Beauty

May Your Day Be As Flawless As Your Skin

It’s not easy having great skin, but someones gotta do it.

In my previous post, Beauty Rituals worth Rocking, I shared my love for dry brushing, jade rolling, and other unique home practices. Today I am serving up the basic building blocks of skincare.  Achieving your fresh faced goals may seem overwhelming with the millions of products out there. But check this out: there are just three critical steps to a healthy regimen that should be applied in this order: Cleanse, Serum, and Moisturize/SPF. If you don’t layer your products in the proper order, they will not be as effective. Let’s get the most bang for our buck babes. The rule of thumb when applying skincare is to apply the lightest formula first and the heaviest last, since thinner products can’t penetrate thicker products.

Here is a quick cheat sheet with the exact order products should be applied. Note: the steps in bold are the essential steps to a healthy routine…the others are simply extra credit!

  1. Cleanser 
  2. Toner
  3. Serum
  4. Eye Cream
  5. Spot Treatments (aka zit cream)
  6. Moisturizer
  7. Sunscreen (at night time this can be skipped, and replaced with Retinol or an overnight mask.)

Lets break it down y’all, starting with the essential 3 steps.

Cleanse

I first cleanse with Bioderma Micellar Water, which is under $15 and can be purchased at Walgreens or Target. It is quick and easy to use.  You simply soak a cotton ball with the product, cleanse your face, and gently pat dry. The cleansing agents in the product dissolve impurities and gently remove makeup and dirt without stripping the skin. No water is required…mess free!

If you prefer a gel cleanser, I also love the Romer cleanser. Romer is a sustainably sourced, clean beauty line that has just 3 products in their full regimen. If you are new to the world of skincare, this functional line just may be perfect for you! Romer products are also unisex…imagine how clean and lovely your bathroom cabinet would look with just three chic products for both you and your boo?! The Romer gentle gel-oil cleanser contains calming botanicals like Aloe Vera and Calendula. It suds up great, a little goes a long way, and my skin feels squeaky clean afterwards. If I have a full face of makeup on I double cleanse, first using the Micellar water to remove my makeup, and then with the Romer cleanser to deep clean. If you wear little or no makeup, the double cleanse process is not necessary.

Presenting the full Romer skincare line! Isn’t the clean packaging so lovely? Fun fact about Romer: the CEO and founder Lauren created the line after years of struggling with her skin. Through hard work and research, Lauren discovered that simple ingredients and a consistent routine were the key to better skin…and so she created it! She left the corporate world and teamed up with experts to develop this simple and effective line. I have tried and can promise, it really is amazing! One more fun fact: I was introduced to Lauren and Romer via the wonderful blog community in Chicago…but it turns out her fiancé and my hubs are friends! Ugh, I am so my Dad sometimes…I love a small world moment!

Serum

Serums offer high concentrations of active ingredients to target your skins specific needs. For my skin care new-bees…if there is one product I recommend trying…serum wins. Serums are the heavy lifters of your routine. Quality serums can be pretty pricey, but they don’t have to be. My favorite budget friendly serum is by The Ordinary. The Ordinary is a collection of effective skin care at awesomely low prices. Their hyaluronic acid serum leaves my skin feeling super hydrated. I love the smooth not at all sticky texture. Bonus: this amazing product is $6.80! Another serum I love is Super Bounce by Glossier. This cruelty free formula is super hydrating, packaged super cute, and is under $30. Vitamin C is a powerful ingredient that locks in skin hydration and imparts brightness and glow. Image Skincare is a clinical skincare brand powered by professionals to effectively improve your skin. Their products are a bigger beauty investment, but they are amazing. I really love their Vitamin C serum. For you babes craving a 100% natural and organic serum packed with free radical-fighting antioxidants and nutrients, Mukama Botanica Superfood Serum is 100% fabulous.

PS…please don’t hastily slop on your serum sister. Gently press into your skin and massage in an upwards motion to boost collagen and prevent wrinkles. Lightly patting on the product helps to stimulate circulation. Take your time and really work all the goodness of the serum into your skin. The extra few minutes will ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck!

Moisturize/SPF

I’m a better person when I’m moisturized.

Dramatic, yes. True…also yes. In my opinion, attempting to apply makeup to dry flakey skin is possibly more painful than hair sticking to lipgloss on a windy day. Side note: if you focus on good skin care, you really won’t need much makeup.

