Tag Archives: Space NK

The Year of the Neck

I declared 2018 the year of the neck. My neck, specifically. It’s also the year of the dog. And I was born in the year of the dog.  According to my Chinese zodiac, my dog year birth element is water. Which means I am a calculative planner.

“They focus on building a strong foundation for their future. But when faced with difficulties, they can become very pessimistic. They work hard, but should create bigger goals in order to use their full potential.”

True that. I have built a strong foundation with a consistent skin care routine but have become a bit pessy lately with the neck. This year, my bigger goal is to focus on my neck and my decolletege. I will be at peak skin care potential when I finally make this happen. It’s true that your hands and neck are the dead giveaways with age. And we all have tech neck… it’s a thing, all that looking down. Bleh. I’m seeing some neck creases, so I’m hoping this re-dedication to my neck is enough to slow down some of what’s happening.

I have long been in the camp of you do not need a neck-specific product claim, you just need to be using your skincare on your neck. I stand by that, though, I’m not that willing to use all of my favorite products on my neck.  I ration my Vintner’s Daughter. That is gold! It looks like gold and the cost is gold. Gold goes on my face!

That said, I don’t think any old lotion is enough on your neck. You need powerful ingredients that tighten and improve elasticity. It’s really the job for a serum. Now, I hear you, the element of my skincare that gets me the least excited is the idea of buying a neck cream.

Not for lack of options. There are plenty out there that excite me but I have a different strategy.

It’s two-fold.

  1. Delegate. I will use the products I don’t like for my face on my neck. I’m not saying the ones that you have a reaction to, but the ones you just don’t love. Sometimes it happens. I know I often will get a sample from a brand or buy something and find it just doesn’t work for me. A couple examples. I do not love the Pai Rosehip Oil. I might be the only one because I’ve only heard raves, but we didn’t get on. It’s high quality and helps with skin firmness and elasticity so this is an easy delegation. Bam, there’s my neck treatment.

Also — and this is so bougie — at the moment, I’m using the La Prairie Skin Caviar Absolute Filler. I went to a La Prairie event last November and received this as a gift. This is legitimately the most expensive skin care product I’ve ever used (makes my Vintner’s Daughter seem like The Ordinary pricing…) and here I am delegating it to my neck. That’s how much I’m committed to my neck, ya’ll! This is supposed to be like fillers, without the injectables. It’s bouncy and plumping. In theory, everything that I would want on my face. The signature La Prairie scent, while lovely, is too much for my face. I’m terrified for this to run out, because it really is special. It’s got an airless pump that dispenses the perfect amount. I’m truly spoiled with this. I AM NOT WORTHY.

  1. Use forgotten samples. The second part of my strategy is to put those lost samples to use. The ones you get in a gift with purchase, maybe a point redemption “freebie” at Sephora, etc. etc. Often times, I don’t want to disrupt my routine for a few weeks (more or less) worth of serum or cream. The latest SpaceNK spring gift had so many good samples that I am saving for my neck.

Either way, I’m pressing and slathering on treatment twice a day on my neck. When I finally stop wearing turtlenecks on the regular, I’ll also start being more deliberate about putting sunscreen there. I’m not a total hot mess with that, but I could step up my game.

Year of the neck! Year of the dog! Let’s do it.

Also, as a quick aside, thank you for the sweet comments and emails about my last post. Means a ton. We’re all human and the world is so heavy right now. My sense of place is nothing in comparison but finding my voice will help me put it to better use.

Space NK on Autumn Beauty


It’s Autumn Beauty Edit week at Space NK. Tomorrow, September 10, there are beauty bashes being held at all U.S. locations. For 312-ers, that means a stop by the Bloomingdale’s location may be in order. The highlight – of course – is this swagtastic gift. Space does this a few times a year and it’s always epic. It’s a one-day phenom, designed exclusively for the event. Highlights for me are the African Botanics Pure Marula Cleansing Oil, Lipstick Queen Chinatown Glossy Pencil in Chase (sheer watermelon perfection), Diptyque L’ombre Dans L’eau perfume (fresh and green scent – like an English garden!)and Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask (enough for several uses!)

A Madison State of Mind

madison style

Visiting Madison in the summer time is awesome. Bringing two friends who have never been to Madison (ever…not just summer) is even better. I was such a proud hostess this weekend and a bit of a dairy pusher. Cheese curds with every meal is OK…sure…yes. I’ve been a little tightly wound and as soon as I saw that Capitol dome I felt the tension loosen. Madison has that effect on me. The carefree (a.k.a. give absolutely zero f*ks) vibes people give off are like therapy. Plus, it was a really great excuse to wear my Birkenstocks all weekend—they never stopped happening there. I’m hoping to ride out this post-Madison state of mind for as long as I can starting with a fresh set of inspired pretty picks.

