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Fashion

Upgrade and Organize Your Closet for Less Than $100

It has been years since I have given significant thought to the organization of my closet. Until I get the Vanderpump closet of my dreams, I needed an easy and preferably inexpensive way to make my closet feel more organized and, upgraded.

To make this simple, I used only two products to achieve this: shoe organizers from Amazon and Velvet Hangers also from Amazon


My shoes were piling up on each other! Unorganized and often not visible to me, I would have the hardest time keeping a proper inventory on my own shoe collection. Over the holidays I found this product from TrySmarter that changed everything! Let the pictures below speak for themselves.

Before And After : Shoe Closet Upgrade and Organization

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The Finished Look
The Finished Look

My second tip to keeping everything in order in your closet is to get slip free velvet hangers. They are a game changer. Say goodbye to things falling on the floor! They also have half the profile of the plastic hangers so for tighter spaces, they actually create more closet space and look more uniform. At $22 for 50 hangers, you can’t go wrong!  

Before And After : Hanger Upgrade
Before
Before
After
After

Both options gave me more space (to add more clothes!) – which was an added bonus to an upgraded aesthetic and organization!  I was able to fit double the number of shoes in the same amount of space!

So what are you waiting for? Tune into Spring and get to cleaning your closet. Once you have organized your closet, don’t forget to add these Spring Staples into your new wardrobe.

Xoxo,

Rina

As a Bonus, the shoe organizer is great for kids shoes too!

Kids Shoe Storage
Kids Shoe Storage

 

Beat The Bloat With Spanx

Having spent the better part of my life dealing with the symptoms of Endometriosis, I am no stranger to the occasional bloat.  Even when having a low-sodium diet, doing abdominal exercises, and with normal healthy food intake, I tend to bloat without warning.  It’s fine when I’m sporting my go-to leggings, but not so much when I have to “dress-up.”  As some of you ladies know, there’s no warning to the occasional bloat so I always have to be prepared.  This is where my ever-trusty Spanx come in handy (they don’t call them essential for nothing)!  

There comes that moment after finishing my makeup and hair, I realize that my bloat may come in my way of what I wanted to wear out.  Sure, I could just wear whatever I want and not really care about what others’ say or speculate.  Sure, I could wear a big baggy shirt and head on out. Sure, I can painfully squeeze into whatever normally fits me.  But is this all worth the pain?  The bloat doesn’t just look like I’m 3 months pregnant, but it’s probably one of the most uncomfortable feelings out there.  Also, I’m definitely not a delicate eater when I’m out and about — I like my food and I like seconds!  

Tummy Control Faux Leather SpanxHigh Waisted Faux Leather Spanx

Rina (photographed) is 5’7” and 140 lbs and wears a Medium in Spanx Leggings

Knowing that I have Spanx to depend on during my desperate “I need to get into this dress or I’ll be staying home tonight” protest helps a ton.  I’ve also found that not only do Spanx offer shapewear to hide and tuck in, but also they offer a wide range of uses.  For instance, my favorite Spanx have a dual purpose — not only do they help me make sure I can squeeze into my favorite dress but also as a grown-up’s version of “bloomers.”  You know, the shorts you wear under a dress or skirt for extra coverage under there.  When my two children were toddlers, I had no issues wearing summer dresses — I could easily change their diapers, run around after them in the park, or sit down on the picnic blanket without hesitation!  

More Than Tummy Control — Underarms and Back Too!

Also…Spanx doesn’t just offer undergarments, but also some pretty fashion forward leggings! And of course — these tuck in, squeeze in, and are so comfortable all while looking as if this cardigan-wearing teacher mom knows how to go out in style!  I can style these with a casual white tee shirt or a lace blouse — with heels or flats…the possibilities are endless.  This is a huge, HUGE help when I’m trying to find something to wear in a hurry!

So go get out there mama’s — no reason to stay in because of the ever-so-common bloat issues! Spanx it and have a blast!

Cheers,

Your brainy chick, Komi

   

You Are The Company You Keep : Why We Blog

It was a life lesson my parents tried to teach us at a young age: if you surround yourself with go-getters and motivated individuals, it would ‘rub’ off on you and make you that way.  We didn’t always understand what they meant – or if they just didn’t like our friends growing up – but the older we got, the more we understood. Surrounding yourself with like-minded and successful people can inspire motivation.  Success, learning, and networking is like an addiction — once you get a taste of what it is like to be ‘one-of-those-people’, you become empowered to continue to learn and create.

