BlueMercury Opens In The Gold Coast

IMG_6066WHAT’S WITH THE WIRES HANGING TO THE LEFT OF THE DOOR? AND THAT CHALK BOARD? LOOKS LIKE A SMALL COFFEE SHOP.

 

4 E. Elm brought modern luxury to an area of the Gold Coast where it was lacking newness. Now, it’s adding a sprinkle of extra luxury with BlueMercury, the luxury beauty retailer.

Ever since the windows were covered with “BlueMercury Coming This Summer”, I was following it like a hawk. I live three minutes away and being a beauty junkie I was already plotting how I’ll spend my days at BlueMercury. Buy a candle one day, haircare the next, etc. But, Summer came and left with BlueMercury still not open. Well, it finally opened, sorta.

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I spoke with an employee and was told that the development was delayed so many times over the Summer that they wanted to open as soon as possible as the Holiday Season is approaching so they skimped on a few things. For one, they have these tacky signs (in my opinion) that say “Now Open”. What is this? The Dollar Store?

The Good:

  • Great location. The Gold Coast is a perfect spot for BlueMercury as they tend to be more of a neighborhood store. It’s located in the 4 E Elm building which is in a great location with lots of traffic. I actually happen to live on the same block or two and can see myself coming here for my beauty needs.
  • Friendly staff
  • Stocked full of a wide arrange of products from La Mer to Oribe to NEST. For the stores size, I was pleasantly surprised!
  • It includes a SPA.

The Bad:

  • Isn’t finished yet. You can tell they were rushing to open as the inside isn’t completely finished nor is the signage outside. It still says SUMMER 2017 as opening date but then says NOW OPEN. Summer came and left without it being open
  • No store events, promotion or news. It just popped up out of no where. I tried getting in contact with the store before they opened so I can see if there were any opening events so I can cover them for the site but no one got back to me.
  • TOO CRAMPED. OMG, I was wearing my Chanel Boy bag which isn’t that bag and I literally almost knocked things over several times. You can’t turn around without almost knocking anything over.
  • Too many employees! The space is small and has limited (I mean super limited) walking space. Imagine when it’s crowded?! I couldn’t browse in peace as the employees were basically breathing on my neck. I felt uncomfortable. As I online shop a lot now days, I go into stores for the experience. I love going in to smell, test and play with products but it was hard to enjoy my time here. I feel like this location is their forgotten location in Chicago.

 

This is all the information I can gather at the moment and my opinions on this location when I visited. I was told no photos inside so I couldn’t take any to really show you guys. Hopefully I can get in contact with the GM or something for a more in-depth tour of the store, events and future plans.

The Migration off Michigan Avenue Continues: Chanel is relocating to Oak Street

 

When most people think of luxury handbags, suits, pearls, two-tone shoes and fragrance, they think of CHANEL. CHANEL has been down in the dumps lately though. They haven’t been able to keep up with all the new redesign that has been going on along Michigan Avenue lately. Who can forget the site of the huge Gucci store redesign?! Tiffany’s also stepped it up as well. On top of that, a sleuth of new stores are popping up on the famed shopping street. A four story Starbucks is coming to the Avenue and heck, even the new T-Mobile store looks pretty darn good!

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(Mag Mile’s Tiffany & Co remodel Rendering)

Unfortunately though, the CHANEL flagship located on the first floor of The Drake Hotel is so…. un-CHANEL. Walk too fast and you won’t even notice it. It looks run down, dusty and old. But thankfully, that’s about to change because CHANEL is moving to a glitzier location and brand new development on Oak Street!

Oak Street is way more suited for CHANEL. Michigan Avenue just screams tourist to me. Full of all the brick and mortar chains that every mall in America has. Over the past few years all the upscale shops have been moving just North to Oak Streets tree lined streets. Actually it seems that the luxury fashion houses are liking the more neighborhood feel as Versace and Dior have popped up even more North… onto Rush Street!