Even if you have oily skin, you need a moisturizer to maintain hydration. Moisturizer also helps trap in the products underneath it to make the ingredients more effective. An esthetician once told me if you don’t apply a moisturizer after applying serum, that serum won’t work its magic, no matter how great it is.

A couple of my favorite moisturizers are by two brands I mentioned earlier, Romer skincare and Glow Recipe.  The Romer moisturizer is made with hyaluronic acid and jojoba oil to hydrate and smooth tired skin.  This clean product is super nourishing yet not greasy at all. The watermelon moisturizer by Glow Recipe is a silky formula spiked with amino-acid-rich watermelon extract that drenches skin in moisture, and smells delightful! A great budget-friendly option is Trader Joe’s ultra hydrating gel moisturizer, a water-based gel formula packed with great skin-smoothing ingredients, all for $8.99! If you prefer a super light formula, you will love this product. The last step in the essential line up is sunscreen. My SPF brand of choice is La Roche-Posay. Their sunscreens are formulated with advanced technology for advanced protection. You can shop this affordable and effective line at Walgreens and Target.

And just like that, your essential 3 step skin care routine is complete! An extravagant 10 step routine is not for everyone, and is not necessary.  Commit to these 3 steps, and you can still have the glowing complexion you deserve. You can score all the products below for approximately $40!

If you are new to skincare or prefer a simple routine, your work is done! For extra beauty credit, read on for additional steps to amp up your glow.

Tone baby Tone!

Toners were created to balance the skin’s pH after harsh soaps. There are so many balanced cleansers now available, toners are not a required step. Well this skincare nerd loves a good toner! I am currently rotating and loving both Glow Recipe watermelon toner, and Saturday Skin pore clarifying toner. The first is a gentle formula, the second more powerful, which is why I like rotating between the two. I promise I do not pick my products based on packaging…but I am a sucker for cute packaging…and these toners are both the cutest! Your toner should be applied after cleansing.

The Glow Recipe watermelon glow toner is an ultra-gentle hydrating formula that minimizes the look of pores and hydrates skin. My man loves when I use this product as he claims I smell like a watermelon jolly rancher after using it!

The Saturday Skin toner helps smooth and refine skin with Glycolic Acid. This baby is more powerful, and creates a tingly sensation some folks dislike. I personally dig the tingles…it makes me think…wow this stuff is really working! I love how fresh and tight my skin feels with this product.

Eye cream

The skin around the eyes is more fragile, more prone to dryness, and is quicker to show fine lines and wrinkles. Regular use of eye cream over time can address these issues. Eye cream should be applied after serum. I rotate using Image Skincare balancing eye gel, and First Aid beauty retinol eye cream. The Image eye cream is a peptide-packed organic cream that soothes and hydrates. The First Aid cream contains a gentle Retinol to stimulate natural Collagen production to minimize fine lines and wrinkles. More on Retinol in a bit!

Mask

Hi, my name is Julz, and I am a self-confessed mask-a-holic! I love the ritual of treating my skin with extra love in the comforts of home, and there are so many amazing masks available. One of my current favorites is the overtime mask by Summer Fridays. This baby is packed with vitamins that exfoliate and hydrate. You apply the product to clean dry skin and it works its magic in 10 quick minutes. A couple times a week, or whenever my skin feels dull and in need of a boost, I apply the mask a bit before hopping in the shower. Quick, easy, and efficient!

Overnight masks are a hot commodity on the beauty scene. I love the idea of taking “beauty sleep” to the next level by treating my skin while I snooze. The watermelon sleeping mask by Glow Recipe is one of my long-time favorite products. The pillow-proof breathable mask smoothes, protects, and gently exfoliates the skin. Added bonus, it smells amazing…just like a watermelon jolly rancher according to my hubs! My skin feels baby soft the morning after using, and my makeup goes on silky smooth.

The newest addition to my line up of MVP masks is the T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial by Drunk Elephant.  This next-generation mask is an at-home “facial” that exfoliates and resurfaces by getting rid of built-up dead skin cells to reveal improved skin texture and tone. This product is on the pricier side, but it is a cult favorite and award winner among skincare professionals for a reason. I use this mask just once a week for a powerful exfoliation. Babyfacial is vegan, cruelty-free, and was created with all skin in mind.

The Power of the Peel!

