Category Archives: Travel

Prepping for: Zombie Apocalypse

Welp, it’s official. I am running my first 5k. Since I have always vehemently opposed “running” as a “hobby” it would take something totally ridiculous and once-in-a-lifetime to get me to sign up for an organized race. Enter: Run For Your Lives. A Zombie-Infested, 5K obstacle course.

Yes, you heard me right. No, I’m not running a fever. Yes, this is the coolest thing you’ve ever seen.

This August the friends and I will be road-tripping to good old St Louis, MO for 1 part 5k, 1 part obstacle course, 1 part escaping the clutches of brain-eating zombies, and all parts awesome. So it looks like the roomies and I have some training to do.

Plus what better summer-workout motivation is there than “not getting eaten” in August?

Happy Leap Day everyone!!




Leave a comment

Filed under Just Because, Travel, Uncategorized

…and we’re back


Well it’s been a minute, huh? In lieu of a lame apology please accept this amazing video as recompense for my absence.

February means Fashion Week in my world and, as always, it makes for the two busiest times at my job. Once again, we partnered with the ultra-talented Zang Toi to create the beautiful runway look for his Fall 2012 Collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. The amazing Rudy Miles and his unrivaled Beauty by Rudy team, put a modern twist on Hollywood Glam to complement the striking, cinematic-inspired collection. I’ll have more snapshots from my trip coming this week…



Leave a comment

Filed under Beauty, Big Girl Job, Travel

Chicago, I fell in love again.


If you read my series of Sin City Survival Tips last spring, you know that I’m a fan of “the series”…and not just of the Harry Potter variety. Well now that I’m finally back in my beloved city of Chicago full-time, I am constantly finding myself overwhelmed by all of the things I want to do in this city. It seems no matter the season, there is always something amazing going on here and I don’t want to miss any of it. I have been keeping a running list of Chicago “To-Do’s” on my desktop since October but it seems no matter how may things I check off, it keeps getting longer by the day. Which brings me to my exciting new series of posts:


…get it? I’ll be chronicling as I check things off my list and sharing all the best things I find to do, eat, watch, try and buy along the way. Oh and stay tuned for pics of my new apartment and decorating tips I picked up while putting it all together! Decorating on a budget like mine was quite the learning experience.

For now, enjoy one of my favorite songs about Chicago courtesy of Sufjan Stevens and a video I found on YouTube.

Leave a comment

Filed under ChicaGO!, Just Because, Tips, Travel

Sin City Survival Tip Cinco!!

Happy Tuesday everyone! Sorry it’s been so long since my last post (whoever said the second semester of your senior year in college should be easy, was misinformed).  Anyways, I’m back and ready with my fifth Sin City Survival Tip. With my trip to Las Vegas only 6 days away, it’s time to start thinking about what to pack. Suit case space is limited real estate as it is, but now with airlines charging up to $50 per checked bag, packing smart isn’t just a skill but a recessionista travel necessity!

For me, the biggest space-sucker in my suitcase always ends up being beauty products. Not only do you have to fit the usual lot of oddly shaped lotion bottles, giant hairspray canisters etc. But  when you add sunscreens, tanning oils and after-suns, it can get a little out of control. With this predicament in mind, I bring you

Tip #5: Products, what to pack and what to pitch! My packing rule is to stick to multi-use products and try to limit around 2 products per part, i.e. hair, face and body.

First, decide on two or three non-negotiables. For me these are:

Rusk Being Sexy Hairspray: Runway staple and the best hairspray for hot conditions that I have EVER used. Used at the Cynthia Rowley show in ’09 and my own Vegas trip in August, it has UV filters to protect from the sun, fights frizz and even adds shine!

Big Sexy Shampoo: When the heat is on, and it will be in Vegas (!), volume is always an issue for my hair. Big Sexy Shampoo guarantees that even if my root pump falters, I’ll never have helmet head.

Redken Straight Balm: Slick through your hair from about ear-height to ends before you blow dry to tame your mane all day… no matter the weather.

Secondly, when it comes to skin and suncare, keep it compact and kill 2 birds with 1 product.

SPF is not an option ladies. The “worn leather handbag” look doesn’t work for anyone’s skin type so take care of your face! However, packing skin care and sun care can get bulky. So the trick is finding one product for face and one for body that takes care of both.