59-65 E Oak St is currently under construction and is the location CHANEL is moving in to. There will be at least two other retail locations in this space. I’ve heard Valentino is looking at one of the vacant spaces but, which could the other be? The new construction will also include a restaurant on the top floor. This development will be very exciting to watch as we all saw how the Esquire Theatre development completely transformed Oak Street with the addition of Tom Ford, Louboutin, Del Frisco’s and Dolce & Gabbana. One thing is certain, Oak Street will be a lot more happening with it’s nightlife. Del Frisco’s, Fig & Olive and this new restaurant. I’d love to see a Chicago version of NYC’s Buddakan or The Standard NYC’s glitzy Boom Boom Room.AR-170709963.jpg

 

Desk Side

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I decided to make it official. In February of this year I took the plunge and got an office space dedicated to blogging! Working from home is convenient and all but I missed getting dressed up and having people actually see me! I rented an office space in a sort of co-working space in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. It’s not like WeWork where you literally sit next to random people, rather it’s an office with a door and privacy but we share common areas.

It was a daunting process when I set out to find an office. Many where “executive offices” that were way too big for me. I needed ample space, privacy and a good location. I didn’t need a whole floor to myself! At first I looked into the new type of “co-working” office spaces of WeWork and Industrious. Although they were nice and had fabulous amenities, I needed more privacy and the ability to decorate my office. Out of all places, I stumbled across my beautiful office on Craigslist! Yup, it’s not always a seedy website after all! It took me over a month to decorate and I can finally show you LuxeLifeDaily Headquarters!

THIS POST IS ALL ABOUT MY DESK. HOW IT WENT FROM CLUTTERED TO FUNCTIONAL. THIS WAS MY DESK SET UP FOR THE FIRST FEW WEEKS….

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I went a bit overboard buying office supplies due to my excitement so you can see the clutter on my desk. I love things, so naturally I wanted to be surrounded by all my possessions. Even if that meant have a dozen brand new pens blocking my view of people I am meeting with. It quickly grew into an eyesore. I’m a huge believe in the saying “a cluttered space is a cluttered mind” and this clutter had me organizing more than actually working! To the left of my desk I have these two shelving units that I put back to back. That white machine you see is a iPad Square Reader which I use for my PR clients to take payment. It’s super handy and looks really professional. On my actual desk you see a pair of sunglasses (my favorite pair at the moment from Gucci), a Byredo candle in the scent Loose Lips (the perfect scent for a beauty aficionado as it smells like makeup!), The Virgin Mary (I need all the prayer and good energy I can get!), a tin of too many pens, another ugly tin organizer of post-it notes (I never use post-it’s) and some binder clamp things nesting on some coffee table books. Oh, there is also a Guest Book Pen they use at weddings. No clue why I purchased that. Then to the right is my iMac on top of a riser and my office telephone.

 

AN EYESORE! GLADLY, I CAME TO MY SENSES & THIS IS HOW IT LOOKS NOW….

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Taa-Daa! Minimalistic & Chic! It’s amazing how much more elegant, modern, clean and sophisticated it looks now. The only things I keep on my desk are my business cards, telephone, two of my favorite candles, my iMac & of course the new love of my life, my Louis Vuitton Desk Agenda! I love that agenda so much that I’ll go more in depth in it in the next post as it deserves it’s own time to shine. That agenda has literally changed my life!

I moved the books that were previously on my desk to the table you see between the two chairs in front. It was a perfect accent to the table and seating area. How chic are the Chanel books? Instead of a “C” for Chanel, I put “G” for Giselle. I also removed the pen holder, iMac riser and tin organizer. It was just too much clutter! I put them in the white shelves which are still next to my desk.

Over the seating area you’ll see a painting of a Pineapple. So random right? I found it at Home Goods and thought it added the perfect amount of quirkiness & splash of color without changing the mood and style of the office which is sophisticated, modern and clean.

