Fashion, Fitness, Life

Style Staples

There is no better place to capture the beauty of Chicago than the Skydeck at the Willis Tower.  Stepping onto the glass ledge that extends 4.3 feet from the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere will no doubt provide a rush of adrenaline. Take that rush to the next level by flipping upside down…talk about a  great view!  This was not my first rodeo standing on my head at 1,353 feet in the air, (check out my oldie but goodie post Causing a Scene at the Willis Tower), but it was just as exciting as the first time.  Whether you stand on your head or your feet, every Chicagoan or visitor deserves this experience!

Onto the fashion!  My bomber jacket is by Rebecca Minkoff...such a versatile and chic staple.  RM jackets are excellent quality at very fair prices. If you are looking to spend less, BLANKNYC is a great brand that carries a classic bomber jacket for under $100.  Zara and Topshop are other great sources for stylish inexpensive jackets.

My moto leggings are by  Spanx.  I have been playing for team Spanx leggings for a hot minute.  These babies can be worn year round in so many different ways.  The waistband is comfortable and flattering, with the perfect amount of stretch. Any pair of pants I can practice yoga in, go to a restaurant in, or take a nap in are a friend of mine!

The slouchy boots that raged in the 80’s are back and better than ever.  I was highly interested in a pair, but didn’t want to drop much coin on the trend.  I scored this pair at Forever21 for a serious bargain. Forever offers a variety of styles at unbeatable prices, and the quality is pretty darn impressive.  Zara and Jeffery Campbell also carry great slouchy styles at low prices.  PS: if you have a pair of loose fitting knee high boots, simply scrunch them down as low as you like to create a brand new boot, DIY style.

Photos by Olivia Szwarc at Relax, Smile, and Love Always Photography

“With good basics, you’ll have endless options.”

XOXO,

Julz Chez

Beauty

Medical Spa Magic

Icy cold winter weather sucks for many reasons. One of those reasons in particular really hits me hard.  Dry skin. When the weather shifted to icky cold, I felt like no matter how much moisturizer I caked on my face, my skin still felt dry. Dry skin equals dehydrated sad skin. Try applying makeup to that sad skin? Hideous.

In a triumphant turn of events, this tragic issue has been sorted out.  My skin feels better now than ever.  Lucky for y’all, I am sharing my juicy secrets.

Step One: Don’t mess around with a Groupon style signature facial at a day spa. Go for the gold…aka MEDSPA! A spa is not a spa y’all.  A facial service at a day spa will likely be lovely and relaxing, but will only provide a temporary solution to your skin’s needs. If you are in the market to truly improve your skin, a Medical Spa is the route to take.

Note: all med spas are not all fabulous. You must do your research. Do you want a sketchy human applying a CHEMICAL peel to your precious face? I didn’t think so. I had the good fortune of finding the best of the best in Chicago, CaTara Spa. I had heard great things about CaTara from friends, so I called to make an appointment for a particular service. I was kindly informed that is not how they schedule a first time client.  The experience is tailored to your skin’s needs, which obviously cannot be determined until they see you.  Brilliant.

The CaTara experience is such a treat. The team is “boutique style” small. The location I frequent is on Chicago’s gorgeous Oak Street, but there is also a CaTara in Algonquin for y’all suburban babes.  The owner, Cathy, is sweet as cherry pie. I felt cozy comfy with her instantly. Cathy’s esthetician dream team, Loren and Hannah, are beyond fabulous. Both ladies are insanely talented at what they do, and you will want to be best friends with them both!

I have done the micro needling skin resurfacing treatment twice. I loved it and can’t wait to do it again!  This treatment targets fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating production of the skin’s own collagen and elastin.  A series of this treatment is recommended for optimal results, but after just one round my skin felt different in a great glowing way.  Don’t fear the word needle in the title, because they first numb your face and you feel no pain. The day of the treatment you look a bit freaky but again don’t fear, the very next day you are good to go. So worth it!

In between my two micro needling sessions, I had two HydraFacials.  The HydraFacial treatment removes dead skin cells and extracts impurities while refreshing the new skin with cleansing and hydrating serums.  My skin felt amazing afterwards. Goodbye sad dry skin! Applying makeup to my baby butt smooth face post HydraFacial is a dream!

