May 31, 2010

H&M Fashion Against AIDS Launch Party - Chicago

A few days ago, I attended the H&M Fashion Against AIDS Launch Party at the Michigan Avenue store. The event allowed attendees to view and purchase from the Fashion Against AIDS collection before it was available to the public the following day. May 20th. Food, drinks and music were in abundance. Wearing items from the collection were models who also danced and mingled with the customers.

Side note: the DJ was great and the mini mac-n-cheese wrapped in a waffle cone was to die for!

There were many fashion and beauty bloggers in attendance, including Raijean of Swa-Rai, Kim of A Life of Style, Aramide of The Sassy Peach and Star of I Adore Pretty. We all had a blast shopping and chatting about fashion, etc.

I walked away with three dresses (one being the black and white maxi from the Fashion Against AIDS collection), a shirt and a necklace...all for under $100!

If you haven't seen the collection, definitely make your way to H&M soon. There are quite a few fantabulous items. Plus, 25% of sales from the collection will be donated to youth HIV/AIDS awareness projects.

Don't you just love shopping for a cause?!

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[ChiTown Feature Series] Handbag Swoon - Pretty Afrika Clutch Bag

I did it! I finally got my hands on a Pretty Afrika handbag!

I'm a huge fan of oversized clutch bags and with measurements of 15¼ x 10½, this bag is PERFECT. It was created with fabric that feels like (and appears to be) burlap...and shimmering burlap at that. With the swatches of African fabric on the flap, this may very well be the funkiest clutch in my closet!

Pretty Afrika's slogan is "As Pretty As Africa" and every item in their collection is exactly that.

Visit Pretty Afrika's website to check out more handbags, jewelry and home decor items.

Happy Shopping, kiddies!

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May 29, 2010

[ChiTown Feature Series] A Mini Shopping Trip in Old Town

The main reason I started the ChiTown Feature Series was so that I could go (and also encourage my readers to go) exploring in some of Chicago's best neighborhoods for some of Chicago's best shops. I decided to take a quick trip to Old Town and, fashionistas, I've got three gems to share!

Sara Jane
1343 N. Wells Street
(312) 335-1962

My first stop was Sara Jane. The owner, Sara Plocker, greeted me as soon as I walked in. As I began browsing, the first thing I noticed was the wide range of price points and the great selection of clothing from designers that had previously been off my radar. I must also add that Sara had one of the best music playlists I've heard in a boutique. Sara Jane has great fashion AND music?! *score*

After talking with Sara, I learned that Sara Jane has been in Old Town since 2004. Her goal for the boutique is to carry unique items that cater to women of any size, age or income. She expresses this further by stating that she "wants everyone to walk out with a goodie".

The designers on display at Sara Jane include:
-Bianca Nero
-Fifteen Twenty
-Anoname Denim

And guess what? Sara Jane gets new merchandise every day, which means there will always be something different in store when you visit. Sara Jane has an online shop but if you're in or near Chicago, it's definitely worth an in-person visit.

String A Strand On Wells
1361 N. Wells Street
(312) 335-1930

My next stop was String A Strand On Wells. They have SO many beads from all around the world. I've been to a few bead shops but String A Strand's merchandise and displays were very impressive. I absolutely love the unconventional way the strands of beads are placed around the shop. Although there are some strands hanging on the wall and sorted by color, majority of the strands are placed in bowls and trays all throughout the store. It's very similar to what you'd see in someone's home. With so many colors, some of the bowls look more like they're filled with candy instead of beads. You'll want to dip your hand in and immediately start stringing a necklace!

Heddie, the salesperson, informed me that String A Strand also offers a basic jewelry-making class. For those that lack the patience to create something on your own, there's also ready-made jewelry in the store that is handcrafted by co-owner, Dajana Markota. And I must say the items are fabulous!

String A Strand's atmosphere is very welcoming and the store is visual pleasing. Definitely add it to your shopping list!

1429 N.Wells Street
(312) 335-9082

My final stop was Jumbalia. Just as the name suggests (it's pronounced like jambalaya), this store has a little bit of everything! My favorite items were the beaded coin purses, the jewelry, the pillows (with cute sayings printed across the front) and the "blinged-out" desk accessories (i.e. calculators, staplers, pens and business card holders).

Jumbalia is the perfect place to find gifts for those that have everything. It's a quirky and colorful shop that will make your eyes dance with excitement.

To check out these shops and more, make a trip down to Old Town for the upcoming Wells Street Art Festival or just mosey on down there one day on your own. You'll be SO glad you did!

