04: Boutique/Online Shopping Reviews

Philisophy for Kids’ Cancer

Go get yourself a bottle of Oatmeal Raisin because Philosophy will be donating 100% of the net proceeds of their oatmeal raisin high foaming shampoo, shower gel and bubble bath to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer through October 15th.

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is an organization that was created to raise awareness of and funds for pediatric cancer research. But it all started with a kid fighting cancer and his parents’ desire to help him and others.

When 2-year old Liam was diagnosed with a deadly form of pediatric cancer called Neuroblastoma, his family learned quickly it is a cancer that only about 30% of children survive. They were shocked to hear the reason for such terrible odds was directly related to how little money was being spent on research by both the government and the pharmaceutical industry. Pediatric cancer is the leading cause of death by disease for children under the age of 18. Why then is it not a priority to develop new and better treatments for the children of our nation and the world? It is this very question that prompted Liam’s mom and dad, Gretchen and Larry, to get involved and to do all they could to help save their son.

Is Your Mascara Expired?

The Fashionable Housewife blog is a good one to subscribe to. Take a read at snippets below (or click here to read the full post) from her entry on how to care for your tubes of mascara and the icky things that can grow inside them if you’re not careful:

Mascara and liquid eyeliners should be throw away and replaced every three to six months. This is not a marketing scheme to get you to buy more mascara, believe it or not.

Truth is, whether you pay $6 or $26, you are still going to get a buildup of bacteria if you aren’t careful with your mascara. Follow these guidelines below to make your mascara go the distance.

Make Mascara Last Longer:
*NEVER share your mascara. Ever. Doesn’t matter if it’s your best friend or your daughter, eyelashes have mite and dust and all kinds of things on them. Eyelashes are made to protect your eyes from bacteria etc, so they are catching all those things you don’t want in your eyes. By letting someone else use your mascara, you are getting whatever crap has collected on their eyelashes in your mascara, then you are introducing it to your own eyelashes. Gross!

*Wash your face and eyelashes before applying mascara. Don’t add additional coats of mascara again during the day to freshen your look. Whatever has fallen on your eyelashes since you washed them and applied the first coat, will then go into your tube of mascara and potentially contaminate it.

*Clean your mascara wand every month. Use a gentle soap, preferably sulfate-free, and let the wand dry completely before reinserting it into the tube of mascara.

*Stop using all your eye makeup if you get conjunctivitis or any other eye illness. Immediately throw away all your eye makeup products like eye liner and mascara and replace it only after your infection has been away for at least 4 weeks.

By following these simple steps, you can make your mascara last a lot longer than 3 months. Practice good hygiene and cleanliness with your mascara and it will last till the tube is empty, which usually takes about 4-6 months with daily use. It’s also best to only have 1 or 2 tubes of mascara at a time so you can use them up in a reasonable amount of time before they go rancid. Keeping used tubes of mascara around longer than 6 months isn’t a great idea. However, you can keep bran new, unopened tubes of mascara around for up to 2 years.

And remember that every time you pump the mascara wand, air gets into the tube. This creates a possible breeding ground for germs and eye mites. Not only that, it can make your mascara dry out and get clumpy much sooner.

Get Your Fix At Fulton Market’s Newest Boutique

Come get your fix at Chicago’s newest boutique located at 1101 West Fulton, fix! This new boutique for women and men, just opened its doors this week with clothing and accessories by top and up-and-coming designers from around the globe. It’s rare to find a shop that carries pieces for both women and men so this shop is definitely a hot find and easy one stop for everyone.

Founded by sister team, Maggie and Jennifer Gelber customer service is at the top of their list whether you are looking for a pair of jeans and a t-shirt or are in dire need of something special for a big event, they’re happy to help you find exactly what you need.

Don’t know if they’re your taste just yet? Take a look at their list of designers below and you’ll be dying to take a peek for yourself!

