Valentine's Day Gift Guide

 

What is love without a little gift giving? With Valentine's Day just a couple short days away, in combination with the fact that men are seemingly incapable of shopping ahead of time, I thought I'd put together a little gift guide for you guys. Note that this list is just as valuable for the single ladies out there too, what better time to treat yourself than the day all of your friends are off being annoyingly lovey-dovey with their S.O.?

1. Ouai Treatment Masque Superstar celebrity hair stylist and if we're being honest, most importantly Kardashian hair stylist, Jen Atkin just launched her own line of hair products. So yeah, basically the hair gods have spoken and there is literally no line of hair products hotter than Ouai. I promise you your girl has heard of, if not already shopped the collection, and will be Ouai (pun intended) impressed that you scooped some up for her. I picked the hair masque as my personal suggestion, due to the fact I've tried it myself and not only is it just as fantastic as the sexy packaging would make you hope it is, there is also no girl in the world who couldn't use a hair mask so you don't need to worry if it's a product she'd really use - she will  and it will change her world. 

2. For Love and Lemons Annabelle Robe Since Valentine's Day is a day for lovers (& yes I hate myself as much as you do for saying lovers), a sexier gift is always a fantastic option. However, I do understand that some of you guys out there for whatever reason may not want to give your lady straight up skivvies as a gift. I do also know that you still would like to see her looking hot at the end of the night, and that's why I've picked for you this For Love and Lemons robe. It's a little less bold than a bra and panties, but still  super sexy and sure to heat things up. 

3. Venus et Fleur Eternity de Venus Arrangement You need to take me seriously when I tell you you would win the award for best guy ever if you send your girl one of these arrangements for Valentine's Day - that's coming for a girl who's honestly not that into getting flowers as gifts. Flowers are usually a little to tacky and mushy romantic, but not these. I bet you didn't know flowers could be sexy - but clearly they can be. While they are a little pricey for something that will die in a couple weeks, they are so worth it. All I can say is a Venus et Fleur arrangement surprising your girl will make you both very happy. 

4. Tom Ford Black Orchid EDT Buying perfume for another person is usually not the best idea unless you know exactly what they want or are replacing something they already had. The scent is just as sexy as the bottle and if you haven't already caught on that's a solid theme to stick with when Valentine's Day shopping. I will mention that the scent is a little less girly, so know what she likes before you make the purchase. 

5. Agent Provocateur Grace Lace and Stretch Tulle Bodysuit I can garuntee you it's almost every girls dream to receive a gorgeous piece of lingerie like this as a gift and what better day than Valentine's Day? Yes, the bodysuit is ultra sexy, but it's simultaneously elegant and classy. The delicate black lace makes it a really break gift for women with any taste. This is definitely a gift you will love as much as she will love.

6. Diptyque Rose Scented Candle These designer candles are a little pricy coming in at $60 - I usually consider a splurge one of Anthropologies $30 candles, but are definitely a great gift item. If you're dating a remotely trendy girl she's probably had her eye on these candles for a while and just struggles with the idea of buying one for herself. I chose the rose scent because... ya know, Valentine's Day. Maybe include these in a gift with a nice set of lingerie and get the night going. 

7. Agent Provocateur Ismerelda Lace Bra and Panty  This is a Valentine's Day gift guide so it's only reasonable that their was more than one lingerie option on the list - it's the best gift to give for anyone in a serious relationship. Agent Provocateur is by far my favorite lingerie label, everything is so beautiful, but still remains so sexy. Their lace is perfectly delicate and the pieces they offer are so unique. While they are definitely more of a splurge, the pieces are definitely going to be any girls favorites. Also, just like the $60 candle, $400 lingerie is probably not something she's going to buy herself. 

8. Are You Am I Double Wrap Lilou Choker  Here's a solid gift for a guy not quite ready to start buying jewelry, but still invested in getting something his date would love to wear. Chokers are a majorly hot accessory right now and something any fashion forward lady is wanting to add to her accessory collection. What I love about this one specifically is that the vibe of it fits really well with Valentine's Day. It's romantic and delicate and something your girl could even throw on with her date night look. Not to mention she can literally wear it with anything. 