Where Everything Was Purchased:

  • Desk, Letter G, Books, Wedding Pen (Ridiculous purchase!), Business Card Holder, Telephone, Tins, Table  – Amazon
  • Tufted Chairs- Home Goods
  • Byredo candle from Net-A-Porter & Diptyque candle from Nordstrom
  • Louis Vuitton Desk Agenda- Louis Vuitton Chicago Flagship Store
  • Business cards- Zazzle.com ( Great place for business supplies but I suggest upgrading to the thicker paper. It feels much more luxurious!)
  • Pineapple Painting- Home Goods

 

 

I absolutely love my work space now. I have much more room to be creative and brainstorm. I love to light the candles, put on some music and get to work. Sometimes I don’t even want to leave the office! I’m still getting adjusted to the iMac though as I’ve been a Macbook girl for years (actually typing this on my Macbook Pro). It’s a beautiful display but I much prefer the intimate closeness of a laptop.

Questions? Comments? Ideas? Tweet me, IG me, FB me or e-mail me!

ecape

New Mascara Rotation: Fall 2016

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Ok, so by now I am sure you guys know I swear by Make Up For Ever’s Smokey Lash Mascara. I still do, but I noticed lately I haven’t been gravitating much to it. I realized that all the mascaras I’ve been using lately are brand new to my vanity. It shocked me to see that all of them were luxury mascaras because I wear false lashes daily and never cared much about buying high end mascaras. When I picked out my top 5, I noticed that I was spending more on mascara than normal ( Le Metier de Beauté and Lancome mascaras were sent to me, but I do plan on purchasing them once finished).

I’ll start out with my absolute favorite pairing of the bunch, my Guerlain mascaras. They are from the same line (Maxilash) but, very different in my opinion. I always use two different mascaras. One for the base and one for the volume. I first use the original Maxilash Volumizing & Curling Mascara as it give my long and semi voluminous lashes a nice curl and good foundation to build on. I then use my top favorite mascara, Maxilash Intense Volumizing Mascara. This baby give my lashes such volume, it looks like I am wear false lashes before I even apply my falsies. These two go perfectly together! They both are a true black and have the most gorgeous, heavy and luxurious packaging as well! I must say the Maxilash Intense Volumizing Mascara has probably replaced MUFE’s as my favorite. As I mentioned earlier, I always layer two different mascaras but my Maxilash Intense Volumizing Mascara is always used as my final layer no matter which base I use first, except for when I use Trish McEvoy’s High Volume Mascara.

Trish McEvoy has surprised me lately. In an older post you may recall how I went a month or two having a mini obsession with her brand. The Trish counter always looked so boring to me and never called my attention until I fell in love with her planner. You can check that post out by clicking here. I received Trish’s High Volume Mascara in a planner kit and have repurchased since then. The formula is great but what I really love about this mascara is the wand! It’s really skinny and come to a pretty tight point, so it’s easy to build the mascara on certain areas of your lashes. It’s very helpful for the inner corner and bottom lashes. You have to be careful using this mascara though because it can dry your lashes out if you use too much. This is why I always use this mascara as my finishing layer, never as my base layer.

I recently got sent some products from Le Metier de Beauté, a brand I’ve been wanting to try but now that I’m living in Chicago, I haven’t seen it in any department stores on Michigan Avenue. I was thrilled when I got the most gorgeous silver package in the mail. Le Metier de Beauté is great with the little details and that’s what truly makes the brand stand out as a luxury brand. LMdB isn’t cheap by any means, it’s what I like to call “Luxe Luxury”, a step above the regular luxury brands like Chanel, YSL & Armani. It’s in the Cle de Peau and Sisley Paris level. I love this mascara as a base or as a finishing layer. The brush is perfect for building layers as it has chunky bristles in the beginning and end with smaller chunky bristles in the middle. Perfect for wiggling around the base of your lashes. It doesn’t flake, dry out my lashes or clump them together. There is one think I don’t like about this mascara though and I know it’s super minor but the packaging is super light weight. For the price, $42 USD, I expected it to be made of higher quality packaging similar to Guerlains Maxilash. But, thats a minor issue that is just preference.

