5 Things I Learned From My Frist Facial

Getting my first facial was a big deal. A lot of my friends are talking about getting Botox and I’m not at that stage yet. So, I’m opting for preventative care – eating right, working out, and having a good skincare routine.

Going to the spa has always seemed like something for the rich and famous, not the young and entrepreneurial.

But according to experts, one of those self-care things we should be doing is going to the spa for a facial.

“Going to the spa is like going to the dentist,” said my esthetician from Bluemercury.

I got my first facial at Bluemercury’s new store at 1153 N. State Street in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood.

And, I want to share with you what it was like to get my first facial

It’s so Comfortable.

The first thing many people will tell you about going to the spa is that you usually have to wear spa attire – a robe and slippers. While I was nervous, it’s quite the luxury to wear the robe and then slip into the warm blankets while you get a facial. Plus, when you wear a robe, it makes it easier for the esthetician to give you a shoulder robe and neck massage during the facial. Ahh, relaxation!

You Should Have Four Facials a Year.

As my esthetician said, going to the spa is like going to the dentist. While it’s important to practice at home care, you also need a professional to unclog your pores and bring back that healthy glow.

My esthetician recommended that men and women (yes, men too!) with healthy skin need to get a facial about four times a year with every change in season. 

Lauren Conrad, one of my favorite lifestyle bloggers and designer, shared that she gets facials every other month and in between does DIY masks.

In an In Style magazine interview, a skin care expert from The Body Shop shares that one a month is the magic number for getting a facial, but with diet and exercise, you can take fewer trips to the spa.

So, basically, find what is right for your budget and for your skin. I would say start with a facial in your late twenties, invest in a good skincare regimen (even if that starts with making sure you take your makeup off at night) and treat yourself to one or two every year.

Facials and Skin Care Routines Are Important.

What you eat and what you do at home matter. This is true for the doctor. It’s true for the dentist. And it’s true for the spa.

Unless you’re smearing pizza grease on your face, your diet will not completely change your face the esthetician told me. I just did the Whole30, a new 30 day cleanse, and by eating my vegetables and drinking lots of water, my skin was more hydrated and therefore clearer.

Diet and exercise are so important to being healthy. But, genetics play a big role in your skin conditions, and ladies, so do hormones! I asked my esthetician why I was breaking out on my neck and she said that’s because of hormones.

I’ve developed a nighttime skincare regimen. Consistency and using the right products have helped clear up my blackheads and protect my skin.

There’s five steps to a skin care regimen:

  • Cleanser
  • Exfoliate
  • Toner
  • Serum
  • Moisturizer

I was excited to try some new Bluemercury skincare products. I was using an eye cream from Arbonne, but I learned from my esthetician that you need to combine an eye serum with an eye cream for maximum results. I love Bluemercury’s Hydraboost Eye Serum, it has 4.5 out of 5 stars on their website.

I’ve also started using the Hydraboost Serum 2.0 to my face after washing it. It also has 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Bluemercury website. I like the lightweight formula with ingredients like Peptides and Glycolic Acid that help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. The natural tamarind and vitamin B5 also help plump and hydrate your skin!

Chemical Peels Are Amazing.

Not all treatments are the same. At Bluemercury they offer a few different types of facials that you can combine with eye zone treatments or chemical peels.

I got the most popular facial treatment blend, the modern facial + glycolic peel + vitamin oxygen blast. I added the eye zone treatment for the bags under my eyes.

I had seen another fashion blogger have a chemical peel and she said it wasn’t as scary as it sounded.

I had the glycolic peel – a gentler peel – and didn’t have a bad reaction to it – usually your skin tingles. But I will say to hydrate the day of your facial! When your skin is hydrated, it won’t be as sensitive. So products won’t burn or tingle as much.

It Takes a Minute.

Just like with a healthy diet and exercise, you aren’t fit after one gym session, the same is true for skincare products and facials.

When getting your first facial, don’t be like me and go on a trip the next day. You don’t know how your skin is going to react to the treatment.

Below is a picture of my face immediately after the facial. Warning: my face is so red! I was smiling because I was so relaxed and my esthetician was so nice!

My second photo was taken a few days later, and almost all my redness was gone.

Not all facials are the same. Sometimes you have chemical peels, which literally can cause your skin to peel a few days after the facial. I was lucky and didn’t have any issues. I wore an invisible skincare mask from Bluemercury the first two days after the facial – which meant no make-up. Good thing I was on a roadtrip!


I hope my first facial experience has helped you learn more about skincare and taking care of yourself.