9. Olivia Von Halle Lila Striped Silk-Sating Pajama Set Ok yes, these are $500 pajamas and no, I don't expect you to actually buy these, but I had to put them on the list. These are like the Rolls Royce of pajamas and for someone who believes in all-natural sleeping (hope you catch my drift) the fact that these babies made my list should say a lot. I'm assuming putting this pair of PJs on would feel similar nirvana and they're just stylish enough to make you debate breaking the no pajamas in public rule. So if you're lucky enough to have enough cash to drop $500 on pajamas - your girl will love you forever. 

5 Best Brunch Spots: NYC & Chicago

Ps. Trust me, not only have I eaten a lot of to-die-for food in my day, I've also made it my mission to try as many different restaurants / cafes as my time and budget allows and time after time I come back to these stellar spots. Don't forget to make your reservations on Open Table.

XX Julia

NYC


1. Jack's Wife Freda: If you have ever spoken to anyone from the city i'm sure they've drilled into your head that Jack's Wife Freda is the end-all-be-all. It's pretty much the place to go if you're hot, young, ands trendy - which i'm assuming you are if you've found your way to this website. And yes, rosewater waffles are everything you hoped they'd be.

2. Friedman's Lunch: Let me start by saying, potato pancakes. I don't think I've been there once where I didn't include the better take on hashbrowns in my meal. The whole menu is delicious and just interesting enough that you feel like you're making the most out of your brunch. Not to mention they have a kick-ass cocktail selection, don't leave without throwing down a blood orange bellini or two... or three. Only bummer? They take that whole no alcoholic drinks served before 12 on a Sunday thing seriously - but I guess we won't hold that against them. 

3. Balthazar: I'm killing you guys with some of the basics right now, but these places are hyped up for very valid reasons. Balthazar is the place you go if you take your brunch very seriously. It's classy and fabulous and a great place to go when you need to push through your Sunday morning hangover and act like your life is still somewhat desirable. Note that I mentioned Sunday brunch, which has its very own menu - the best menu. 

4. Sarabeth's: You've probably already heard of this New York hot spot if you haven't already hit up one of its various locations around the city yourself. If you're brunching for Instagram you'll get the avocado toast, if you're brunching just to brunch you'll get the french toast, and if you're brunching without fear of calories you'll get both and a glass of sangria as well. The servings are huge which makes it the perfect spot to go share a couple different dishes with your gals. 

5. Buvette: It's quaint, cute, french, and trendy - what else could you hope for in a brunch spot? It's the exact opposite of Balthazar in the fact that there is a much more laid back atmosphere. Definitely a spot for the casual bruncher. 

 

CHICAGO


1. Parson's Chicken and Fish: Clearly I'm no professional food critic (only a self proclaimed foodie), because once again I am a little bias to how Instagram worthy the restaurant is. The place has a super cool mod vibe that makes it totally worth the post - Gingham filter anyone? However, this one could be nothing more than a shell with a roof and I would still add it to my list. The menu is filled with comfort foods guaranteed to make you a very happy brunching lady. 

2. Summer House: The restaurant is everything the name claims it is - a house of summer whether its January or June. Just the other day after fresh ahi tuna tostados, my go to brunch food - avocado toast, and one too many morning fogs, I half expected to walk out into warm summer air instead of cold winter flurries when I left. The place get's even more amazing in the summer when they open up the roof in the main dining room. Oh, did I mention it's perfectly and wonderfully Instagramable? 

3. 3 Arts Club: Restoration Hardware's new resident restaurant is just as beautiful as you'd expect a restaurant in the interior companies building to be. It's glamorous yet cool and totally worth checking out if only for the ambience. The only down fall is that the new trendy Chicago spot does not offer reservations, instead you wait for a table to clear out and hope that you claim it before one of the other many people wanting to dine in style. But that can be fun right?

