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Friday, November 21, 2014

AvaStars- A Virtual Reality Dream Come True!

Bryson and I were fortunate enough to preview AvaStars in Oak Brook Center this past week. If you haven't heard of this innovative concept, let me give you the rundown. AvaStars is a way to let kids live out their dreams in virtual reality. The concept, in their words, is:

AvaStars transforms dreamers of all ages into the stars they've always wanted to become. This one-of-a-kind experience opens up a world of exciting possibilities by making you the star of inspiring videos and bringing your fantasies to life with your very own doll or action figure. 

Our journey started out by entering the AvaStarShip. We selected the scenario that appealed to us- the choices were:
Fashionista (yep, how could I resist?!)
Pop Star
Special Forces
Cool Rocker
Martial Arts

You then customize the AvaStar to look like you with hair color and eye color. We stepped into the AvaStarShip and it scanned us from head to toe, cataloging all of our features to build an incredible likeness.

After a brief wait, our AvaStars video was ready! I was blown away by the likeness of the AvaStar to both Bryson and I.

Bryson picked Special Forces so he could be like his Uncle Eric. Here is a little preview of what Bryson will look like in 15 or so years!

And naturally, I picked the Fashionista for my AvaStar! Check out my still shots and video:

TODAY, Friday November 21st, is the grand opening of AvaStars is at Oak Brook Center! Here is a listing of the festivities- if you go, make sure to dress warm since many of the activities will be outdoors.

4:00 p.m. Grand Opening Ceremony and Welcome from the co-founders of AvaStars: Jill Barad, former
Chairman & CEO of Mattel Inc. and Dan Lauer, inventor of Waterbabies

4:15 p.m. RAFFLE: Be the First! Two attendees will be chosen at random from the raffle box to receive
VIP StarPasses to officially open the St. Louis AvaStarShip

4:30 p.m. Grab your spot in line – your AvaStars experience begins now!

4:30-6:00 p.m. Meet All-Pro and Chicago Bears Kicker Robbie Gould

If you choose the deluxe package, which is at an introductory price of $40, you will receive the AvaStars video AND a doll that is a likeness of you! They use a 3D printer to achieve your facial likeness- how awesome. For more information, make sure to go to

What AvaStar would you pick? What a great holiday gift for the kids!

Monday, November 10, 2014

2014 PlayCHIC Fashion Show: FUN with Fashion!

As much as I adore fashion and all things shiny and sparkly, I have never been to a real, actual, totally professional fashion show. Of course, that time I strutted the runway at Meijer, modeling their new line with my fellow pom pon gals in middle school probably doesn't count in most people's minds.

One of my favorite scenes in SATC of all time is when Carrie became fashion roadkill as Heidi Klum steps over her prone body splayed on the runway. She gets up and struts her stuff after certain fashion death, way to go! An inspiration to us all ;)

So many fashion shows seem incredibly serious, though. This is why I am excited for the 3rd Annual playCHIC Fashion Show, an innovative runway show that combines fierce fashion with top toys during ChiTAG’s Chicago Toy & Game Week hits Chicago November 20th. How do they combine toys with fashion, you ask? Take a look at photos from last year's show to get an idea:

#playCHIC 2013 fashions featuring Scrabble

#playCHIC 2013 fashion show

#playCHIC 2013 fashions

Now if this isn't FUN, I don't know what is!! PS- I want that white dress with the cage sleeves, oh heck, and the scooter as well. Great accessory.

Renowned haute couture designers are paired with familiar toy and game brands to pioneer incredibly creative designs. This makes for a one-of-a-kind runway of edgy, playful looks for an evening you won't soon forget!

Laura Robinson, will join the upcoming Chicago Toy & Game Fair (ChiTAG) as the host of playCHIC, the innovative play-inspired fashion show. Laura Robinson will join the show as the host. She co-invented the classic, best-selling board game, Balderdash and, along with celebrity partners Courtney Cox and David Arquette, Laura recently created Celebrity Name Game!

