up and purses as well as monetary donations.  www.glasslipperproject.org




Melody Ehsani: Designing to Upset the Equilibrium

Melody Ehsani Board

  • Who’s the designer:  Melody Ehsani
  • What’s the inspiration:  Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA in a traditional Persian family this trailblazer bucked what was defined as her norm to follow her passion and what she believes is her “divine blueprint”.  Ehsani defines her style and her design purpose as being “inspired by paradox, controversy, justice and pushing the envelope in showing that you truly cant judge a book by its cover.”  
  • Why it’s relevant: Revitalize your spring wardrobe with a big dose of sporty meets feminist chic.  As I continue to evolve and redefine my style evolution it is such a breath of fresh air to discover an amazing up and coming talent that is designing with a message.  Her collection and pieces are carefully thought out and all resonate the idea of honoring her design blueprint by introducing to the world new patterns of behavior and equality for all women in the future.   Her deeply rooted cultural identity is very important to her designs in that she is always working to change the notion that a woman’s value and status are determined by her marriage.  Ehsani designs to aide women in resolving these kinds of paradoxes.
  • Where to  buy & wear it: In Ehsani’s own words, ” I design to upset the equilibrium” so with that in mind wear every single piece from her collection with a little edge and attitude because life’s a runway so you betta werk!  (P.S. Get your spring wardrobe Ehasni-fied here)



8 Tips to Score Big Outlet Mall Shopping!

With internet shopping becoming more and more popular we often forget about the amazing savings to be had shopping actual brick and mortar stores.  Living in Chicago we have such great access to a number of different outlet malls but most notably we are within minutes to the Fashion Outlets of Chicago.  They’ve just recently added Burberry to their collection of designer outposts and will be new neighbors to the likes of Prada, Gucci, Tory Burch, Ermengildo Zegna, and Trina Turk just to name a few.  So with such an impressive top-tier assortment of designers to shop at this outlet mall it’s best be prepared with key tips on how to both effectively and efficiently shop so you will guarantee that you score big.

  • Develop a shopping game plan:  Be sure to check online before embarking on your shopping expedition for information that can help you determine your shopping game plan.  Some outlet mall stores offer discounts that aren’t advertised so if you’re curious about a particular store, call them up and ask what discounts they are offering—you may be surprised to learn that stores are offering 60% or more off of already reduced prices.
  • Dress comfortably:  Comfort is key! Pick an outfit that’s comfortable and definitely wear layers that slip on and off easily so you can speed through dressing rooms.  The same goes for shoes:  Choose walkable, comfy footwear that’s easy to get on and off.
  • Arrive Early-Or late:  The best time to avoid crowds and long dressing room lines is early in the day or later in the evening–between 10 a.m. and noon, and 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.   I highly, highly recommend trying items on.  Often times it’s final sale so it’s best to be on the safe side and try things on.
  • Do some research:  Enter an outlet mall armed with some money know-how.   This means doing a little research beforehand about how much designer pieces actually cost at retail, so you’ll know if you’re really getting a bargain at the outlets.  Also, keep in mind that some merchandise at outlets are actually made for outlets and factory stores, they aren’t all leftover from what you saw last season in stores, so keep that in mind.
  • Be flexible:  While you might have a set list of items you are specifically looking for based on the great research you’ve done, be flexible.  While outlets do have both current as well as past season merchandise it’s best to be open and flexible in your search because if you are too rigid in what you are looking for you might miss out on that great pair of Fendi heels that are now 80% off original retail because your heart was so set on finding a pair of Miu Miu heels.
  • Move from front to back:  The biggest clearance items and deepest discounts are always located in the back of the store, so be sure to start your hunt there.
  • Double or triple up on savings when you can:  Outlet merchandise is already discounted by 25% to 65% and many stores offer special promotions and coupons throughout the year to help you save even more.  For instance, Premium Outlets has a VIP Shopper Club with additional store savings.  By using all of your savings options, you can compound your discounts and get killer deals—there’s no shame in bringing your calculator or smart phone to make the math easier, I actually highly recommend this!
  • Throw buyer’s remorse out the window:  Don’t wait —that YSL dress will probably be gone tomorrow.  Merchandise in the outlets sell faster than in regular department stores, so don’t let a hesitation keep you from that next wardrobe building piece!

Two female friends with shopping bags having fun while shopping in a mall, close-up on bags




#ShopLocal: Remi Canarie Spring/Summer 2014 Exclusively at Roam!

