Fashion, Life

Zoo-ologie!

How great does a cocktail party starring live animals, for a good cause sound? Zoo-ologie is coming up this Saturday, May 18th and I cannot wait! Featuring 20 food stations, a DJ, band, silent auction and after-party at Tao, this cocktail party is one of the signature events of spring. Organized by the Auxiliary Board of Lincoln Park Zoo, Zoo-ologie benefits Lincoln Park Zoo which is free 365 days a year. 

Tickets are still available, and you can use the code ZOMAY2019 for a discount

TICKET LINK!

Last week I dragged my Instagram Hubs over to the zoo for a photoshoot.  Being true to his shtick, dude pretended to be totally irritated…but ended up having so much fun.  We both couldn’t get over how friendly the staff was, and how squeaky clean the beautiful space is!

Outfit deets! Dress: Amanda Uprichard, Jacket: Rebecca Minkoff HEELS: Michael Kors  Necklace: Ettika 

Photo Cred: HUSBAND!

Hope to see y’all there! Have a fabulous week!

XOXO,

Julz Chez

Beauty, Fashion, Life

Last Minute Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is just around the corner! I am a firm believer that all moms are super heroes, and 100% worthy of a day dedicated to their fabulousness.  I am heading home to sweet home to be with my amazing mommy for the occasion.  I know my easy to please mama, spending time with her is the best gift I could possibly give her.  However, there’s no gal in the world I would rather spoil with a special gift.  If you are still searching for the perfect gift for your mom or special woman in your life, here are a couple ideas that may spark some inspiration!

A unique piece of jewelry is always a meaningful gift for a loved lady.  Every time she wears it, she is sure to think of you and smile.  I discovered the designer Maryln Schiff via social media, and fell in love with her unique designs.  Marlyn designs fashionable jewelry with distinctive mixes of textures and stones.  Her inspiration is drawn from family, travel, and vintage finds.  I am naturally wild for this XOXO bracelet. I do not often wear bracelets because my wrist is so tiny; it is hard to find a style that fits.  The stretch design of this piece is perfect for all sizes.  There is also a LOVE version and a GRLPOWER version…what a fun gift for a fabulous female! They look great worn stacked or individually.  I adore the feminine vintage vibe of this heart pendant necklace. Maryln also offers a delicate LOVE necklace in both silver and gold that would make a lovely gift.  The quality of her pieces is wonderful, the packaging is super pretty, and the prices are very reasonable.  In honor of Mother’s Day the entire collection is 25% off! Enter code MOM25 at checkout.  If your mom is anything like mine, she will like her gift even more if you inform her it was on sale!

The classic Carrie, (Bradshaw of course), name necklace is the perfect gift to yourself or someone special.  This beauty by Soufeel Jewelry is feminine and delicate, yet makes a statement.  It looks great on it’s own or layered with other pieces.  Use the code Julzev15 for 15% off your order!

A special scent is another great gift idea for Mom.  I can’t remember my mom buying herself a nice perfume since Avon’s 10 dollar Sweet Honesty. No disrespect to Avon, but I am ready to upgrade my gal. I enjoy a great new scent as much as any beauty babe, but it wasn’t until I had the good fortune of meeting Hillary Schneider via the blogging circuit, that I found an absolute favorite scent. A single gal living in New York City, navigating the competitive dating world, Hillary created her own personal “Love Potion Number Nine.”  She was stopped all around town with inquiries about her feminine clean scent.  Outside of a restaurant one evening, a handsome man approached her and said, “I could fall in love with a woman who smells as beautiful as you.”  That man is now her husband.  Two children and a move to Chicago later, Hillary now sells her incredible scent, Ilary.  The only times my husband has ever complimented my perfume, is when I am wearing this scent.  Ilary combines a delicate balance of clean and floral, sweet yet sexy notes. The convenient roller-ball applicator perfectly meshes with a Mama’s on-the-go lifestyle.  This special scent is worth every penny, but Hillary has graciously offered XO readers the code Julz35 at checkout, for 35% off your first bottle of her fabulousness.  If you are interested, but want to try it out first, samples are available for order.

