Homemade Cheez-Its

I have always enjoyed making meals for myself. When I got my first apartment Sophomore year of college, this consisted of tossing pasta with whatever ingredients were in my fridge. I can confidently say that I have come a long way from those days. Now I make homemade chicken pot pie, complicated side dishes, and mac and cheese from scratch. I would never think of going into the frozen foods section or buying something in a box. Crazy, right? My next adventure in the kitchen will consist of simple snacks. I plan on trying these super easy homemade Cheez-Its. If you attempt them first, please let me know how it goes in the comments!

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Ingredients:
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
1/2stick unsalted butter, at room temperature (4 tablespoons)
1teaspoon kosher salt
2tablespoons ice water

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the cheese, butter, and salt. Add the flour and mix on low (dough will be pebbly). Slowly add the water and mix as the dough forms a ball.
  2. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into two pieces and roll each into a very thin (1/8 inch or less) 10×12 inch rectangle. Using a fluted pastry cutter, cut the rectangles into 1-inch squares, then transfer them to the baking sheets.
  4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until puffed and browning at the edges. Watch carefully, as the high fat content of the crackers makes a fine line between golden delicious and burnt. Immediately move the crackers to racks to cool.

Five Things You Didn’t Know You Needed

 

 

5 things you didnt know you needed1. Mini Cranberry Bliss Tassel Garland, $25.00. 2. Popcorn Cross Body Bag, $42.00.  3. Break Up Text Paintings, price available upon request. 4. Vortex Pearl Ear Cuff, $28.00. 5. Lela Rose SS15 Water Color Print, $30.00.

The Skinny On Dark Circles And How To Fight Them

Photo: Robert Kneschke

Photo: Robert Kneschke

No matter what we seem to do, dark circles never seem to go away. We have all had the moment of looking in the mirror, and thinking “Holy crap…I look so tired.” One of the problems with having dark circles as a problem area, is that the skin is thinnest in the eye area and therefore harder to manipulate back to normal. The two largest problems with the eye area, are puffiness, and dark circles.

Puffiness

Puffy eyes can be caused by a whole host of things, some large, some small: a nasty sinus infection, crying your eyes out before bed, or simply eating a salty lunch. One of the best things you can do, is drink a lot of water throughout the day to flush out some of the build up.

Sleeping on your side of stomach can cause build up around the eyes. If you wake up with chronically puffy eyes, sleeping on your back may be a quick fix to perfect peepers.

Try not to rub your eyes throughout the day, which can cause the thin skin around the eyes to become inflamed and irritated. This breaks tiny blood vessels around the eye and causes discoloration.

How to fix it:

-Stick two spoons in the freezer. After a solid ten minutes, take them out and slather them in eye cream. Apply under eyes and watch them instantly de-puff.

-A cooling eye mask works just as well.

-Try a targeted eye mask for instant results. After applying eye pads, under eyes are left brighter, smoother, and perkier in minutes. The hydrating pads help to restore water where there may be done, causing puffiness. Plankton extract in these pads has an instant tightening effect.

-If you are a fan of salty meals, try snacking on bananas to balance out the affects of the sodium.

Dark Circles

While dark circles are usually attributed to a late night, they can be causes by much more, and sometimes hereditary. As we get older, dark circles are inevitable no matter how much sleep we get: the skin thins around our eyes, therefore showing more of the discoloration underneath. The elasticity in our eye area begins to lose mass, and shows the outline of the bone underneath, making it look hollow and dark.

Dark circles can take on make different tones, but one of the most common is blue. This is caused from blood pooling around the eyes, and will be most visible in the morning but become less perceptible throughout the day. Brown circles can also be a sign of this. Experts recommend using a soy or citrus bases brightening eye cream to combat this over a few weeks.

“You can fight the good fight on a daily basis by applying night cream. Products with hyaluronic acid will plump the area, hydrating the skin and pushing it up and away from the blood, whereas those containing retinoic acid will thicken the skin to conceal the darkness.” [The Stylelist.]