Milkhaus Weekender Bag – The creator of Milkhaus Design is based in Madison and says her original designs are inspired by the details she notices going about her day. I love her aesthetic and this tote. // Free People Mercury Sunglasses – I picked these up on an impulse last month in LA and am so glad I did. Paying a lot for sunglasses is something I’ll never do since I always break them. These were such a good deal but look much splurgier. // Life NK Daily Fix Body Lotion  – This was part of one of Space NK’s recent gift with purchases and I tossed it in my travel bag for the first time. It’s a total goodie — moisturizing and fragrance-free. // Urban Decay Easy Baked – I wear less makeup in Madison and wore this soft gold nonstop with just a little bit of liquid liner. Also, could there be a more Madison appropriate shadow name? I mean… // Catchkid – We stumbled onto this band playing at a street festival near the Square (the Capitol area) and ended up watching them for an hour. The lead singer reminded me of Chris Martin in every way and the guitarist had a real John Mayer thing going on. Consider me a major fan.  // TOMS Ankle Strap Sandal Lindsay wore these all weekend and I’m probably going to copy her. We seem to have a lot of similar items in our wardrobes and are in a constant state of “bitch stole my look.”

Your Entire Face, in a Stick

Nudestix MakeupEvery summer, I get absolutely giddy in the back to school aisles. Trips to Target get even more ADD and I’m scouring shelves for gel pens and notebooks with Boston Terriers on them. I never mentally got past the eighth grade in that regard. I think maybe that is why I’m so excited about this new, pencils only makeup line that just popped up at Space NK. Called Nudestix, it’s the brainchild of industry vet Jenny Frankel, of MAC Cosmetics and Cover FX (she co-created the line in 2000) fame. Frankel and her two daughters, who I’m betting geek out in the paper product aisle themselves, created a streamlined collection of neutral-toned makeup “stix” that can be used interchangeably on skin, eyes, lips and cheeks.  This back to basics, no-brush required approach is admittedly pretty fun. While there’s no shortage of crayon-inspired makeup on the market, the n-stix ladies have perfected the formula. Nudestix pencils are creamy and infused with vitamins and moisturizers. The ‘Shimmer’ Eye Pencil is a beautiful white gold highlighter that I’ve been using all over my face. The Lip and Cheek Pencils spread easily on cheeks and don’t dry up on lips. Every shade just gives you a little bit of that “me but better” look. You won’t find this in store at the Chicago Space NK location but the  full line is available at Space NK online.

Better Bath Time: Sai-Sei Soap


It looks like an exotic piece of fruit but this little orb is technically a bar of soap. It really does appear to be something that would grow on a tree but the inner layer is actually a loofah. I know! The sponge buffs skin while the mineral soap moisturizes. Don’t worry if you get too ambitious, the loofah is firm and effective but it never gets too harsh. A scrub session every other day these past few weeks has made a pretty marked difference on my skin. I’m physically shedding the winter layer – eww! Exfoliating is usually a task I relegate to the shower. Most anti-bathers say they don’t like sitting in their own dirt — I never feel this way UNTIL I exfoliate with a traditional scrub. Those tiny beads and shells cling to your body and stay with you when you get out of the bath. This is completely mess free and bath-approved. Sai-Sei overall is bath friendly and I love them for it — the entire line is dedicated to honoring the cleansing rituals played out in ancient Japanese hot springs. I would have done well in that era. I first tried this after getting a sample in the last Space NK gift and am so glad I did.

312 To Do: Free Facials at Space NK


Space NK is the place to be in Chicago this Saturday. Because, free facials. Uh-huh. On March 29, celeb facialist Joanna Vargas will be giving her services F.O.C. to the lucky few who snag an appointment (aka….call now!) Tucked away in Space NK’s corner of Bloomies are two spa rooms free of shopper chaos which make this a serious treat. Normally I’d tell you to shy away from a free facial because it’s your face and entrust it to a select few. But Joanna owns a luxe spa in New York (which is always racking up ‘best of’ awards), a namesake product line and is responsible for maintaining the flawless complexions of Julianna Moore and Keira Knightly, to name a few.  She was at last year’s A Night for Green Beauty event and treated lines of people to a mini oxygen facial. She’s the real deal and will be doing her thing from 10:30-5:30 p.m. Call 312-440-4479 to check availability. Go!