I love treating a special someone to a gift I know they would never treat themselves to.  My mom would never ever buy a handbag without a coupon, possibly a couple coupons, most likely at Kohl’s.  I mean no disrespect to Kohl’s, (my mom actually finds me the cutest workout tops there), but every lady deserves a fabulous handbag.  If you have been following my blog for awhile, you know I am a huge fan of Hammitt handbags.  The designs are functional and beautiful, and every bag comes with a lifetime guarantee. While the bags are luxury, and cost more than my practical Mama would ever be comfortable spending, they really are reasonably priced for the quality.  Each bag includes easy-access credit card slots, super-secure zippers, and multiple compartments that allow efficient organization.  And if there’s one thing most moms can get behind…it’s being organized! You can’t go wrong with any Hammitt handbag, but my pick for a Mom is a tote bag.  Mom’s always travel with far more than a cross body or clutch can handle.  Practical never looked so pretty!

For my Chicago babes looking to scoop up a special gift in a pinch, I have a couple favorite local boutiques you will have no trouble finding a treasure or two at. Mulberry and Me is a beautiful boutique you can shop for classic closet staples, and sparkly special accessories.  Alice&Wonder is a super cutesy spot you can shop graphic tees that say things like, “Mama Love,” as well as fun home goods.  New in town is Lost Girls Vintage, a fabulous spot to shop for all the funky mamas out there.

“If I turn into half the woman my Mother is, I’ll consider my life to be a smash success!”~ME

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful moms, fur moms, and mom figures!

XOXO,

Julz Chez

Beauty

For the Love of Skin Care Chapter 3…A Visit to the Pros

The moment the world has been waiting for…welcome to the grand finale of my skin care series. We are calling in the big guns today y’all…it’s Med Spa time. There are certain treatments that simply require professionals.  And just like the overwhelming amount of products that can make selecting a face wash at Sephora overwhelming, there are loads of Medical Spas in Chicago to choose from.  Elevare MD offers the most advanced technology in town, all delivered in a chic boutique clinic located on the cutesy Southport shopping strip.  Elevare MD is not focused on temporary relaxation, but rather long-lasting results. I am here for that!

The team is led by husband and wife, plastic surgeon powerhouses, Michael and Kelly DeWolfe.  I have loved working with Kelly.  Whatever service you are interested in, Kelly will carefully educate you on the process, so you know exactly what you are signing up for, and are comfortable.  Kelly is super genuine and not at all pushy. I took one look at her flawless, yet natural face and said, “I will have whatever you are having please!”

The first service I had the good fortune of experiencing at Elevare MD was the Vivace Fractional Micro Needle RD. Standard microneedling is a cosmetic procedure that involves repeatedly puncturing the skin with tiny needles, stimulating the growth of collagen and elastin. Elevare MD was the first practice in Chicago to offer Vivace Fractional Micro Needle RF treatments, the newest generation of micro needling with radio frequency.  This edition is pain free with ZERO downtime! The results are powerfully effective in improving skins texture, fine lines, acne scarring, and reducing pore size.  Results are immediate and improve over time.

The treatment begins with a complementary in-depth skin analysis.  This advanced tool measures both surface and subsurface conditions on the face. It reminded me of getting x-rays taken at the dentist office…but way more fun. The results provide unprecedented insight in determining the most appropriate skin care products and aesthetic treatment options for each individual.

Enjoy your face on the big screen!

The treatment flew by as Kelly is a delight to chat with. Follow her personal Instagram account Prettymomsecrets for insider beauty tips and tricks. You are good to go and glowing immediately after the procedure.  I love that while you do see the results right away…your skin continues to get better with time. How fun is that?

