Monday, December 29, 2014

For the Locals: Brow Chic

Female facial hair - it's a thing.  I cannot continue with this subject without sharing the words of lyrical genius Larry the Cucumber in his delightful rendition of "Love My Lips":

On the day I got my tooth
I had to kiss my Great Aunt Ruth
She had a beard
And it felt weird

Bravo, Larry.  You and your adorable tooth.

.....

Sometime around 8th grade I realized I was rockin' a girly unibrow and began experimenting with tweezers.  As enjoyable as it is to yank well-rooted hairs from the delicate skin around my eyes, my attempt at regular upkeep has been inconsistent over the years. 

I was recently invited to experience a series of services at Brow Chic where I met Tessa and Syreeta, who kindly destroyed my casual attitude toward facial grooming.  Even though I had never done anything like this before, I felt comfortable with these ladies right away.

The scene at Brow Chic in Northeast Minneapolis is immaculate and minimalistic without sacrificing coziness.  I was led over to a well-lit bed, where I was able to relax and chat with Tessa as she worked her magic on my face.  My first brow wax ever could not have gone any better.  I expected a bit of pain, but Tessa was so fast and kept me distracted with enough conversation that I hardly noticed what was happening.



I love prominent brows.  Tessa shaped mine to perfection, then applied a tint to make them even bolder.  She was extra awesome to send me home with brow powder and a brush so I can maintain this look for as long as possible before my next appointment.

With time to spare, she generously offered a lash tint as well.  I'm so glad she did, because I will most definitely be back for this before my cruise vacation next month.  My lashes are naturally very light and this makes the greatest difference when I can't be bothered with mascara.  Even Steve noticed my darker lashes!



Next, I met with Syreeta for a make-up application.  The Ellis Faas products used at Brow Chic are the niftiest looking contraptions, designed after bullet casings.  Being that I don't normally wear a lot of make up and this was a day look,  Syreeta kept it light and natural but amped it up with a bold lip.   The lipstick was my favorite thing.  It was included in my goodie bag and I've used it numerous times since then.

Nothing drastic about this little make-over, just some special treatment to make me feel fresh and new.  Brow Chic's St. Paul location is conveniently located near Teeny Bee, so I'll be heading there for my next lash tint.  No doubt my experience will be just as great as it was in Northeast.  I'm making a commitment in 2015 to hand my face over to the professionals at Brow Chic when I'm feeling a little dull.



Before or after a visit to Brow Chic NE, take a stroll through the interior of the building.  945 Broadway is loaded with charm.  Enjoy the quirky, modern art randomly featured around the facility.  Wave hello to the friendly stylists at Stellar Hair Company.  Depending on time and day, grab a beer and/or tour 612 Brew.




A stop at the beautiful Spyhouse Coffee is an absolute must.  It's the ultimate hipster gathering.  There will likely be a bearded 20-something dude at the counter decked out in red buffalo plaid and thick-rimmed glasses.  If you're lucky enough to get the cute, blonde barista behind the counter (rocking the most covetable ringlet curls), she'll suggest a tasty sandwich to go with your cup of joe.  Trust her, it's delicious.



***disclaimer:  I received free product and services from Brow Chic for this review.  This post reflects my honest opinion of what I received.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Confessions of a Shop Assistant


Where I stand.


It wasn't a single incident that inspired this post, but the common occurrences that come up as an employee of two local boutiques.  I'm a consumer like everyone else, so I understand that point of view entirely.  But I think there may be misconceptions while shopping small business retail.  It is not (and shouldn't be) like going into a chain or department store.  Here are just a few truths from where I stand:

1.  I'm not being friendly just so you'll buy something.  I'm just friendly - period.   It can be awkward to shop in a small space without at least a little conversation, so humor me for a second.  I don't make commission, so there's no alternate agenda here.  Relax knowing that I simply want you to have a good experience.  Even if you don't buy anything, I hope you'll tell your friends or write a nice review.  At the very least, I hope you come back (unless you're a meanie).

2.  I rejoice over every purchase.  If a $4 hair bow goes out the door, I'm happy.  Even small purchases make me feel like I'm doing my job.  It all adds up.  At the end of the day, I report to the owner with numbers because numbers (black ones) are what pay my check and make a successful business.  THANK YOU for shopping, no matter how small.