Daily peel pads by Dr Dennis Gross are one of my main products I cannot live without! Super quick and easy, a two-step treatment that improves texture and tone. The individual packaging is mess free and great for travel or on-the-go application. I use these pads a few times a week at least, and I see a visible improvement instantly after use. They are a bit pricy, but worth every penny in my opinion. Small packs are available in the travel size section near the register at Sephora, if you want to try it out before committing to the big boy package. These peels are available in 3 different formulas; extra strength, ultra gentle, and universal. There is a quiz available on the Dr. Dennis Gross website that can help determine what peel is best for your skin.

Another (very affordable) product that also delivers instant great results are tinkles razors. If you regularly read my blog, you know I am obsessed with using these gentle razors to shave my face.  Even if you have just the tiniest bit of peach fuzz, that fine hair can interfere with makeup, and cause your beloved  products to not penetrate as effectively into the skin.  The hair eliminated will not grow back thicker or darker-that is an ugly myth! Face shaving is super cheap ($5.99 for a pack of 3), painless, and your makeup will glide on so gorgeously after. Maybe I am a weirdo….but I actually love the process…instant gratification!

Rock the Retinol 

Retinol is an iconic skin-boosting ingredient recommended by dermatologists for its powerful complexion-perfecting abilities. Retinol increases cell turnover,  causing your body to churn out fresher less-wrinkled skin over time. If you are struggling with intense acne, visiting a dermatologist for a prescription grade Retinol may be a great option. For other concerns like fine lines, there are many great options on the market. I love First Aid Beauty’s Retinol serum and First Aid Beauty’s Retinol eye cream. These formulas are comprised of clean ingredients that deliver the benefits of Retinol with minimal irritation. Potent, yet gentle! Both products can be comfortably used on sensitive skin and beginner Retinol babes. Once a week I use Image Skincare’s Retinol overnight mask.  This anti-aging miracle mask releases hydrating microspheres of collagen to lock in moisture and delivers Retinol deep into the skin while you snooze. I love how bright and smooth my skin feels in the morning. No matter what Retinol you choose, it is important to ease it into your routine as redness and dryness can occur at first. I only use my Retinol products at night as the sunlight can increase sensitivity.

Seal the glowing skin deal: self tan!

The final extra-credit category I am sharing today is self-tanning. It is no secret that baking under the sun drenched in oil is out, and an SPF coated body under a big umbrella is IN! That said, a little color goes a long way in providing a youthful glow. I only self tan my whole body if I have an event approaching, and my neon white legs will be exposed. With all the great products on the market, successfully self tanning your whole body is certainly possible…but no matter how savvy your self tan skills are, uneven spots are always a possibility. I know all the helpful tips and tricks to achieve a flawless self tan, but always seem to end up with an icky smudge somewhere. However, I find using a self tanner to give a little natural color to my face to be foul-proof. I use super glow self-tan serum by Tan-Luxe just once or twice a week, and I love the gradual sun-kissed glow it provides. The lightweight formula contains hyaluronic complex that quenches and plumps the skin. This small bottle is $49….but a little goes a long way. Another super popular line of great self-tanning products is Isle of Paradise. Their self-tanning drops are applied with your regular moisturizer, allowing you to control the depth of color. Both of these products deliver a great glow, but if I had a favorite it would be Tan-Luxe, as I just love how great my skin feels after using it.

If you are still reading…bless your heart! I may not be a certified skincare profesh, but I have been a passionate beauty aficionados for many years. I have researched and tested countless products, and am delighted to share what I have discovered. If you have any questions about this post or would like my suggestions regarding what products I think are best for your skin type…please reach out to me! Comment here, email me at julzwrkout@yahoo.com, or catch me on IG @julzchez!

As much as I adore actually using my great products….I get a solid skincare nerd thrill of arranging them. Cute packaging always puts me over the edge!

“Invest in your skin. It’s going to represent you for a very long time.”

XOXO,

Julz Chez

 

Beauty

Beauty Rituals Worth Rocking

In the era of staying home and missing your favorite spa services, there is no better time to amp up your home beauty routine. Break out all the face masks and tools that have accumulated in your bathroom drawer, and commit to your skincare routine. When the world eventually returns, your new healthy habits will hopefully be here to stay. As a self declared skin care junkie, I am always diligent with my routine. However, there are a few practices I had been slacking on. I have used my extra free time to recommit to these practices…and it feels great!