A few takeaways about my first facial is that the process takes about an hour, your face might tingle at some point, and it’s best to have at least one day or an afternoon off right after the facial in case you have a reaction.

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This is a sponsored post.

Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.


Meet Gabrielle Union at Ulta Beauty for Flawless Hair Launch Chicago September 28th

There are few people I look up to as much as Gabrielle Union. I love how real she is about working out, family time, and glam. I first became enthralled with her for her role as news anchor, Mary Jane Paul on BET’s Being Mary Jane.

This fall she’s continuing to add to her business line with her own book – We Need More Wine. She’s also furthering her partnerships in the beauty industry. Next week, on September 28, 2017, Gabrielle Union will be in Chicago to launch her own haircare line at Ulta Beauty. The line is called FLAWLESS by Gabrielle Union and is designed for women with textured hair to have more good hair days than bad. Flawless hair care products have a combination of 3 oils including Argan Oil, Avacado Oil, and Marula Oil all made responsibly with Fair Trade principles to promote the South African markets.

I wanted to share with you this special opportunity to meet my favorite savvy businesswoman and role model, Gabrielle Union. She has been through the journey of loving her hair – something that I have struggled with my whole life. It’s seriously been on my summer bucket list every summer.

“I’ve finally gotten to a place of self-acceptance and recognizing that my natural hair is beautiful — and so is whatever weave I may wear,” Gabrielle Union told Glamour. “I’m perfectly happy rocking an Afro puff, my French braids, Senegalese twists, a faux-hawk, or an ombré wig, or heat-styling my natural hair with extensions, like in the photo above. And that makes me a happy person in my life.”

Thursday, September 28th Gabrielle Union is going to be at Ulta Beauty (430 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611) for a meet & greet in honor of the launch of Flawless!

In order to qualify for the meet and greet with the star – starting Friday, September 22nd the first 200 customers to purchase 1 Flawless product at this Michigan Ave. Ulta Beauty will receive a pass to meet Gabrielle on September 28th. Once the first 200 are sold out, the offer is expired.

Let me know on Instagram or Twitter if you get to meet her by tagging #windycitycosmo! Best of luck!


Bloggers Prepare for Fall Fashion: NYFW 2017

Oh, Fall. Football. Pumpkin Spice. And of course the fashion. New York Fashion Week (NYFW) Fall 2017 starts on Thursday, September 7, 2017, and runs until Wednesday, September 13, 2017. This week showcases the first looks of next year – spring and summer trends for 2018 from some of our favorite brands including Coach and Calvin Klein.

While Windy City Cosmo was invited to a few shows, we’ve decided to watch from afar this season (which you can too here). Fashion Week is something that everyone should experience. I went to the Paris Fashion Week for Spring 2016 and the city really does come alive and people are modeling everywhere from the Eiffel Tower to every alleyway in between.

While many bloggers have been teasing fall fashion like this jacket here and this casual outfit, the real thing that bloggers are getting excited for is getting ready for NYFW. Windy City Cosmo reached out to some of the local Midwest bloggers and bloggers throughout America to spotlight how these bloggers get invited to NYFW and how they prepare!

So, with no further ado, I want to introduce you to some bloggers to watch this week as they post about NYFW 2017, their fall looks, and what to look forward to for spring 2018.

The first blogger I would like to introduce you to the beautiful and talented, Mireille, Founder of the blog, City Peach. I love her fashion because she plays with color and patterns, but most importantly, she plays with silhouettes. She inspires others to look chic, especially mothers on any budget. She likes to blend her city girl and southern girl vibes and incorporates vintage pieces with name brands.



Mirellie, Founder of fashion blog, City Peach

The second blogger who is preparing for fall fashion at NYFW is Caitlin Patton, Founder of Sophisticaition.com. With over 18k Instagram followers, and a fresh perspective on details like these jeans with flowers, she is definitely shaking up the fashion world in her city (and mine!), Chicago.


Caitlin Patton, Founder of fashion blog, Sophisticaition.

The third blogger I want to introduce you to is Bria Kiara, Founder of Daydreamers Magazine.  Her visual site pops and explores everything from new looks to not feeling connected.

One of my favorite fashion trends she covers is about these fashionista sunglasses from Vizion Eyewear. It honestly makes me want to reevaluate my love of plain black sunglasses.


Bria Kiara, Founder of Daydreamers Magazine.

Windy City Cosmo: Describe being a fashion blogger?