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May 25, 2010

[ChiTown Feature Series] The Goorin Brothers Hat Shop

One day while out record shopping on Milwaukee Ave. with hubby and a good friend from London, I stumbled upon The Goorin Brothers Hat Shop. Let me tell you, as soon as I walked in, I was in hat heaven!

The Goorin Brothers have been around since 1895. Yes, 115 years!! However, they only recently opened the Chicago store a little over 4 months ago. With majority of their stores residing on the West Coast, I am proud to say that the Chicago store is the first one on this side of the Mississippi River. Midwest before the East Coast? We all know THAT's a rare occurrence. Just another reason I'm uber excited about this shop.

The Goorin Brothers Hat Shop carries EVERYTHING from fedoras to flat caps to cloches to ballcaps. All of the hats are extremely unique and possess a flair unlike any I've ever seen. The variety of fabrics and patterns used to create the the hats as well as the bands on the fedoras guarantee that you will find at least one item that fits your personal style. The highlights were the plaid and straw flatcaps as well as ALL of the fedoras. The bands on the fedoras and cloches are embellished with a button bearing the Goorin Brothers logo. This little detail completes the hat's look, in my opinion. While you're there, be sure to flip the hats over. The craftmanship on the inside is just as impressive as the outside.

I was also impressed with the Artist Series hats on display. The Artist Series allows artists (including tattoo and graffitti) to showcase their talent via hat design. Their designs are embroidered on the caps and only available for a limited time. As you all know, I'm such a big fan of limited editions.

In addition to the merchandise, the staff was magnificent. The salesperson, Jessica, and the store manager, Drew, were very welcoming and even schooled me on the different types of fedoras. I now know the difference between a Tear Drop, Snap Brim and Stroller. Who knew there were so many?! lol.

So, if you're ever in Chicago's Wicker-Park/Bucktown neighborhood, pay a visit to The Goorin Brothers Hat Shop. It's the perfect place to find a large (and desirable) assortment of hats. Good luck on picking just one. :-)

*all photos courtesy of my London mate, Georgia Djiabouras.

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May 15, 2010

[ChiTown Feature Series] Enstrumental Clothing, A Place Where Fashion and Hip-Hop Meet

First, let me start by saying that although I absolutely love fashion, music is my first love! I appreciate all genres but Hip-Hop is definitely one of my favorites. Let's just say, my alter ego is a B-girl. Seriously.

This is exactly why I'm a HUGE fan of the Chicago-based clothing line, Enstrumental. If you ever bump into the owner, Dwamina Drew (shown above), the first thing you will notice is that he has great style and is not afraid of color. Drew's affinity with color and his love for the Hip-Hop culture is reflected in his clothing line.

Every shirt is created to make a statement; whether it's the politically driven 'Audacity' and 'Politics as Unusual' shirts or the 'Always Remembering' shirt that pays homage to fallen Hip-Hop soldiers or the ever popular 'Rap - Lies = HIP HOP' shirt that clearly demonstrates that the terms "RAP" and "HIP HOP" are not synonymous. Although each shirt carries a message, the element of fashion is never forgotten. The bold colors and graphics create visual interest that is not only stylish but also artistic.

Enstrumental's tagline, "Bite Apples, Not Styles...", encourages the consumer to embrace the same individuality and originality shown in its clothing line. I really couldn't have said it better myself.

To view the entire line and make a purchase, visit the Enstrumental website. Go ahead. Embrace your inner B-boy or B-girl. :-)

Now, for the fun part! There will be a 'Rap - Lies = HIP HOP' t-shirt giveaway announced this Tuesday (May 18th) on the internet radio show, Vinyl Vybz, hosted by Chicago's own DJ HasH. Not one, but TWO lucky winners will be selected! Visit DJ HasH's blog for more details. Good Luck!

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May 11, 2010

[ChiTown Feature Series] Le Bouton Jewelry - History Behind the Beauty


And Le Bouton has some of the best brooches I've seen in Chicago - or anywhere else for that matter. Although they also create necklaces and earrings, I'm completely enamored with their brooches!

a little background:

I was first introduced to Le Bouton at the 2009 One of a Kind Show in Chicago and was immediately drawn to the brooches. The use of vintage and antique materials meant that each piece was truly unique. Although I wanted to purchase one of everything, I fell head-over-heels in love with one specific brooch and ultimately walked away without it. HUGE MISTAKE! I couldn't stop thinking about that brooch. The next day I called up one of the owners, Sonni, and she remembered me as well as the exact brooch I was stalking. Although she was heading out of town for the One of a Kind Show in New York and all of her merchandise was already en route, she promised to hold it for me. SCORE! As soon as she returned, she called me and I went to her home to pick it up. Not only was I in love with Le Bouton, I was also in love with Sonni's level of customer service. I wore that brooch almost every day this past winter and received so many compliments. I can honestly say it is definitely one of my top five jewelry purchases of all time!

