May 9, 2012

Makeup Roundup: Rita Reviews PixiGlow by Pixi Beauty

Petra Strand (the creator of Pixi Beauty) has launched a new line called PixiGlow. Inspired by Disney's Tinkerbell, this stunning collection is light, airy and shimmery. The packaging is beautiful and takes this line to the next level while still keeping it at an affordable price point. This six piece collection is perfection in terms of substance. They kept it short and sweet and did not skip a beat.

There are four items that really stand out in this collection:

The Fairy Face Palette, which provides you with five eye shadows (.03 oz each), five lip creams (.02 oz each) and a full size blush (.35oz), is a full face kit for just $34!

The Catching Shadows Crayon is a gorgeous neutral shade which is great for all skin tones and has phenomenal lasting power.

The Pirouette Pink Nail Color, though not incredibly unique, is absolutely gorgeous on the nails and is the perfect shade for Spring.

And my favorite of them all, the Magic Tink Tint. Not only is it incredibly smooth and moisturizing, it is a true your-lips-but-better tinted balm. As Pixi Beauty says, it delivers a “perfectly personalized pink tint.”

With these new additions to your makeup bag, you can take Spring head-on with your best face forward!

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May 8, 2012

The Art of Fashion: Chicago Designers Bring a Little Couture to the City

Chicago is famous for many things; one of those being the city's budding fashion scene. Nothing says fashion quite like Chicago's bi-annual runway show featuring the latest collections of a few of the city's hottest designers, The Art of Fashion hosted by This season, fashion goers gathered at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago's River North community to preview the Autumn/Winter 2012 collections of some of the city's best established designers: SWABY, Barbara Bates, Lara Miller, Cettina, Borris Powell, ZAMRIE, Eva Pazola, Miriam Cecila, Nora del Busto and Nade Baer.

From 5 until 10 p.m., guests enjoyed the ultimate designer shopping event, FashionChicago, which spanned the second and third floor of the building and featured 30 of Chicago's top accessories, apparel and jewelry designers. During the shopping event, I bumped into Anna Hovet, one of my favorite emerging designers, selling a few of her signature tees and an eye-catching piece called the 'Convertible Sophia Tunic' ($79). The tunic was loose fitting, but it had a snap that could be changed to make it form fitting. The top also featured a transparent mesh yoke with hearts on it. I'm not just talking it up; check it out for yourself!

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ChiTown Fashionista's Newest Member Brings the Beauty

As the worlds of fashion and beauty continue to merge even more closely together, I felt it was time to bring on a contributor to keep us on track with all things beauty.

Luckily for me, a beauty vlogger Margarita 'Rita' Milton and I connected instantly on Twitter.  After spending hours watching her YouTube videos (yes, they are addictive) and chatting with her in cyberspace about everything from fashion to music, I knew she would be the perfect addition to the ChiTown Fashionista family!

Margarita's passion for skincare, nails and makeup will definitely make ChiTown Fashionista's transition into the world of beauty an easy one.

Stay tuned for some impressive content, both video and text, from this beauty diva. And join me as I welcome Rita to this space!

Are you ready to get beautified?

To learn more about Margarita Milton, read her bio on the ABOUT page.

Feel free to also check out Rita's YouTube Channel and follow her on Twitter.


May 7, 2012

Nude Shoes for Brown Girls (2012 Edition)

I can't believe it's been two years since my original Nude Shoes for Brown Girls post! Since it continues to rank high amongst my "most viewed" and "most searched" posts,  it is definitely time for an updated version.

For women of color, the term "nude" spans a myriad of tones. After searching high and low for the best shoes in all shades of brown, here are my top picks for those seeking a great neutral shoe in 2012.

Enjoy... and Happy Shopping!

1. Seychelles 'Solo' Sandal | 2. MICHAEL Michael Kors 'Toni' Pump | 3. GUESS 'Geng' Platform Pump | 4. MICHAEL Michael Kors 'Toni' Platform Pump | 5. DV by Dolce Vita 'Bridgette' Pump | 6. Kooba 'Sloan' Platform Pump | 7.  Charles Jourdan 'Elegant' Pump | 8. Mark + James 'Draco' Sandal | 9. Plenty by Tracy Reese 'Zoe' Shoe
1. KORS 'Malone' Wedge Pump | 2. Ralph Lauren 'Pam' Mary Jane Pump | 3. Nine West 'Hingisfo' Sandal | 4. Kate Spade 'Tilly' Pump | 5. B. Makowsky 'Fari' Platform Sandal | 6. Miss Sixty 'Dawn' Pump | 7. ZiGiny 'Penelope' Pump | 8.  Boutique 9 'Caurah' Sandal | 9. Boutique 9 'Lelaina' Platform Sandal | 10. L.A.M.B. 'Meredith' Pump


May 2, 2012

Fun Umbrella Options from the MoMA Store

An umbrella is a required accessory in the Spring.  With that being said, it seems as though most of us simply reach for the typical black umbrella or you know, the one with the company logo that you received as a gift.  I'm certainly guilty of the latter. But this year, I made a vow to purchase an umbrella that has a bit more spunk.

