Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Cocktails and Confidence

In what I do, confidence is a pretty big deal. When I started blogging over 5 years ago, I had zero confidence. My life had changed quite drastically, going from cocktails 'til 4am in the city to nursing a newborn at 4am.

Man, my confidence took a hit. I took on a job I had no clue how to do (mom) in a body that wasn't mine (oh, you mean I can't walk out of the hospital in my pre-pregnancy jeans??), and I wasn't mentally ok after suffering from a debilitating round of postpartum anxiety. I started this blog when I was pregnant as a way to keep my sense of self and style while being a mom, but I couldn't even practice what I preached. I was a mess.

Here's me with my newborn, trying to smile and not lose it. Oh, and newborns are great for covering up a tummy I quickly figured out.

Eventually, I figured out how to be a mom. Especially when I realized that no one truly knows what they are doing at first. And cocktails. Cocktails helped. Especially when I was super sober for 9 months prior.

I lost the baby weight. Although my body looked different, the weight came off.

The mental game? That took a while. I saw a therapist, which helped immensely. I also started to enjoy getting dressed in the morning and sharing my fashion and beauty finds with other moms. I eventually got my confidence back, which is one of the best feelings in the world. I am now excited for photo shoots, can effectively promote myself because I believe in what I do, and am still helping others in my own way. I also found groups of women who have the confidence and drive to accomplish amazing things and am fortunate to call them my friends.

Along the way, I met Katey who is a Partner and Founding Stylist at Peach, which is a new intimates company (think...what is in your top two drawers at home) that has revolutionized the way women shop. You can actually have a video appointment or an at home appointment with one of their stylists, so no more dressing room drama. They can measure you, recommend the best products for your body type, and help you feel more confident in your own skin and wardrobe.

Katey styled me at a Peach Pop Up event downtown where I had Charlotte in tow. She looked past Char's whining, diaper changes and my anxiety (Katey is a mom as well, she gets it) and helped me find a few pieces that FIT for once after having a baby! I can tell you this- what is under the clothes are sometimes more important than the clothes themselves. VPL, anyone??!

Katey is throwing a little Peach bash this Thursday in my hometown: Cocktails + Confidence with Peach at Valley Lodge Wilmette from 7-10pm. The event will discuss the power of confidence in driving successful business, and of course you can shop the Peach line as well! So join Katey and I, grab a cocktail, and get ready to feel GOOD about yourself, both in a bra and business ;)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Playing Dress Up: Rent the Runway x Diner en Blanc

I have always loved to play dress up.

Whether it was for a dance recital, family photo or just for fun, playing dress up has been a part of my soul for quite some time. Feather boas, blingy headbands and yards of beads were always within arm's reach. Although my sartorial selections may have changed over the years, my desire to dress up hasn't!

This week, I was able to play dress up on a whole different level. Rent the Runway has partnered with Diner en Blanc Chicago this year to provide a special discount to our attendees AND throw an exclusive bash just for our members. In case you haven't heard, Diner en Blanc is a chic pop up picnic in the middle of the city where attendees dress all in white. Our event occurs August 12th this year, so make sure to sign up to purchase tickets!

Rent the Runway has an incredible selection of designer white dresses available for rent at a fraction of the price. Since I wear a new dress every year for the event, it makes SO much more sense to RENT!

I booked a styling appointment with Souk of Styled. By Souk. She works with Rent the Runway in addition to per personal styling business. Souk's philosophy is "Fashion is what you buy. Style is who you are." Prior to my appointment, she pulled looks that she thought would complement my taste and body shape. She nailed it.

The first dress I tried on was the Lotus Flutter Dress by Opening Ceremony. This gorgeous gown retails for $435, but is available to rent for only $45. I know, right??! It is incredibly comfortable and pairs perfectly with these Eddie Borgo Dahlia Orb Earrings ($35 rental, $275 retail). To top it off, she doubled up on this Kate Spade Silver Sailor's Knot Bracelet ($10 rental, $88 retail).

The second look that Souk set up for me was totally different. Instead of long, elegant and a little ruffled, she went short and lacy with demure sleeves. We perused the incredible jewelry selection together for this one and came up with these stunning Gold Crystal Leaf Earrings from Marchesa ($195 retail, $30 rental).

For my final look, Souk had something totally out of the box ready for me! A two piece set, with each piece from a different designer. Let me tell you, this is stylist master-class-level-talent when you can pull this off. The top is a feather-trimmed Tibi Mindy Tank ($85 rental, $450 retail) paired with a Bailey 44 Kasbahs Skirt ($35 rental, $148 retail). And the earrings? Milk Stone Slate & Willow stunners that you can rent for $10 (retail $40).

