Fashion, Fitness

The Perfect Yoga Mat

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    Happy Summer darlings! Today I am sharing my love and appreciation for the perfect yoga mat.  Seeing how I have reviewed and shared what feels like hundreds of facial masks and serums (or balms as my hubby likes to call all my products), it’s about time I talk about a very important item that I use regularly and am crazy about.  My yoga mat!  Whether you practice yoga every day or a few times a month, the perfect mat is critical to a great yoga practice.  I have been through an embarrassing amount of mats in my yoga journey.  What seems like a simple piece of fabric is unfortunately not so simple.  I have used Lululemon’s “The Mat” most often for the last couple years, but much like the perfect face mask, I am always on the lookout for the next best thing!

    Yellow Willow Yoga is an Australia-based, 100% biodegradable, machine washable, and super chic yoga mat brand.  The yoga mats are developed from a combination of natural eco-tree rubber and soft micro-fiber suede fabric which is made from recycled plastic bottles.  It was love at first sight when my mat arrived in the mail because it is so so cute! In my past mat experiences the cute versions stink to practice on.  Not this gem! The mat has great grip and is super absorbent.  Even my Lulu mat that is designed for hot sweaty yoga gets slippery during a tough practice.  No matter how grossly much I sweat (and I’m proud to be a sweater y’all), this beauty stays dry and crazy comfortable.  And I swear my handstands have been stronger than ever since using it! Shop this epic mat which comes in a variety of fun patterns at Shopbop or the Yellow Willow Yoga site.  Use the code 10YellowWillow for 10% off your mat when shopping on their site.  I can’t recommend this beautifully made mat enough!

    The outfit; navy waist ruffle leggings courtasey of Carbon38.  Drop the code JULIECHE50 for 20% off your first purchase over $100.  The best fitness and lifestyle swag out there!

    All photos taken by the lovely Dani Sommerfeld of the sparkly Once Upon a Dollhouse duo.

    Much love, and yoga on!


    Julz Chez




    Beauty, Fashion

    White Hot with a Pop of Fake Tan

    Whether you are beach bound or hitting the town, an all-white ensemble is a fresh look anyone can pull off.  I am personally a huge fan of white everything when it comes to fashion. I love white pants, white t-shirts, white button ups, and don’t even get me going on my love of white accessories. Bags, heels, booties, sneakers, shades…they all look so polished and chic.  White is undeniably versatile and looks fabulous with just about everything.

    There is one personal struggle I face when wearing white…my pastey pale skin.  My mom firmly believes that I look best all natural, but I’m gonna need a little somethin’ somethin’ Ma. Luckily I have wised up from my idiotic college days and would never dream of stepping into a tanning bed…or laying out in the real sun without a hat and SPF 70.  Self tanners to the rescue!  I have weeded through the riff raff, and am delighted to share my favorites.  Here’s a brief run down on my MVP’s.

    Step one before using any self tanner: shower and exfoliate.  Use a sunless tan applicator mitt  to apply product, and use sparingly around hands, feet, elbows, and knees. Note I said sparingly….not not at all. Bronzed skin with bright white hands and feet is not a cute look (trust me I have made this mistake!) And if your first go is a bust, don’t give up!  Practice makes perfect.

    ~Tan towels.  Easy to use towelettes for an all-over no streaking application.  Excellent for travel as they are individually wrapped up in cute little packets.  Minimal smell. If the application process of a self tanner freaks you out, these are for you. So easy!

    ~ST. Moriz Instant Self-Tanning lotion.  Moisture rich formula that leaves your skin bronzed and hydrated.  I recommend mixing the product with regular lotion to even out the color and mask any smell.  You can always apply more later, but removing can be tricky. Great for those with dry skin and those not looking to spend much…$12.99 for a giant bottle!

    ~St. Tropez Classic Bronzing Mousse.  Lightweight mousse for a long lasting tan in one application.  Easy to apply, great color.  A cult classic in the self tanning world!

    ~Coola Gradual Tan Dry Body Oil.  My personal winner.  An antioxidant-rich blend of Aragon Oil, Vitamin C, Hibiscus, and Chamomile Extract.  Also my husband’s favorite, he thinks I smell like delicious vacation when I have it on….and he typically hates the smell of all my fake tans!  The dry mist spray is super easy to apply and the color is so nice and natural.

    Remember your self tanner is not a sunscreen.  It’s critical to use sunscreen every single day, no matter if the sun is out or not.  I highly recommend the dermatologist approved brand La Roche-Posay daily face serum.  The lightweight antioxidant rich formula feels amazing going on, and improves skin texture and corrects signs of aging in addition to broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection.  A holy grail SPF!  Also works great as a makeup primer.

    Shop all these goodies and more at Ulta Beauty.

    Check out the color of my tummy compared to my legs in this shot…I clearly did not plan on wearing a crop top! A big whoops but also a great example of how a little self tanner goes a long way.  This is after using the Coola Body Oil spray on my arms and legs.  Outfit by Show me Your Mumu. 

    And now let’s circle back to those all white vibes I was raving about.

    The outfit: Ruffle Culottes from Shop Planet Blue. They almost look like a maxi skirt from the side with the wide legs and high slits. Crazy comfy! They also come in bright red and a floral print, both which are on my wishlist.  Forever21 top, Gucci loafers, Anthropologie shades, Jenny Bird hoops and Chloe bag.  Photos by Catherine Spitzer.

