Monday, April 30, 2012


A few weeks ago I went to the Dose Market, an indoor Market filled with diverse vendors selling food, clothes, and more. And while feeling inspired in such a creative environment is expected, I wasn't planning on being affected to the degree that I was when I walked out that day. Being interested in the unique bracelets that quickly caught my eye, I stopped by the BADALA station to chat with the founder, Joelle Gnotek, a passionate girl whose beauty transcends what's visual.  The simple question of "What's your story?" left me so inspired, I was compelled to get the word out.

BADALA is a microeconomic initiative supporting women in impoverished communities, specifically single mothers who would otherwise be forced to prostitute or beg in order to survive. The bracelets that are sold, which we just so happen to LOVE, are aiding these women. Check out my interview with Joelle, where she explains the evolution of BADALA and how the purchase of one bracelet can make a huge difference.

We love the bracelets! How are they made and what is the BADALA process? So glad you like the bracelets! We have two locations where our items are made: Kibera, our urban location in Kenya (and one of the world's biggest slums) where the bracelets are made, and Kayonza, a rural location where our holiday items are made. The women there are paid a monthly salary so they're able to provide for themselves and their children. The bracelets are then sold in the United States and the profit either gets re-invested into the microfinance program or our education program. 

When did you first hear about the struggles these women in Africa face? I first heard about the struggles women in Africa face when I went to Africa in 2008 and 2009 and they told me their stories. I met women who were abandoned by their husbands and forced to prostitute and beg and they stole my heart. These women became some of my best friends and I decided that something had to be done for them and the millions of others like them.

What does the word "BADALA" mean? BADALA is the Swahili word for instead. Our goal is to find alternatives to people in poverty instead of turning to abusive relationships, instead of prostitution, instead of begging, etc.

What is next for BADALA? As for our work on the ground in Africa, we'll be starting saving and loan groups so that our women can graduate from our microfinance program and start their own businesses which would allow us to continue to hire more single moms and take them out of prostitution and abuse. It is also our goal to provide high school scholarships for 20 students in 2013 in our education program. We'll also be expanding our line to include more than just bracelets. We're partnering with Lydia Brockman, the owner and creator of Janice to design a scarf that will be released in the Fall. By the holiday season we also hope to be adding necklaces and holiday items like stockings and ornaments.

Currently their website is under construction, so you can learn more about BADALA and purchase a bracelet on their facebook page. They even offer vegan designs, which I absolutely adore. Make sure to follow Joelle on twitter, as well as BADALA, so you too can connect with the cause.

"We believe that 'Love thy neighbor' does not just apply to the person who lives 
across the street from you, but that we are a part of a global community" - BADALA

Here are a few other pictures I snapped at the Dose Market, including a fellow Chicago Blogger Network member, Wanderlustings! How cute are those necklaces?

Are you hungry yet? Real Kitchen - Chicago

AMAZING designs, with colors that are to die for. Check out C/Fan!

Don't forget to head over to the  Dose Market page, where you can learn more about the event. The next market will be held on May 13th, from 10AM to 4PM at the River East Art Center (435 E. Illinois Street). I encourage all of our readers to go, hoping you will walk out just as inspired as I was.

XX Jill

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Nothing warms my icy Chicago heart more than combining my love of fashion with my love of education. Last night my school, The University of Chicago, threw a "Party in the Sky" held on the 99th floor of the Sears Tower for Graduate students (does this make me an official Chicagoan because I refuse to call it the Willis Tower?). But, before I dined and drank with my fellow classmates, I took this as the perfect shopping opportunity. I chose this black Halston Heritage asymmetrical dress and paired it with these Badgley Mischka 'Larissa' shoes in Rose Taffeta, for a simple yet sophisticated look.

Normally opting to let my skin go all natural, I decided to splurge on a new foundation for special occasions. After much deliberation in makeup heaven (thank you to Kate at Sephora on Michigan Avenue!), I  chose the Makeup Forever HD Foundation and HD Powder. It's build-able coverage and longevity are worth the purchase, and my sensitive skin, so far, is very happy with it! While the foundation makes my skin look dewy and glowing, the powder holds any shine or oil at bay, which reflects in person AND in pictures. I also have been hearing a lot of talk on the makeup blogs about Revlon Lip Butters, so I decided to try it out myself. Here I am wearing the shade Berry Smoothie, and the product COMPLETELY lives up to the hype. It gave me a light, natural color while keeping moisture locked in. There is no makeup problem worse than wearing lipstick with chapped lips, and Revlon found the solution (for only $7.50, too!). I'll be making a trip back to CVS for more. Any new beauty products you guys have tried lately?

