Manicures & Ming Dynasty

Do you ever sit at the nail salon and panic that you have been there way too long and you have too much to do to sit and wait for your fancy manicure to dry and how you even got suckered as a woman to keep up with all these beauty pressures? Maybe it is just me then…

When I am counting down the minutes for those little fans to turn off and to be dismissed from my assigned chair after I have looked around and wondered how are they employing all these women? where did this trend come from? how many people in the United States are employed as a nail technician? where does all the bad nail polish go when it’s dumped and I am second guessing the time and money spent….sigh…..then I take out those glossy colorful nails and leave with a smile and think about how good I feel. 

Since I was about 5 years old I was obsessed with painting my nails, my baby-sitter’s nails, my granny’s nails, even my dogs nails. I remember my first nail polish, it was peach Tinkerbell peelable polish and I loved the color, the packaging, the way it made you feel like you were eight years old versus five years old. There is something about the simple small canvas of your nail beds that makes you feel put together and self expressive by what color you have chosen. 

In case you were wondering, nail polish originated in China, dating back to 3000 BC. Around 600 BC during the Zhou Dynasty, the royal house preferred for the colors gold and silver. However, it would eventually transition to red and black. During the Ming Dynasty, nail polish was often made from a mixture including beeswax, egg whites, gelatin, vegetable dyes, and gum Arabic.

In Egypt, the lower classes would wear pale colors and the high society red.

By the turn of the 9th century, nails were tinted with scented red oils, and polished or buffed. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, people pursued a polished rather than painted look by massaging tinted powders and creams into their nails, then buffing them shiny. One such polishing product sold around this time was Graf’s Hyglo nail polish paste. After the creation of automobile paint, Cutex produced the first modern nail polish in 1917. Later the Charles Revson Company (later Revlon) produced their first nail polish in 1932.

Kinda cool huh?

So that being said here are some of my recommended brands and shades to express yourself.

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Shop here:

Reference on my historical facts…

  1.  Toedt, John; Koza, Darrell; Cleef-Toedt, Kathleen van (2005). Chemical Composition Of Everyday Products. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-313-32579-3.
  2.  Sherrow, Victoria (2001). For appearance’ sake : the historical encyclopedia of good looks, beauty, and grooming. Phoenix: Oryx Press. p. 119. ISBN 9781573562041.
  3. Trumble, Angus. “The History of Nail Polish”. Wonders & Marvels.


Save the Earth, Buy Less Clothes.

Do you ever wonder about the after life of your clothing? When I find something at a great vintage store I wonder who it belonged to, where she wore it and the life she lead in it. While a grimy t-shirt may not fall into that fascination category I am curious about the life cycle of a garment. From the design to the retail to then secondary retail like TJ Max, Nordstrom Rack, Marshall’s etc then to your closet, then to donation and then what? Where do all these items go? My curiosity for clothing goes something like this:

About 80 percent of the donations are carted away by textile recyclers, says Jackie King, the executive director of Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles (SMART), a trade association for textile recyclers. She says that means about 3.8 billion pounds of clothing that is donated each year is recycled.

“Thirty percent of the materials are made into wiping cloths that are used in commercial and industrial use,” she says.

About 20 percent of the donated clothes and textiles are converted into fibers that are then made into a variety of other products, including carpet padding, insulation for autos and homes, and pillow stuffing.

King says nearly half the donated clothes — about 45 percent — is exported.

According to the EPA, 2 million tons of clothing are recycled annually. That compares to 19.3 million tons of yard trimmings, 3.17 million tons of glass, 2.65 million tons of plastics and 0.72 million tons of aluminum.

“When comparing the amount of materials recycled to the overall impact on the environment, it is clear clothing and textiles needs to become a top‐of‐mind recyclable just like aluminum, plastic, glass, and paper. As the international trade association of for‐profit clothing recyclers, we have long known of the many positive aspects of clothing recycling. It’s very exciting to see the positive impact our member companies are having confirmed by the EPA,” says Jackie King, Executive Director of the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART).

So lesson learned here, is only buy what you love and be selective about your choices so it doesn’t end up floating around the ocean and suffocating some rare animal that can eventually cure cancer or something…

Read more here:

Trick or Treat, Styles You Can’t Beat

It’s that magical time of year when you can dress up as your favorite Bravo Housewife, your musical muse or a naughty (insert any occupation or animal here—>_______). My favorite costume would be the polka dot artist Yayoi Kusama, what an imagination, what talent, what awesome bangs!

I teamed up with Refinery 29 for an article of costumes you can wear now and later. Beyonce, Daisy from Gatsby and Kusama were my subjects of choice but between you and I, Kusama was my favorite. Check out the rest of the article here

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H&M Home Makeover

When accessorizing your home it always feels cozy to bring in items from travels, family, friends, flea market adventures and weekend sale shopping. To fill in some of the gaps that you may be missing for decorating you may want to look at H&M Home. While you might not have the budget to hit up a true Parisian flea you can certainly find some cool knock-off items at the H&M home site.  Below are some of my recommendations if you are in the need for affordable yet stylish home accessories.

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More shopping here :


Keep It Chic

We came, we saw, we kept…

Suzanne of Garmental, who is one of my favorite people ever, and I thought it would be fun to bring some fashion your way this summer. I invited her to show off her fashion and branding muscles at RM Champagne Salon. Suzanne is currently working with a point of sale site This site allows you to curate your shopping picks onto boards but the coolest part is you can actually purchase something if you like it. Keep hosts ridiculous contests every week… a hem… I won a pair of Valentino Rockstuds- yeah no biggie…. Below you can see what the boards look like, clean, modern and easy to navigate.

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So while Suzanne is the brand guru for Keep in Chicago we thought is would be fun to have Keep on board with some other major brands  and stores like WildFox, Solstice Sunglasses, Lori’s Shoes, Scoop NYC, Brugal Rum, Peroni, Edith Hart, Penelope’s and invite them all showcase their hottest trends during a party and we’d call it Keep It Chic- clever huh?

Check out Garmental, the party pics and all things fashion here:

Phillip Lim for Target

The Target and Phillip Lim campaign is taking over the racks on Sept. 15th so mark your calendar and set your alarm, it’s time to scoop up some swag and keep your savings account in tack. The design team behind the collaboration is putting together a huge panorama for the NYFW reveal. The team worked with style setters from six cities, and Chicago was one of those lucky cities. Below you will find some sneak preview shots of the collection and the panorama reveal.