Getting a graduate degree was step one for us. We were surrounded by colleagues who were motivated to pursue further understanding and deeper thought. We began learning the importance of not just accomplishing a task, but enjoying the process of collaborating with peers. And it may sound silly, but our lifestyles as a whole began to shift; we started spending more time in coffee shops getting to know people and their passions rather than partying at bars and nightclubs where the discussions were more superficial.

Once Upon a Dollhouse
With Dani and Caitlin of Once Upon a Dollhouse

Most recently, we discovered blogging. Once we entered this sphere, we quickly recognized that this was largely a female-dominated industry filled with creative influencers, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists.  The desire to have these women ‘rub’ off on us was real.  We have always had a strong network of women in our lives, from our Mom to our five aunts to our cousins and  to our friends, it’s hard to ignore the magnetic energy that a room full of women can produce.


We didn’t know at the time what we were bringing to the table. We did know that we had something to offer.  In this past year, we have truly grown as individuals and as bloggers.  Joining groups where women were open to listening and sharing ideas (e.g. the Windy City Collective, Chicago Grammers, and Style Collective) has been meaningful and beneficial.  Somewhere along the way in these discussions, it did ‘rub ‘ off and we caught the bug to try something new and push ourselves professionally and creatively. This infectious transfer of motivation among women helps us to enjoy the blogging process and to have fun even when things seem hectic.

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We are getting a second chance in our thirties to redefine the next fifty years of our life. Although we don’t know what we are going to do with that opportunity yet, we do know that we will continue to grow.  We are truly grateful to the people we have met along the way who have been generous with their ideas and time – shout out to Annie Spano and the dolls from Once Upon A Dollhouse to name a few.  They inspired us to see a bigger picture and talk through a path with us chicks.

Blogging is about reciprocal influence by sharing who you are with the universe and letting the universe shape you. At Chicks and Salsa, we are trying to do just that one week at a time. Thanks for hopping along for the journey. Get out there, form connections, empower yourself and inspire others. Check out our Chicks And Salsa Chick Chat podcast to hear us think out loud about other things in life that motivate us!

Until next time,

Your Chicks,

Rina and Sonia

Fall Shopping Haul – 4 Trends to Watch For

The chicks have compiled a list of items that we have splurged on this season.  One thing we noticed is that this fall has the most unique sweater trends we have seen a while!

Free People Off The Shoulder
Cold Shoulder is Still a Thing
So grateful that we can hang on to this summer trend!  The cold shoulder and off-the-shoulder sweaters are surprisingly comfortable and warm! Our pick from ShopBop below is a winner!  Although it won’t help you beat the cooler temps, looking extra ‘hot’ may help.
New Textures
Anyone notice that suddenly velvet and suede are everywhere?  These fabrics are super fun, they have an iridescent look to them that brighten up any outfit. Velvet has a way of feeling formal and fancy, so grab at least one thing velvety for your wardrobe this year.
Red Is the New Black
We started to take notice when Clark and Stone had suddenly splashed red all over her Instagram and blog that red really kind of looks nice with natures fall colors and of course our favorite lipsticks.  The chicks tend to gravitate to nudes and blacks so it was fun to finally add some red to the wardrobe this season.
Statement Sleeves
Ok, this one is what makes sweaters this year different.  The sleeves this year are so unique and chic that they do all the talking this season.  Some are layered, ruffled, multi-colored, and ballooned!  These loose fitting looks make a girl feel good and on trend.  Abiha Khan shared some of her Asos and Nordstom finds and we could not agree more with the variety that she scooped up!
Chick Picks:


Check out our post on outerwear for some inspo.
Thanks for checking out the blog.
XOXO,
Rina

“Just Like Mommy” Fashion by Jems&A

I’ve always believed that confidence comes from within. You can’t fake it.

When my family comes together at the end of the day, we sit over dinner and discuss the things we are most proud of from the day.  It might sound self-indulgent, but we hope that in recognizing our strengths and accomplishments we can be encouraged to continue to improve.  Although it’s easy to focus on the “weight we need to lose” or the “wrinkles that are creeping in,” teaching self-acceptance can be a great confidence booster. It’s amazing, as a mother of two, to watch how much we influence the level of confidence our children have. But there is something I have learned about confidence: it is multidimensional. While self-worth comes from within, our outward selves can impact how we feel about our inward selves.  Even though confidence isn’t always driven by what you see on the outside, it can definitely influence it.  