1101W. Fulton Chicago, IL 60607

Women’s Designers
Black Halo
Converse by John Varvatos
David Lerner
Elizabeth & James
Geren Ford
Grace Sun
Graham & Spencer
JF & Son
Kimberly Taylor
Loeffler Randall
Mike & Chris
Nightcap Clothing
Paige Premium Denim
Rich & Skinny
Robert Rodriguez
Rozae by Rozae Nichols
Twelve St. by Cynthia Vincent

Men’s Designers
Converse by John Varvatos
Paige Premium Denim
Rag & Bone
Rich & Skinny
Rogues Gallery
Steven Alan


tristinstyling Boutique Review: Embellish

Being a personal stylist is dangerous because it’s easy to find yourself doing double takes and head turners while driving to check out… boutiques. Yeah…

It’s so bad we know!

But how can a shopaholic resist when stores pop up on your driving route just asking to get checked out? Embellish has been a head turner for us on Lincoln for a few months now but we didn’t get a chance to step in until just the other day!

The service and product information given by the store owner, Barb, was stellar. It was tough to just pick 5 but we did it so there it is, our top 5 picks from embellish below:

1. Hagar Satat – designs jewelry using a mix of leather & metal
2. Jillery by Jill Faglin – recycled aluminum jewelry
3. Jon Wye – graphic leather belts
4. Geo Art by Cynthia Gale – oversized ring and one of a kind bangles
5. Adorable and affordable fold over clutches

Saffron Boutique Closing

I am usually ecstatic about liquidation sales and the bargains they have to offer but Saffron closing, is a sad thing for all locals and out of town clients who love to shop this beautiful space.

Owner, Padmaja Manerikar Maryanski, announced that she would be closing the 11 year old boutique upon deciding to take on the full-time position at home as Mama, to her adorable toddler!

Saffron has been known as Bucktown’s urban sanctuary for women who want to step outside of the daily rush to be surrounded by Padmaja’s visual vignettes of color, texture, and lavish scents. Before a “Store Closing” sign graced the window, every corner of the store was filled with hand picked designer clothing, accessories, home goods, bath & beauty indulgences, books, and stationery.

Now, even though a good amount of the inventory has been sold, there is still a lot of great merchandise and a number of beautiful fixtures and furniture pieces for sale so I had to take some photos before leaving Saffron.

Here is a slideshow of the photos that I took. Pretty much everything you see is for sale (if they haven’t been purchased yet) and if a piece interests you, feel free to call the store at 773.486.7753 to inquire about whether or not it is still available before the store closes toward the end of next month:

tristinstyling Boutique Review: Vive La Femme

With over 40 raving reviews on yelp.com, and myself as witness to my own satisfied clients, you can believe the hype when you hear that Vive La Femme is the boutique for plus-sized shopping in Chicago… and possibly, the *world! So if you’re stepping into town, whether it’s for business or pleasure, skip the tours and head straight to this boutique.

A week ago, we had an out of town personal shopping booking from a young, stylish, twentysomething professional who was in Chicago for business from California. While we were able to find her a few great pieces at Avenue on State Street, the experience at Vive La Femme was just absolutely stellar.

Yeah yeah… there are a number of stores that cater to plus-sized clothing for women but none of them, and I mean none of them can cough up so many great pieces in one shopping trip! To top it all off, the staff is extraordinary! Vive La Femme owner, Stephanie Sack, is the best. I feel good about sending clients to her without the worry of whether or not they’re going to be taken care of with utmost care.

They haven’t been around for 7 years for nothing.

Vive La Femme will be celebrating its 7 year anniversary in conjunction with local author, Kate Harding, and the release / signing of her book, “Lessons From the Fat-o-sphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce With Your Body.”

Stephanie says,”Kate Harding is a real heroine of mine, She is such a positive influence for women who shop at vive la femme and want to further explore the ideas we enthusiastically promote and have always promoted — to love, accept, and invest in oneself at the size one is right now.”

For more information on the event click here or scroll down to May 15, 2009 on our shopping calendar (right column of this page).

*Boutiques who would like to challenge our opinion of “best in the world”, please e-mail us and we’ll check you out!