Rent the Runway also carries a fabulous selection of Plus Size dresses (spoiler alert- I am planning a little dress up party highlighting ALL the plus size fashion with my friend Lisa of Shop Girl Daily at RTR this fall!). They run up to size 22, and include designers such as Monique Lhuillier and Badgley Mischka.

I can't WAIT to see what all of our attendees rent!! A massive thank you to Rent the Runway and Souk for taking the time to let me play dress up with these incredible gowns. If you want to get in touch with Souk for a styling appointment either with Rent the Runway or a wardrobe consultation, e-mail her at souk (at) styledbysouk dot com. She knows what fabrics and colors flatter, which shapes fit particular body types, and how to whip your closet into shape!

Cheers to fabulous, fun fashion! Can't wait to rent my next dress!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Best Makeup for Travel: Stowaway

This spring, I went on a couple's vacation to Mexico. Adults only, no kids. A true vacation. I was packed and ready to go, and realized that I couldn't even lift my suitcase. No, not because of all the fabulous outfits that I packed or the 5 pair of shoes that I HAD to bring, but because of my makeup kit! I was carrying around this brick of a palette and full size products of everything else. I bet my kit made up 25% of the weight of my suitcase. Ridiculous. I knew there had to be a better solution.

Luckily, I had received a set of Stowaway lipsticks in my Popsugar Must Have box and loved the portable size, not to mention the amazing pigment they packed. I could slip these tiny lipsticks into my clutch and stay touched up all night. Here is the size of a Stowaway lipstick vs. another popular brand that I have had for years and never used up....

I got in touch with the team at Stowaway and told them how much I LOVED the concept and products. I read up on the concept and WHY they started the company. It wasn't actually meant solely for travel- they make "right-sized" cosmetics that are meant to be used before they expire. Here is a handy little chart to let you know how long makeup lasts.

We chatted a bit, and I ended up purchasing their new eye palette (the size of a credit card....life-changing and only $25, stay tuned for a full set of looks in a future post), and received a Basics Kit to test out on my next trip.

Since this is my year of travel, I headed to the Bahamas on a press trip with my 5 year old next. A four day whirlwind of dolphin petting, lazy river riding and Bahama Mama drinking. You will hear all about it soon. The catch? I had to pack all of my stuff in a carry on. No room for my traditional makeup kit...so it was Stowaway to the rescue!

Since this was a press trip, it meant dozens of photos. This wasn't your typical no makeup at the pool, messy hair don't care beach bum trip. This was work (granted, work alongside crystal clear turquoise waters, but work nonetheless). During the day, I kept it simple: BB Cream, concealer for my black eye circles, a dab of pot rouge on my cheeks, a sweep of shimmer on my eyelids and a swipe of mascara.

At night, we had Bahamian dinners with the group. From a Junkanoo celebration complete with fire dancers to a conch fritter fest with a steel drum band, I needed a few different looks. Below is fairly neutral shimmer eyeshadow with liner accenting the corners, mascara and rosy cheeks and a neutral lip. In this pic there are sharks swimming in the water below, which is why my son looks kind of terrified and I have my feet planted to hold on to him!

I also did a mauve smokey eye with tightliner and gobs of mascara, finished off with a dab of lipgloss. Another night I did a shimmer eye with winged liner, complimented by a punchy Scarlet lipstick and rosy cheeks. I also brought along my favorite loose powder to take the shine off (fingers crossed that Stowaway will come out with a powder!) and used their petite kabuki brush, which is 1/4 the size of my massive one but gets the job done just the same.

To say I am in love with Stowaway is an understatement. For someone on the go like me, this is a major WIN. On occasion, I appear in lifestyle segments on TV. The green room in most of the studios is teeny tiny and they have to cram all of the guests for the show in there. On one station, I have a hair and makeup team that I ADORE (seriously, these gals work magic on my mug at 6:30am), and another station I am all on my own for hair & makeup. The Stowaway kit is going to become my on-air arsenal for last minute touch ups, and is perfect for the limited counter space. I mean, look how tiny this eye palette is! Smaller than a baseball card.

Oh, and for powder? This petite kabuki brush is perfect to stash in my purse! I always had a tough time shoving the handle of a huge brush into a clutch.

Everyone in my area travels in August...seriously, my city clears out. I can't wait to take my Stowaway kit on the road! Are you as excited about this as me??!

Happy travels!

Disclosure: I was provided with Stowaway product for review purposes. All opinions are honest and my own, as always.