Best of 312: Michelle Starbuck Designs


On most days, you can find a piece of Michelle Starbuck jewelry on my body. Michelle is a Chicago designer who repurposes vintage materials into fantastically wearable and unique geometric jewels. Case in point: these triangle stud earrings (worn here) and this necklace (seen here). I’ve met Michelle a few times, by way of Lindsay, and think she is as cool as her brassy strands. Her mission is to make wearable jewelry that is always affordable. She has a classic aesthetic that I just love because her pieces go with everything. And she lets you in on her creative process, often sharing new ideas as they’re taking shape. Somehow her excitement over scoring new vintage materials comes through so contagiously!


A peek at my rapidly growing MSD collection!

Michelle-Starbuck-CuffI’d been looking for a cuff like this for years and stumbled on this at Michelle’s recent warehouse sale.

Michelle-StarbuckNecklaceThe “tassled” ladder is one of my favorite necklaces. It’s the perfect length and feels like one of a kind, which is likely true since she works with only the materials she has.

Michelle sells at several Chicago shops including The Inkling Shop on Broadway and Modern Cooperative in Pilsen and does local pick-up so you can avoid shipping if you buy from her directly!

Also, happy (official) earth day 2014!

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Pretty Picks: Earth Day Beauty


In honor of Earth Day, which is officially going down tomorrow, this week’s pretty picks are extra eco-conscious. Or eco-awesome, as I’ve come to refer to the green beauty space. I used to be able to count the number of “clean” green beauty products I liked better than those with less than natural ingredients on one hand. Talk about a dramatic shift — and one that’s absolutely benefitted my body and home in the best way. Here’s what I’m loving/lusting for at the moment!

I trust Osmia Organics with my skin, plain and simple. It started with the spot treatment and now her gorgeous soaps — like this milky rose bar with actual rose petals! And, Osmia is releasing a special facial soap called Stracciatella (yes, like the ice cream) on Earth Day. // I can’t go back to plastic after drinking out of my beloved BKR for the past few months. Water tastes better in it – I swear! Loving this new black on black (named for the LBD!) bottle I spotted at BeauTea Bar. // Adoring these tubes of vegan lip balm from Meow Meow Tweet Tweet in combos like tangerine lime and grapefruit and clove. // This tasseled FEED x Birchbox bag gives 10 meals to hungry people around the world. // Rahua’s organic hairspray volumizes and holds hair in place, without alcohol or any aerosols. // Habit nail polish, with its sustainable bamboo cap, has myrrh extract to strengthen nails. // Dr. Alkaitis Beautifying Mask has raw cacao powder and an edible clay to exfoliate and detox skin. Yum! // Adina at S.W. Basics started selling reusable cotton rounds (of the organic, unbleached variety!) to go with her awesome line of products that are best served up on cotton pad or ball. The set of 8 even comes with its own laundry sachet.

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Need to Know: NARS Summer

NARS Summer

I like what you’re serving up here, NARS. A fun new color collection launched this week. With product names like Hot Sand, Tropical Princess and Lost Coast, it’s clear this is for summer! The mixed palette of bright orange — that nail polish! – lilac and champagne is precisely what I want to wear right now. Specifically, you need to know just what a tiny squeeze of the peach illuminator mixed in with your tinted moisturizer can do for your complexion followed by layering the lavender and pewter shadows in the Lost Coast Duo on your eyelids. NARS always pairs colors together that you wouldn’t on your own and the result always surprises me, in a good way.

Hope everyone has a nice long holiday weekend in store. I’m still reeling from last night’s Scandal finale. I’m mostly sad I have to wait until next season for more Scott Foley.

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Spring Cleaning + Clementine Daily


In exactly one week, I am getting the closet overhaul I’ve been dreaming of my adult life. After four years in our house, we finally turned it over to the Elfa experts at The Container Store in Lincoln Park to help us help ourselves. Before the brand new baby gets installed, I’ve been on a steadfast mission to declutter. Once I get going, I can’t stop. No closet has been spared, including my beauty drawers. I’ve joined up with the lovely team at Clementine Daily starting this month and am over there dishing on the fruits of my labors in a special beauty themed spring cleaning fest. Time to toss those ancient tubes of sunscreen and the multi-use palettes you’ve been hanging on to since 2008. Or wait, is this just me?

If you’ve yet to discover Clementine, it’s a site for you, me and every girl out there living a sometimes crazy but always inspired life. Written by real women for real women, it’s about the journey not the perfect destination. Hope you love it as much as I do!

More on that beauty drawer refresh, right this way!

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I Woke Up Like This


If I had a nickel for every time someone told me I looked tan this past month, I’d have enough to buy a latte. Which is a lot….my office isn’t that big. I always say, “oh, must be from Mexico,” but that was almost two months ago and I used so much SPF I think I got negative sun. I don’t seek out a tan, clearly, but I sure love bronzer. I’m all about the I Woke Up Like This Face, monochromatic edition. After my accidental experiment, I can guarantee these steps will have people spontaneously complimenting you on your tanned complexion. Our little secret, k?

Bronze, generously. I take it a step further than this model and bronze along my hair and jawline as well. The key is to avoid too much shimmer. Might look OK for a second but as the day goes on, it will be party at the disco. Enter the new NARS Matte Multiple in Altai. Using this product wet gives you complete control over the result. Keep the eyes minimal but defined. The light brown matte in ‘Limit’ from the Naked3 Palette in the crease with a smudge of a copper-colored liner – I love SmogIntensify the lash line. I’ve been using It Cosmetics Tightline Mascara Primer …aka WHERE has this product been all of my life…which you apply at the very base of your lashes. I’ve never mastered tightlining (the impossible technique of lining your waterline) so It Cosmetics is genius. Natural lip tint. A balm looks more natural than lipstick or gloss, so a few dabs of Kjaer Weis Lip Tint in Dream State finishes it off flawlessly.