Space NK Spring Beauty Edit


Space NK has beauty gifts of epic proportions.  You won’t find those one-time use foil packets but instead a treasure of travel and full-size items. It’s OMG-worthy and coming on Wednesday, February 19. Spring Beauty Edit time is upon us at all Space NK U.S. locations and the gift with purchase is worth a whopping $350 with products from 26 brands. The gift always sells out — I know that there are smart women who devise strategies around this. Timing a big purchase around this event or splitting it with a friend. Not a bad idea, considering it’s free with a $250 purchase. While I got an early sneak peek at the goods, I’m still considering whether now is the time to finally splurge on the Pedi Sonic. Everyone I ask tells me it does wonders for callused feet. Here are a few other beauty picks I’m eyeing up!

How to Wear Makeup in the Winter


For as fun as I think makeup is to apply and experiment with, I realize that for a lot of women, it’s a daunting routine that is sometimes anything but intuitive. Allow me to introduce you to the “lazy perfection makeup method,” coined by one of the best makeup artists in the biz, Jenny Patinkin, who also calls Chicago home.  She’s built a reputation for creating simple and natural looks that are easy to do yourself. Jenny’s approach is very “real girl” and she’s all about breaking down the notion that in order to be flattering, makeup needs to be complicated or full of steps. She even designed a lazy perfection-inspired line of makeup brushes (coming soon to Space NK!) that practically apply makeup for you.


I’ve never used a brush in so many ways as the All-Over Face (third from left)

I asked Jenny to share some of her lazy perfection tips for winter beauty. This week has been a painful reminder of the havoc frigid cold can wreak. My eyes tear up the second I walk outdoors and pale becomes me. You feel me?


My eyes are like a leaky faucet when I’m outside in the cold. What should I be doing?
Eye shadow primer is an essential (I like Nars the best) and of course water-resistant eyeliner.  For mascara, I’m actually not a big fan of waterproof formulas – they can dry out your lashes and make them brittle.  I prefer a water resistant “tube” formula mascara like the ones from Kevyn Aucoin or Trish McEvoy because they stay on until you take them off, even if you have a few tears.  And I would recommend a creamy concealer under the eyes that can be re-blended or blotted back into place after having tears run over it. Opaque concealers aren’t as malleable and are tougher to touch up.

How do you prevent lips from drying out?
Aquaphor!  It’s a savior!  I like to apply it to clients (and myself) before I put on any makeup so that by the time I’m ready to apply lipstick as the last step, lips are smooth and moisturized.  Honestly, there are plenty of times in the winter when I personally skip lipstick altogether and just apply Aquaphor.  I keep tubes of it everywhere – in my pockets, purses, my car and beside my bed, and I sleep with it on my lips every night.

Statement lip: yes or no?
As long as your lips are smooth and un-chapped, then why not!  A satin finish is more comfortable to wear than drier matte or demi-matte finishes, though, and a little bit of sheen looks pretty against flat winter fabrics like wool or cashmere.  It’s also helpful to warm up your complexion with a little bronzer so that the contrast between bold lips and pale skin doesn’t look harsh or too pronounced.

What is the trick to getting glowing skin, despite the dry air?
Look for products that have words like luminous, radiant, illuminating in the name or description.  This generally means that there is micro-shimmer mixed in which will help any available light bounce off of your skin, adding dimension and glow.  I like Burberry Beauty Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base mixed in with moisturizer or foundation, or Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector dotted along the tops of the cheeks.

Tips to wearing bronzer in the winter?
If your skin gets sallow in the winter – tinged with yellow, green or grey tones – then bronzer will be your best friend. I like to keep it mostly on the top part of the face – along the cheekbones, up the temples and lightly across the forehead with maybe a dash on the nose.  By keeping the center of your face (orbital bones, chin/neck) in your natural tone, you’ll look “warm” without looking “tan.”

How do you prevent the cakey look?
I tend to avoid powder products in the winter, or use them very sparingly.  Something like Jouer Essential Matte Touch is almost like a putty texture that you can apply under your makeup or on top of it as a touch up over the course of the day – love that stuff.  I sometimes also send clients out with sponges in their evening bags to blot away shine instead of covering it with powder.

What Space NK’s Nicky Kinniard Packs for a Trip to Chicago


Last month, Space NK founder Nicky Kinniard made her way through Chicago for an event at her newest location in Bloomingdale’s Michigan Ave. I’m likening the personal tour she gave me on the eve of said event to what I imagine a music lesson from Beethoven would be. Talk about learning from the master herself! This year marks 20 since Nicky opened the first Space NK in London. The personally curated shops you see cropping up constantly? Yeah, Nicky helped to pioneer that concept.  She filled her first Space NK with the things she loved and that continues today, in more than 20 locations. During our time touring the shop floor, we gabbed face oils (she loves them), the amazing-ness that is Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray (she avoids washing her hair, too!) and the most bad ass foundation brush ever. Also, according to Nicky, the Clarisonic for your feet does work, and quite well apparently. Consider my curiosity at its max on that one.