3.  I'm aware that "it's' expensive".  If you're looking for a bargain, there's a Target right up the road.  We carry a limited quantity of specialty items.  Some things you would not be able to find anywhere else in the world.  I believe there's value in that.  You know how much I LOVE DEALS.  However, I realize that small businesses can't offer 50% off.  It's my job to support them, not rob them.  Which leads me to my next point...

4.  Nobody is getting rich here.  Just breaking even is a huge accomplishment.  That's 0% profit.  Our items may be more expensive, but they are also more costly for us at wholesale.  The markup on the knock-off you find at a chain retailer or online for 1/2 price is astronomically higher than our profit on the real, high-quality thing.  Let's say a small business gets something for $2 and sells it for $4. Target might get their version for $0.25 and sell it for $2.  They can discount it 75% and still make money.  #math

5.  Your returns suck.  Not exchanges or in-store credit, returns.  Even if I wasn't the one to help you with your initial purchase, it feels a lot like failure.  Don't get me wrong, I understand returns.  Buyers remorse is a powerful thing.  Sometimes you bring stuff home and it just doesn't look/feel/fit/perform how you anticipated.  Returns happen, but they still hurt.  And P.S.,  I can tell the difference between a defective item and something you ruined. IF I take it back, it's for the sake of superior costumer service, not because I'm fooled.


BAM.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Spinning

Jewelry: Sisu,  Shirt: Hot Mama,  Sweater: too old to remember
Vest: Fashionologie,  Skirt: Forever 21,  Boots: Frye via Amazon

Hey there.  I have a long list of things to accomplish today. This is where I get distracted by Facebook, 72 (and counting) unopened emails, and a few questionable blog post ideas that keep spinning around in my head.

To the focus gods, I offer this outfit.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Say "Cheese"!

What is happening here?  Has our family hijacked a school yearbook photo session?  Is Grace Place updating their church directory to include furbabies?  All very good guesses, but no.

I'm helping a friend market her children's clothing line, Audrey Grace & Co.  Naturally, I agreed to host the photo shoot at my house without a clue as to how to pull it off.  Sometimes, my make it work mentality gets me into trouble.  After much deliberation with the man of the house, it dawned on him that we had this backdrop.  Right!?  I swear the dude can just pull crap out of thin air.  It only fosters my poor planning habits - muahahahaha. 

While it's up, I'm totally going to use it for outfit photos...or maybe indefinitely.  It think it's strangely awesome.  And now Daisy thinks she's a model.  That's my girl.


Sweater: H&M (men's),  Skirt: thrifted,  Shoes: Connie via Famous Footwear
Dog: Ollie the Pug

I can't NOT mention this sweater.  Thanks to my pal, Mari, for bringing it to my attention.  It makes my Christmas season so much merrier and brighter and puglier.

Daisy the Pug

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Like a Dude

Hat: WalMart?,  Plaid: JCPenny,  Sweater:  RDStyle
Pants: Dex via Sisu,  Shoes: Kohl's

Yep.  More pre-snow outfitting.  Fun facts about this outfit:

1 - Hats at WalMart are like, $2.  They don't even have to be cute.  I'll take 8.

2 - This plaid shirt perpetually smells like cilantro, no matter how many times I wash it.  It makes me really frickin' hungry for Chipotle.

3 - Open weave sweaters are a pug owners worst nightmare.  How this one has survived is beyond my comprehension.

4 - I can't get enough leather this year.  Real or 'vegan', I'm buying it up like there's a cow (or fake cow) shortage.  It's pug proof material (anti #3), and I really appreciate that.

5 - I'm technically wearing leggings here.  I justify wearing them as pants because they are completely opaque and I wear proper underwear with them.   In spite of my full support of this Pant vs. Legging Flowchart, I harbor no guilt whatsoever.

6 - I read a trend report more than a year ago that said wedge sneakers were going O.U.T.   Then I bought a pair just to be rebellious.  Still wearing and loving them.

7 - This was the morning I asked Steve if I was dressed too much like a dude.  It didn't matter what the answer was, I was simply curious.