Photo via

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Pretty Picks: Cherry Blossoms


Two words: patio season. I had dinner outside this weekend and it was glorious. Those first few patio moments after winter make all of the bundling and freezing seem worth it. It’s also prime time for the cherry blossoms. I was bombarded with pictures from DC friends this weekend. That was always one of my favorite parts about living in DC.  Spring in Chicago has its perks, but a view of the cherry blossoms from a paddle boat in the Tidal Basin might trump a patio dinner. Maybe. On to this week’s pretty picks!

Rifle Paper Co. captured the cherry blossoms perfectly with this print. // This DKNY Trench can be worn a handful of different ways, thanks to an optional capelet. // These flats (by Toms!) actually look like they’d be worn by a ballerina. I adore them. // Aerin makes insanely beautiful palettes and this one for face and eyes is at the top of my wish list. // Tarte’s pepperminty lipsurgence pencils now come in a lip gloss. // Cosmetic bag meets clutch…how adorable is this speckled pattern? // Bobbi Brown now makes eyewear and this blush pair of sunnies are so chic. // ILIA multi-stick in Tenderly is the perfect cherry blossom pink hue.

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Need to Know: bareSkin Serum


Swirl, tap, buff is getting a shakeup. As in, shake, drop, buff. Enter bareMinerals new foundation that brings two BE worlds together: minerals and skin care. Did I mention…bareSkin Foundation is a liquid? Did you ever think we’d see the day? Apparently, team BE has been working behind the scenes for quite some time to get this one just right and even designed a new brush to be its sidekick. Consider me tres intrigued by everything bareSkin has to offer: a short ingredient list, lightweight texture and a finish that is both dewy and brightening.  But mostly that brush which has a RESERVOIR in the middle to hold the foundation so it doesn’t drip around the sides before you get to buffing. It’s rolling out everywhere on May 1, but available now on QVC.

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Pure on Purpose…GREENBODY


I’m committed to the point of stubborn so once I made the decision to ditch the chemical deodorants, I was all in. Recall this moment last fall when it all started? I had a really good ride with the Soapwalla deodorant cream. The issue over time was that the sodium bicarbonate (a.k.a. baking soda) irritated my underarms, which was so the pits (you’d take that pun, too…mmmkay.) Never to the point of pain but visibly in a burnt-state. I’ve got a warm weather wardrobe to consider and well, if I want to encourage others to take the nat deo plunge, that look isn’t helping. Plus, applying deodorant with your fingers is an acquired process. Old habits die hard. I’ve had more than a few trials end poorly in recent months so I manage my expectations accordingly. That self-level-setting makes it all the more sweeter when you find something incredible. Which I have…GREENBODY natural deodorant is a diamond in the rough. This is one of those under the radar brands that you probably don’t know about and is led by one seriously passionate woman who just wants to keep us fresh without the chemicals. I’ve been using the sporty version which is handcrafted using nourishing butters, oils and a hint of pine and wintergreen leaves. It blows everything out of the water. Greenbody, which is pure on purpose (adore that message!), also makes a baking soda-free formula for the pH-sensitive. L-O-V-E.

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Pretty Picks: Pearls


This weekend was all sorts of emotional. That Badgers game. The series finale of How I Met Your Mother. I was able to avoid all spoilers this week but knew there was outrage. I get it now, though I’m still totally conflicted on how I feel about it. This interview helps. I chose this week’s pretty picks in part because pearls make me happy and because I can’t stop thinking about this necklace. Or this ring. Those two pieces are exactly how I want to wear pearl jewelry right now…with just a little bit of edge.

Here’s my other pearly picks!

The BaubleBar pearl collar is out of stock (sadly!) but this Anthropologie version is just as good. // I love the Jouer Lip Enhancer formula and this pearly nude hue is so perfect. Makes for very kissable lips! // Crushed pearl acts as a skin conditioner in Tatcha’s Rice Enzyme Powder. Water activates the formula and turns it into a super rich and exfoliating cleanser. // The highlighter of ALL highlighters…revealed to be the secret to the J.Crew model glow. //  I went to a Clarins spring beauty event a few weeks ago and have been mixing this base in with my tinted moisturizer for a little glow since. // NARS does neutral eyeshadow so well and this opalescent pink is especially pretty and brightening.

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Need to Know: Bite Beauty Deconstructed Rose


Last fall while I was in NY for a hot second, I made a spontaneous trip to the Bite Beauty Lip Lab in Soho only to have my hopes of making my own custom Bite lipstick dashed. It was my own fault for not planning ahead as there were a few lucky gals with appointments ahead of me. So instead I headed to the airport without that tube of rosy pink with a touch of coral that I was going to make. That experience is still on my to do list but Bite just did me one better with its new Deconstructed Rose Lip Gloss Library. A dozen lip glosses inspired by every color you’ll find in a bouquet of red and pink roses. Each color looks prettier than the next and the gloss itself is infused with Rose Otto oil which is super precious and beautifying. And the icing on the cake is this set came out at the exact moment Sephora is holding its spring beauty event….15% off through April 11. Happy Friday, indeed!

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