Monday, July 30, 2012

Stamp your Initial on Fall!

Channel your inner Laverne this Fall with an emblematic initial sweater or incorporate your initial to your daily ensemble with the versatility of an accessory.

Check out my Top 10 suggestions below to help you either ease into this trend or make a bold statement and follow in the foot steps of the the carefree Laverne.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Alexander McQueen Fall 2012 Psychedelic Journey!

Grab your glow sticks, buckle up and get ready!

 Film is shot by David Sims, and starring Suvi Koponen

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Market Shopping 101 in Hong Kong!

In every travel handbook, website, guide, etc the most highly recommended street market in Hong Kong to visit is the Ladies Market located in Mong Kok.  As luck may have it, the hotel I stay it for the 4 trips I make to Hong Kong for work is located in the heart of Mong Kok.  This infamous market is literally steps away from the hotel and once you enter you are whisked away to endless booths selling everything from tricked out iPhone phone covers, knock-off handbags, kids' toys, to apparel and footwear.  You name it, 9 times out of 10 they've got it.

My first trip here was seriously one of the most overwhelming shopping experiences of my life.  Not only is it visually over-stimulating with all of the various product, but then you have the different sellers approaching you with enticing discounts and deals to enter their booth and to bottom line buy something.

This is now my official fourth trip to Hong Kong, so I am feeling more like a veteran.  Not just because negotiating large buys is what I do for a living and the sole reason why I am here in Hong Kong, but because I've learned how to be more a savvy street market negotiator.  I strongly believe that these skills are what have made me a pro at negotiating at the Chicago Randolph Street Market and what ensure that I always pay what I deem fit (and probably why I love the Auction Hunters-but that's for another post).

Check out my tips based of my learnings and use them in your future ventures to your local flea/street markets:


  1. Always wear a comfortable ensemble that can be described by: comfort, functional, easy, but most importantly chic.  See my outfit post as inspiration: here
  2. Go prepared with a clear list of what you are looking for.  Don't under estimate the power of a list.  It will prevent you from deviating for a central goal especially if you are only there for a handful of items.
  3. Never accept the first price given. One thing I've learned you can always, always get to the price you want to pay by staying strong to your price.  If they don't seem to waver, start to walk-away and they will always immediately reconsider.  Any flea/street market seller's number one goal is to sell all their items. You as the buyer will always have the upper hand, never forget that.
  4. Stay hydrated.  Having a bottle of water handy will keep you from becoming dehydrated. 
  5. Have Fun! I always meet the most interesting people and find some of the most unique accessories and trinkets at flea/street markets.

Check out some of my pics from my latest visit to the Ladies Market!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

[Chicago Spotlight] Shannon Favia Original Artwork

One of the best finds at last month's Randolph Street Market was my discovery of Chicago based artist, Shannon Favia and her captivating and unique artwork.  The piece that initially caught my eye was the Nike Air Force One Sneaker painting (pictured below).  I quickly discovered that Shannon's predominant subjects were footwear (I mean, I totally get why don't you) and birds.  The really unique angle of her bird paintings is the 3-D element.  To round out her obvious fashion inspiration, Shannon re-purposes Levi Strauss denim as a 3-D effect for the birds.  The signature and iconic copper button is used as the bird's eye and then she utilizes obvious cut-outs of the denim (i.e. back pocket) within the body of the bird.

It's just pure genius for me that she takes such a simple and beautiful subject and re-defines the subject by adding a 3-D element and then further develops this additional element by utilizing an iconic and signature brand that just oozes Americana.

Check out my favorite pieces that Shannon showcased at the market and definitely don't miss out on an opportunity to snag one of her conversation inducing pieces to your pieces!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

[Chicago Fashion Event] #SummerStyle at Mark Shale Fashion Event Recap!

This past Thursday, July 12th I hosted my very first fashion/style/shopping event at the curator of luxury fashion, Mark Shale.  Myself and and fellow fashion/style blogger, Jen Worman partnered with this amazing retailer to showcase the stellar collections they offer of both men's and women's apparel & accessories.

For the night I dusted off my stylist hat and was on deck providing summer style advice for attendees in search of the perfect ensemble for everything from an upcoming outdoor wedding to finding key pieces that will help with their summer needs as well as become staple transitional pieces come this fall.

It was such exciting night to play hostess, play dress up with some old & new friends, but most importantly helping Chicago discover how impeccable Mark Shale's curated collections were, both on an apparel and accessories front.

Check out my pics I snapped on my handy Blackberry Bold below (yes, I said Blackberry Bold.  I just can't make the jump to an iPhone yet so don't judge me too harshly):

My curated Elevated Casual looks for both Men's and Women's that are perfect transition pieces for now (Summer) and for Fall

Yummy treats to nosh on and sip while shopping.  Overall crowd favorite was hands down the  Q-Tea (Jack Daniels Whiskey with Sweet Tea)

Jen and I snapping a quick pic in between styling sessions

#SummerStyle at Mark Shale!

Isn't his bowtie and boutonniere just amazing?! Get them here!

Friday, July 6, 2012

[Chicago Fashion Event] A Week with Mark Shale: Dress Shoes for Dapper Gents!