Just Like Mom!

I have observed my almost 7-year-old daughter watch me get ready for the day.  Some days I feel like wearing yoga pants and no make up. Other days, I feel like wearing heels and a dress that make me feel good.  When in both looks, I make it a point to be body positive and self-accepting as I know she’s listening to my thoughts and watching my actions.  I’m certain I’m not alone when I admit there have been times that my daughter has emulated me in a way that I am not proud of.  I use those moments as a stiff reminder that she’s watching and I need to be sure to send the right message about self-esteem and confidence.

My daughter loves to dress up.  One of the looks she loves best is when our clothing matches. It could be as simple as matching colors, style, or even patterns.  She can tell when I am “feelin’ myself” and she has a way of emulating that momentum.  I don’t claim to have a perfect body or a beautiful face but one thing that I love the most is when I feel confident in my own skin — and I want to teach my daughter to feel the same.

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I recently stumbled across a really fun website called Jems&A.  It’s a female-owned business whose mission is to design and style children’s clothing to help kids express their creative side in what they choose to wear.  The Chicks love to support women’s businesses that also promote positivity!   Their clothes were appropriate for my daughter and consistent with my own personal style which made it easy to do some “mommy & me” matching. They have clothes for not only daily wear but also for a fun night on the town.

Making memories with my children is what I cherish most in this short life. Taking the time to focus on my relationship with my children is one of my main priorities.  It was fun to play dress-up with my daughter and incorporate laughter into our fun looks!  If you like what see here in the post, consider checking out Jems&A. If you use the code ChicksAndSalsa20, you can get 20% off an order of $50 or more.

Feel good, look good, and share that same confidence with your mini!  To read about how to discuss compassion with your mini, check out our post here.

Your chick,
Sonia


More Fall Fashion – Oh My!

I love dressing for fall but it can be frustrating. It’s an exciting time of the year when I’ve had enough of the scorching sun and humidity and I’m ready for a much-needed cool and crisp breeze! It’s a torment though, I always find that its way too long of a moment when deciding between grabbing a cardigan or not, and then ultimately end up carrying it and not wearing it half the time. Same goes for leather jackets, and they are bulky to carry! I can’t count the times I’ve worn open toed sandals when it was too warm out and ended up feeling embarrassed on my walks home when the temperature suddenly dropped. I have to say, I am a city girl so a lot of my stress and wardrobe is dictated by the weather and how strenuous my commute will be that day. I remember I would wear layers during the cold winters of New York all to pass out from the heat inside the packed and heated subway cars during rush hour! What a disaster that was.

Trendy Chick Soaking In the Fall Sunshine, shoes from @BisouNYC

After some failed attempts, I’ve figured it all out! For days when you’re not certain about the finicky weather, wear pieces, which work in both scenarios. For instance, instead of wearing boots because that’s a real commitment, wear booties and swap the jeans for a pair of quality tights and pair it with a tweed or wool skirt and flannel shirt. Another option is to pair fall fashion such as plaid with summer styles. So for warmer days, instead of a plaid shirt and jeans, wear a plaid shift dress and pair it with a pair of low tops for a relaxed and comfortable look.

Fall is about tasteful experiments. Try to bring character to each piece you wear, give it a different definition each time. It’s easy to stand out in the wrong outfit but hopefully these tips were helpful to avoid the embarrassments and discomfort of fall fashion disasters.

If you need some outwear recs, check out our post on Fall Layering.

XO, Your Trendy Chick,

Puja

Chick Picks:

On The Scene With Atlanta Fashion Designers

When we chicks have an opportunity to meet with creative influencers and check out emerging designers, we are there! For our most recent fashion adventure, we attended the Atlanta Fashion Designers annual showcase. The showcase was hosted in a beautiful garden venue and it did not disappoint.  There were nearly a dozen designers showcasing ethnic, urban, and high-end designs with colorful fabrics and thoughtful silhouettes.  It was a perfect evening with seating on an outdoor patio — while exchanging notes with other bloggers about fall trends and good vibes. Diversity was the theme that ran throughout the show.

The MC, Shorty Mac of HOT 107.9, was stunning and lively. She set the tone arranging a live band singing old school jams. She kicked off the event by introducing the designers and then the fashion unfolded for the evening. Chicks and salsa loved the show.. and sitting with a stylist, a fashion icon, and a designer doesn’t hurt either!