Start dry brushing

Dry brushing is a classic Ayurvedic ritual that involves brushing your body with a bristled brush…which you can score at trusty Walmart for $7.00. No excuses! Benefits include increased circulation, removes dead skin cells, resulting in smoother skin, and reduces cellulite when done regularly. My forever favorite former Victoria Secret model, Miranda Kerr, declared dry brushing as a life changing addition to her beauty routine. I’m sold! It takes so little time, and actually feels really nice. For me the key was simply getting back in the routine of dry brushing regularly. Now is the time! I leave it out on my bathroom counter, (seeing it right there is always helpful), and brush my full body down before showering.

On that soft skin note, I discovered an amazing body scrub. A product that delivers results after just one use is hard to come by, and this baby is one of those gems. I sometimes struggle with tiny little bumps on my legs…possibly from shaving? Who knows. No biggie, but still annoying.  First Aid Beauties bump eraser body scrub is an exfoliator that sweeps away dry, rough bumps to reveal crazy smooth skin. Glycolic and Lactic Acids help loosen skin’s top layer and decongest pores. I could not believe how smooth my skin felt after ONE use. Those stubborn little bumps…GONE. Amazing! This clean formulation is allergy tested, safe for sensitive skin, and fragrance free. First Aid Beauty is a great line of clean products packed with amazing ingredients.

Commit to Jade Rolling

You probably have one…and it’s possibly collecting dust in your bathroom cabinet. Jade rolling, much like dry brushing, is inexpensive, takes very little time to do, and feels great! I love the practice, (check out my past post Weird Beauty Hacks that Work for more deets), yet I had been guilty of neglecting it. Until the Quarantine!  The benefits of using a jade roller to give yourself a facial massage include improving circulation and lymphatic drainage, leaving your skin glowing and less puffy. My favorite way to use my roller is to first apply a sheet mask, then massage the mask in with the roller. I keep mine in the fridge or freezer…major de-puffing magic! What a relaxing ritual to enjoy while you catch up with your favorite housewives.

Shave your face 

This is one of my MVP skincare steps that again costs almost nothing, and hooks up instant results. Unlike the previous two rituals, this is one that once I started, I never ever stopped.  If you are reading this thinking….girlfriend I don’t have hair on my face….sorry sis, you do. I have light fine hair but even still, removing that peach fuzz makes a major difference. Shaving your face provides deep exfoliation, allowing your precious products to penetrate deeper, and work more effectively. Also your makeup will go on silky smooth. If you have ever treated yourself to a dermaplaning treatment at a Medspa, this is essentially the DIY version. Make sure you have great light, and use a gentle razor like Tinkles to get the job done. Afterwards be sure to apply a gentle moisturizer.

Grow out your Eyebrows. Then tint them yourself!

Don’t touch the tweezers, the first step to growing out your eyebrows is to let them do their thing. If you have thin brows and are looking for some serious growth, use a quality serum like Grande Brow or NeuBrow. A great serum is a beauty investment, but takes just a few seconds to apply before bed, and in time, WILL work! I have been using and loving a lash and brow oil from local Chicago gem, Scratch goods. Castor Oil is another great option to nourish your brows with that is also affordable, and that you just may already have tucked in a drawer somewhere!. Same rules apply for lashes…give them some love with a quick serum swipe before bed. I love GrandeLash!

I adore my regular visits to Benefit for a brow tint. Such an efficient service! Makes a major difference. Obviously a trip to the darling Benefit brow counter is not an option right now, so I decided to get crazy and try it myself. I figured, if it’s a bust, only my husband and cat have to look at me. I ordered this Tint Kit on Amazon, likely one night after too much boxed wine. The expectations were low. But hot damn, smash success! So easy to use, and $20…less than the price of ONE tint at Benefit or any spa… scores you TWENTY applications! No brainer price wise, and there is something so satisfying about making the magic happen yourself.

Give your nails some TLC, clean your makeup brushes, floss your teeth, and nourish your lips.

Like most basic babes, I love a good no chip mani. However, taking a break from polish has made my nails so healthy and happy. I recommend massaging a cuticle oil ontoyour nails and toes every night. I am loyal to the nail oil from local Chicago gem, Mojo spa.