Remi_Canarie 2

  • Who’s the Designer: The design duo behind Remi Canarie, Lisa Rigney and Liz Patelski met while students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).  
  • What’s the inspiration:  Continuing with the brands aesthetic of blurring the lines between menswear and womenswear giving way to an androgynous approach to clothing.  In playing with traditional menswear silhouettes and re-purposing the shape by slimming the cut or focusing in on fabrications that give more drape instantly ooze femininity.  Stand out details of this spring/summer 2014 collection is a series of prints that they developed based on photos Patelski took during a road trip last summer.  The prints are used in number of different ways and speak to the wanderlust in all of us. 
  • Why it’s relevant: Rigney & Patelski have been dubbed the next creative genius to come out of Chicago that will be this town’s next Creatures of the Wind.  This notoriety was cemented by being one of only two runners up in the prestigious CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards in 2011.
  • Where to  buy & wear it: This spring/summer 2014 will only be available exclusively at Roam Boutique.  Roam seem familiar?  Well it’s because I featured this shopper’s dream last year.  Mallory Ulaszek, owner of Roam strongly believes that Remi Canarie has a “great range, textiles and craftsmanship”.  This in turn sparked the need to become the exclusive destination for the brand.  Pieces that you should be added to your closet for spring to ensure you usher in spring with laid-back ease are their short ‘power suits, shirt dresses and the bustier.





#ShopLocal: My Guide To The Best Shopping in Hong Kong

Starting the new year on the go with a trip to Hong Kong, I contemplated what my itinerary would consist of since this trip was going to be one of my shortest work trips to date.  Previously my Hong Kong trips have lasted anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks.  This longer travel time gave me the flexibility of playing tourist for one weekend and saving an entire weekend devoted purely to being retail consumer.

With only one weekend of leisure in my second home I had to make the not hard choice of spending the entire weekend doing what I do best, shopping.  Having previously had the flexibility of a longer stay I had the ability to make purchases with plenty of time to make returns if at any time I had any second thoughts on my impulse buys.  Geared with my new resolution to only add pieces to my closet that are thoughtful statement makers I set out on mapping out a shopping itinerary for myself of shops to visit that embodied my style mantra of being Edgy, Comfy, Chic.

Check out my Hong Kong shopping agenda this last trip and what I believe are the top 10 best shopping destinations in Hong Kong:

1.  Monki: Fashion foward edgy womenswear shop that offers statement making pieces that are very pocketbook friendly. (Monki Langham place Langham 8 Argyle street, Mongkok, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR)

2.  Dour Studio: Founded by style icon and actress Lillian Ho and creative director of Moiselle, Harris Chan, Dour Studio focuses on emerging design talent from across the world.   The studio is a one-stop shop for global modern cutting-edge design (2/F, 4 Pak Sha Rd, Causeway Bay, 2811 3307)

3.  Goodbye Goodbuy: This ‘flea market’ is run by a couple who love travelling, and bring back pieces whenever they go away, so there’s an interesting and ever-changing inventory of goodies from many countries and even some handmade goods from local designers. (Rm 1508, Goodhope Bldg, 5 Sai Yueng Choi St S, Mong Kok, 3446 7423)

4.  Love to Mart: Discover a treasure trove of handmade goods from different local designers each month.  The selection ranges from custom-made jewellery, unusual watches, pendants and small leather goods. (Rm 1203, 12/F, Metropole Bldg, 57 Peking Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, 5611 6305)

5.  Off the Wall: A very cool street-style boutique that stocks quirky & bold pieces. (4/F, 18 Pak Sha Rd, Causeway Bay, 2499 9839)

6.  Upper Mansion: Channel the runway with the ultra-trendy gender-neutral clothing from this fashion boutique.  (Shop 105, 1/F, 1 Sai Yeung Choi St, CTMA Centre, Mong Kok, 2384 8801)

7.  WOW: This gem sells an extensive mix of original innovative labels from around the world for both men and women.  (2/F, 14 Yiu Wa St, Causeway Bay, 2893 9116)

8.  Reach:  This is a sneaker head’s mecca.  Step your footwear game up with this street savvy collection that has been handpicked and curated based solely on this owner’s impeccable and irrefutable passion for footwear.  (3/F, 30 Granville Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2771 7333)

9.  Lab Design: The owners this store with passion and they are passionate about design, about living in Kowloon and about local handmade products.  Their Kowloon-based store sells cool and often individual pieces from local designers in Hong Kong.  (Unit 7, 3/F, Fook Hong Industrial Bldg, 19 Sheung Yuet Rd, Kowloon Bay, 2756 8111)

10.  Numb Workshop:  Numb Workshop is a Hong Kong fashion label that carries all leather, all day.  If you are looking for an innovative, edgy, chic leather piece this is where you need to start.  (Shop 290, Causeway Place, 7-10 Great George St, Causeway Bay, 2691 2303)


#ShopLocal: CSM’s Holiday Hidden Gems Go To!