@chicksandsalsablog @nilabolour @atlantafashionicon @thesilverstylist

In particular, the men’s fashion by Lindbergh really stood apart from the rest. The ensembles were crisp and clean. In particular, the sneakers were our favorite. The use of zippers, open lacing, and bold colors really made them stand out, see the collection here.

Another thing to note this fashion season is that street style continues to trend! Alexis’ Suitcase, Shavonne, and the Girls and Curves Boutique pulled out all the stops with the street style looks. These designers were pairing sneakers with dresses and ruffles with capris.

The street style was contrasted by the next designer, HijabiPop, who explored more of an evening gown theme. This collection was a welcome addition representing fashion that is relevant in many parts of the world for millions of people.

HijabiPop taking a modern twist on traditional wear.

The evening closed with Samba dancers, nibbles and laughter. This is hands down one of the most diverse fashion shows in Atlanta.  The designs and the crowd felt worldly and engaged in supporting the diverse platform that the Atlanta Fashion Designers have set up. This is a perfect avenue for emerging creative artists to put themselves out there. Thank you to the vendors who put in time at the Sip’n’Shop and the organizers for creating such a memorable event.  I look forward to next year!

Your Party Chick,

Rina Puri

Chick Picks:

Dressing for the Fall is a Hobby!

Fall means brisk mornings and chilly evenings. Colder weather also means layering which means it’s time for just a few of my favorite things: cardigans, jackets, and sweatshirts!  Having grown up in the Midwest, pairing boots with hats and scarves has always been a hobby of sorts.

Layering is not only a cute fashion statement but one with high functionality.  We make sure to layer up our kids when they go outside — but when it comes to ourselves, we fall into patterns and bad habits of reaching for that old over sized cardigan from years ago!  Lucky for all of us the trends this fall have our back, having both comfort, fashion, and practicality in mind.

 

I took me 5 years, but I FINALLY found an army green jacket that I can jive with.  At Rebecca Minkoff right now, there is a lot to love.  My newest purchases for this year includes a camouflage Rebecca Minkoff jacket that is just right. It is warm and gorgeous and the silver studded detail that makes just enough of a statement. If I leave the house in basics like all black (aka the Chicks Uniform), this Minkoff jacket makes it seem like I am having fun with it.  

The LOVE sweatshirt, also by Rebecca Minkoff, is trendy and comfy.  Somewhere along the line I missed the ‘retro’ look trend, but this year I scooped this up.  This sweatshirt is a must for getting that cute #streetstyle look, I paired this look with my three-year-old-and-still-rocking Stuart Weitzman OTK boots.  

Lastly, since denim is ALWAYS trendy, this long denim jacket by Akira is just edgy enough that a mom can still rock it without feeling overly conscious.  If you are in Chicago, you are lucky enough to just be able to walk into this amazing local boutique, but for the rest of us, we can go online, shop this jacket here.

Akira Denim

 You don’t have to stop there either. Belts over outerwear and scarves make layering so much more dynamic and functional, I will attempt a post with a few of those looks next month.  Resist the urge to grab for those old sweaters, and see if you can “UMPH” up your closet. Try starting with some of these outerwear pieces that you can wear over and over again.

Cheers to being cozy!

Rina  

Chick Picks:


What does it look like “Behind The Scenes”

Whenever I post images or “bts” images on my social media pages, I get flooded with text messages from “hey, how can I become one of your models” or “what really happens behind the scenes?”  I thought for my next blog post it would be fun to share some of my experiences.

For the past four years I have worked with a client helping create the looks for their spring and fall bridal campaigns.  When I think back to our first campaign together, I can’t help but be reminded just how far we have come as a team.  I can’t emphasize the word “team” enough because it truly is a group effort.

There are so many preparations that go into executing a successful shoot.  A lot of creative energy and communication goes into.  One of our first steps is our creative team will send emails and photographs of inspiration.  After several meetings and inputs from everyone, they will usually confirm the mood and the process of building our sets start to take place.

While our set is starting to slowly be brought to life, the photographer will usually send his/her inspiration for lighting.  I can’t tell you how important lighting is. It’s everything. You can have the most beautiful model, on a perfect set, wearing a gorgeous gown. If the lighting is off then everything is off! No pressure, right?!