Clean your makeup brushes. Another basic beauty step that is super easy to be lazy and skip. My girlfriend Marii created an amazing brush cleaner, Swirl&Sparkle, that I can’t recommend enough.

Floss your sparkly smile. Cocofloss is a bougee brand of floss that I scored in a beauty event gift bag, and I have been hooked ever since. It is so amazing, it makes me actually look forward to flossing! Afterwards treat your lips to Laneige lip sleeping mask. You will wake up with silky smooth lips! I love this product so very much I don’t limit it to just a sleeping mask…I use it as a luxury lip gloss at any given time of the day.

Don’t use skanky towels on your precious face.

This self care situation seems basic, but is easy to slack on. We spend all this time cleansing our lovely faces…but are we grabbing a towel off the floor, that your boo potentially just dried his booty off with? Ew. I snagged an inexpensive bundle of great little hand towels, and rolled them up into a cute little basket to keep by the bathroom sink, so I never slack. Highly recommend!

Give your luscious locks a break from heat, and bring on the deep conditioning love.

There is no better time to give your  locks a break from damaging heat tools. Take a break from your blow dryer and curling irons, and step away from the dry shampoo. Genius product, but it is also very drying. I have not touched the stuff since the Quarantine started, and my hair is thanking me! For shampoo and conditioner, I have been using and loving Fekkai products. Once a week I use Briogeo Scalp Revival exfoliating shampoo. This baby is a best of beauty Allure winner for a reason. Vegan and cruelty-free, this unique shampoo draws impurities from hair follicles to hook up optimal scalp health. The magical formula is a blend of peppermint and spearmint oils that reduces scalp irritation and inflammation…and it feels tingly and refreshing! Seal the healthy hair deal by tossing a scalp massager in your shower, and use it to massage your conditioner in.

Extra hair love credit:

No matter how diligent you are about being careful detangling your locks post shower, it is always a dicey situation. I am crazy about the IGK hairline. I have been spraying their Thirsty Girl leave-in conditioner after shower or just whenever I want to give my hair a little extra love. So good. Another cult favorite of the beauty girls that I have jumped on board with is Oraplex hair perfector No.3.  You apply it to your hair and let the goodness soak in for 1o minutes or so before showering and wows….another product that delivers rad results after one use. It  restores your hair’s healthy appearance and texture by reducing breakage and protecting hair structure. Even my hubs noticed my hair felt so silky smooth! You gotta pay to play at $56 a bottle, but you only need to use it once a week, and it is sooo worth is! The last hair gem I recently discovered is ColorWow dreamcoat.  You apply it before drying your hair, (ok so yes you are allowed to dry your hair from time to time), and it works as a protector, and tightens hair strands, leaving your locks silky smooth. The wonderful effects last through 3 to 4 shampoos. In the current quarantine situation, I have been using it about once a week and my hair feels better than ever.

Stay home, stay safe, and stay fabulous!

XOXO,

Julz Chez

Fashion, Life

The Chezs: Quarantine Style!

Hello friends! I don’t know where to begin! Of course, I wish and pray for health and safety for all. My heart and prayers go out to all suffering. And to all the amazing front liners supporting us through this unfortunate time…bless your hearts.

On a light hearted note…what have the Chez’s been up to? First things first, what have I been wearing?;) I wish I could say I have resisted online shopping, but that would simply be boring. These first 3 looks are all by one of my favorite small businesses, Show Me Your Mumu. No brand does bombshell bell bottoms and rad party pants better. All three of these sweet bottoms are by Show Me Your Mumu.

I am a sucker for a cute rocker tee, they are just so fun to style different ways. Of course, I am always on the lookout for KISS gems! I am proud to say my collection is nearly better than dudes. I scored this baby online at a darling local Chicago boutique, Alice and Wonder.  The jeans are by Alice and Olivia and are currently 75% off! They also come in grey and lavender. I went up one size for a more boyfriend style relaxed fit, which I just love styled with heels.

Tie dye everything has been a huge quarantine trend. Both these tie dye tops are from another adorable and affordable local Chicago boutique, Bliss and Belle. 

I was planning to wear this next look to my cousin’s baby shower, that sadly had to go down on Zoom.  Dress, shades, belt, and bag all by the lovely Rebecca Minkoff. The fit of this dress is so feminine and flattering….and she is currently on super sale!

Boiler style jumpsuits are hot right now, and I am super into it. Would you believe I scored this baby at TARGET? So good.