Now, for the MOST. IMPORTANT. QUESTION...What do I wear to this type of fashion show? Although I can't reveal my outfit (it might have something to with the fact that I am currently in San Francisco on vacation, and had a few afternoon cocktails before being let loose on Powell St. with my credit card), I say go crazy. Do you have something in your closet that has never seen the light of day because you don't know where to give it a cameo? THIS is the place. If you can't unearth something from the depths of your wardrobe, try a store like H&M or Zara for an inexpensive yet trendy option.  Try a bold pattern, interesting hemline, fun fabric or construction like scuba! The items below are all from H&M, and most are under $50.

#playCHIC looks from H&M

The 2014 playCHIC fashion show will hit the catwalk on Thursday, November 20, 2014 at Alhambra Palace Restaurant. I would LOVE for you to join me!

GRAB YOUR TICKET TODAY!  Hosted at Alhambra Palace {1240 W Randoph Street}, Chicago’s most creative and unforgettable fashion experience will kick off with cocktails at 7 p.m. and a runway show following at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available for $45, and for more information, visit

Disclosure: I was selected to be a playCHIC Fashion Ambassador and received complimentary event tickets. All content and opinions expressed here are honest and all my own.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Sweater Weather: Chunky Knits 2 Ways + Pink Basis GC Giveaway!

It is officially sweater weather, and I am LOVING all of the chunky knits out there! So often, fall styles are incredibly impractical. Open toe booties- perfect for all that slush! Skinny scarves- ideal for keeping that brisk winter wind out! Fingerless gloves- ideal to keep your digits toasty in subzero temps!

Well, this is one trend I am on board with- the chunky, cable knit, oversize sweater. Pink Basis so graciously gave me a gorgeous piece to style. If you haven't heard of them, they are an online boutique specializing in, well, affordable clothing that tends to gravitate towards the sexy side. The sweater I have on below is actually a dress, but it works PERFECTLY as a tunic. Covers your bootie without looking frumpy, and only costs $44.99, on sale for 45% off that price this week. Now, how to style it!

It might seem a little...oh, I don't know, anti-everyday-woman, but I look to the celebs a lot to see how they style outfits. Why? They often have stylists to whom they pay an inordinate deal of money to help them put looks together. Why not cop their style advice for free, compliments of the paparazzi?

For my first look, I took a page from Olivia Palermo's playbook. Oversize Sweater + Liquid Leather Leggings + Heels = Cozy x Sexy. (Yes, I am trying my hardest to not laugh while striking this pose. I am not exactly the clothing model type, but hey, I don't have Karlie Kloss banging down my door so I guess I'll do).

Chunky Fall Knits- Olivia Palermo
Photo courtesy of Jason Webber/Splash News

How to Style Chunky Knits- Liquid Leather Leggings
Sweater- Pink Basis, Leggings- Old Navy, Shoes- Nine West
 Next up, the mini + sweater combo. I would never have even thought pairing it with a mini had it not been for my superhero (yes, she is my superhero- men can have them, why can't I?), SJP. Super cute pic. I then hit up Google for some additional inspiration and and found this article: Why the Miniskirt Is Having a Moment This Fall via Who What Wear.

Chunky Knits- SJP
Photo courtesy of some random person, thank you!

How to Style Chunky Knits: Mini Skirt
Sweater- Pink Basis, Skirt- Forever 21, Boots- Aldo
I had a few requests for more info on the camel skirt- here is the link to the Pleated Skater Skirt from Forever 21. At $22.80, it is an absolute steal. The fabric is incredibly thick, it has an elastic waistband, and is ideal for pairing with opaque tights.

So there you have it. How are you planning to style those chunky knits this fall? Pink Basis is having a sale if you are in need of some new closet additions- use code CYBER45 for 45% off all new items. You can use code FREESHIP for, you guessed it, free shipping on US orders over $50. Yes, the models are baring a whole lotta skin in some of the clothes, but really- if it the sweater dresses...ahem, tunics, work for me, I am guessing you will look just fabulous in them!

Want to win a $50 gift card to Pink Basis to grab some knits of your own? Just enter on Rafflecopter below- pretty easy, winner will be announced next Friday! Good luck and happy shopping!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: I received the adorable sweater from Pink Basis for review purposes. All opinions are honest and my own, as usual!