With the holiday season in full swing the hustle and bustle can be a bit overwhelming at times and before you know it the holiday party has arrived and you haven’t gotten a chance to pick up that great unique and thoughtful gift you have been meaning to grab.

Trust me I’ve had that happen to me more times than I’d like to admit so to save you from that dreaded feeling of, “Yikes! What can I scrounge together at the convenience store?” take note of my round-up of my Top 10 local Chicago holiday go to’s below.   Bonus, these hidden gems are so amazing that they will be your go to year round but more importantly great places to snag a gift or two for yourself-no judgement here I promise.

1. stock mfg. co.

Stock Mfg. Co: If Stock sounds a little familiar it’s because I’ve featured this amazing company on CSM previously.   They focus on classic shapes and silhouettes that exude comfortable simplicity.  They offer great menswear accessories such as neck ties, bowties, hats, etc.

2. Space 519

space519: Touts itself as a refined general store and if you haven’t yet made it there, it’s a definite must.  They carry a carefully crafted assortment of beauty products for both women and men.  For your beauty aficionado this is where you find all of their most talked about products but discover new product lines to wow them with.

3. Roam

Roam: This is a wanderlust’s dream come true.  Both the menswear & womenswear collections are carefully curated to include hard to find designers as well as local Chicago favorites such as jules, a jewelry line by Jules Vance as well as C/FAN by Christina Fan.

4. Reform Pic

reform objects: This vintage shop is filled with an ever-changing inventory, focused mainly in Mid-Century Modern design.  Their pieces are a node to their love of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.  What’s also great is that one can also find the occasional Industrial, or Art Deco jewel in the mix.

5. Randolph Market Pic

Randolph Street Market: Stretch your stylish dollars to the max while perusing the market’s amazing selection of vintage apparel, accessories, footwear to hard to find fashion collectibles.  The market is happening this weekend 12/14 & 12/15 and you can get all of the info on times, parking, ticket pricing, etc here.

6.  Luxury Garage Sale Pic

Luxury Garage Sale: This gem is a upscale consignment boutique that specializes in selling new and gently used designer and vintage clothing and accessories.  Someone on your list looking for that stunning Givenchy ‘Nightingale’ or ‘Pandora’? 99.9% of a chance LGS has it and at a ridiculously amazing deal-trust me you & your pocketbook with thank me later.

7. Luxaby pic

Luxaby Baby & Child: This carefully curated children’s store offers amazing apparel for not only the little ones but for mommy as well.  Perfect one stop shop for any of the little ones on your list.

8. Jayson Home pic

Jayson Home: Sophisticated but never stuffy while maintaining an edgy but elegant aesthetic are what define the stunning home decor pieces that you will find at this hidden gem.  You will never go wrong here when finding the perfect hostess gift and I can almost guarantee you will find that missing piece you have been on the search for.

9. haberdash pic

Haberdash Men’s Shop:  This men’s focus boutique is a blend of cool classic style paired with old-school philosophy.  They focus on offering men a finely curated collection of hard to find brands including L.B.M. 1911, RRL, Baldwin Denim, Alden, and Gitman Bros. Vintage.  For that dapper gentlemen who’s style is nothing short of spectacular, this is your one stop shop destination.

10. Dose Pic

 dose market: The foodies in my life tend to be the hardest to shop for.  So when I discovered the food & style mecca of this hidden gem I can’t help but share the info.  The next market is happening this Sunday, 12/15 so definitely plan ahead to not only stop in for brunch and nosh while you shop for the great flavors that will win over that fashionable foodies palette.  Get all of the info on times, parking, ticket pricing, etc here.


#ShopLocal: Roam Boutique

Exterior - awningOne of the most frequently asked questions I’ve gotten from you, my amazing CSM readers, centers around my favorite past time: shopping.  But not just shopping in general, it’s all about the local retail shopping scene here in Chicago.  So I’ve decided to highlight on a monthly basis my favorite hidden gems to shop at in Chicago, where to score the new-new, and updates on what’s happening in the ever changing & growing Chicago shopping scene.

To kick off this #ShopLocal series I had the amazing pleasure of sitting down with Mallory Ulaszek and chat with her about her new venture Roam.  This new venture is the compilation of her two previous projects, Cityblue Denim & Apparel and CB.  Ulaszek’s years of experience working in retail and owning two of her own stores, her exciting travels of living in Florence, Italy coupled with her travels to the Big Apple and the sunny coast of California are heavy influences to defining the great menswear and womenswear that give life to the idea of a traveler who has seen much and has even more to share.