Elevare MD is on the leading edge of non-invasive treatment to remove fat with, SculpSure.  SculpSure is an innovative laser treatment designed to tackle stubborn fat in just 25 minute sessions.  The laser can be used on the abdomen, thighs, arms, and back.  Here I am trying out the device on my jawline. The laser heats up to a toasty temp. I am holding a nifty vibrating device that tricks your brain into not feeling the heat as intensely.

Those are just a couple of the innovative treatments Elevare MD offers. Whether you are in the market for a sprinkle of botox or a full mommy makeover, I can’t recommend this place enough!

Call Elevare MD to book your appointment, and mention “XOXOJulzChez” for special pricing.

Photos by me:), and the fabulous Once Upon a Dollhouse team!

“Admiring beauty should not cause you to question your own.”~ @PrettyMomSecets

XOXO,

Julz Chez

Beauty

Skin Care Love Chapter 2: A Medspa Treatment in the Comforts of Home

The XOXO skin care love story continues. I last shared my favorite products I use in my home routine. But one step of the routine earned its very own post. Elevare Skin is a groundbreaking skin rejuvenation system designed to significantly reduce the visual effects of aging through LED and light therapy. This dreamy device provides a MedSpa style treatment in the comfort of your very own home. How I discovered Elevare Skin is quite funny.  After receiving a service at my favorite Chicago MedSpa, Elevare Aesthetics and Skin Care, I went to town uploading the experience to my Instagram story. Smarty pants me tagged not the Spa, but the company Elevare. Oops! They kindly wrote me saying…”thanks for tagging us in your cute videos…but you have the wrong place.” So embarrassing. However, my goof up ended up being a great thing…I was then introduced to this amazing device!

Meet the Elevare Plus, the ultimate anti-aging facial technology.

Super easy to use: charge the pretty little thing up, and you are ready for action. Make sure your face is makeup free, squeaky clean, and dry/product free. Press the on button, and begin massaging your skin with gentle pressure. The treatment head quickly heats up to 107 degrees, providing topical healing that increases blood flow. It is recommended to treat each area of the face for 3 minutes. I wanted to be sure I was best utilizing this fancy schmancy toy, so I contacted the Elevare team with ridiculous questions such as…”is it important to stay on the same area for the whole 3 minutes, or is it ok to cruise around?” The answer is yes, you can cruise, it does not matter. This genius device is foul proof! When you are finished, apply a simple moisturizer, and always be sure to clean the device by wiping it down with a clean dry towel, (do not get the baby wet!)

For best results, use 3 times a week for the first month.  After the first month, one treatment a month is fine, or as you feel needed for your skin. I thought I would flake on making the 3X a week magic happen month one, but I enjoyed the process and results so much, it was a breeze! After using regularly for a full month, my skin felt better than ever. I am by no means claiming to have perfect skin, (hey college tanning beds I loathe you!), but I am lucky to not deal with rosacea, acne, or a major issue. When I was telling the Editor of XOXO, (my mom), all about this miracle device, she responded mom style…”What’s wrong with your skin? Give that thing to me!” I explained that taking preventative measures is so important for anti-aging success.  I know if I continue using this efficient tool, my skin will thank me later in life.  After just a couple of uses, my skin simply felt…better!  And I love that there is no “down time.” Right after using the device my skin looks slightly flushed, and it goes away in a matter of minutes. I have noticed I use less makeup since using the Elevare plus.  I have never been one of those glam girls that rocks it for a Target trip, but I will own up that I don’t often leave the house without powder and blush. As much as I love makeup, it feels so good to be able to not wear any at times, and let my skin breathe!

The Elevare plus is clinically proven and dermatologist recommended.  The dual LED lights penetrate into the skin more effectively than any cream on the market, delivering real results. Yes, the device is an investment.  However, if you do the math on how much you spend a year on fancy face creams and facials, you might be surprised at how much it all adds up.  With this investment, you will be able to give yourself a MedSpa effective treatment at home….forever!  The Elevare Plus comes with a lifetime warranty.  You register your device online after you receive it, and you are set for life.

