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El-Buy: Thanks Mom!

I was under the impression that I would receive some kind of instruction book when I checked out of the hospital with our new little bundle of joy. 

I expected the book of parenting directions to incorporate sections about childrearing and a glossery of FAQs that I would field as a mother. It was supposed to include age appropriate answers to questions like: Where do babies come from? Why do I have to eat broccoli? How do I know if this boy likes me? How do I do laundry?

Shockingly, there is no Mom Manual (either that or mine was lost in the mail). We all just have to figure this out as we go along. 

So, cheers to all of the Mothers. Navigating parenthood is tough stuff, so I think that Mom deserves a litle treat. Check out my favorite gift ideas on my Mother's Day Gift Ideas board



El-No: Looney Lunar Look

The moon was REALLY big this weekend. HUGE.

So, I am choosing to blame this wackadoo ensemble on the full moon. Clearly Miss El-No's sequined constellation cardigan was inspired by the celestial bodies. (I think that is Ursa Minor over by her armpit)

Peter Pan just called for this little lady. He wants her to take the "second star to the right and go straight on till morning." The morning light should help her realize that the rest of the outfit doesn't really jive. She needs to ditch the Stary Night sweater and the tropical maxi skirt. 

How about this amazing Wildfox "Seeing Stars" cream sweatshirt for $108 from Nordstrom? She could pair it with these J.Crew peach shorts ($45) and these adorbs J.Crew Mona leather pumps in dusty clay ($198). Now that is a much more dazzling look!



El-Yes: What A Blessyn

I'm back...

I've been getting my baby shiz in check for the last eight weeks. But my mini fashion lover and I are finally starting to feel comfortable (and my body is starting to automatically wake up every few hours). So I am ready to blog again.

First up? A review of Shop 857's Anniversary and True Blessyn's Launch Party. My amazing students Emily and Michelle hopped on over to the party and interviewed the boutique owner Kelli Jones and the True Blessyn designer Shani Brown. Some event attendees included blogger ‘Ana Fonua and Fame Production Group founder Kristin D. Williams.  Thanks ladies for the recon mission!

Emily did a great write up of the event and also included some pictures. You can follow Emily on Twitter @emily_morano

Background – Shani Brown

 Currently working full-time in Corporate America, this mother and designer has a lot on her hands. Originally from Jamaica, Shani has always dreamed of being a designer. She attended the International Academy of Design to pursue this dream.  

Her typical day includes working on her Spring 2013 collection, meeting with her manufacturer, sourcing fabrics, and spending time with her daughter. When asked who her favorite designers were, Shani wasn’t quick to name off a celeb designer but instead likes supporting the local ones. “It isn’t all about the labels for me.” Having worked at Gap for four years, Shani still very much enjoys shopping there for their great basics. For Spring, Shani is loving the pastels and pleated maxi dresses! 

Her advice to anyone who wants to be in fashion? You have to be business savvy! If you want to be a designer, know who you are designing for. Be persistent, stay true to yourself, and follow your dreams. 

Spring 2012 Collection

Inspired by “Dream Chaser,” Shani’s Spring collection is made up of bamboo cotton, linen-like denim, and hand-painted designs done in collaboration with artist Sam Kirk. My personal favorite was a t-shirt with the words “Confidence Doesn’t Whisper” with a pair of pouty lips. Shani said this collection was all about chasing your dreams and goals and not letting others get you down in the process.  

Fall 2012 Collection

Inspired by her ups and downs as a designer, Shani used red, black, and white in her Fall collection. A simple white blouse with a bow detail on the left shoulder, a layering tank with a hand-painted cross on the front, and a fun black and white patterned knee-length skirt were all part of the simplistically classic Fall collection.  




El-Vacation: A Very Stylish Girl

I'm taking a petite break from blogging.

Don't worry, it's nothing you did. We aren't breaking up!

On Thursday, our little girl was born. She is adorable and requires loads of attention and cuddles. I'm sure that she'll be scoping out fashion faux pas from her stroller ASAP.