How to fix it:

-Make up. Choose a concealer that matches your skin tone. Make up artists will tell you to go a few shades lighter, but most of the time, it is not a good look.

-Try using a eye cream with caffeine, which will tighten and lift the eye area. quickly.

-A cold compress or cold spoons will always provide a quick fix.

Four steps to cover it up:

1. Prepare the skin with eye cream. This will bring moisture to the skin and keep it plump, therefore making it a tad bit easier to cover up the veins.

2. Apply your concealer. Choose a concealer with a yellowish undertone to counteract the blueish tinge around the eyes. Dot concealer around the eye area with a small make up brush.

3. Dab concealer. Dab your concealer to blend opposed to brushing it on. This helps to avoid further irritating the gentle skin around the eyes.

4. Apply a powder. Applying a powder to the concealer helps to set it into place. This will help hold the concealer from slipping into wrinkles or fine lines, and prevent shininess throughout the day.

 

 

 

 

Sarah’s Stories: A College Girls’ Guide To Breakups

DreamDry Brings Their Styling Expertise to Lincoln Park

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Via Racked NY

 

Rachel Zoe may be small in size, but she has no shortage of style to go around. This past Wednesday, Rachel Zoe and Robin Moraetes, co-founders of DreamDry, took the windy city by storm for the opening of their latest location in Lincoln Park. The opening party was just as chic as you would think a Rachel Zoe hosted soiree would be: Moët & Chandon kept the bubbly flowing while Vosges Haut-Chocolat served light, delicious bites. Zoe wore a gorgeous black jumpsuit, and large gold Chanel earrings.

The first feature I noticed at DreamDry was the crazy zig zag floor. The whole space is decorated in black and white, and reminds me of classic glamor. Zoe and Moraetes recently talked to Suntimes Splash, and explained who DreamDry will serve: “We wanted to come up with a solution for the busy professional, the busy mom, to have a more upscale, affordable luxury experience. DreamDry really is a destination.” [Suntimes Splash]

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DreamDry does not just offer a blowout, but a full experience. I had the pleasure to experience a DreamDry blowout last week, and was pleasantly surprised at the difference between DreamDry and other blowout salons I have tried. As an avid blowout bar junkie, I appreciate the small things. My stylist immediately handed me an Ipad fully loaded with the different hairstyles available. I settled on the “Stevie,” a bouncy blowout with loose curls. My stylist gave me a phenomenal scalp massage while washing my hair, and then gave me a mini Ipad stacked with all the latest magazines to keep me occupied during my appointment.

I left with shiny, voluminous hair that lasted for three days after my blowout. My verdict? I would go back in a heart beat.

Blowouts and braids start at $40.00, but with the impeccable service and long lasting effects, it’s well worth it.

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Gifts For The Home

 

Holiday gifts1. “My Kitchen Is For Dancing” Print; $49.00. 2. Dauville white and gold pebble tray; $28.00. 3. C. Wonder Buffalo Check Tea For one; $48.00. 4. Tory Burch Bath Soap Set of Four; $48.00 5. C. Wonder “More Please” Serving Utensils; $40.00. 6. West Coast Coasters; $36.00. 7. Persian Fig Candle; $24.00. 8. Kate Spade Pearl Place DOF Set; $50.00.

The Best Spots To Pamper Yourself This Weekend: Chicago

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Blowtique, River North:

Blowtique was one of the first blow out bars in Chicago back when it opened in 2012. Since then, blow out only salons have popped up left and right, but Blowtique is still #1 in my book. More specifically, I see Rhona. My hair is washed twice and conditioned with luxurious Kerastase products, and then winded and brushed into loose waves with loads of body. A classic blowout ($40) includes a shampoo, blow-dry, and style with Oribe products. Added bonus? BYOB is encouraged.