For the face, I love  Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Sun Block. With SPF up to 85 (!) and its non-comedogenic formula, this fab product is sensitive enough to use as a moisturizer and strong enough to protect your delicate complexion. But, the best part about this block… the dry-touch technology keeps it matte and dry to the touch all day which means you won’t look greasy and your makeup won’t run! Apply in the morning underneath your makeup like a traditional moisturizer, then throw in in your pool bag and your good to go.

When it comes to body, there are multiple factors to consider. If you’re as pale as I am this spring, you’ll probably be getting a spray tan before your getaway; and everyone knows that even the best spray tans can turn into a flakey mess without proper maintenance. My lovely roommate and airbrush goddess Meredith, recommends a combination of moisturizer and self tanner. Burning will also jeopardize your golden glow and cause you to peel faster so again, SPF is a must! To solve this issue I turn to two products:

Jergens Natural Glow in Medium to Dark will take care of your body lotion and self tanner in one convenient bottle. You never have to worry about streaking and its suitcase-friendly bottle isn’t too big to travel with.

Hawaiian Tropic Tanning Oil with SPF 15 is a staple that I have used for years. When traveling to a dry destination like Las Vegas, your skin will dry out in no time while sunbathing. Tanning oils are super moisturizing and will safeguard your spray tan from the drying air and chlorine. With its convenient spray nozzle, you can reapply your SPF all day without getting your hands greasy and the sexy sheen will leave you looking like a bronze goddess.

With all of these great skin/sun care combos, you’ve already turned 5 big bottles into 3 convenient ones.

Size-down your essentials.

My personal goal is to fit my skin/sun care plus all of my essentials in one gallon sized zip-loc bag. To do this, I buy travel sized versions of whatever I can. Sure it’s a few extra dollars but checking an extra bag or going over on your luggage weight limit is way more expensive. For most people, essentials include: toothpaste, deodorant, body wash, shampoo etc. Most of these already come in travel sizes, however you can purchase empty bottles for as little as $0.50 to fill with your own faves. Another space and time saving tip is to pick up a pack of face cleansing cloths. You can fold these into even the smallest of toiletry bags, plus they practically cut wash time in half (which you’ll appreciate when your nights end at 6 am).

Pick one extra… make it good. Limit yourself to one non-essential product and make it worth it!

My ultimate, all time favorite extra is Michael Kors Leg Shine To Go. One glide of this miracle-stick over your legs, knees and ankles, and your bare legs will look sleek, luscious and runway ready. Not to mention, it matches my Michael Kors fragrance!

There you have it, 7 products to complete your beauty, skin, tanning and SPF regimen on vacation. Not quite rocket science, but definitely a space saving feat in my book!

Tune in tomorrow for my tips on how to do a full night out from dinner to dancing without breaking the bank! xoxo SS


Filed under Beauty, Health, Tips, Travel, Uncategorized

Sin City Survival Tip 4!

Alright here’s my fourth Sin City Survival tip, comin’ at ya!

Tip 4: Transitional pool ensembles, the most important outfit you pack!

What is a transitional pool ensemble you may ask? Well if you’ve been reading my earlier tips, you’ll notice that I mention having a coverup and heels on the ready for any afternoon activities– this outfit is your “transitional pool ensemble.” In Vegas there is lots to do at any time of day or night. So you have to be prepared to go straight from the pool to lunch, or even on your hotel lobby crawl (check out tip #3 if you missed this). And since it’s Las Vegas you’ve got to look good. So find a great light weight tunic or dress that you can toss on over your swimsuit and a comfortable pair of poolside heels to stomp the strip in. Since these shoes might be in and out of water and definitely baking in the sun, I wouldn’t invest too much in them.

My daytime pool side ensemble starts with my swimsuit:

A classic, vintage-inspired one piece girl myself, my suit of choice is an adorable Donna Karan shirred black strapless one piece that just screams pin-up. I couldn’t find a pic of the exact suit but it looks very similar to this fabulous Juicy Couture number, if it was black.

I picked up this adorable Ralph Lauren Tunic in coral (here in turquoise) for a steal at Macy’s in August. It’s light weight, just long enough to pass as a day dress …well in Vegas anyways, and the perfect punch of color to spice up my classic black suit.