See you in a few weeks!


El-No: You Need A New Best Friend

As I write this, two chubby little french bulldogs are snoring away to my right. These little loves provide oodles of kisses, licks, and laughs. They are also quite fashion savy and would never let me leave the house in this type of ensemble.

Woof! Don't even think about wearing that shiz. See? 

It appears that Miss El-No's canine bestie is not schooled in the art of styling. Clearly the dog is responsible for the hideous Reeboks and pant/ skirt layering situation. Fido should have chewed up those kicks the minute they were removed from the box.

While still nodding to Springtime brights, Miss EL-No can do much better than this look. How about these turquoise fitted skinny jeans from Forever 21 ($15.50)? For a dog walk, I'd pair them with these adorbs plaid laceless Keds for $45. 

*Thanks for the photo SR



El-No: Saved By Sonia

Every Sunday I take a trip to the local produce market. Lately, I have been stocking up on citrus fruits and photos of horrible outfits. 

Yesterday was no exception. 

Over by the breads, I discovered Miss El-No and her ridiculous hat. By "ridiculous" I mean "hideous headpiece that belongs on a pre-adolescent boy on a ski slope." 

What the heck was she thinking? This topper isn't even witty or ironic. It is just bad. 

I am loving this Sonia Rykiel Two Tone Bow cap at Nordstrom for $125. Rykiel, a French designer, is known as the "Queen of Knits" and introduced the idea of individualized clothing. She encouraged women to wear their clothing inside out and personalize the fit. These two ideas earned her a spot as one of the world's most elegant women. 




El-Buy: Pops for Spring

Sometime in the next two weeks, a baby will be arriving at our house. I'm expecting equal parts snuggles and sleepless nights. 

I think that I am going to be needing some visual pick me ups to keep me moving forward. Fortunately for me (but not for le wallet), there are some amazing brights headed our way this Spring. Here are a few of my current favorites: 

Top: J.Crew Navy and Kiwi Colorblock Stripe Boatneck Tee for $45

Skirt: J. Crew Warm Jade Long No. 2 Pencil Skirt in Double Serge Cotton for $128

Pants: Gap Red Modern Boot Cut Pant for $59.95

Jeans: Kate Spade Broome Street Colored Jeans for $198

Jumpsuit: Edith Shawl Collar Royal Blue Jumpsuit for $495

Sandals: J.Crew Festival Green Savina Studded Sandals for $265

Mini Clutch: Kate Spade Backstage Suze Clutch for $338

Sparkles: Bauble Bar Acrylic Personalized Necklace for $56


El-No: Contemplating Jazz

On Tuesday, I lectured on the Beat Generation. These post-war artists and poets rejected materialism and  the idea of fashion. Their denial of all things designer influenced both the hippie movement of the Sixties and Seventies and the hipster movement of today.

I wonder what Allen Ginsberg would say about Miss El-No's ensemble? I think that her odd layering would make him Howl.

Because only an "angelheaded hipster" would think this looks good.

I think Miss El-No needs to rock a Beat vibe a la Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face.

I love these slim cropped pants from the Gap (available in red too!) for $49.95. I would pair it with this Twenty sheer fitted turtleneck for $34.90. Saving on the threads will allow for a splurge on your feet. How about these beautiful Kori oxfords ($450) from Alexander Wang? The design is just amazing.



El-No: Sequin Seminar

Sometimes I daydream about all the people in America with bad fashion habits getting rounded up together for a required educational seminar.

This garment gulag would provide seminars and trainings about clipping your cell phone on your belt (Hey Zach Morris, do you really need to reach your phone that quickly? Can't it just go in your pocket or purse?)  or showing excessive cleavage (Put that shiz away.). 

I envision this course would be held in either a convention center in Vegas or at the Jersey Shore. 

This vision in sequins should definitely attend. Sparkling leather clogs, clothes, and a purse?! She might be too far gone for help. Oy. 