While I don’t normally let myself fall in love with an $80 brush, I couldn’t help but obsess over this one by Kevyn Aucoin. According to Nicky, there’s nothing it can’t do and it applies cream products flawlessly. She informed me she’s loving By Terry’s new serum foundation.


Nicky also raved to me about the matte shadows from Kevyn Aucoin, which come in the most flattering range of neutrals. They look and feel like suede!


I made sure to get the 411 on the must-haves Nicky packed for her trip to Chicago. No surprise, she toted along her favorite foundation and a variety of Kevyn Aucoin mattes but she spoke to me primarily on skincare. She can’t travel without her Eve Lom cleanser and layers on the Colbert MD Illumino Face Oil day and night. Many of the products on Space NK shelves are limited in distribution and Nicky is always introducing new lines. She let me in on another of her skincare secrets – the Bakel P-lipic serum which is packed with active ingredients and hyaluronic acid to fill in lines and plump up skin.

For my fellow 312 beauties, have you shopped our very own Space NK, yet?

Bloomingdale’s Gets a Face Lift


Extreme makeover, Bloomingdale’s North Michigan Avenue edition is now complete. And the big reveal is all sorts of pretty. I finally got to check it out last night with a few of my fellow Chicago blogger gals and strolled every inch of that iconic black and white tile soaking up all of the beauty real estate. It’s like 15 mini boutiques in one. When I’m in the Bobbi Brown space, I feel like I’m in a Bobbi Brown store! There’s LED screens with videos playing, right now it’s all Bobbi + Katie, and spacious counters to give you a little more room to play. Beyond flashy upgrades, there’s also more cosmetic brands, including NARS, Illamasqua—available in about a dozen total Bloomingdale’s stores now— Sisley, SK-II and four fancy private spa rooms, one solely dedicated to Chanel. Oh, and my fav part, the first Space NK apothecary in the Midwest! Space NK carries Rahua, Jin Soon, African Botanics, Tata Harper, Oribe, Lipstick Queen and other brands you don’t see in stores as often.


Gisele greets you upon entry!

Now that everything is fresh and shiny, Bloomingdale’s has a busy social schedule for the coming months. Tonight, The Everygirl is hosting a grand opening bash and the founder of Illamasqua, Julian Kynaston, will be making an appearance and hosting a “beauty crossfire” of sorts. Think ready-to-wear makeup looks vs. creative and colorful works of art. Oh, and….Space NK will have one of their ridiculously amazing gift-with-purchases available. Seriously, I can’t even believe all that is packed in this GWP. The good news? It’s available online if you’re not able to visit a store. The bad news? Quantities are super limited.

312 Shops: SPACE.NK.apothecary

Chicago is a shopping destination and beauty boutiques are plentiful. 312 Shops features my favorite places to shop in the city and explores new territory as well. Consider this your guide to Chicago, by way of beauty. Check out my latest tour of Chicago’s newest beauty boutique, SPACE.NK.


Space NK chose wisely for its first ever Midwest boutique. Finally, the luxury beauty retailer opened up shop in Chicago at Bloomingdale’s. According to Space NK founder Nicky Kinnaird, Chicago was the right market. “We have an existing fan base here, judging from customers shopping on our website and asking us to open a store.” She’s clearly referencing me, right? And definitely Joyce of Bronzer Bunny, too. We may have led the online petition!

The brands… More than 40 luxurious brands are available and new products arrive every few weeks to keep inventory fresh. I was struck by the gorgeous display of Kevyn Aucoin, Hourglass and Lipstick Queen as well as serious shelf space dedicated to Oribe, Tata Harper, Rahua and Jin Soon.

The neighbors… Housed in a nook within the Bloomingdale’s cosmetics department, Chicago’s Space NK is in good company with Laura Mercier, La Prairie and Bobbi Brown nearby. When the reno is done, it’s going to be insane.

The perks Without question, Space NK has the best gift-with-purchases. Seems as though everyone has resorted to one-time-use packets and fragrance cards, which makes their often inclusion of nearly full-size lipsticks, mini diptyque candles and other deluxe offerings refreshing.



These neutral eyeshadow duos by Kevyn Aucoin are calling me!

The experience All about discovery. I always come across brands that are new on my radar, like Sai-Sei, and the sales team is more than willing to chat and answer questions (in a very non-pushy, friendly way).





Space NK will host its grand opening celebration when Bloomingdale’s wraps its beauty floor remodel. Save the date for Thursday, September 12 — word is one of Space NK’s famous GWPs will be up for grabs. And, while you’re at it, jot down Saturday, October 26, when Space NK founder Nicky Kinnaird will be making an appearance and offering one-on-one consultations.