To start my search, I headed straight to one of the top sources for unique items, the MoMA Store.

Affiliated with the Museum of Modern Art, the MoMA Store is filled with products that will creatively ramp up your wardrobe, living area or workspace. Quirkiness and eccentricity are the MoMA Store's strong suit. So, I knew the umbrella selection would not disappoint.

They range from architect-inspired to just plain fun.

Frank Lloyd Wright Waterlillies Umbrella - $32 | Frank Lloyd Wright Butterfly Umbrella - $32
Sky Umbrella - $48 | Goggles Umbrella - $28

Now, I can't attest to their ability to withstand the gusty Chicago winds. However, these are definitely perfect for those drizzly and mild rainy days.

Click HERE to view the entire inventory of umbrellas. Feel free to navigate the rest of the site (particularly the watches) and check out the other charming items the MoMA Store has to offer.

What do you think? Do these convince you that it's time to update your umbrella stash?

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April 30, 2012

Get "DRAPED" in The Valiant Life

DRAPES is a local jewelry line I discovered two years ago at Wicker Park's Black Market Caviar. I was at the boutique for a t-shirt launch but was simultaneously sidetracked by the beautifully crafted fringe jewelry in front of the store.  Once I was informed of the designer's name, DRAPES by Ashley Scott, I made a vow to own at least one piece of jewelry by the end of the year.  Fast forward to today, and I own two pairs of earrings and a brooch!

I have kept track of every DRAPES collection since that day in 2010. So, when I was recently invited to the trunk show for the latest installment, The Valiant Life, I knew I couldn't miss it.

With fringe at the center of every past collection, I assumed there would be a few tassel items included. This time around, however, Ashley dabbles in the art of ombre. The dark to light color transition in the fringe necklace (above) and earrings (below) distinguishes these pieces from those of prior collections and proves that DRAPES knows how to maintain its signature design while also embracing current trends.

I was most excited by the metal work Ashley added to this collection. With each piece hand cut by the designer herself, no two items are alike, even within the same pair of earrings. It is this kind of asymmetry that ensures customers will truly receive a one-of-a-kind treasure.

The 3-tier, all metal pair of earrings (listed on the website simply as V4) are my personal favorites within The Valiant Life family of jewels. The design is sophisticated and perfect for a dinner date or a night out with friends. Priced under $50, it's pretty much a given that they will be in my possession within the coming days.

The collection's statement necklace, which incorporates beads, stones and wire, is quite the stunner. The versatility of this mixed media adornment, with its the neutral color scheme, allows it to be worn all summer long with a multitude of outfits.

To view the entire Valiant Life collection* and start adding items to your virtual shopping cart, visit the DRAPES online shop. Once there, make sure you keep scrolling down to see some of the key items, from previous collections, that are still available for purchase.

Go ahead, get "draped"! Then come back and tell me which item(s) had you clicking "Buy Now" in an instant.

*The Valiant Life collection is noted as items V1 to V7 in the online shop.

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April 20, 2012

The Style Suite: DailyCandy & Suave Bring "Fashion Stars" to Chicago

DailyCandy and Suave Professionals® joined forces to bring “The Style Suite,” a FREE VIP beauty and style lounge, to Chicago’s own fashion stars. The exclusive event featured hair styling with Suave Professionals® Keratin Infusion™ products. The city’s fashion set mixed and mingled over sweets and sips while enjoying a private viewing of NBC’s Fashion Star, along with two of my favorite Fashion Star designers, Orly Shani and Nzimiro Oputa.

Sidenote: I’ve used Suave products for years! I grew up washing my hair with Suave shampoo, and I still use Suave’s Cocoa & Shea Butter Body Wash. Suave’s commitment to offering professional-quality products and affordable prices has helped the brand remain a force in body care for over 70 years. The products often work as well as, if not better than, high-end salon and specialty brands. While I love Suave’s products, what I love most about the company is that it’s based in my hometown, Chicago.