Once we have all agreed on a lighting that is appropriate for our inspiration, we start brainstorming hair, makeup and styling looks.  This can be from choosing a model with the right hair color, down to the color of their natural lips.  Does she have freckles? How will they photograph? Does she have a birth mark on her back? Can our team of editors get rid of it and will it be expensive to do so.

From there we start our search for the perfect models. This process can be a long and draining process.  They not only have to fit the image the creative team desires but they need to be the exact height and measurements as the sample sizes as they will not alter them.

These are really just a few but most important steps in bringing a vision to life.  As I mentioned it’s truly a team effort. I always look forward to these shoots because they allow me the opportunity to work with such creative people whose passion for art and excellence is contagious.

Love,

Deanna-Your Beauty Chick

Chick Picks:

Umbrella Lights
Faux Backdrop
Faux Sheepskin Rug

Off The Runway

The Chicks were invited to preview Nordstrom’s Off The Runway event and we were in fashion heaven! Maybe it was the delicious hors d’oeuvre’s, or the beautiful ambiance created by live jazz music and live models — that made this event so unique and fun.  Our stylist had invited us to check out the latest trends that will be hitting the website in the fall, straight off the runway, and we wouldn’t have missed this chance!  We definitely noticed a few things that may be trending this fall:

Pop Of Color is Still A Thing

Look at these rust hue pants — they are stunning and with the loose long fit, they are the most comfortable pants we tried on all night!  Our model, lawyer, polo player and horse whisperer Pamela Flannigan went home with these stunning Victoria Beckham pants!

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 Black Remains the Chicks Uniform of Choice

This Gucci dress is why we wear black ALL THE TIME, and how can you not?   Our Party Chicks shows us how this fit made her feel like a million dollars.

Gucci Dress with details that are worthy of the season.

The Holidays are Around the Corner

I know, I know, its only August, but we could not help but feel like Christmas is coming with the beautiful emeralds and shimmer which were on so many pieces.   So its not to soon to start thinking ahead to family get together’s and office parties.

Needless to say, we saw some stellar pieces.   Now for the savvy part.  I love unique designer pieces and accessories, however being savvy is what makes the whole experience much more exciting.  Anyone that knows me understands my love for Nordstrom.  It’s the many sides of the brand that I have loved for years.  Listed below is how you can enjoy great finds and perks without the guilt and still look like a million bucks.

Get more out of your Nordstrom card; maximize your points by signing up for rewards even if you DO NOT have a Nordstrom CC (yep, you read that right, you don’t have to have the credit card to collect rewards).

By owning a CC, you collected rewards twice as fast and can take advantage of the many perks once you attain certain levels.  Now that Trunk club, HauteLook and The Rack are under the Nordstrom umbrella, it’s easier than ever to reach higher levels with the card, thus making it closer to your perks in the form of what Nordstrom calls ‘notes’ which are $20, $50, $100 credits toward future purchases.  For me it’s the complimentary alterations of my purchases via HauteLook.  I have purchased some amazing dresses from boutique brands such as Oliviasous, TOV,  and  Tea⋓ at amazing deals to have them altered to perfection is a huge benefit for when I attend balls, fundraiser, or events.

Being a busy mom of two, an entrepreneur, and running a household leaves me little time to go shopping for upcoming events.  SO the idea of having a stylist, who not only knows my budget, and my style by having a glass of champagne or coffee and outfits awaiting me after a hectic afternoon without having to spend hours at the store.  Trunk club is also another great option that makes me feel efficient.  There are secrets that Nordstrom have that I wasn’t aware of — like the fact they sell Chanel and can overnight what you like and want (Chanel AND triple points, what’s not to love?!?)  Even if it’s not out yet, chances are your beloved stylist will get it for you.

Lastly, the customer service I receive is priceless.  As a mother of two very active minions, it’s nice to be looked at with a warm smile and “ready to help” attitude no matter how you look or feel at that moment.  I’ve had awful experiences where top stores look at you up and down before deciding whether or not it’s worth helping you.  (Let’s not judge based of appearances). Long story short my loyalty does go to Nordstrom for creating the best environment for everyone and anyone and whether or I have my swag on or sweatpants I know that customer service at Nordstrom makes me feel like a million bucks.

Your Savvy Chick,

Avani

For a free stylish sesh with us and our Trunk Club stylist (and free champagne!) email Sonia@chicksandsalsablog.com

Chick Picks:

Steve Madden Mules
Dries Van Noten Block Heel