You can’t go wrong with a cozy chic sweatshirt. This Prada dupe is by Meraki+Gold, a super affordable online retailer a fashion friend of mine created. She does an amazing job finding great trendy pieces at crazy low prices.

Quarantine time has not been all fun and fashionable. The 3 musketeers, (me+dude+our cat), started off smooth sailing. Until one dark day, when our bad boy black cat..somehow managed to get out of the house. And our world stopped. I hate to sound dramatic. I understand this situation is very mild compared to what many are facing right now. That said, I do believe that sadness is simply sadness, and no one should feel ashamed of what they feel. Well for me and dude, this was the darkest of Quarantine dark. I was so sad, I could only really talk to my mom about it. My dude was a rockstar, on a mission every day and night to find our boy. And WE DID!

My sweet mommy had a hard time sleeping when our boy was gone, knowing how very sad we were and doing what moms do best…worrying. She made me promise to text if and when he came home, no matter what time it was. 3:45 am….Grandma replied instantly! The reunion was so great.

I reached out on the Bucktown community page about our boy….wow! Blown away with the lovely neighborhood support. Blackie the cat had many thank you cards to send out!

And so the Chez’s are back to our regular programmed routine. Dude is staying busy cooking, playing guitar, playing his newly tuned up KISS pinball machine, and teaching himself a new groovy music making system. I am staying busy FaceTiming workouts with my private clients, organizing and purging my closet, and doing my best to stay in shape!  I really miss teaching my group classes at MaZi, and I really miss my weekly volunteer visits at the Arts of Life.  This past weekend I had a great experience teaching a Zoom yoga class for a wonderful organization, Best Buddies in Illinois, that supports people with disabilities through friendships and leadership development. Being presented an opportunity to use my skill of teaching for a great cause is such a blessing!

Also included in the “staying busy” agenda, cuddling up on the couch at night for our favorite shows! The Chez’s are some suckers for 90 day Fiance. I stumbled upon it cruising the trusty TLC network a while back when dude was out of town….I thought for sure he would shut it down right away. But that is just one of the many things I adore about my dude….ya just never know with him! He loves it! We just finished Ozark….amazing…and we are loving keeping up with the Bulls/Michael Jordan documentary, The Last Dance.

Of course I have my select shows I watch on my own….I finally joined the Vanderpump Rules jam…so good. Love me some Stassi and Lala. I have also been digging Summer House. I started watching because a Chicago fashion friend of mine, Julia Daoud, is on the current season! While my dude has zero interest in these programs, he also is totally cool if I have them on when he is around.  Because duh, the chicks are undeniably smoking hot. But my top Quarantine television hands down is Never Have I ever on Netflix. I shamefully watched the entire first season in 2 days. Dude witnessed me in my bliss and was all, “High school or college boo?’ And I responded all, “Ugh you are mean. High School.” He loves to tease me that I watch TV for high school girls. Whateves. The show is sooo good! It was created by one of my very favorites, Mindy Kaling. Dig in and thank me later hunnies!

As for food….a couple few times a week we kick the day off with what I call, “Husband breakfast.” This divine dish is featured below:) I love hot sauce on, well everything, but it is so key on eggs. I have recently fallen in love with Yellow Bird sauces…so so good! Other days I roll with my beloved Vital Proteins matcha smoothie. The dude has been making great dinners. I love his cooking, and he knows what I like SO well, (like if it’s pasta I need at least 3X more sauce than pasta duh). Once a week or so we order in from one of our favorite local spots. Oh and of course…wine and microwave popcorn are a daily food group!

Thank you for keeping up with the Chez’s!

XOXO!

Julz Chez

Fashion

New York Fashion Week First Timer!

New York Fashion Week has been on my bucket list for a hot minute. Every year I tell myself…”next year baby, next year!”  This year I excitedly informed my hubs when I received a few show invitations, (because 1. COOL! and 2. I tell him everything), with no expectations of actually making it happen. Between KISS being on their final tour and my man turning the big 50, I thought our travel plans were over booked. My dreamboat shocked me and said…”let’s go!”

NYFW is an industry event where designers showcase their fresh collections for the first time.  The event happens twice each year: February, where fall/winter collections are presented, and September, where spring/summer collections are presented.  Attendees are fashion industry insiders: buyers, fashion editors and writers, stylists, photographers, and digital media influencers.