In case you've been living under a rock and have completely missed Fashion Star, NBC’s new reality fashion competition series, let me give you the quick run down. Fashion luminaries and buyers from the nation’s top retailers, Macy’s, H&M and Saks Fifth Avenue, decide the fate of 14 contestant’s designer brands. The host and fashion mentors of the show are some of the most iconic fashion figures of our time, including Elle Macpherson, Jessica Simpson, Nichole Richie and John Varvartos.

International Business Times has called Fashion Star "one of the biggest and most-commercially backed reality competitions yet." Each week, contestants are given the opportunity to be purchased by one of the three retailers. And at the show's conclusion, the winning contestant will be crowned the "Ultimate Fashion Star" and will receive $6 million in orders for capsule collections at all three stores.

with Nzimiro Oputa
with Orly Shani

Tuesday night’s Style Suite took place at Hotel Palomar, in the city's River North community. While DailyCandy's goodies were a delight, the highlight of the night was getting face time with Fashion Star contestants Orly Shani and Nzimiro Oputa.

In true Nzami-mi (as Nicole Richie would say) style, Nzimiro, a Detroit native who actually went to college for engineering, had lots to say! 

“No one would ever admit it, but Detroit is probably one of the most fashionable cities that exists on the planet. We got swag in Detroit.” And if I didn't get the gist the first time around, he wanted to make sure I understood: “Detroit has swag. We have a lot more swag than Chicago. No offense. I love Chicago, but I'm going to rep my city.”

Orly and Nzimiro were very candid, mingling with guests like we were the Fashion Stars and they were the fans. However, I learned that viewers almost didn't get a chance to see Nzimiro's designs on the screen — he originally did not want to be on the show.

“I didn’t want to do it. I thought it was like a Project Runway thing. I didn’t want to be this reality person. I wanted to build my brand organically," he said. “But, once I found out the background and premise of the show, I knew it was a healthy thing for me to do.”

Nzimiro also offered up one key piece of advice for future Fashion Stars and people trying to break into the fashion industry: “Stay true to yourself, and have confidence.”

For those of you outside of Chicago, there are still two more chances to experience the Style Suite and rub elbows with Fashion Stars. Get tickets to Miami's May 1st event or New York's May 15th event. Don't miss out!

Who's your favorite Fashion Star this season?

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April 16, 2012

Brad to the Bone: Book Signing and Fun Facts with Brad Goreski

Celebrity stylist Brad Goreski first encountered fashion as a 12-year-old boy, captivated by the images in Vogue magazine. Since then, Goreski has emerged from his small town roots, breaking into the fashion industry as the style director of Rachel Zoe Inc. and transforming into a pop icon as a cast member of Bravo TV's The Rachel Zoe Project. Now, on the heels of the first season of his own reality show, It's a Brad Brad World, Brad has released his debut book, Born To Be Brad: My Life and Style, So Far.
Chitown Fashionista's Gabriel Charles Tyler posing with Brad Goreski at Brooks Brothers
Saturday evening, Goreski partnered with Brooks Brothers for a signing of his book,  Born to be Brad, which features the memoir of his humble beginnings, the story behind becoming Brad Goreski, tips to making it in the fashion industry and a style Bible. The evening was very Brad — guests were given Brad-esque cookies in the shape of bow ties and oversized glasses frames, while they waited in a line that swung onto the streets of Michigan Avenue to connect with the celebrity stylist. 


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April 12, 2012

Swarovski Celebrates SAIC and THE WALK With Bling

This week, Swarovski let the students of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) take full control of the window display at their flagship on the Magnificent Mile. Under the mentorship of the world renowned Nick Cave (who is also chair of SAIC's Fashion Design Department), the students constructed flowers using Swarovksi jewelry, as images to create the fabric and physical pieces for embellishment.

To celebrate the window installation, Swarovski hosted an unforgettable in-store event. As if being surrounded by bling isn't enough to get you excited, there were also cocktails, passed hors d'oeuvres and a DJ added to the mix. Fashion, of course, was the topic of discussion throughout the room as Nick Cave and a few of the design students greeted guests and chatted about the upcoming benefit gala and runway show, THE WALK 2012.

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April 10, 2012

[Shoe Swoon] Zara Metal Cap Toe Pumps

With every designer from Louboutin to Stuart Weitzman jumping on the metal-cap-toe-pump bandwagon, it was only a matter of time before Zara would create a more affordable version.

This lemondrop of a pump instantly lifts my spirits and puts me in a cheery mood! It is the perfect color for the upcoming warm weather months and the brush metal heel takes this shoe to a whole new level of fabulousness.

If you want to add this shoe to your collection (and who wouldn't?), pick these up at or your local Zara store. And if you are at all familiar with the Zara business model, you know that once these fly off the shelves, they will never be restocked.

So shop fast, lovelies.

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