back to the post:

When I decided to start this ChiTown Feature Series, Sonni and Le Bouton immediately popped into my mind because I believe they deserve to be spotlighted and appreciated. Many of the brooches are created with materials such as buttons, buckles, and coins dating as far back as the 1700s! Therefore, every item has character and an enchanting story. These stories can include the history, country of origin and original owner of the materials used. Sonni enjoys sharing these stories and that is why Le Bouton has never focused on selling items in boutiques or on the internet. In an era where everyone shops online and every retailer is encouraged to sell online, I must admit that interacting with Sonni and understanding the history and materials used in the construction of each piece was - and still is - a high selling point for me.

Unfortunately, the Le Bouton website doesn't include many pictures of their merchandise. So, I was determined to find out Le Bouton's next showing and attend by any means necessary. I attended the 20th Annual An Arts and Craft Adventure this past weekend just to see Sonni and view some of her latest pieces. As expected, Le Bouton did not disappoint! Once again, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of all the brooches.

Here are some photos from my encounter:

Although I'm glad I was finally able to get pictures of the lovely items available from Le Bouton, you absolutely MUST see them in person to fully appreciate their beauty. Check out Le Bouton's 2010 schedule and make sure you mark one of those dates in your shopping calendar. And don't worry, if you can't find a date that does not conflict with your schedule, contact Sonni who is more than happy to offer a viewing at her home on her days off. LOVE HER!

Le Bouton is the perfect place to go when you want to find a gift for someone that has everything. However, as I experienced this weekend, do not expect to walk away without purchasing something for yourself as well.

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May 10, 2010

ChiTown Feature Series GIVEAWAY: Tembis Boutique Vintage Belt

ChiTown Fashionista has partnered with Tembis Boutique to give away a fabulous vintage belt to one lucky winner!

Wooden Journey
This belt is made of wood and brass embellishments, and adds character to any blouse....A must have for the beltaholics!!!!!!!!!!

- 2in
Color- Brown/Bronze

Tayo Ladipo, the owner of Tembis Boutique, has a well-edited vintage collection. It is one of the best in the city! She has a fantastic eye for vintage fashion and styling (check out the picture below to see how she styled the belt).

A little inside scoop...shhhh...
Tayo will be travelling to Europe this summer and will be bringing back some vintage goodies. Make sure you bookmark Tembis Boutique's website and eBay page to get first dibs.

To enter the giveaway:
*this is EXTREMELY important*

-> Leave your name and email address in the comments section.

For an additional entry:

-> Provide details in your comment on how you would style the belt
-> Retweet this post


**This giveaway is only for readers in the U.S. and will end on Monday, May 17th at 11:59 PM (CST). The winner will be randomly selected.**

Congrats to 'The Proverbs Wife' for being the winner of this lovely belt! I hope you enjoy it. :-)

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May 5, 2010

[ChiTown Feature Series] SHOE SWOON - Sam Edelman Quinly

Everything is SO RIGHT about this shoe! The neutral suede, the bead and sequin embellishment as well as the double buckle strap. It is equally perfect for a wedding as it is a night out on the town.

You can find this beauty at Lori's Shoes in Chicago. If you're in the city, visit the store in person and be sure to check out the clearance section. I've found some great deals there!

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May 3, 2010

ChiTown Feature Series - Stay Tuned

For the month of May, I've decided to focus my blog as well as my spending on local designers and boutiques. We all know that online shopping is the perfect medium for comparison shopping. If we find something we want online, we perform multiple searches for that item to seek the best deal and never consider (or even care) from where the item comes.

All of that changes this month. My goal is to spotlight local gems as well as pump some money back into my hometown. You know, boost the economy - my favorite justification for shopping.

Additionally, inspite of the fact that many local designers/retailers have an online presence, I want to encourage consumers to get out and shop brick-and-mortar as well. Don't you miss the days of instant gratification and carrying an actual shopping bag in your hand? Plus, there's nothing like interacting with the designers and boutique owners in-person.

So, get ready to enjoy my first ChiTown Feature Series. If you have any favorite Chicago designers and/or boutiques, please comment here or send me an email (

You never know, they may get featured in the series and a percentage of my paycheck. :-)

*photo courtesy of

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