Check out my interview with the ultimate wanderer, Mallory Ulaszek and find out why her wanderlust has me sold as a believer that this is Ulaszek’s best one yet.

CSM:  Roam is such a unique name, what’s the history behind it?

MU:  I was looking for a name for my new concept that could be personal without tying in my name (it can be a mouthful).  I am inspired by traveling, and growing up, I found it easy to pack up and leave places I lived knowing that a new adventure awaited.  It’s attributed to my love of travel in adulthood, and being open to new and exciting experiences that can impact you in ways that change you forever.  Roam is the clothing store that does that: it inspires you, and coaxes out an adventurous nature in your personal style.


CSM:  Who is your fashion/style icon and how does that aesthetic translate into what we can expect with Roam?

MU:  Personally I am not inspired by any one individual or icon.  I revel in being able to use fashion as an extension of my mood and self.  I believe personal style can be rooted in emulation but mostly style is about what makes you feel beautiful and comfortable.  For Roam, I carefully selected designers that pride themselves in their product and limit distribution.  I love the collections that tell a story, but allow room for experimentation.


CSM:  Who are your favorite Chicago designers that we should all be looking for while shopping at Roam?

MU:  Of course I am partial to jules. a jewelry line by Jules Vance as well as C/FAN by Christina Fan.  These two women are not only brilliant designers but beautiful people as well.


CSM:  With the Holidays around the corner what are your absolute ‘Top 5’ go-to must haves for anyone who’s unsure what to get that special someone for the holidays?

MU:  Gift giving to me is deeply personal.  I try and steer clear of gift cards when possible, and believe me I shop for some difficult to shop for loved ones.  Know what that person likes, and get them something they need but also something they may want and not spend the money on themselves.  I like special gifts that remind people of experiences, but speaking in general some of my better go-tos have been concert posters from concerts we had been to, home scents like our Voluspa candles at Roam, apothecary goodies, photo books, and a personal recipe book.

Roam is officially now open and is located at 1419 N Wells Street, 312-664-2222.  Expect to find great brands such as Halston Heritage, MM6, Current Elliott, AG, and added emerging designers Daniel Vosovic, Anine Bing and Illesteva to the mix.  For men, Ulaszek has stocked up on casualwear from brands like Life/After/Denim, Original Penguin, and Citizen.

Now Open - photo collage



Stock Mfg. Co: Revitalizing the meaning of ‘American Made’


What’s more rare than finding a piece from Givenchy’s Spring/Summer 1999 collection designed by the late Alexander McQueen?  An American brand that is designed, developed and produced all on American soil.

During a time where the apparel production landscape has seemed to become non-existent here in the United States and where the norm is to see a ‘Made in China’ label on the clothing sold in almost every store you enter, the meaning behind ‘American Made’ becomes less and less relevant.

Rather than be just another player in this cycle Stock Mfg. Co. took an entrepreneurial approach by creating and paving their own way.  This Chicago based clothing brand set out with the mission to design, develop and produce premium garments at an affordable price while at the same time aide to reviving American manufacturing.

The central hub of where their mantra comes to life is in their 45 year old apparel factory that is located on the west side of Chicago.  This Chicago mainstay is where they design and produce their high quality pieces while also partnering on collaboration projects titled “& Stock” with top industry talent and tastemakers such as specialty retailer, Bloomingdales.

They feature both menswear and womenswear that cater to the idea of casual chic.  The fabrications used in their collections are predominantly cotton based which just ooze relaxed comfort.  The silhouettes are very simple but with impeccable details.  With the transition into the fall season one of the biggest shifts you will see in both menswear and womenswear is the idea of ‘Comfortable Simplicity‘ where designers are taking a break from all of the color, print, and non-stop patterns of the last several seasons and opting for simple silhouettes while upping the ante in the details.

Pictured Above: Founders of Stock Mfg. Co Areill Ives, Jason Morgan, Tim Tierney, Jim Snediker, Mike Morarity (L to R)

Pictured Above: Founders of Stock Mfg. Co. (L to R) Areill Ives, Jason Morgan, Tim Tierney, Jim Snediker, Mike Morarity

So start your transition into fall with a local clothing brand that is revitalizing the meaning of ‘American Made’ apparel with their refreshing commitment to “not just producing our products in America, but to creating jobs and influencing the fashion world in a positive way. We are aiming to be a hub for American manufacturing, quality craftsmanship, and innovative collaboration.

Check out some of my favorite Stock Mfg. Co. pieces below and be sure to shop these pieces at their site www.stockmfg.

hats ties 8 5 42