The wavelength of the Elevare plus can penetrate up to 3 millimeters under the skin.  The Princeton Research division conducted an independent clinical study using live subjects. Within a period of one week, 91% of subjects reported visible improvement. Within a 7 week period, 100% of the subjects reported dramatic visible improvement. Score professional results in the privacy of your own home, in the comfort of your favorite bathrobe.

Photos by Josh Fenney photography

“Your skin is an investment, not an expense.”

XOXO,

Julz Chez

Beauty

For the Love of Skin Care: Part 1

Skin first. Makeup second. I have so many fun cosmetic finds I am anxious to share, but first, let’s talk skin. If your skin is hydrated and healthy, your makeup will go on flawlessly. Skin care is essentially your foundation. I struggled with dryness all winter, which made applying makeup, (which I typically love doing), a pain in the tush.  After loads of research and testing out bundles of products,  I have perfected my skincare regime. Today I am sharing the products and rituals that will get your skin glowing, and perfectly primed for make-up.

~Exfoliate. Skin exfoliating removes the old cells and debris, revealing the fresher skin below. Without proper exfoliation, dead skin cells can get trapped and build up on the skin’s surface.  This can lead to clogged pores, dark spots, roughness, dullness, dryness, and more gross stuff.  I believe my dryness issue steamed from not exfoliating regularly. Without removing that top layer of icky skin, the hydrating serums and masks I was using were unable to properly penetrate.  The hydrated new and improved me use’s Dermalogica’s gentle cream exfoliant 2-3 times a week. 4-5 days a week I use Dr. Dennis Gross’s extra strength peel pads. I can’t recommend these bad boys enough.  So quick and easy, and your skin looks refreshed and radiant immediately after. I also remain dedicated to shaving my face once a week. Game changer. Even if a little peach fuzz does not bother you; a gentle shave will leave your skin exfoliated, silky smooth, and perfectly prepped for makeup. I have tried many different razors, and my favorite is Forever 21’s eyebrow razors. They are gentle yet effective, and $2.90 for a pack of two. Have no fear, it is a misconception that the hair will grow back thicker or faster. Shaving does not change the number of hair follicles in the skin or rate of hair growth. For more scoop on shaving, check out my past post, Weird Beauty Hacks that Work.  This is a topic I am very passionate about people!

Now that we are polished and prepped, let’s talk moisturizers. The options of fabulous brands are endless, and this girl does not limit herself to just one. I believe a little variety is good for the skin.  Brand new to me is a product I recently discovered Brevena. Brevena’s proprietary ingredient, Macro B Complex, is proven to provide long-lasting hydration resulting in visibly plumped fine lines while boosting firmness.  I use the daily hydration moisturizer, and love that it is lightweight and leaves my skin silky smooth. A couple times a week I use the Restore&Hydrate Overnight Cream.  After a couple weeks of using this cream regularly, my skin felt smoother and better hydrated. Brevena is the only skin care to combine the scientific power of Macro B Complex with nature’s purest vitamins and minerals.

Another line I am a huge fan of is Image Skincare, a clinical skincare brand powered by safe, proven ingredients and smart botanicals. They offer a collection of lines to cater to your skin’s specific needs. On their website you can take a quiz, (it’s pretty fun), to determine which products are best for you. I love the Vital C hydrating line for collagen boosting production, and help against free radicals and damage caused by UV radiation.  A couple times a week I use the AGELESS total overnight retinol mask. Any dermatologist will tell you retinol is the gold-standard ingredient in skin care. Prior to discovering this amazing mask I was not using retinol…I was skeptical that it would cause dryness and sensitivity.  My skin felt hydrated and firmer after the first night using this breakthrough treatment masque. You can also score my favorite lip balm from Image Skincare. The balancing lip enhancement complex is fabulously hydrating, and not at all sticky.  I usually purchase two at a time!