    “I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little.”~Coco Chanel


    Julz Chez



    The Gingham Chronicles Continue

    My love affair with gingham continues with these drawstring ruffled shorts from Revolve clothing. Super comfortable, super cute. I put a saucey spin on business casual and styled them up with a crop top and a blazer.  A blazer is such an easy way to elevate a casual look.  I love the look of a great blazer with a cool t-shirt, denim shorts, and heels or even sneakers for a casual night out.  If you are between sizes I recommend sizing down in these gingham cuties. I am in a small for reference but could have done the xtra small.  The tie waist allows you to custom the fit making the sizing simple. I am crazy for white accents year round, but especially in the summer.  These Anthropologie shades and this Nordstrom envelope flap bag by Street Level are two of my favorite budget friendly purchases of the season.  The size of these cat eye shades is perfect; on trend but still classic.  Added bonus the kind price tag won’t send you into a depression if you lose them (the worst!)  This bag is the perfect size for going out…easily fits an iPhone plus, a mini wallet, and a couple cosmetic essentials.  Great quality especially for such a low price point. White drop post earrings are Kenneth Jay Lane from Shopbop.

    Photos by Kimberly Rensburg in collaboration with Chicago speed blogging.

    “Black+white+a bright lip=fool proof chic.”


    Julz Chez


    So Fresh & So Flared

    My husband likes to joke that he wishes time had stopped in the 70’s.  All the rock n roll that made him fall in love with music back then, are still his favorites now.  I may not have been born yet, but I adore the vibe and raw styles of the 70’s.  Flared pants have stood the test of time, and I am proud to be a loyal fan. The best thing about the bombshell bell bottoms I am sharing today, is that they feel like pajama pants. I am all in favor of looking chic AND feeling comfy, if possible. The exaggerated shape of the flair is flattering and helps you appear more decked out than you actually are.  A reader reached out after my last flared pant feature, asking if she is too old (in her 40’s) to rock the look.  Absolutely not!  For a more sophisticated look, pair your bells with a tailored blazer, skinny turtleneck, or feminine blouse.  Shorter gals stay away from too big of a flare, which could be overwhelming on a petite frame.  Always rock your flares with a heel, the higher the better.  I prefer the length to be long enough that my heels or wedges peak out, but not so long that you are tripping over them.

    I am sporting the “Barney Bells” in print Palms Springs Stripe Sandy by the designer Show me Your Mumu, one of my favorite sources for killer cool pants.  For sizing reference I am wearing a size small, but could have done an XS.  I like the comfy fit, but if you are between sizes, I recommend sizing down.  I also adore Show me Your Mumu’s Berkeley Bells.  In that version I recommend sizing up. I also wear a small in this version, but I’m pretty sure I would not be able to get the XS over my tush.  Denim jacket by Ann Taylor, I love the distressed ruffle detail. Stuart Weitzman boots, Urban Outfitters neck scarf, Jenny Bird gold hoops, LPA for Revolve bag.  Add some cool shades and lipgloss to seal the deal!

    All photos by my girl Olivia Szwarc.

    All the X’s and O’s,

    Julz Chez


    Another Gingham Gem!

    A couple of weeks ago I was at Target stocking up on life essentials like toothpaste and stickers, when I stumbled upon this asymmetrical gingham skirt.  It was love at first site.  You just can’t go wrong with this classic print that has evolved into a hot trend.  Step aside florals, this picnic-ready pattern is here to stay.  Great quality, great fit, and so fashion forward.  Way to go Target! Versatile and easy to style…I can’t wait to sport it with a tied up tee and sneakers. Dressed up or down, at $22.99 this baby is a winner. For sizing reference I am in a size 2, and my jean size is 25.   I styled the skirt with my favorite white crop top and Stuart Weitzman heels.  I love crisp white accents for Spring.  I first saw this white handbag from Nordstrom on a bloggers Instagram (dang bloggers!), and I just had to have it. Very reasonably priced and a great size.  My iPhone plus fits in with no problem, which is an issue I have struggled with in some of my favorite small bags.  I also adore these Anthropologie white cat eye shades for Spring.  I had been searching for a pair and so many looked straight up silly on me.  These are trendy yet classic.  Lightweight tassel earrings by Ettika.  Special thanks to my neighbor (who I don’t actually know),  for painting their door yellow. So cute:) All pics by my gal Olivia Szwarc.

    “Life is short, get on the gingham bandwagon!”~ Me


    Julz Chez


    The Perfect (Bargain) Spring Dress!

    Winter must be coming to an end soon (fingers crossed!), so let’s keep prepping those sunny-day styles! Especially on a toasty Summer day, nothing beats an easy breezy sundress.  Cute, comfy, and can easily be styled so many different ways.  I love this gingham number from the trendy and crazy affordable online source Romwe , and you can’t beat its $1o price tag.  Bargain shopping is not my standard specialty, so I get overjoyed when I score something I love for such a steal (and added bonus my mom is proud of me:) The key to success when online shopping at a site like Romwe, is knowing your size, and reading the reviews.  I am wearing a small, and the fit is great.  Not at all tight, making it a perfect choice for a hot day.  The lace up back is adorable, and allows you to custom the fit a bit.  This is my ideal “get ready in 5 minutes” summer outfit…throw on the dress , add your favorite hat, a swipe of lipstick, slip on Vans…and done! For a more dressed up vibe;  I traded the sneakers for a heeled sandal, the hat for a ribbon, and added my go to Levi’s denim jacket.

    All photo’s by Olivia Szwarc at Relax, Smile, and Love Always Photography

    “Wake me up when summer begins.”


    Julz Chez