Life

An All American Blogger Dream Come True

I recently struck gold and was presented an opportunity with one of my long time favorite restaurants…McDonald’s!  There is something so nostalgic and all American about those glorious golden arches.  The feeling brings me right back to my childhood.  Summer days were spent swimming at my Momo and Papo’s swimming pool, and Papo was notorious for slipping me cash for McDonald’s ice cream cones on the way home.  On family vacations it was our go-to restaurant on the road, that everyone was always happy with.  I can still hear my mom’s joyful voice ordering up her Big Mac, every time declaring…”I only treat myself to this on vacation, y’all!” To this day, if I am treating myself to fast food, Micky D’s is the only way to go.

A group of my blogger buddies and I, were asked to meet at Chicago’s newest (beautiful!) McDonald’s to sample their new frozen beverages.  Who doesn’t love a cold slushie on a hot summer day? Three fun fizzy flavors are offered- frozen Coca-Cola, Fanta Blue Raspberry, and my personal favorite, Wild Cherry.  Each drink is only 190 calories.  I am proud to say I did not regret one of those calories!

McDonald’s holds an extra special place in my heart because of an extra special person, my Grandpa Bud. Bud Frankel and his amazing wife, Mimi Frankel, were two of my very first personal training clients when I moved to Chicago 12 years ago.  In no time, Bud became much more than my client, he became my Grandpa Bud.  Bud founded a marketing business in the 60’s, Frankel and Co.; whose promotions included introducing the world to the McDonalds’s Happy Meal. He was a pioneer in the industry, and was known by his hundreds of employees, as the most genuinely kind person in the world.  I lost my Grandpa Bud on May 14th. He lived an incredible 89 years, as a wildly successful business man, a devoted and loving family man, a passionate philanthropist, and wonderful friend to many.  I had the good fortune of chatting with Budman the day before he passed.  Within the first 5 minutes of our conversation he asked, “How’s the blog? Send me the latest post!” Even though I primarily post about women’s fashion and beauty, Bud was one of my biggest XO fans.  My topics may not have been relevant to him, but he was so proud of me for creating something on my own.  I miss him every day…and gosh darn it, I wish I could share this post with him!  Here are a couple of shots of Bud and I from this past holiday season, when he and Mimi threw an epic bash for hundreds of his former employees. The theme was plaid, Grandpa Bud rocked these babies for over 60 years! The first shot my husband sneaked is one of my forever favorites.  Bud always appreciated my love of fashion. I can still hear his sweet voice exclaiming…”You look GREAT!”

This ones for you Budman! Who knew the Happy Meal makes for a crazy cute clutch bag!

My husband is a total foodie. He knows food better than anyone I know, and has majorly broadened my Midwestern palette. My foodie of a husband is also a huge fan of  Micky D’s. Of all the many apps on his phone, I am confident the McDonald’s app, which notifies you with their daily deals, is his favorite.  He regularly informs me, with great pride, how inexpensive his delicious Big Mac lunch was.  You can place an order online via the handy McDonald’s app, rock your car up to one of their spots dedicated to online orders, and a server will deliver to the goodness directly to your car window.  My man especially loves utilizing this service on the weekends to scoop up our beloved Egg McMuffins, usually still in his bathrobe.

Last but not least, the fashion.  I love a good theme, so I naturally rolled with the classic McDonald’s red and yellow color palette. Nice work Ronald, I am so into this color combination! My dress is an oldie but goodie by Akira.  My heels are Valentino, a special treat from the Hubs.  Shades and french fry earrings are Randolph Street flea market scores! On the beauty front, a bold red lip and a giant Big Mac are a tricky combination.  I am wearing my go-to crazy long lasting, perfect fire engine red lip stain by Stila, shade Beso.

“Life is short. Wear red lipstick, and eat the Big Mac…with fries”~ME

XOXO,

Julz Chez

Fashion, Love

5 Years Wifed Up!

My Hubby finds it hilarious, (and possibly a bit ridiculous), that I like to celebrate my entire birthday month. Why limit the fun to one day? June 21st is our 5 year wedding anniversary, and I decided to have the same month long celebratory attitude.

I know most people say marriage is hard.  If the past 5 years is what “hard” is like-keep it coming! Here’s a few tips from my experience as Mrs. Motley Jew.

It’s all in the deets.

I believe that what makes our marriage so great are the million little moments that happen daily.  We have shared loads of fabulous experiences…flying on a private plane with KISS was wild! But it’s the mundane day-to-day moments that make the relationship. We are always kind and respectful to each other.  We are crazy affectionate and lovey dovey. I can’t image treating each other any other way.

Marry your Bestie!

I know this is such a cliche statement, but it is oh so true. You can have all the romantic chemistry in the world, but if you don’t truly enjoy each other’s company, the jig is bound to bomb! I find myself sometimes skipping fancy blog events, in favor of doing absolutely nothing with my husband. He is just so dang fun to be with! Having fun together, no matter what you are doing, is key. I love a great date night out with my man, but sometimes the random trips to Target or Taco Bell together are even better!

Have a family calendar!

So silly I know, but having a joint calendar is a game changer! My dude had to really push me on this one…this old fashion girl prefers a written planner. I still have my pretty pink planner, but we have an Apple calendar that we share.  If I have an event I am attending on my own, my guy appreciates a note in the calendar stating, “wife event, monkey on his own for dinner.” Don’t mess with your man’s eating schedule, ladies.

Support each others passions

My blog was actually my Hub’s idea. He is my number one fan and crazy supportive.  He has even developed a reputation among my Chicago blogger buddies as the best rock n roll “Instagram husband.”  If you were to ask him to list a couple of my favorite designers, he could easily bust out at least 10. I am confident he could even tell you my go to skin care products.  He has gotten crazy good at nailing outfit shots for me…he has no shame in jumping on a planter box outside our house on a Saturday morning to get a unique angle…even if he is wearing his bathrobe.  The Husband brag could go on and on, but I am guessing you get the idea. I am not so bad myself…I never dreamed I would know so many KISS lyrics! Being a KISS wife has been an absolute blast.  Sharing each other’s passions just makes everything more fun!

Never stop cuddling!

We laugh that we spend most of our time together in one little spot,  affectionately named, “the cuddle corner.”  I call our favorite position in the corner, “the Chez triple stack.” The Hubs on bottom, me snuggled between his legs, and our cat snuggled between my legs. We are always holding hands, smooching, and saying I love you.

Don’t expect perfection!

Nothing is perfect, and of course we have our tiffs. I am very sensitive, and am quick to get down on myself for being so emotional. My man always reassures me that he does not expect perfection, as perfection does not exist! He lets me cry like a baby when I have my moments, as being sensitive is a part of who I am, and he loves who I am.  Never try to change each other. Understand your partner and their personality.  A silly example, the man knew when he choose to marry me that I will never miss a season of the Bachelor! And so he has joined Bachelor Nation. And he will just love that I am sharing that fact. #TROOPER.

Speaking of being a trooper…can y’all believe I got the man to take these photos?! Many thanks to my talented friend Emily Frankel for taking all these shots I will cherish forever, (the filter edit is by me, it’s a blogger nerdy thing. )You can find beautiful couples photography in the most beautiful of places on her website frankelyphotography.com

Outfit deets! ME: Show me your Mumu maxi dress with Stuart Weitzman wedges. Alice+Olivia denim, Madeworn KISS tee, B-Low the belt Farah belt, and Michael Kors heels. HUBS: Madeworn tee, Wornstar denim.

“Girl I was made for loving you and girl you were made for loving me.”~ KISS

XOXO,

Julz Chez

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