I also recently received some goodies from Lancome. I’ll be honest with you, I have never purchased anything from Lancome. Nothing! I know, shocking! None of their products really stood out to me. That has since changed as I finally caved in and purchased their Dual Finish Powder per many of my girlfriends praise. Now I think my second Lancome purchase will be their Definicils mascara. It isn’t as volumizing as the other mascaras but, serves as a good base or a good spot treatment. By spot treatment, I mean those spots that you feel don’t go with the rest of your lashes. You know, that one little cluster of lashes that just didn’t separate or build enough volume. The brush is really skin and perfect for getting those hard to reach lashes, as well as your bottom lash line. It can smudge though but the packaging is luxurious and the price point is the cheapest out of the five.

Now you may be thinking why I’ve gotten back into mascaras since I’ve been using false lashes daily (Ardell Demi Wispies, all day…everyday!). Well, it just makes the lashes blend in perfectly with the Demi Wispies, especially in the day time. Having a nice thick lash to start off with really helps hide any mistakes from the glue or placement of the false lashes, especially in daylight. It really blends the lashes in with my false lashes. Almost everyone I come in contact with compliments my lush lashes, not knowing they’re fake. I’m always honest and tell them they are falsies because I feel so proud at how real they look! I’m the type of girl who gets geeked up and says “Can you say that again?”.

I really hope you check out these awesome mascaras. I truly love them and have been reaching for them the most. I guarantee you will love at least two of these mascaras. If you want to take the safe route, purchase Guerlain’s Maxilash Volume Intense. It’s my favorite out of the five, only by half a point though. They are all fantastic.

Tweet me your favorite mascaras and let me know if you love any of the ones mentioned above! @ByGiselle1.

xx Giselle

Disclaimer: Le Metier de Beauté & Lancome were sent to me for consideration. My thoughts are more than 100% honest and I would not share them if I didn’t believe in the products. 

Step Into My Shower: Haircare Edition

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I am always getting compliments on my hair & I am not too humble to say this because I put a lot of time and effort into my hair! My haircare routine is a bit complicated because the two things I want to achieve with my hair, really don’t go together.

I love big, bouncy and voluminous hair. In order to achieve that it’s best to stay away from moisturizing products that can tend to way your hair down so I tend to use clarifying Shampoo and double wash. This gets rid of all the oils in my hair and gives it the maximum volume.

I also love shiny, luscious and touchable hair. For hair like this you need moisturizing conditioners and masks. I also have minimally color treated hair (highlights) and blow dry my hair every time I wash it, so to avoid damaging it, I have to heavily moisturize.

Do you see my issue? If you don’t, I will tell you. Both parts of my routine can completely cancel each other out! Luckily, I have found a few tricks to “have it all”. Yes, you can have big, voluminous hair that is soft and smooth to the touch.

My technique is quite simple. I use Shampoos that are for volume, which typically strip your hair of all your oils. Then, I use hair masks or deep conditioning products on the bottom 2/3’s of my hair. So I get volume on the top and touchable softness on the bottom!

I am currently using the following products

Shampoo-

  • Kenra Volumizing Shampoo- This is my absolute favorite shampoo of all time! I’ve been using it for years. It smells like peaches and has such a good lather (due to sulfates, which is actually quite harmful to your hair).
  • Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Shampoo- If you have less healthy hair or color treated hair, then this is your best bet because it doesn’t contain any sulfates. I like this shampoo as well but I really like a lather. Sulfates are what make your shampoo lather.
  • Oribe The Cleanse Clarifying Shampoo- This shampoo is weird because it sprays out like a mousse but, it definitely is clarifying. So clarifying that I tend to use this only twice a month, when I really feel like I have lots of gunk in my hair that needs to be gone. It does have that signature Oribe smell though, which is absolutely delicious!
  • T’zikal Deep Hydrating Shampoo-