Moving along to another great passion of mine…eye masks! I love everything about sheet masks…except getting them in the right spot…and keeping them in that spot! Modern day problems. Thankfully I discovered VIIcode oxygen eye masks, and the positioning drama is over. Every other eye mask I have tried slides around, but these babies peel and stick right on…and don’t budge! With natural potent antioxidants, skin is left refreshed and invigorated. These are the first eye masks that are safe to leave on for up to 8 hours. I recently popped them on before a road trip…because why not?

Soft luscious lips are every beauty gals dream. Just as skincare is the foundation for makeup, lips must be properly hydrated before applying lipstick.  Laneige lip sleeping mask is the answer to a perfectly kissable pout. The softening balm texture glides on silky smooth, and smells and tastes delightful. A generous layer of this soothing mask at bedtime reduces flakiness so you wake up to supple lips that are primed for your favorite fabulous lipstick. I love this product too much to limit its use to strictly bedtime…I use it all the time.

One can never have enough fabulous moisturizers. I adore the award winning Lala Retro Whipped Moisturizer by Drunk Elephant. This all-purpose rescue cream, whipped into an airy blend of six rare African oils, recovers and locks in intense moisture for hours after application.  It goes on so nicely, and I just love the clean mess-free packaging.  Drunk Elephant is cruelty-free and committed to using only ingredients that will directly benefit the skin’s health.

Last but not least on the list…lashes! Come hither lengthy lashes are a key component in the pursuit of glam. Just like our skin and lips, it’s important to  properly care for your precious lashes.  I have been using Monat Eye Wonder Lash&Brow enhancing serum a few times a week for the past few months, and I see visible improvement in my lashes length and strength. Adding just about 15 seconds to your beauty regime, apply one easy swipe along the lash line, and you’ll be on your way to flutter-worthy lashes. Monat offers a full line of naturally based anti aging hair care products. One of my best girlfriend’s is a rockstar Monat representative, and a certified healthy hair care whiz. Find her at Hair Tonics by Ginny, she will happily hook you up!

I am signing off with a fourth grade throwback…who remembers Glamour Shots?!

“May your day be as flawless as your skin.”

XOXO,

Julz Chez

Fashion

Designer Spotlight: Alice+Olivia

Blogging has been great for many reasons…but a stand out FUN bonus? The social component! Becoming a part of the Chicago fashion scene has seriously amped up my social life. However, I had filed hosting my very own event in the “scary” folder.  But when an opportunity with one of my all time favorite designers Alice+Olivia presented itself…I simply had to say YES! The brand embodies everything I love about fashion….whimsical and feminine, fearless and fun, sexy and sophisticated…in short…EVERYTHING!  Stacey Bendet, the creative director and mastermind behind the label, perfectly embodies the glamorous brand.  She also happens to be an amazing yoga practitioner. You can find her on Instagram nailing crazy yoga postures in 5 inch heels. Talk about my fashion icon match made in heaven!

My event had the good fortune of landing on a beautiful Chicago evening. I was sooo excited…yet also sooo nervous. The evening turned out to be a smash success.  The store was packed, and the crowd was vibrantly fun, stylish, and all over the fashion.  I had a great energy with the A+O team going into the event, which made the experience even more special.

Let’s take a look at my favorite outfits! First up, we have this bright neon pantsuit.  Fun fact: the brand was actually born from Stacey’s personal quest to create the perfect pair of pants. And girlfriend sure did succeed. These wide legged Paulette trousers are the best fitting pants I have ever owned. Comfy and cool, flattering and polished…and the bright neon shade is sheer dynamite. A simple fitted white tee tucked in looks great with theses statement styled stems…but I couldn’t resist the matching neon crop top. I love a monochromatic moment…and a chance to look like a human highlighter. This outfit to me is the perfect combination of sophistication and FUN.