There is a lot of planning that goes into attending NYFW.  As a newbie, I wanted to maximize the weekend, yet also make it fun and not too jam packed. The plan was to arrive Friday late afternoon, attend our first show Friday night, 2 shows on Saturday, and one more Sunday morning before departing. Of course the plan didn’t go perfectly. Our flight was canceled, and we didn’t end up arriving until nearly midnight. The rough start had me feeling a bit defeated, but my guy kept my spirits up by doing what he does best…making everything fun!  I lovingly called him my “Intern” all weekend, a title in which in had zero shame owning and rocking. What a man!

Travel outfit: Show me Your Mumu hoodie, Spanx leggings, Rebecca Minkoff boots, and Hammitt bag. 

Saturday was a new day! I woke up so excited to experience a sprinkle of the fashion week magic. Our first show was one of my all-time favorite designers, Rebecca Minkoff. The show was presentation style, and featured a variety of models celebrating all walks of life. A pregnant model, children, and even a baby, were among the beauties showcasing the new collection, which includes a children’s line. I loved all the chic styles…feminine floral dresses styled with fringe leather jackets, beautiful blouses with statement sleeves, power suits in vivid colors, and of course Rebecca’s specialty…amazing handbags.  I thought the collection was urban, on trend, fun, and versatile. I could see women of all ages and style preferences effortlessly incorporating pieces into their wardrobes. I dressed for the occasion: my dress, shades, boots, and bag are all by Rebecca Minkoff.

A peek at the presentation:

Beauty and brains: Rebecca Minkoff!

The energy on the streets was such a fun aspect of the experience. People watching at it’s most fashion forward best! Paparazzi gathered outside all the big shows, eager to capture all the killer street styles. I ran into a couple of Chicago fashion friends on the streets, and my Intern was always ready with the camera to document the moment. I think I will keep him on my xoxo staff forever:)

Our next show was Hellessy.  Hellessy is hand crafted and produced in New York City and is highly recognized by international fashion publications.  Many influential celebrities are loyal fans of the high end brand.  The runway show took place in an intimate venue, and the front row was filled with stunning supermodels.  I absolutely loved all the statement-making pieces.  How about the black tulle number? So dreamy!

I knew my man had hit his fashion husband max by this point of the day, but there was just one store I was determined to visit. LoveShackFancy is a  brand I am wild for…no one does romantic ruffles better. The flagship LoveShackFancy store happens to be in New York.  The store was more beautiful than I even imagined.  The hubs found a comfy chair to chill in while I did my thing, and all was well in the world! I did not leave empty handed:)

A peek into fashion week was both challenging and inspiring. As a first timer new to the scene, I could see how one could easily feel lost in the chaos. I have potential to fall down that silly….”I’m a nobody!” rabbit hole.  I firmly believe surrounding yourself with people who build you up and make you happy is the key. My Intern was the best partner in fashion crime!

“Life is a party. Dress like it.”

XOXO,

Julz Chez

Fashion

Show Me Your Mumu Love!

If you know me, you know Show Me Your Mumu is one of my very favorite fashion sources. The brand nails bohemian chic vibes with their chic yet comfy styles. Their pieces are effortless and easy to style a variety of ways. I firmly believe I am forever a Mumu girl. Can’t y’all see me in my 60s sporting their epic bell bottoms? Goals! Today I am sharing a round up of my current favorite Mumu looks.

First up: this sparkly slip tie dress. This gem simply screams FUN to me! The relaxed fit is a refreshing alternative to the commonly seen skin tight styles. The adjustable tie straps allows you to custom the length and change up the look. For a night out, pair it with slinky heels or over the knee boots. Add your favorite bomber jacket and a bold lip color, and you are ready to rock. I also love it worn tunic style, paired with ripped jeans or leggings, for a more casual vibe.

Bell bottoms are the perfect example of everything old is new again in the fashion world.  The 70s style exaggerated leg is back, and better than ever. No one does bells better than Show Me Your Mumu. I read an interview with Cammy, one of the entrepreneur babes behind the brand, where she stated their bells were designed with stretch, so you can do splits and cartwheels at any given moment. Clearly my kinda gal, and my kinda pants!  Meet the latest addition to my collection, the Mercury Bells. These beauties feature all over sequin detailing and a comfy elastic lined waist.  They look great dressed up with a nice sweater and heels, or styled casually with a fun graphic tee.  I honestly never receive more compliments on my outfit than when I am in my Mumu flares. The best part is that the compliments come from all ages…everyone from teens to grandmas.  These pants are simply a crowd pleaser! Side note for any fashion moms reading…Mumu offers their bombshell bells in kiddo sizes. Cuteness overload!