Contact: 1 E. Huron. 9am-9pm. Blowtique.com

DryBar, Lincoln Park:

DryBar opened their first location in California, and they now have 40 locations, with two more to come in the next year. Chicago Magazine said it best: “Ringing in as one of the pricier blowouts on our list at $40, Drybar justifies its cost with plenty of perks: iPhone charging docs, flat screen televisions galore, and a complimentary coffee, tea or mimosa with your service.” Appointments tend to fill up fast, so if you’re looking to get glam for New Years, book now.

Contact: 1611 N. Sheffield Ave. Mon-Wed. 7AM-8PM, Thur-Fri. 7AM-9PM. Sat. 8AM-9PM. Sun. 9AM-7PM. Thedrybar.com.

Bliss Spa, GoldCoast:

Bliss Spa at the W on Lakeshore drive offers deluxe services of all kinds in a modern, luxurious space nestled on the eighth floor overlooking Lake Michigan from all angles. Services are pricey, but if I had to pick one? The Triple Oxygen Facial. The facial that made Bliss famous, this classic radiance reviver includes a targeted peel, an energizing enzyme pack and three forms of skin brightening oxygen, including an oxygen wrap and vitaminized O2 spray. It’s like a breath of fresh air for your face-literally.

Contact: 644 N. Lake Shore Drive. Mon-Sun. 8AM-9PM. BlissSpaWorld.com

Nail Fairy, Lincoln Park:

Nail Fairy is my go to spot for a mani/pedi.With a serene atmosphere and beautiful space, it is impossible not to relax instantly. Chick flicks play on a giant screen TV at all times. The manicure is great for a budget at $15.00, but you would think it costs much more. They start off by going through the basic manicure staples, but throw in a five minute hand, arm, neck, and shoulder massage. They finish the manicure by perfectly polishing your nails and send you off with a warm smile.

Contact: 1249 W Fullerton Ave. Mon-Sat. 10AM-7PM. (773) 883-3040.

What To Wear To your Significant Other’s Holiday Work Party

SO holiday party

 

1. Kate Spade New York Swift Dress; $448.00. 2. Zara High Heel Strappy Sandal; $35.99. 3. Zara Glitter Box Clutch; $79.90.

Chatting with Brandon Edler: Finish Line Digital Content Strategist

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 12.57.47 AM“Just like any other job, certain things have a tendency to exhaust you, but I am very fortunate to be doing what I love every day and to be surrounded by an incredible team.”

Brandon Edler is the Digital Content Strategist behind Finish Line, one of the most respected sneaker spots around the world. In the last year or so, we have seen Finish Line go through a massive overhaul with branding and social media, which Edler is mostly responsible for. Between being mentored by Joe La Puma for two and a half years while Edler was at Complex, to working alongside some of the best in the industry, Edler was set to be one of the most influential people in the game. Take notes.

 

Alex: Thanks for chatting with us! So you do a lot of crazy awesome stuff in the industry. How did you get to where you are today?

Brandon: I got my start in this industry thanks to Joe La Puma (Director of Content at Complex Magazine) believing in me and mentoring me to work harder than anyone else. Between his motivation, Russ Bengtson’s wisdom, and Nick Engvall teaching me daily how to perfect my craft—it was the greatest “education” I could have ever received. Those guys are arguably three of the most respected people I know in any industry.

Alex: Those sound like some incredible people to have worked with. What exactly do you do at Finish Line? 

I’m currently the Digital Content Strategist at Finish Line thanks to some help from Don Drew. A lot of my day is focused on developing content to hype the right releases and products for the company. It can be something we do internally with our own content and social team, a co-op with a brand like Adidas or Nike, and also partnering with the right influencers and publications.

Alex: How does your past experience at Complex, which is one of the most influential magazines out right now, influence what you do at Finish Line? 

Brandon: Now Nick Engvall and I are together over at Finish Line trying to bring that Complex content mentality to a retailer. It takes some patience and persistence but everyone at Finish Line seems to be genuinely excited with the direction and execution our content team has been able to achieve.