    For days that I feel like my hair is dry, brittle or has been through the “ringer”, I use this. It won’t give me volume, but it does smooth my hair and make it shiny, tangle free and smooth

Conditioners-

  • Macadamia Oil Nourishing Moisture Mask- My all time favorite conditioner has to be from Macadamia Oil. I love conditioners infused with natural oils. This conditioner is actually more like a mask. It smells so good (fruity) and leaves my hair silky smooth.
  • Oribe Glaze For Beautiful Color- This is more of a shine/glaze treatment but works as a conditioner at the same time. I only use this twice a month to amp up the shine in my hair.
  • Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Mask- Another mask. I’m obsessed with hair masks. It smells so good (that Oribe signature scent that we all love) and really does wonders for my hair.
  • T’zikal Deep Moisturizer Conditioning Cream- This is not a mask, but a normal conditioner. It’s great for when you just need moisture but not too much. This conditioner wont weigh your hair down at all! Plus it’s infused with natural oils, which as I previously mentioned, is so good for your hair!
  • Sachjuan Color Save- I only use this when I just got my hair colored, been in the sun too long or see my hair color is looking a little dull. It revives it and makes your hair color bright and shiny again.

 

Oribe can be purchased at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Space.NK & Fine Salons

T’zikal is a new brand and can be purchased on their website (T’zikal.com) or at Space.NK (http://www.spacenk.com/us/en_US/brands/t/tzikal/)

Sachjuan can be purchased at Nordstrom and Fine Salons

Macadamia Oil, Kenra and Big Sexy Hair can be purchased at Ulta and Fine Salons

 

What’s your favorite brand when it comes to hair care?

 

 

Disclaimer- Macadmia Oil Products & T’Zikal Products were sent to me for my consideration. My thoughts on the products are more than 100% authentic. 

Chemical Exfoliation: My 7 Year Skincare Secret Part 1- Why Chemically Exfoliate

How I Found Out About Chemical Exfoliation

Around 2009, I was pretty much addicted to MakeupAlleya site dedicated to honest reviews and unbiased discussions on products. At the time, I wasn’t as knowledgable as I am now when it comes to skincare. I would frequently ask on the discussion board what products would work for me. One day a few people recommended what, at the time, was called Alpha Hydrox AHA Souffle 12%. When I looked up the reviews at the time I remember it having a pretty high score, somewhere in the 4.4 range. As of today it’s rated a 4.1 out 5.0, which considering it has over 500 reviews, is really good.

I was new to AHA’s, BHA’s and everything that chemically exfoliates the skin. It sounded scary and I was really scared to touch anything dubbed “chemically exfoliating”. I was also tired of my rough skin texture at the time that made my pores look larger than they were and my dry skin that made my makeup flake. I yearned for smooth, silky skin and after learning more about chemical exfoliants, I finally made the jump.

Why Should You Chemically Exfoliate?

If you’ve never used a chemical exfoliant, you should! When we think of exfoliation, we think of rubbing something rough and abrasive over our skin. Yes, a scrub or loofah will exfoliate your skin but, only at the surface level. Manual exfoliation just removes the top layer of dead skin and can actually damage your skin. Chemical exfoliation is far superior to manual exfoliation for far more than the absence of rubbing your skin raw. Not only does chemical exfoliation refrain from damaging your skin with harsh abrasives but, it also is more affective at removing dead skin. Chemical exfoliants penetrate the skin much deeper, reaching more layers of dead skin or skin that needs to be renewed. Manual can’t do that. Think of a chemical exfoliant as a mask that basically eats up all your dead skin cells and produces fresh, new skin. It’s also way less time consuming as all you need to do it apply the cream, lotion or gel and go on with your day.

I Just Chemically Exfoliated, Now What?