Here's a tip- try limiting your glitter and spangles to one article of clothing at a time. A little restraint will let you shine instead of your clothing and accessories. 

*Thanks for the photo DH




El-Yes: Fondness for Ford; Passion for Paltrow

Oh Gwynie. Just when I think that I couldn't love you anymore, you show up looking perfect.

I am not sure this is good for my health or wallet. I am already an avid goop reader, lover of Tracy Anderson, and Spanish food convert. I refuse to name my future child Apple. Stop making me have a girl crush on you!!!

Obviously, Gwyneth Paltrow's Tom simple Tom Ford sheath/ cape was my favorite look from last night's Academy Awards. Call me old fashioned, but you just can't top pristine tailoring. She was a modern take on Sixties vintage. I might have to go reread A Thousand Days of Magic: Dressing Jackie Kennedy for the White House

Sorry J.Lo- nip slips and open shoulders do nothing for me. 

Don't judge. I'm not the only one with a Gwyeth crush. Check out this pony post from Lock and Mane. 

Since I have spent all of my hard earned cash on workout dvds, Coldplay downloads, and goop iPad apps, I'm looking to Rent the Runway for some help in channelling my inner Paltrow. 

This Icelandic Dreams Dress from Halston Heritage provides the same lines and color (but with a more real-life friendly knee length hemline). It retails for $295 but you can rent it for $60! You can add a little sparkle with this Cara Accessories Dress Me Up Cuff Bracelet for $15. 



El-No: Under Pressure

You know that whole "If your friend jumped off a bridge" peer pressure thing?

Well, I'd like to address that while discussing these hooker tights.

This is the THIRD person that I've seen wearing streetwalker hosiery this week during the day. Third! Each barely there legwear example has been paired with a tight and tiny skirt. What is happening Chicago?!

I can't take all the overly sexy daytime ensembles. If I wanted to see this, I'd move to Vegas or go hangout in the VIPs parking lot (conveniently located across from the Lincoln Park Whole Foods coffee bar... Latte anyone?).

If you want to wear overly sexy tights, do us all a favor and pair them with something a little more chic. Give us something to work for instead of laying it all out on the table. Men like the chase... And I'm sick of seeing your chacha.

* Thanks for the photo JBW!


El-No: Pants Problems

Lululemon pants are magical. 

They are woven by elves (relatives of the Keeblers) and contain mysterious butt slimming fibers. I don't know how they do it but they turn run-of-the-mill tushies into something extraordinary. 

But there are rules for these spellbinding workout pants. Simple rules that Miss El-No has broken. 

Workout pants are not regular pants. I repeat WORKOUT PANTS ARE NOT REGULAR PANTS.

You can wear them to workout or to slum it around on the weekend. You cannot wear them with knee high stiletto boots and a sexy top.  

Miss El-No, please get some real pants. How about these adorbs colorful jeans from the Gap? I love them!!! For only $69.95 you can stock up on the surf and fucshia colors. 




El-Yes: Seasonal Disorder

I think Spring might have sprung.

I'm using that as my rational for all the florals that I've been craving. Yesterday, I almost broke out my cream colored floral flats (I know it is too soon... But they just looked so lonely in their box). These crazy temperatures and sunny days have me all mixed up.

Miss El-Yes has the right idea for the spring-like temps in a decidedly winter month. Seasonal pattern mixing! Right on sister. I love her plaid coat and floral scarf combination.

Get this look with a little help from Free People. This gorgeous vintage brushed plaid coat ($248) will take you through the cool temps expected in February and March. Pair it with this great DVF flowery scarf ($165). The color and pattern are a perfect way to inject a little Springtime sass.




El-No: Tag! You're It!

Happy Presidents Day!

George Washington, we salute you and give thanks for the fabulous day off from work. Now, go out and shop your brains out!

But... please make sure to take the tags off of your purchases before you wear them. I'm not joking here people. 