Mireille, City Peach: To me, it’ll all about providing inspiration and creativity. I love being able to be creative with outfitting and talk about the why behind what I put together and how it can work for the reader. Part of my blogging journey is to help people think outside the box when getting dressed.

Caitlin Patton, Sophisticaition: I really think the blogging community here in Chicago is something special. There are so many creative and bright individuals here, and I feel blessed to be a part of it all! A rising tide lifts all ships, and I love getting to work with other bloggers, photographers, stylists, graphic designers, etc. to help us all succeed.

Bria Kiara, Daydreamers Magazine: I’m a magazine founder and editor. It’s a very rewarding but ultra successful position to hold. I manage the daily operations of the online site while handling photo shoot and interview arrangements for online and print content. I create editorial calendars and attend events in the city as the magazine’s representative. In addition to fashion, I also focus on music and culture throughout the year.

Windy City Cosmo: What inspires your outfits?

Mireille, City Peach: Is it your mood or the events you’re going to, etc? I am mostly inspired by seasons and genres. For example, in the fall, I will layer everything, almost becoming the main focus of the style I create for that time of year… how creative can I get and use different ways to put many things together. I also am inspired by movies that I was obsessed with in the past and bringing a style to life through an outfit.

View More: http://vivaluxphotography.pass.us/mireille-beckwith

Mireille from City Peach rocking a statement necklace.

Caitlin Patton, Sophisticaition: My outfits are definitely inspired by where I’m going and how I’m feeling. I also can make an outfit off of a song or album I’m really feeling. The new Lana album was a big source of my summer looks!

Bria Kiara, Daydreamers Magazine: My personal style is inspired by my mood and the event I’m going to. If I’m going somewhere at night, I tend to dress more fancy and classy; heels, dresses and really going out with my look. If I’m going somewhere during the day, I may wear something light, bright and easy to get me through my day. No matter what though, I’m always experimenting with different textures, color palettes, and eras.

Windy City Cosmo: How did you develop your style?

Mireille, City Peach: I have taken styles that I have loved over the years and experiences, to create a style that speaks to me as my identity. I worked in retail during my entire 20’s, from Abercrombie and Fitch, where I like to keep a classic feel to most looks, and then working at Anthropologie while in NYC, almost opened my eyes to mixing, matching, and taking risks. I wear what I love, what I feel comfortable in, and stay true to a style that I either love or stay away from what I truly do not like.

View More: http://vivaluxphotography.pass.us/city-peach-2

Mireille from City Peach with a bright red purse and classic shades.

Bria Kiara, Daydreamers Magazine: I developed my style by reading magazines, watching movies about fashion and Pinterest. I want to get a worldview of how people are dressing, not just how people dress in my hometown (Philadelphia). I find I always find inspiration in the world outside of my own.

Windy City Cosmo: How do you choose locations to shoot beauty and fashion pieces?

Mireille, City Peach: My preference is for a ‘city setting’ because that is my blog namesake and theme. I like my outfits to depict a busy mom who is on the go; a city gal who will always feel at home in a concrete jungle and ever sacrifice being chic for anything! It is always possible to look put together, and my job is to show you how.

Caitlin Patton, Sophisticaition: I love shooting on Michigan Avenue. It’s just so quintessential Chicago, and I love the skyscrapers. It still feels surreal to look up at them and think, wow, I live here. The lake never disappoints, either!


Caitlin Patton from Sophisticaition a few blocks from the iconic Michigan Ave., at Sprinkles Cupcake ATM.

Bria Kiara, Daydreamers Magazine: I choose locations for photoshoots based on the concepts I want to execute. The location is the most important element of a successful shoot, so I also try to pick places that have various options for angles and shots.

Windy City Cosmo: How did you go about getting invited to New York Fashion Week?

Mireille, City Peach: It’s all about putting in the work, year round, growing your brand. If you put yourself out there and connect to brands that you love, you will always have a starting point. Then you just email, call, and ask to be a part of anything!

Caitlin Patton, Sophisticaition: I was invited to shows in February by some PR companies I work with, and they encouraged me to attend this fall! I’ve reached out to brands myself but have also continued to work with my contacts at PR agencies to help them with brand coverage.

Bria Kiara, Daydreamers Magazine: It’s honestly all about good timing, knowing somebody who knows somebody and being ready. A friend of mine knows a designer personally who needed media for her fashion show during NYFW. She immediately told me about the opportunity, and I was connected with the designer of the fashion show.


Bria Kiara from Daydreamers Magazine showing off an elegant choker.

Windy City Cosmo: What designers are you excited to see?