XX Jill

Thursday, April 19, 2012


To die for fashion, loud music, pretty manicures, rad hairstyles... Only Topshop can turn a Wednesday into the perfect girls night out. Last night we attended the Spring Style Party with CS Magazine, hosted by Trés Awesome and Chicago Street Style where we got to mingle with fashionable Chicagoans in one of the hottest stores on Michigan Avenue. In between sipping drinks and checking out the latest clothes, we got to have some fun in the photo booth (which we just HAD to hit up twice).

This is our fourth and fifth photo booth sesh, I believe.

As if Topshop didn't treat it's customers like gold with the professional hair stylists, makeup artists, and manicurists assisting every girls needs, they offered 20% off your purchase. What more could you ask for? Check out some of our pictures below!

DJ Dani Deahl

Teddie Kossof Salon Spa

Getting their nails did.


Everyone loved the photo booth! It's our favorite thing to do.

While everyone who attended wore their Spring best, these girls' style choices caught our eye.

Jess wore a leather jacket, top and scarf from GUESS, jeans from Gap and Dolce Vita wedges. Jill wore a blouse by French Connection, H&M pants, shoes by Privé (Intermix) and a vintage necklace.

Did you get any goodies at Topshop? Give us the deets!

XO Jess & Jill

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Celebrate 30 sexy years with GUESS, and along Marie Claire, at a private anniversary event at 605 N. Michigan Ave., Tuesday, April 24th, from 7 to 9 PM. 

The most amazing part of this event will be the exclusive capsule collection that features product inspired from the famous advertisements from the past 30 years. They're even relaunching the Marilyn Jean, the jean that started it all! Other pieces include that famous corset Claudia Schiffer donned in '89, and other clothing and accessories inspired from Anna Nicole Smith, Drew Barrymore, and Alessandra Ambrosio. This event is perfect for those that love vintage inspired pieces. You can browse the 15 piece collection online now, but you can only shop it before the release at GUESS Michigan Avenue! There will be food, drinks, and a DJ to make this shopping experience so much more fun! The first 100 customers will receive a gift bag with amazing goodies (including a shopping card and special nail polish from O.P.I. made just for GUESS)! Also, 10% of all event sales will benefit Save the Children.

Check out the flyer below for the details and keep scrolling for Claudia Schiffer, flaunting her everlasting youth for GUESS, two decades later!

This is a private anniversary event and an RSVP is needed. Email us at with your name, number, and if you're bringing a guest. You can also call GUESS Michigan Ave. at (312) 440-9665. We're so excited for this event and it's definitely not one to be missed. Hope to see you there! 

XO Jess & Jill

Monday, April 16, 2012


Topshop and CS Magazine are giving Chicago the perfect Spring Style Party Wednesday night! Come out to Topshop (830 N. Michigan Ave.) from 6 to 9 PM to get style secrets from Emma Arnold of  Trés Awesome and Amy Creyer of Chicago Street Style, among Topshop's personal shopping team. Other perks include 20% off your entire purchase (along with a complimentary gift), the chance to win a $1,000 wardrobe makeover, and complimentary hair, makeup, and mini manicures courtesy of Teddie Kossof Salon Spa. And what's a party without a DJ, photobooth, drinks, and sweets?!

We will definitely be there Wednesday night and hope to see you there too! Let us know in the comments if you're attending, we would love to meet our readers! And make sure to check our Facebook and Twitter for photos and updates from the event!

XO Jess & Jill

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Dying to meet Brad Goreski of The Rachel Zoe Project and It's a Brad Brad World? Well, you're in luck, because he's in Chicago! Head over to Brooks Brothers (713 N. Michigan Ave.) today, April 14th from 4 to 6 PM, where he'll be signing his new book! Make sure to tweet us photos of the adorbs Brad!

Brad Goreski

XO Jess & Jill

Friday, April 13, 2012


Another TOMS Style Your Sole event is here! Visit Neiman Marcus (737 N. Michigan Ave.) tomorrow (Saturday, April 14) to get your TOMS customized by local artists. 

A great cause, a great shoe, a great event!


XO Jess & Jill

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Style extends to more than just your clothes, but reaches to every creative outlet that represents you. And what better representation than the environment we create to spend most of our days? Cait from Pretty and Fun posted some beautiful inspirations for small home spaces, which inspired us to share some of our favorite pieces.

Chicago has so many different places that can make your dream home come to life. Downtown's hidden gem, P.O.S.H. is a unique shop with an exclusive Parisian vibe. Head over to North and Clybourn in Lincoln Park and browse Crate and Barrel, Z Gallerie, Restoration Hardware, West Elm, CB2, and Pottery Barn, which are ALL within a few blocks.