I was eating brunch this weekend when I saw Miss El-No enter the restaurant with her family in tow. Maybe she is just an over-tired mommy who forgot that she treated herself to a new blazer? The large tag was hanging from the armpit of her jacket. It was glaringly obvious in both its size (HUGE) and color (cream). Her husband and family members looked right at it and said nothing. Jerks. 

Lady, that blazer is a keeper. Clip the tags and enjoy it!



El-Yes: Silver and Gold, Silver and Gold

New York fashion week is over, but my clothing lust has only begun. 

While there are several future trends that I am eyeing, my favorite is the focus on metallics. What can I say? I love a little shine!

J. Mendel


Jenny Packham






El-No: Early Morning VPL

I have a hard time understanding visible panty lines.

That's why God invented thongs (well actually designer Rudi Gernreich invented the thong in the 1970s but I'm pretty sure a divine hand was involved). Thanks be to Rudi and his magical underwear- which was specifically designed to wear with tight and clingy fabrics.

The thong has been part of the fashion vernacular for forty years. So, who still wears/ buys full seat underwear?

Miss El-No does! And according to this snapshot, she wears it with leggings. Of course she is adding even more fuel to the fire by pretending her leggings are pants. Please make it stop.

I think that she needs some Hanky Panky underwear. For only $20 she can get three colorful lace thongs. Score! 


El-No: V-Day Faux Pas



Chocolate Covered Strawberries. 

That's right, it is Valentine's Day! Cheers to all of the men who are out frantically searching the aisles of CVS and Jewel for chocolates and red roses. I wish you luck. 

Here is a tip from your friendly local wingwoman. Don't wear socks with sandals.... or pajama pants in public. Not a good look dude. I promise you that all the ladies will go running in the other direction. 




El-Yes: Bein' Quirky

I have a case of the quirks. 

After that Zooey Deschanel Bein' Quirky SNL skit and a boatload of Adele Grammy coverage, I have half a mind to break out my Amy Sedaris book and start crafting. I made a sweater for an octopus. I made an extra hole for its dreams and ideas - "Bjork" on SNL

But what will I wear for my eccentric crafternoon?

Obviously, I plan to whip my hair into some kind of voluminous Adele 'do. Say what you want Karl, but that lady knows how to amp up her tresses!

Now, for my ensemble. I would like to incorporate Miss El-Yes's chartreuse pants. They are fab and I want them. I think they say "I'm friends with Michael Cera and collect vintage salt and pepper shakers." Don't you agree? 

Get your own wacky pants from Vince. These cropped chartreuse vince jeans are perfect for Spring and only $195. 

PS- Check out The Quirky Girl Timeline from The Huffington Post



El-Yes: Well, Thank Hue!

Ugh. These girls are wearing Uggs.

Are we still doing that?

BUT I am obsessed with this orange and purple color palette. I prefer to think of these chicas as chroma inspiration for future ensembles.

I'm happy to see that the "now" color of tangerine can play well with violet. I will have to get to work on some orange and purple Spring shopping right away!


El-No: Bad Idea Boxers

"You better post that on Facebook."

Darnit! I got apprehended!

It was the first time I was caught red handed taking a photo for my blog. My entrappers were two SAIC girls on a smoke break outside. They had been watching Miss El-No walk down Michigan Ave for a few minutes. "I think those are boxer shorts."

Damn skippy. Those were boxer shorts. Worn in combination with grey nylons, grey leg warmers, and white Reeboks. The whole ensemble was like a strange hybrid of morning after walk of shame, laundry laziness, and an ode to 90's fitness.

I didn't get it. Either did the art school sidewalk commentators.

Truth: I don't have the legs for shorts. But, I do think that they can be really cute in the winter when paired with opaque tights and even knit legwarmers. Maybe these Theory Wool Jersery Shorties ($80) would work? Obviously, girlfriend should replace the Reeboks with these MacAlister Wedge Booties ($198) from J.Crew.