Mireille, City Peach: Rodarte is one of my absolute favorite design house (especially for Fall inspo) and runway show in general. I will not be seeing them this year, but love Christian Siriano and his idea of the woman’s definition of style, I love Tibi’s ideas, Carolina Herrera’s full skirts, and Alexander Wang.

Caitlin Patton, Sophisticaition: Not all invites are finalized yet, but I am really excited to see the Banana Republic presentation because a lot of my readers have expressed interest in work wear – I hope I’ll get some major office outfit inspo!

Bria Kiara, Daydreamers Magazine: I am excited to see Siobhan Hunter!!

Windy City Cosmo: Lastly, what are some staples you’re packing for the show?

Mireille, City Peach: I’m extremely into jumpsuits, so that is my go-to when all else fails. I have a pair of tassel heeled loafers that can go with any outfit and are actually comfortable, and I have about 6 high waist skirts in every color that if anything, can always go with a tee and still look amaze!

Caitlin Patton, Sophisticaition: COMFY SHOES. Extra memory cards for my camera. Lots of fun lipsticks, and some favorite fall trends like metallics, velvet, and more.


blue cocktail dress-5922 edit

Caitlin Patton from Sophisticaition in a gorgeous blue dress and nude heels.

Windy City Cosmo: So, readers can follow along, please list your social links where they can see your coverage.

Mireille, City Peach: I will be on my IG stories the entire time, so the best place to follow along is @city.peach on Instagram.

The best place to find direct links to my blog posts are either my actual blog, www.city-peach.com or on Facebook.com/citypeach!

Caitlin Patton, Sophisticaition: 

Instagram: instagram.com/caitpatton

Twitter: twitter.com/caitpat

Facebook: facebook.com/sophisticaition

 Bria Kiara, Daydreamers Magazine: 

Twitter: @daydreamersmag_

Instagram:  @daydreamersmag

Update: New York Fashion Week is still going strong and these are some of my favorite looks:

View this post on Instagram

City nights with @lincolnparkmin #nyfw ✨

A post shared by Lexi Holden (@lexandthecity____) on


Meet the Chicago Entrepreneur Behind The Beauty App, LISA

There’s a lot that goes into getting ready for an event. And by event, I mean there’s a lot that goes into getting ready for a week. Is your hair done? Did your gel manicure start to peel?

The more that I attend parties and grow in my marketing and blogging career, the more I realize that it takes makeup and maybe a straightener to get good photos – not just Snapchat filters. And most of all, putting on your best face and looking good not only presents a better image for you and your brand, it also makes you feel more confident.

One platform that is here to help is the LISA App, the first open marketplace mobile application that connects clients to artists in the beauty industry by allowing them to schedule high-quality personal services whenever and wherever they want them, at a price that suits their budget. I had heard of the LISA App from The Tape Play’s launch party and from Chicagogrammers first birthday party and then at the Chicago Yelp Drink and Learn event at Workspring. 

After meeting some of their stylists and having my own hair and makeup done by some of the beauticians through the LISA App, I reached out to the founder, Lisa Nation to learn what inspired her to start this beauty on demand business, the apps that help her streamline her business and some of her secrets to B2B (business to business) success.

How did you get the idea for your business?

It was my husband’s idea, he had that ah ha moment driving to work one day. I’ve been a licensed hairstylist for over 23 years but for the past 17 years I have worked independently due to the commission split salons take from each service provided. When he explained his early concept, I jumped in head first and started to build out the infrastructure from the Artist’s perspective.

How long did you sit on the idea before taking steps to make it a reality?

September 24th, 2014 was when we hashed out the primitive idea, three days later he quit his job and we were off to the races.  We raised our first $100,000 in 2 days with just the concept of LISA, although the app was nameless at the time.

What were some of the steps that you took to create your business? Did you survey people? Did you seek out investors? Did you start solo?

Neither us knew one bit how to build an app, but, we are both resourceful. We strategically put the right people together and started whiteboarding. Once we felt we were in a good spot we held an investor presentation for 60 potential investors. We raised 1mm within 24 hours.

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Lisa Nation, Founder of The Lisa App.

How did you attracts stylists and beauticians?

At LISA we believe that anyone who can use scissors, a brush, chemicals or nimble fingers and make someone look and feel good deserves to be coined an Artist.

How do you build a platform for a community that doesn’t even realize a disruption is needed?

You have to listen to the people who live it everyday, what are their struggles, what would they like to see changed. That’s why LISA is a company that was built by the Artists for the Artists.