When I was doing my pre event “research” at the store…I knew it was not at all realistic to think I was capable of not purchasing anything. But 2 pieces I did NOT plan for…a little black dress, and a denim jacket. Two pieces I need like two holes in my head.  But every fashion girl knows a black dress is not just a black dress, nor is a jean jacket just a jean jacket.  The second I put on this V neck ruffled dress (also available in red), it was a no brainer. Had to have it. The A line fit and cinched waist is dance party perfection. I am a longtime lover of jean jackets…and this high low distressed edition is like no other. Rock n roll glam at its best!

70’s style glam has always had a special place in my heart…and these Iyanna flares nail the vibe.  Crazy versatile…these beauties could be styled with a cropped blazer and high heels for a polished lady like look, or a rocker tee for a casual cool girl look. The style options are endless, but I rolled with the matching Laura Cropped Halter Top, for the full floral jam. This look was my beloved Aunt Dianne’s (who has understood and supported my love of fashion since roughly age 6),  favorite of the bunch, so that makes me love it all the more.

Note…all the following photos were snapped inside (or right outside) of the Alice+Olivia boutique on Michigan Avenue. The decor is just as fabulous as the fashion!

I am slightly addicted to bodysuits…again another item I needed like a hole in my head. However, unlike most “leotard” tight fitting bodysuits, this Harmon bodysuit has the fit of a drapey camisole, minus the stress of tucking in. Genius. Pair it with the Genevive Distressed jeans to embrace your inner rockstar. I typically don’t care for straight legged jeans, but A+O did serious vintage research when designing their denim, and got the fit just right. These Danielle heels are perfect for Spring and Summer, and are super comfy. Out of my many (basically whole store) favorites, this Cam leather biker jacket was at the top of the list. The structure is crazy cool, the fit is fabulous, and the fact that it is white puts me over the edge! An investment piece no doubt, but a piece that can be worn year round, and will last forever. My Hubs is quite particular with my fashion (especially when he’s buying:), but when I tried on this baby…he straight away said YES.

Next up, we have the Katz Neon pleated skirt. A romantic and rad piece, that is sure to add a pop of pizzazz to your closet. Pair it with a simple black camisole, or roll rocker chick style with this super soft Shira tie dye tee. When it comes to A+O heels, no heel is high enough. However, they are made so magically marvelous, they are shockingly comfortable. These Tenley wedges (also available in neutral), are no exception.

The 60’s called…and they managed to bring tie-dye back to the fashion scene. Trust A+O to vibrantly bring the trend back in the best way possible. There is nothing granola about this fabulous Shannon tie dye maxi skirt, and I loved pairing it with this beautiful Arletta cropped sweater. The brunette babe, Dani, by my side is rocking the Emmie tie dye mini dress. If you are going to pull the trigger on this hot trend, I recommend rolling it the A+O way.

Wrapping up (sorry this is more of a short story than a post)…with a few shots from THE night! Here I am sandwiched between the incredibly sweet and crazy hard working store manager Rachel on the left, and the cutest stylist in the world Mia on the right. LOVE these babes! We are all wearing all things you guessed it…Alice+Olivia!A peak at my many fabulous guests! Hot to trot influencers, longtime best friends, fitness friends, family…even my hubby’s bestie (obviously the rocker dude throwing up bunny ears) showed. I seriously felt the love…and I loved it!

Saving the best for last…my Hubs was essentially my cohost! He knew the night was crazy important to me, and that translated to the night being crazy important to him. When I suggested we arrive a good 45 minutes before the event started…dude responded, “no boo…lets get there at least an hour before.” Swoon. This next hilarious story sums up just how rad my dude was. The Saturday after, I attended an influencer beauty panel. A lovely gal approached me and sweetly asked…”so how long has your husband been a stylist at Alice+Olivia? He does such a great job!” I died. When I told my dude, I thought that might put him over the Instagram husband edge. But he thought it was hilarious and asked…”should I get a gig at A+O?” DREAMBOAT!

All photos taken by Dani Sommerfeld (the darling brunette rocking the tie dye dress above), of the duo blogging sensation Once Upon a Dollhouse.

PS…If you are still reading…I love you! So sorry so long!

All the X’s and O’s, 

Julz Chez