Now for the shoes. I try to follow a rule in my wardrobe that for every “real” piece in an outfit, you should have one “steal” piece. In my pool side outfit, my pumps are the steal. Okay, I’ll admit it, “hi my name is Samantha and I buy shoes at Target”. (…hiii Samantha). But in all seriousness, not only is Le Targe a great place to find cute shoes for a steal, I wouldn’t recommend spending a ton of money on shoes that are going end up covered in chlorine and tanning oil anyways! I found an almost exact replica of these Donna Karan stunners by none other than Xhilaration (!) at Target about a year ago. The best part? DK’s version will run you $499.00 ( and I got my “steal” version for a cool $20. Gotta love Le Targe. Note: You’ll be wearing these shoes for long periods of time and pool decks are pretty slick so comfort and traction are KEY. Platform sandals like these are perfect because they’re easier to walk in than a sky-high stiletto heel and usually make for a more comfortable shoe.

And finally, the key to creating a pool side outfit that can transition to day wear… the ACCESSORIES. It’s amazing how adding a simple necklace to your outfit can take a cover up from swim wear to an adorable summer day dress. My two transitional accessories are a wide brimmed hat from Nine West ($50) and a long liquid silver necklace from Forever 21 ($9)… see, one real and one steal! I highly suggest packing a great sun hat no matter where you’re headed for Spring Break. It keeps you cool, looks completely glam and will protect your delicate face from the harsh sun! …don’t worry, you’ll get my SPF lecture later.

So there it is, the keys to creating the perfect transitional pool outfit! Check back tomorrow for my ideas on products, what to pack and what to pitch. Spoiler alert, Michael Kors Leg Shine is my god.  xoxo- Samantha

Leave a comment

Filed under Fashion, Tips, Travel, Uncategorized

Vegas Survival Tip Tres

In honor of St. Patricks Day, today’s tip is sure to make everyone green with envy of your undeniable VIP status!

Tip 3: The daytime lobby crawl.

So you want to go to all the hottest clubs in Vegas, but the average wait time to get into the hotspots can be up to 2 hours on a good night. And we’ve already established that we don’t wait in line. So however do we circumvent the never ending door line? With a trick I like to call the Day Time Lobby Crawl. Little (or maybe not so little) known fact- club promoters spend the whole day walking around the strip and in the lobby’s of their hotels looking for pretty girls to get into their club that night. So before you pop down to the pool for your morning rays, or maybe even for a mid afternoon break, throw on your cover up and some heels and hit the strip. The beautiful lobbies are reason enough to explore the various hotels, but if you spend a few minutes in each one, you’ll almost always be approached by a club promoter asking you and your gorgeous friends to be VIP at his club that night. So don’t freak out if you see a man walking up to you. He comes with lots of goodies like line passes, free pre-parties and always lots of drinks on the house.

Case-and-point: On my last trip to Vegas, I went with my  friend Sara, both of our Mom’s and one of our Mothers’ best friends. Now, I’ll be the first to say that all three of these classy ladies look much younger than their age, but we were obviously not a crazy group of co-eds looking to party. Nevertheless, when we walked into the Bellagio lobby, bags in hand, looking to check in, we were approached by a promoter for The Bank (the club in the Bellagio) and given VIP entrance for the night, drink tickets and our names on a list for a free pre-party… before we even got to the check-in counter. Not bad for the first five minutes. Plus, we saved our $$ on cover and drinks …cha-ching! Now that’s what I call being a travel recessionista!

Tomorrow- check back to see my recommendation for the one, most important outfit you should pack!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Tips, Travel, Uncategorized

Sin City Survival Tip #2

Tip 2: Separate from the herd. Listen to me, you are a VIP, it’s just a matter of getting there. Now ladies, when you walk into a club what’s your first instinct? Get a drink. So you head over to the crowded bar, wait 5 minutes for your dirty martini (just my preference) and then hang out in the bar area until you want to dance, right? WRONG. Hit the bar, grab your drink, then bee line to a spot that’s less crowded and in plain sight of the VIP section. The key is separating yourself from the herd of women and the herd of women will always be where the liquor is. So move away from the bar. A girl standing relatively alone with her friends is a lot more approachable than a women sandwiched among the masses of mediocre women like a freakin’ sardine. However will people be able to tell that you’re far more attractive than the others when you’re constantly bobbing and weaving, trying to avoid a stray elbow like Tyson? So, again I tell you, move away from the bar. Trust me it works. Post up near the dance floor with a clear shot to the VIP entrance and in a matter of minutes I guarantee you’ll get at least a drink offer and probably a request to come into VIP. It’s just the way things are.


Filed under Tips, Travel, Uncategorized