Below are some essential pieces for a perfect mix between vintage and new.



1. Festival Rug ($78.00–$1,298.00) - Anthropologie (108 N. State St., 111 E. Chicago Ave.)
2. Vintage Apothecary Bottle ($68.00) - P.O.S.H. (613 N. State St.)
3. Organic Cotton Pintuck Bedding ($24.00 - $139.00) - West Elm (1000 W. North Ave.)
4. Paris Map Poster ($24.00) - Urban Outfitters (20 S. State St., 935 N. Rush St., 2352 N. Clark St.)
5. Harrington Frames ($49.95) - Z Gallerie (938 W. North Ave.)
6. Chester Tufted Upholstered Sofa ($1099.00 - $1299) - West Elm (1000 W. North Ave.) 
7. Space Vases ($29.95 - $39.95) - CB2 (800 W. North Ave.)
8. Tilt Candleholders ($12.95 - $14.95) - Crate and Barrel (850 W. North Ave., 646 N. Michigan Ave.)
9. Tabletop Photo Carousel ($99.00) - Pottery Barn (Online Only)
10. 'J' Letter Pillow ($110.00) - Jonathan Adler (676 N. Wabash Ave.)

For more home decor stores worth stopping into, check out Space 519 (900 N. Michigan Ave.) and Salvage One (1840 W. Hubbard St.).

What's your favorite piece in your home? What are you dying to add to your decor? Jess is absolutely loving Pottery Barn's Photo Carousel. It is the perfect place to store all the postcards she collects!

XX Jess & Jill

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Whether it's cobalt blue, active blue, royal blue, or display blue, this season BLUE has us wrapped around its vibrant finger. While electric colors usually have our pale skin running for the hills, these various forms of blue can work with any skin tone. From earrings to maxis, and wedges to blazers, we're putting on some Elvis and enjoying the blues.

1. 'Carlee' High Wedge Sandal ($325.00) - Tory Burch (66 E. Walton St.)
2. 'Jacobson' Stripe Barrette ($58.00) - Marc by Marc Jacobs (1714 N. Damen Ave.)
3. Black Label Collarless Blazer ($49.90) - Akira (click here for locations)
4. Alice + Olivia 'Josie Blouson' Dress ($365.00) - Scoop NYC (1702 N. Milwaukee Ave., 1009 N. Rush St.)
5. 'Eclectic Mosaic' Long Statement Pendant Necklace ($48.00) - Nordstrom (520 N. Michigan Ave.)
6. 'Kadiee' Ballet Flats ($79.95) - Steve Madden (108 N. State St., 1553 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
7. Essential Static Chevron Top ($12.80) - Forever 21 (click here for locations)
8. Stephen & Co. Bracelet ($10.00) - Nordstrom (520 N. Michigan Ave.)
9. Flying Lizard Beaded Flower Hoop Earrings ($45.00) - Cusp (835 N. Michigan Ave.)
10. Canvas Shorts ($39.95) - Gap (555 N. Michigan Ave.)
11. Cascading Bow Skirt ($450.00) - Cynthia Rowley (810 W. Armitage Ave.)

What's your favorite blue item this season?

XX Jess & Jill

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Can you feel it? Spring is in the air and we've already caught our wedge fever! Always thinking that heels weren't for me (I blame those flat feet genes, thanks dad), I found it hard to accept a future below eye-level. Last winter I decided to step out of the (shoe)box and engage in a risky relationship with these DV by Dolce Vita 'Paloma' wedge booties, and I met my partner in crime... Wedges! Now I can wear them everyday, all day. Since then, my collection for Spring has reached new heights, and once this beautiful weather stays for more than two days, I'll be busting them out, without busting my ass. From espadrilles to leather, flatforms to sky high wedges, I am relishing in wedge fever!

1. Dolce Vita 'Julie' Sandal ($178.95) - Nordstrom (520 N. Michigan Ave.)
2. Vince Camuto 'Shivona' Sandal ($110.00) - Macy's (111 N. State St., 835 N. Michigan Ave.)
3. Veletto Wedges ($188.95) - Lori's Shoes (824 W. Armitage Ave.)
4. 'Lisbon' Sandal ($136.00) - Topshop (830 N. Michigan Ave.)
5. 'Calcagni' Wedges ($120.00) - Aldo (click here for locations)
6. Jeffrey Campbell 'STR8UP' Wedge (159.90) - Akira Shoes (click here for locations)
7. 'Lindsay' Wedges ($275.00) - Kate Spade (56 E. Oak St.)
8. Chloé Leather Platform Wedge ($695.00) - Saks (700 N. Michigan Ave.)

What's your must have wedge for this Spring/Summer?

XO Jess
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