Before we began development, we invited 30 Artists to a summer camp in Florida. For 5 days 30 strangers came together to tell us what they would need if an app were built for them. We listened! You cannot build something if the people who are going to use it do not believe in it.

Can you tell me more about your business and the services you offer?

LISA is the first ever, true, open marketplace in the beauty industry that connects consumers and Artists in real time. LISA’s #1 focus is the B2B marketplace. LISA helps over 100 corporations supply beauty and wellness perks to their hardworking employees. LISA has designed software to assist these corporations to make it user-friendly for not only the back office (HR, Benefit Directors) but also for the employees to easily book in office services via the app. As we continue to grow our B2B efforts we will slowly start to promote the B2C marketplace in order for the employees to bring these services home with them.

Where’s your favorite part of getting ready for an event – makeup/hair/nails?

That’s a tough question to answer, I spend so much time making other people look and feel good, I rarely take the time or enjoy getting myself ready. If I had to choose, it would be hair.

What’s the hardest part of owning your own business?

Accountability. No one cares more about your business than you.

How do you distinguish yourself from competitors?

The goal is not to be first and best, the goal is to be early and better. We studied all of our competition and simply did it better. We learned from their mistakes and created features that they did not have, ie; open-marketplace, B2B strategy and all around Artist functionality.

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Do you use any apps to manage your business? If so, what are your favorites?

MailChimp, I use it to view report. Grammarly. Email tracker pro (I’m always watching to see who has opened my emails), Trello; this is how our team shares updates and stay organized and Zapier, I get a notification every time a consumer requests an Artist for a service.

What, do you find, is the hardest part of starting a business?

Prioritizing. Staying with your mission. There is such a temptation to sway from your original concept. DON’T. It will cause you to lose focus.

How do you network as an entrepreneur? Do you use LinkedIn? Do you send emails? Do you go to events?

It’s all about networking. I have joined many groups that inspire me and help me grow as an entrepreneur. I go to and participate in as many events as I possibly can. (get some networking tips here)

Sometimes I’m so tired, I don’t want to go, but I know I have to because it takes only one person and a 3-minute conversation to open a new door for you and you never know who that may be.

Since we are heavily focused on B2B, I’m on LinkedIn more than I am on FB or Instagram. LinkedIn is a terrific resource to learn about companies and the people who work there. Most of my business is email. One thing I have learned through this process is though is to avoid emailing Monday’s and Friday’s.

Windy City Cosmo experienced this first hand and was part of the LISA app’s promo video with Tape Play. (see video below).


Dior Makeovers and Blowouts at Chicago History Museum and Waldorf Astoria

What’s a girl’s night look like? Well, it has martinis, makeup,  lots and lots of braiding, and then an opportunity to look at pretty dresses and take selfies. Dior and Medici Museums delivered for us Chicago city girls this past Tuesday, August 15, 2017.

There wasn’t wardrobe changes, but there were location changes. This two-part event began  at the Chicago History Museum (5:30-7pm), where the city’s top fashion bloggers – Hasty Book ListThe Petite DiariesStile.Foto.Cibo., and The Color Palette included lead scavenger hunts of Mainbocher, “America’s First Couturier,” a twentieth-century tastemaker who dressed royalty and celebrities, inspired Dior’s “new look”—and put the chic in Chicago.

“Showcasing a Chicago designer who was so influential to fashion as a whole was a great way to get to know other Chicago fashion bloggers and enjoy a Ketel One cocktail,” said Chicago blogger, Danni Levine-Moore of Stile.Foto.Cibo.

If you don’t know, now you know that he made the strapless dress you’re favorite staple. You can learn all about his fascinating life, view his designs and even design your own dress (on a mannequin) in under 5 minutes at the  Making Mainbocher: The First American Couturier exhibit, which will be on display at the Chicago History Museum until August 20, 2017.

After filling out a scavenger hunt card, designing our own dress, and making new friends, we were ready for a location change. A mile away, this Chicago girl’s night took us to the Waldorf Astoria where delicious Ketel One martinis and vodka lemonades were waiting for us along with, because the event was so well spaced out, felt like our own Dior make-up artist and hair stylist.

We mingled at Waldorf Astoria’s new concept Petit Margeaux, the brainchild of celebrity chef Michael Mina. This fashion-forward hotel, with its Dior-inspired tiled lobby floor and Chanel-influenced chandeliers, was the perfect backdrop for our selfie’s.

After the all-inclusive evening, we made a few friends and stopped over for (thin crust) pizza across the street. Not bad for a Tuesday night.