4. Blue Door Farm Stand: Once again, I find it extremely important to take into account the atmosphere and look of the cafe and the quaint Lincoln Park spot earns itself an A in both. The food is equally amazing as it is fresh, not to mention take out makes is a great options for times your previous night is making you a little less than ready to spent too much time out in the real world. You can grab your food and get right back into in bed to enjoy it.  

5.  Little Goat: Charming and fun for people seeking out a more casual and relaxed brunch. The food is delicious, but the menu isn't anything to insane. It offers brunch classics as well as a few more exciting dishes for those looking for a little more. The wait is never too long and there is no doubt that you'll leave happy with your experience. 

 

Glossier Masks Review

 

I think it's more than fair to say that when Emily Weiss, a co-founder of Into the Gloss (arguably the most popular beauty-blog out there) launched her own line of beauty products, Glossier, in October expectations were more than high. I mean, the girl's spent the last 4 years digging through the beauty goldmines of some of the most influential, glamorous, and badass women out there. The brand is a result of endless time spent experimenting with and figuring out what turns beauty basics into can't live with out essentials. 

I was skeptical when I first ordered the Mega Greens Galaxy Pack and its recommended companion, the Moisturizing Moon Mask. I had no doubt that I would receive a respectably good product, these people do know beauty after all. However, I wasn't 100% sold on the idea that these masks were so stellar that they'd instantly become a cult favorite, but I've always been more of an I'll see for myself person than I have been one to buy into published hype and over enthusiastic magazine reviews. 

So you want to know the truth about the raved about new Glossier masks? They f#cking rock. Being that I'm not a part of any famous beauty/fashion publication and my Instagram following is nowhere near Danielle Bernstein's of We Wore What I had to spend my own money on the duo, so you can be rest assured I have no motive to sell these masks as anything other than what they really are. Which also means you can trust me when I tell you that these extremely reasonably priced masks (only $22 a piece) lived up to every bit of the hype. 

I started off with the Mega Greens Galaxy Pack, which to my delight didn't have the sometimes overwhelming fragrance a lot of clay masks have. I left the detoxifying mask on for 20 minutes as recommended, letting the orange peel, avocado oil, and various other pleasantly natural ingredients work their voodoo on my pores. The texture was surprisingly creamy for a clay mask and lacked in the borderline suffocating thickness your face finds itself subject to with other masks. While it clearly feels like clay, even as the mask dries you feel like your face can still breathe. After the 20 minutes was up I washed off the mask and after a couple minutes of subtle pinkness I could see a visibly positive difference in my skin, which is something I don't think I've ever experienced after one use of any other mask. Now, I was blessed with pretty good skin only experiencing the occasional blemish, so I wasn't sure my face could really get that much smoother with just one use of a product. Not only did it completely prove me wrong and make my face almost unrealistically smooth, it gave my skin a glow I thought nature reserved strictly for the genetically blessed. 

After a minute or two of admiring my not new, but enhanced skin in all its natural glory I swiped a thin layer of the Moisturizing Moon Mask onto my face, convinced there was no more magic for Glossier to work. It was time to see if the brightening dream-cream was really a worthy follow-up to the already too good to be true clay mask. Although I'd like to act surprised that once again I saw a visible difference in my skin, I wasn't. Glossier has proven why it deserves to be the secret weapon in every girl's beauty drawer. My skin, which just like most people's, is naturally slightly discolored in places was almost completely evened out with the exception of a couple virtually unnoticeable areas. It's a face mask not a foundation, there is no way to completely wipe out all imperfections. Your skin is still your skin, this mask just makes it the 2.0 version. I'd also like to add that it was even brighter now than after the first of the duo. 

Next on my list? The Perfecting Skin Tint. Trust me, after these masks work their wonders on you you won't want to hide behind a full coverage foundation. While I never was into caking on the make-up I was an avid supporter of foundations, bronzer, and the whole nine-yards. After only my first experience with the brand, Glossier brought me on board with the more low maintenance and natural look. If my skin looks this good on it's own, who needs all the goop? 

Oh and PS. I almost forgot the most important part, your purchase comes with a sleeve of stickers to decorate your new goodies, as if receiving a package wasn't already fun enough.