Now I know I said chemical exfoliation isn’t as rough as manual exfoliation, that doesn’t mean that it’s as gentle as a regular day cream. Chemical exfoliation reveals fresh, new skin that is…raw. There I said that scary word we all fear. There is actually nothing to fear though. Yes, the skin is raw because it’s new and vibrant and no it’s not raw in the sense where you feel you got a chemical burn. As long as you protect the newly surfaced skin, you’ll be fine. By protection I mean moisturizing and using a good amount of SPF as the sun can really damage your newly resurfaced skin. Remember it’s skin that hasn’t really seen daylight since it has been covered with oils, dead skin cells and all the other gunk we have on our face. I like to think of this newly surfaced skin as a new beginning. It’s a way to get the skin you want and fix past mistakes. Baby that new skin. Drench it in a good serum and moisturizer. Make sure it’s supple and clean. Be gentle and, on the first few days, don’t go overboard with the makeup. Oh and again, STAY OUT OF THE SUN!

I now use chemical exfoliants all over my body. I have dry skin and KP skin (Keratosis Polaris) on my upper arms and thighs (also known as chicken skin). Using a chemical exfoliant really helps smooth out my skin as well as moisturize it, although it doesn’t cure it. You can’t cure KP skin, you can only treat it.

REN Skincare : Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask Review & Thoughts

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Luckily for me, working in the beauty industry lets me test out all kinds of products, so I usually get these beautiful, curated packages sent to my door. I’m always excited to get these packages but when I got a package from REN Skincare, full of their best-sellers, I was so excited because I literally swear by their Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask. It’s been a staple in my beauty cabinet for the last 2-3 years. I kid you not, this product does wonders for my dry and rough skin.

fullsizerender-jpg(The white cloth pictured is very helpful in removing the sticky mask!)

What REN Says:

Our Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask (such a long name!) is an instant complexion-perfecting mask that brightens and renews skin tone and texture, minimizes pores and discoloration and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in just 10 minutes.

The results according to REN include removal of dead skin cells, brighter and healthier looking skin, reduction in appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and helps combat congestion, blackheads and blemishes.

What I say:

For me, it absolutely removes my dead skin cells and leaves my skin silky smooth. Makeup goes on like a dream after I use this mask. My skin does look more radiant and has less discoloration. As any exfoliator will do, fine lines and wrinkles will be less noticeable but it won’t take them away. I am not sure on the reduction of blackheads since I don’t have any. The claim about blemishes, I am not sure about as these acids can be a bit harmful to a recent breakout but, it definitely can help combat any scars or marks left over from previous breakouts.

I am a huge fan of chemical exfoliants. I use them day and night! I prefer them to manual exfoliation. Matter of fact, I haven’t manually exfoliating in months! Chemical exfoliation is far superior because it can penetrate more layers of skin and have a better impact on your skin overall.

What I don’t like about this mask is how sticky it is. I know, I am nitpicking here but masks like these are a bit annoying when you have long hair. But this can easily be solved by wearing a head band and putting your hair up. It does “burn” a bit, but only sometimes. Sometimes I feel nothing. It depends on how my skin is that day. Nothing excruciating though. I honestly recommend you trying this out as the price point is great for the quality of product you get ($55 USD). It’s full of acids that are really beneficial to removing dead, rough skin (Glycolic Acid from Pineapples, Lactic Acid from Passion Fruit and Citric Acid from Lemons are just a few of the food based acids). Think of this mask as eating away all your dead skin cells and revealing a fresh new layer.

The only concern you should have about this mask is if it breaks you out or not. It will work on almost everyone (unless you have been using high levels of acid based masks for a while) and leave your skin smooth and fresh. The only issue would be if the mask tends to break you out or not. Yes it does what it says but everyones skin is different. The only way you will know is if you try it out! I personally love it and I think everyone should try this mask out if they have issues with rough skin texture, uneven skin tone and fine lines. It still is a staple in my beauty closet, but lets see how long it lasts as I tend to increase the percentage of acids I use.

REN is available at REN.com, Sephora and other beauty retailers listed on their site!

Check back for a review on their new Flash Hydro Boost (spoiler: I’m also loving it and it’s been only two days!)