As a follow-up to my post earlier this week featuring dope men's casual footwear at Mark Shale (here),  I wanted to ensure that I didn't do any of my male readers a disservice so for this final A Week with Mark Shale post I wanted to bring you the full spectrum of the amazing men's footwear collection that is available at Mark Shale.

One amazing trend that has been developing for the last few years with the Chicago street style scene is that more and more dapper gents have been strutting their style prowess and giving more notoriety to Chicago's style clout.

One style tip that I use day in and day out and have echoed numerous times in a variety of my style posts is the importance of footwear.  Creating the perfect ensemble always starts for me with first selecting my footwear.  This important step sets the tone of your entire ensemble and can immediately gear you in the direction of elevated dress or casual.

Check out my Top 5 picks that will help you set the tone for an elevated casual look!




Cole Haan

Billy Reid

Thursday, July 5, 2012

[Chicago Fashion Event] A Week with Mark Shale: Summer Perfect Handbags!

With all of the different trends and fads out there for summer it's hard to decide which ones are actually worth taking a splurge on and which will end up just fading away in a mere few weeks.  The good news is that based off of the recent Resort 2013 shows (get caught up with my recap here) there are a number of current summer trends that will still be very relevant next spring.

For this A Week with Mark Shale post I've picked out my Top 4 handbags that will keep you on-trend this summer and on to next spring!

Graf & Lantz 

Sporty Satchel:

Hot Color of the Season-Blues!:
Massimo Palomba

Hints of Pop Neon:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

[Chicago Fashion Event] A Week with Mark Shale: Scarves Aren't Just For Cold Weather!

ALLUDE scarves at Mark Shale

Happy 4th of July! Hopefully your plans for today include relaxation, noshing on some good eats, and sipping a few refreshing cocktails. Whatever your plans may be, the standard uniform for hot weather is always something that is flowy, breathable, and most importantly fashionable.  Often times this includes a basic summer dress or shorts & a top.  For today's A Week with Mark Shale post I wanted to offer up a fun & unique way to update your current summer accessory needs while at the same time ensuring that you have a stunning scarf come this fall.

Mark Shale offers a stunning collection of scarves with a wide variety of prints and colors.  What's even more exciting? You can wear any one of these amazing scarves now.  A key hair accessory trend this summer is the turban headband and what better way to achieve this current trend than with a DIY.  I'm a huge fan of re-purposing fashion and this is a chic way to do so.

Selection of the current scarf offerings at Mark Shale including ME & Kashmiere,  F& K,  Sammy, and ALLUDE.

Check out this amazing hair tutorial on how to tie a turban headband 3 different ways by LEAF (living, eating and fashion):

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

[Chicago Fashion Event] A Week with Mark Shale: Dope Men's Casual Shoes!

Hey fellas!  This second post in my A Week with Mark Shale is all about you.  With summer in full swing as evident with the  90+ degree heat we've been experiencing lately it's no doubt that comfy and easy breezy footwear is a definite must.  Mark Shale has an astonishing collection of casual footwear that fits all of your summer needs.  Everything from the perfect final touch to a casual beach wedding to the final stamp on a dapper street festival ensemble.

It was extremely difficult to narrow down my Top 6, but after much deliberation here they are (and what's even better is that a few of these I picked are apart of the amazing summer style sale!)

Casual Beach Wedding:
Donald J Pliner

Billy Reid

Milwaukee Arts Fest & Wicker Park Fest Approved:


All Aboard, It's Boat Time:


Monday, July 2, 2012

[Chicago Fashion Event] A Week with Mark Shale: Shop Local Designers!

Curated offerings of Chicago jewelry designers: Dana Reed, JULES, and Rebecca Zemans

To help you all get ready to take full advantage of my #SummerStyle event that I will be hosting at Mark Shale on Thursday, July 12th, I wanted to take the next week and  highlight just a few of the amazing accessory offerings that Mark Shale has to offer for both men and women.

As a cornerstone of luxury retailing in Chicago, it is no surprise that Mark Shale has 3 Chicago jewelry designers amongst their selective list of women's jewelry offerings.

JULES, is designed by native Chicagoan Jules Schwanbeck.  Her pieces are inspired by organic imperfections in nature, deep color variations of gemstones, rich textures of raw minerals and blemishes on hand-hammered metals.  Her eclectic pieces are definite one-of-a-kind pieces due to her unique usage of selective materials coupled with distinct metalsmithing.

JULES by Jules Schwanbeck

Dana Reed, designs for the woman who wants to set herself apart from others.  Her pieces are feminine and unique and exude the must to only be worn by a statement maker.  Dana is inspired by different cultures, nature and art.  She combines the exotic elements of many cultures with art deco influenced geometrics and ultrachic textures.

Dana Reed by Dana Reed

Rebecca Zemans, her jewelry is inspired by the exploration of the structural similarity of biological cells and celestial bodies.  Rebecca's pieces are sculptural magnifications of of these forms and how they are repeated in the world from architecture to anthropology.  What's also extremely unique is that she employs sustainable practices by using recycled metals, natural conflict-free gemstones, and making everything locally in Chicago.

Rebecca Zemans by Rebecca Zemans