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Alex: You’re a busy guy. How do you balance work and personal life?

Brandon: One of my aunts always says “all things in moderation.” Balancing things isn’t my strongest feature but as I get older I try to realize that there are so many important things and it’s imperative to make time for all of them—for the people and things you care deeply for. A lot of it is just having a plan and sticking to it. How can I be better? I could start with just the basics.

Alex: Between being the Digital Content Strategist at Finish Line, to slaying it on the daily in your killer Alphets…what does a typical day look like for you?

Brandon: I get up and watch new product pushes online to make sure we are supporting them correctly on social [media] so our customers have the best shot at getting them. I get very protective about our company being the first source for our product information.

After that I usually head into work and grab a large Ice Caramel Coffee to get me energy for the day. The rest of my day is a mix of meetings, collaborating on projects, and researching for future trends and content ideas. Sometimes I’ll just be at my desk on Complex or Hypebeast and people will walk by, like:

“um, what are you doing, fam?”

“I’m working.”

Just like any other job, certain things have a tendency to exhaust you, but I am very fortunate to be doing what I love every day and to be surrounded by an incredible team.

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Alex: Trying to keep up with technology is nearly impossible, but somehow you manage to stay ahead. How do you feel that the digital industry is changing as social media evolves?

Brandon: Everything happens so fast, it pushes you to be a little more off the cuff with content. Our communities want to see things on their level and have organic conversations around it. It allows you to reach a lot of people so quickly. Our digital content is typically the first impression for our online customers, so we have a great challenge and opportunity of influencing someone to believing in the story and appeal behind a product.

Alex: How do you manage to keep up with it? I feel like it would be exhausting.

Brandon: I stay glued to it all and try my hardest to never get too old. Once I can no longer organically relate to and produce content that resonates with the millennials, it is time for me to re-think my career path. This basically sums up my future:

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Alex: A lot of people look up to you in the industry, between making moves at Finish Line, to writing for Complex. Who do you admire?

My family and my friends—nothing else really matters.
Alex: That…is a really awesome answer. If we looked through your closet, what would we find?

Brandon: John Elliot + Co for clothes and anything adidas Boost for sneakers. John’s hoodies, tees, and denim are the perfect blend of quality, comfort, and fit—seriously about all I wear now. adidas Boost line is the most comfortable series available right now and the designs and lines are clean but still noticeable enough to get props from people that geek over the rarest sneakers.

Alex: You have interviewed incredibly well respected people like Adidas Global Director James Carnes, just to name one. What’s your favorite thing that anyone has said thus far?

Brandon: It wasn’t so much what he said, but it was how passionate Theophilus London was when we spoke. That immediately made me a huge fan of anything he did. I’ve never interviewed Joe La Puma per se but he also has a way of drawing you in to his every word, just a lot of real life knowledge.

Alex: Any parting words?

 Brandon: Cash Money Records and No Limit Records influenced my whole life.

 

 

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Lush Lashes

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They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, so why not make sure you take care of your lashes too? False lashes seem daunting, but with the right tips and tricks, are shockingly easy and will have you looking doe eyed in five minutes flat. A few lashes placed on the outer corner of your lids will give impression of wide eyes.

Making lashes look natural is key, so go small strips or stick to individual falsies. When using strips, I recommend this helpful tutorial from Beautylish.

Need a little more guidance? Here are our four steps to getting the perfect fringe:

Curl: Curl your lashes before applying your fake lashes or mascara.

Apply Mascara: Choose a lengthening formula so your natural lashes blend in with your falsies. Apply one to two coats, and keep it thin. This prevents clumping and will help your false lashes blend in. For added perfection, use a small brow comb to go through your lases before applying falsies.

Line: Smudge a charcoal black liner thinly along lids. This way, in case there is a gap between your fake lashes and your natural lash line, the smudges liner will hide it.

 

SSC picksChanel Professional Liner Duo. MAC Individual Lashes. MAC Half Lashes. Diorshow Mascara.

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