If you treat yourself a visit to CaTara, mention my name for $25 off a purchase of over $125…and maybe an extra glass of champs.

Below: my face every time I walk into CaTara. Say hi to the fabulous owner, Cathy Neuhalfen!

Just a gal anxiously awaiting needles on her face!

Meet Loren Armstrong. This beauty is a skin care wizard!

Meet Hannah HartzThis bombshell is a skincare expert slice of heaven.

Addition skin care tips from the great Hannah:

~Avoid hot water on your face as it is very drying. I personally take my showers steamy hot, so I am avoiding getting my face wet in the shower. When Hannah first asked me to do so, I thought she was cray cray, but turns out it is not so hard. Actually kinda fun in a bizarre way:)

~ Do not dry your face with your handy towel. Assuming you use that same towel to wash your hands, there will be icky bacteria on it you do not want touching your pretty clean face.  Instead use a one use only towelette. Your complexion will thank you.

~Do your full cleanse/exfoliate routine before bed, but in the am it’s fine to use a gentle cleanser or apply micellar water to a cleansing cloth to freshen up.

~Exfoliate regularly, with good stuff. Before an intense girl talk with Hannah, I was using the infamous St. Ives Apricot Scrub. It’s cheap, smells good, and always wins the Allure beauty awards! Hannah gave me a look of horror when I informed her this is what I was using. The right exfoliant is critical, otherwise moisturizers and serums are not able to properly penetrate into your skin. I have switched over to the Epionce scrub she recommended, and quickly saw improvement.

The gift of great skin is the perfect gift! CaTara gift cards are available.

Always remember that great skin comes from within! Drinking plenty of water is a key source for hydrated skin.  My final skin care secret is adding Vital Proteins matcha collagen to your routine. At least three times a week I mix a serving with almond milk and a sprinkle of flaxseeds. So delicious!  The benefits of matcha are legit: improves hair, skin, nail, joints, ligaments, tendons…AKA makes you healthy AND pretty!  Matcha is also a great source of antioxidants, and is free from dairy, soy, gluten, and added sugars.  Vital Proteins is a Chicago based company that sources their products purely from natural sources of essential proteins.

PS I am giving away Vital Proteins Matcha this week to a lucky XOXO reader! Follow me on the place I waste a lot of my life at, INSTAGRAM, to enter! Photos by SodaFountainPhoto.

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

XOXO,

Julz Chez

Fashion

Show me your Mumu Striped Set

I am back with my third and final installment of fresh fall flares! Today’s bell bottom edition is striped with a matching blazer. When I think of an outfit that is so good it is actually fun to wear…this is it!  These pants are pure crowd pleasers…everyone loves them.  Once again created by my favorite flare pant source, Show me your Mumu. The high-waisted style is so comfortable and flattering.  I styled them with a rocker tee and the matching blazer.  The full outfit screams rock n roll chic!  If the matching ensemble is too much for your taste, the blazer is also a fun piece to wear on its own with jeans and a fitted tee.  If you are in between sizes I recommend sizing down in the blazer. The pants also look great with a bodysuit and a belt, a cozy sweater and a hat, a tied up blouse and heels…just about everything!

Outfit details:  Gucci belt bag, Stuart Weitzman booties, and Target shades.

Photos by Dani Sommerfeld of Once Upon a Dollhouse.

“Life is too short to wear boring clothes.”

XOXO,

Julz Chez

Fashion

Fresh Fall Flares: Chapter 2

I am back to share yet another pair of bombshell flares by Show me your Mumu.  These babies are called the Woodstock Flare…perfectly titled, as they are clearly a nod to the groovy 70’s.  This style is not as high-waisted as the Berkeley zip ups I shared in my recent post, Fresh Fall Flares, but still comfortably hug and squeeze in just the right spots.  The distressed patches are one of a kind.  When I tried them on for my rock and roll (and super particular) Hubs, he quickly responded with an enthusiastic…”COOL!” Play up the retro vibes and style them with your favorite rocker tee and oversized shades.  Or keep it simple and pair them with a simple sweater to let the pants steal the show. I can’t wait to rock these beauties with a KISS tee for a concert…side rock wife note: KISS is on their final tour…it’s the End Of The Road!  Today I choose a White+Warren sweater, Stuart Weitzman booties, and a Chloe bag with a Rebecca Minkoff guitar strap for a pinch of rocker girl flare.  My favorite light weight hoop earrings by Jenny Bird and Chloe shades to seal the deal.