Shibuya Mon Amour, You’ve Gotta Show Me More

A few days ago, Forever 21 had an IMPORTANT CUSTOMER ADVISORY announcing, “Coming Soon! Boutique line designed exclusively for Forever 21.”

Their ad campaign model wore a pretty trendy outfit featuring fishnet stockings, and a short skirt, with a mix of prints and pops of color:

I became more curious and a bit excited when they switched over to the second ad which teased with an,”Inspired by the cool kids of Tokyo and Paris, Shibuya Mon Amour is girly, street, punk, and fashion. Live it, love it, Shibuya Mon Amour”:

Yesterday, after all the anticipation, the website’s home page boasted about the line finally launching:

This is what they had:

1. Leopard Face Tank ($13.80)
2. Owl Cotton Tunic ($17.80)
3. Cloche Cat Tee ($15.80)

Hmm… I was kinda disappointed in this clothing launch.

I mean, sure they’re cute shirts and all but where’s the rest of the collection they called a line? You know, the skirts, funky tights and bright colors… Tokyo and Paris street stuff… I need to see more than just shirts.

I thought I’d be sensitive and give it another day because they might just need a little more time to update the site but there was no additional merchandise today.

So if another cute T-SHIRT is what you’re looking for, Forever 21 has some on their site…

Serpico Boutique

The first ever Serpico boutique will be opening tomorrow. Adjacent to their design studio which is in-store behind a silk curtain, they will be featuring experimental and one-of-a-kind pieces along with the current SERPICO collection. I’ve been to the space already and I love how parking is easy where they are located at 1514 N. Ashland Avenue in Wicker Park.

Earlier this spring, I collaborated with Rachel from r.hanel photography and Krista Gobeli of facecandy.net to shoot a fashion calendar for 2008 featuring The Serpico FW08 Collection (click here to watch our behind the scenes video.).

The thing I like about Serpico is the uniqueness and quality of each piece. Melissa the creator/designer/business woman behind it all really puts thought into each design. Her pieces are flattering.

They can also create custom pieces so if you know what you want but can’t find it out there, try the Serpico Collection’s “made-to order” option.


The shophousingworks.com home page says, “Shop thousands of great deals from our New York City based thrift stores. Featuring our famous online auction displays with new stuff added every day! All proceeds help us save the lives of homeless people living with HIV and AIDS in New York City.”

“Nice!” I say… It’s always good to know that it is possible for fashion to give back to the community. I mean, how many times have you heard, “Thanks! Yeah I love this Balenciaga dress and Prada handbag. Who would think that these fashionable purchases result in helping to save the lives of homeless people living with HIV and AIDS in New York City!”

Right now the site features Buy it Now items ranging anywhere from under $100 for cute tops and cocktail dresses to a Mint condition Stella McCartney coat for under $500.

Some of my favorites from the recently SOLD items are pictured below:

1. Gucci Chain Boots (Buy it Now item sold for $195)
2. Fendi Handbag (Buy it Now item sold for $225)
3. Prada Handbag (Buy it Now item sold for $325)
4. Versace FW 08 Stilettos (Buy it Now item sold for $130)

tristinstyling Online Boutique Review: Ruche

I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon this online boutique! Ruche carries modern pieces that are vintage inspired without the high prices (ahem anthropologie… achoo!). I am a fan of vintage clothing but find that true vintage pieces usually need to be tailored or altered in order to make them fit in the modern world. Ruche seems to take care of the extra work by having pieces that are perfect as they are.

I put together my top 5 items for today’s wish list picks below. Add a cute skirt or pair of skinny jeans and voila… you’ve got a complete ensemble. The best bart is that all the items put together still come out to less than $150.

Take a look at my picks this week from Ruche in the photo below.

Pictured above (clockwise):
– swaying bird hoop earrings $12.99
– green vintage purse $36.99
– chunky high heeled mary janes $39.99
– amethyst sparrow drops earrings $9.99
– bits and baubles romantic vest $32.99