Articles by Amber Gibson
Katie Gagnon, owner of Blow by Blow, Chicago's newest blowdry salon, is always perfectly coiffed. "It's definitely the best perk," she says of her job. Gagnon owns the blowdry bar with her mother, and the intimate space on Oak Street is perfect for decompressing and freshening up after a long day of shopping or to get ready for a night on the town. All blowdrys are $35 and you can get anything from soft curls (the most popular style) to beachy waves or a sleek and straight blowout. Updos and trendy braids are available too.
The salon just started offering Sunday brunch specials, where you can get blowdrys done with your girlfriends while sipping mimosas, enjoying classic chick flicks and munching on pastries and mini bagels from Goddess and Grocer down the street.
New weekly specials are listed below.
Street Saint's beauty-on-the-go kit has you covered for a fresh, natural makeup look this spring. Seven brushes and a palette of wearable colors for a variety of skintones are all included in a stylish crocodile clutch. This has become my go-to travel makeup. I know I have everything from powder and eyeshadow to blush and lipcolor in one place and I don't need to scramble for loose cosmetics. For frequent travelers trying to minimize packing, this kit is a no-brainer. Plus, the powders contain vitamins A, C and E as well as Kalparaiane, a new anti-aging marine extract from brown algae. So your makeup will moisturize and re-plump skin with antioxidants while giving you a breezy spring glow.
George the Salon, praised for its hair services, is now offering manicures for both men and women by celebrity nail technician, Jade Morales. Stop by on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1-6 pm to book a manicure, starting at $25.
Right after school at Pivot-Point, Morales started working at the Ritz-Carlton, then opened Kiva Salon and has now been at the Four Seasons for six years. There, she has countless celebrity clients, although she keeps mum about who they are.
"We're known for privacy at the Four Seasons," Morales explains. "That's why celebrities keep coming back."
There's always a little skepticism when people claim that products are "miracles." However, The Cure 24/7 split-end mender is truly a lifesaver. I don't even have split ends, but smoothing a little of this serum into my hair instantly makes my hair softer and shinier.
Supposedly, the orchid extract in this product has a longevity molecule that fills cuticle cracks and restores moisture. You won't see orchids listed in the ingredients, but look for, cymbidium grandiflorum, the flower's Latin name. With that in mind, the Cure is definitely doing something for my otherwise dull, limp hair. Normally, my hair is so fine that any serum, oil or conditioner weighs it down or makes my hair look greasy. Not this one though. The Cure seems to just absorb right into my hair and has a lingering uplifting tropical scent.
Harsh winter weather requires a step up from lightweight moisturizers and we've found the perfect product in Brilliance New York's Time Travel Day Cream. It's heavy-duty enough to keep your skin hydrated all day and throughout the night, without weighing down your face or clogging pores.
The product description claims that by utilizing two molecules, one from a vegan source and one from a biotechnological source, they are capitalizing on the latest in nature and science for an immediate age defying effect.
The natural formula releases vitamins A, C and E, along with antioxidants and amino acids that penetrate the epidermis and boost cells with oxygen. This helps improve skin texture and facial contours. An advanced peptide complex stimulates the production of collagen and elastin to invigorate skin's resilience and radiance.
Calling all chocolate lovers! It's always a treat to receive some sort of delicious chocolate no matter what the occasion is. As the holiday season sets you in a gift buying frenzy--go the easy way with giving out some delicious sweets! After attending The Chicago Fine Chocolate Show last month, and eating more than my fair share of chocolate over the last several months, I can confidently recommend the following as the best of the bunch for chocoholics on your Christmas list:
The best cure for the iciest of winter days is curling up by the fireplace with a glass of gluhwein and a heaping portion of baked mac 'n cheese. Here's a recipe for the latter from one of Chicago's cheese experts, Executive Chef Leonard Hollander of Marion Street Cheese Market. Chef Hollander was just awarded a Bib Gourmand award from the Michelin Guide, recognizing the bistro as an excellent option for diners on a budget.
Ladies, you deserve a treat this holiday. A nice spa break that will leave your skin feeling fresh and dewy. Lucky for you, the Repêchage Four Layer Facial is available at thousands of spas in more than 30 countries. At Leah Chavie Skincare Boutique in Chicago's Lincoln Park, I experienced the wonders four layers of seaweed goodness can do for my face.
The first layer is a concentrated serum of freshly harvested seaweed, followed by a creamy facial massage second layer. The serum softens lines and rebalances skin, while the massage stimulate circulation and improves skin elasticity.
Bloody mary concentrate makers, Stu Waters and Rudi Schmidt, share a Christmas twist on this traditional brunch cocktail.
- 2 oz stu's…this is Bloody Mary Concentrate
- 6 oz tomato juice
- 3 strips of preferably hickory smoked bacon
- 1 full sprig of fresh rosemary
- 1 oz aquavit (a Scandinavian spirit)
To be served over ice in a pint glass – garnish with rosemary sprig because it looks like a pine tree!
Even on the iciest, windiest, snowiest, bone-achingly coldest winter mornings, I'll be motivated to go outside because it means pulling on my bright orange knee-high sheepskin rubber MoovBoots. They're a prettier, more fun and less pretentious lovechild of Hunter boots and UGGs.
Vulcanized rubber is low maintenance and keeps your feet dry so you can stride confidently through the ickiest of slush without worrying about ruining your boots. Plus, Australian merino sheepskin lining keeps you warm and comfortable.