Photos by Danielle Sommerfeld of Once Upon a Dollhouse

“Don’t be like the rest of them darling.”~ Coco Chanel

XOXO,

Julz Chez

Fashion, Life

3 Year Blogiversary!

Happy Birthday XOXOJulzChez! My blog baby has been on tap for THREE years.  Blogging has been such a positive and creative experience. The adventure has opened doors to experience the wonderful city of Chicago on a new level, through event invitations and special opportunities. To celebrate my three year milestone, an elevated photo shoot was obviously in order.  I decided to go classic Chi-town style and head straight to The Ledge, a glass balcony extending four feet outside the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower.  At 1,353 feet up, The Ledge’s glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the skyscraper’s Skydeck, providing incredible views of the city.  There is no better place to take a visitor in town.  Even though I have visited The Ledge numerous times as a Chicago resident (who is a sucker for great photos), it never gets old.

Onto the fashion! I was in the market to go over the top, so I broke out this tulle gown my Husband bought me on our honeymoon in Italy.  I saw it in a store window one night when we were in a cab headed to dinner, and I died.  The next day we wandered around searching for it for hours…yes I am blessed with a GOOD MAN! We had finally given up and hailed a taxi, when BAM! There she was! I love a fashion piece attached to a great memory.  Every time I see it hanging in my closet, I smile. I styled the gown with my favorite Rebecca Minkoff leather jacket and Doc Martens.

You didn’t think there was just one look did you? Next up to bat I am sporting a dress by one of my favorite designers, For Love and Lemons.  The brand is whimsical and feminine. Not styles that are exactly conducive for the current weather in Chicago, but practicality has never been my strength. I adore the beautiful movement, asymmetrical hem, and playful polka dot print of this dress. Western boots by Topshop. 


If you thought I was going to be in such a killer location and NOT flip upside down, you thought wrong. Stay tuned for part two!

All photos taken by my great girlfriend and original XOXO photographer, Olivia Szwarc of Relax, Smile, and Love Always Photography.  Olivia is one of the sweetest people I know, and has been so loyal in helping me with my photos since day one of the blog. Since that day, girlfriend married an amazing guy, moved to the suburbs, and gave birth to the cutest baby boy. We may not get our sacred “photoshoot Friday’s” together anymore…but I know I could show up at her doorstep with an arm full of outfits and she would happily snap away. We made a pact that as long as I keep the blog up, we will reunite every year for the XOXO birthday shoot. We had soooo much fun with this one! Oh and side note, this shoot went down on a Monday at 9am:)

“Whatever you decide to do, make sure it makes you happy.”

XOXO,

Julz Chez

Fashion

Fresh Fall Flares: Chapter 1

Meet my perfect fall outfit: fabulous flare pants, a cozy fitted sweater, booties, and a hat.  Fashion forward, yet timeless. An outfit I could confidently rock to a fashion event, also an outfit I could confidently pull off at a family event. Versatile! Added bonus: my husband’s favorite look…dudes dig it.  Show me Your Mumu is my all time favorite source for boho chic styles, and no one does flares better. Check my past posts Flares and Fur, Love Rebel: The Boho Edition, and So Fresh and So Flared to confirm this girl is loyal to this bombshell brand!

Every fall Mumu launches a new collection of their trademark bells, and they somehow keep getting better.  I love that every pair is different and special.  Today I am featuring the Berkeley zip up bells in vintage rose corduroy.  Similar to my favorite stretch bells from last season, but with a zipper and button.  The fit is still super comfortable, but the new additions make them feel more polished.  I find the fit to be true to size, with the perfect amount of stretch.  The high waisted style looks great with everything from a crop top to an oversized sweater.  Add a great pair of booties (mine are Stuart Weitzman),  a hat (I am wearing my favorite by Janessa Leone), and/or oversized shades to seal the deal!

Photos by the darling Danielle Sommerfeld of the great Once Upon a Dollhouse dream blogging team.

“If you have never fallen in love at first sight, you’re shopping on the wrong site.” ~Love you Show me your Mumu!

XOXO,

Julz Chez