Show Me Your Mumu recently joined forces with the fabulously fun makeup brand, Too Faced, and created a bombshell collection.  This tweed skirt screams Cher Horowitz, and I am here for it! There is also a matching jacket available that is actually called, the Cher jacket. Crazy cute!

As much as I love dressing up, if I am hanging out at home, you will most likely find me in cozy jammies. No one combines cozy and cute better than Mumu! This disco nap pant and tee set, also in collaboration with Too Faced, is my new favorite. Super comfy fit, and pretty enough to go out in. Tackle your inner Carrie Bradshaw style and toss on a fancy fur jacket and heels. PJ glam at its best!

I hope everyones 2020 is off to a strong and stylish start!

“I like my money right where I can see it, hanging in my closet.”~ Carrie Bradshaw

XOXO,

Julz Chez

Beauty, Fashion

Gift Ideas for the Girly Girl!

Tis’ the season to shop for loved ones! When it comes to gift guides, I typically stick to my area of expertise. Ideas for the girly girl! I am breaking it down into 3 basic girly gift categories today: cosmetics, skincare, and jewelry.

As a girly girl myself, a luxury beauty gift would make my heart oh so happy. No one does luxury beauty better than the great Charlotte Tilbury. I shared my Charlotte love in one of my first ever blog posts, you can check out that post here. Tilbury is dedicated to creating red-carpet skincare and makeup that is easy to choose, easy to use, and easy to gift. I have tried countless makeup brands, and if I had to pick one all-time favorite, Charlotte wins the gold. Bonus: the packaging is so stunning!

Charlotte’s dreamy gift shop is a glittering universe of treasures that will make all your girly girls holiday dreams come true!

A few or my very favorite Charlotte products I highly recommend!

~Charlotte’s Magic Cream: this plumping-effect moisturizer is the answer to anyones skin dreams. A luxury product for all skin types.

~Wonderglow Face Primer: hydrate and blur imperfections with this beautiful makeup base, OR use on its own for a dewy natural look. This product works on all skin shades, another reason it is gifting gold!

~Filmstar Bronze&Glow: An award winner for a reason! 2 flattering shades create a quick red carpet style glow.

~Matte Revolution in shade Pillow Talk: Iconic nude pink lipstick. My go-to everyday color!

Every girly girl has a special place in her heart for great skincare products.  I am no exception, and have again tried countless brands in search of the best of the best. IMAGE skincare is a clinical brand powered by safe, proven ingredients for your healthiest skin. This year IMAGE launched limited-edition deluxe gift sets featuring their best selling products.  I love all their products, but here are my 2 favorite sets I am confident any beauty babe would adore. PS all Holiday sets are 10% off until 12/15.

~The Merry Masking Collection: Balance and firm skin with these multi-tasking masks packaged up crazy cute. $100 value for $67.50

~The Beauty Sleep Collection: This nighttime ritual set has everything you need to keep your skin radiant and hydrated for the best beauty sleep. Valued at $153 for $89, featuring a silk sleep mask and beautiful cosmetic bag…yes please!

Last but not least, let’s talk bling bling. I love finding unique local artists to support.  Shoshanna Lee Jewelry was founded by Chicago’s own Sandee Zahn.  Sandee was inspired after taking a jewelry class with her daughter, creating bracelets for party gifts. Her designs were quickly in high demand, and have developed a major celebrity client base. I find her pieces chic and unique…the perfect combo to make a great gift!

The collection offers a variety of bold statement pieces, as well as more classic pieces.  The necklace I am wearing below can be worn as lariat, long necklace, or wrap bracelets. 3 in one!

I also adore this Shoshanna Lee lock & key charm necklace.  True story: my Husband tried to put it on when he saw it on my vanity (thankfully it was too tight:)  The snake clasp and oxidized metal no doubt give this piece major rock n roll vibes.  It is also available in both gold and silver. A great quality piece at a great price point. And how lovely it is to support a local hard working Mama?

Happy shopping babes!

XOXO,

Julz Chez