Gus Mayer Champagne Sale

The 10-minute Mani

One of the biggest obstacles to giving myself regular manicures at home used to be the drying time.  As a working mama, I usually end up doing my nails around 10pm in the evening, not long before I’m ready to pass out and smudge my fresh mani all over my sheets.  Ugh.  So, that was all resolved when I found and tried the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri top coat.

Sally Hansen Insta Dri, http://chicinacademia.comSally Hansen Insta-Dri, ~$4 (Photo: Chic in Academia)

The mani above was done late at night (wearing Revlon’s Vixen), and was dry within 5 minutes of applying polish to my last nail! A total 10-minutes spent doing my nails.  AH-maze-ING.

Another one of my secrets for a successful manicure is the use of a product I would have never imagined using for my mani’s: The Honest Company’s Healing Balm.

Honest Company Healing Balm, http://chicinacademia.comThe Honest Company Healing Balm, ~$12 (Photo: Chic in Academia)

It belongs to my 18-month old, so I usually tote it along with his diapers and wipes.  In the absence of my usual hand lotion one day, I decided to use this instead and noticed that it absorbed really well, wasn’t super greasy, and kept my cuticles super soft!  So, now I use it before cutting my cuticles, and then often to keep my hands soft and non-ashy or dry. 😉

Finally, I can’t end this post without telling you about my two favorite polishes.  I am, by default, a red-polish wearer.  It works well against my olive-toned skin and is simply a classic, timeless color.  My FAVORITE of all-time is the Deborah Lippmann “Lady is a Tramp” pictured below:

Deborah Lippman "Lady is a Tramp", http://chicinacademia.comDeborah Lippmann Nail Polish, $18 (Photo: Chic in Academia)

A second Deborah Lippmann favorite is “It’s Raining Men”. Both great red hues.

Another favorite is a great color all-year round, in my opinion.  I purchased this one pictured below at Gus Mayer in Birmingham, AL last summer, and have loved it since.

Chanel Eastern Light, http://chicinacademia.comChanel “Eastern Light”, $27 (Photo: Chic in Academia)

White or light-colored polishes can be tricky to apply, and can often end up looking streaky on one’s nails.  Or, if too ‘white’, appear like you applied Wite-Out to your nails!  No bueno.  This one goes on smoothly and only requires two coats to look perfect.  The Sally Hansen Insta-Dri also works well over it because it’s a clear top coat.

Now, I realize the polishes I have mentioned are all über expensive.  Mind you, they are not polishes I buy every week.  I *maybe* buy one every year, but will typically put them on gift wish-lists for my birthday and Christmas.  That’s how I received the Deborah Lippmann polish!  My mother-in-law was super thoughtful and bought one for me after reading that it was one of my faves in one of my very first Chic in Academia blog posts.

When I DO purchase frequently, or purchase a color that I’m uncertain of, I stick to Sinful polishes.

Sinful Nail Polish, http://chicinacademia.comSinful Nail Polish, $2 (Photo:

At $2 a bottle, you can feel free to try on new colors, without feeling guilty for spending an exorbitant amount on a single bottle.  My favorite red from the Sinful line is “Go Go Girl”.  Simply love it.

Anyhow, don’t you love how deep this post was??!  You must wonder, on occasion (or perhaps always, haha!), why I limit my posts for Chic in Academia to fun and frilly topics.  Well, part of the reason I do is because it’s my form of brain candy.  It’s fun and boosts my endorphins!  Seriously though, I have contemplated writing some ‘academia’ themed posts like “What to look for in a mentor”, “How to maintain work-life balance”, and “Things I learned as a graduate student/postdoc”.  So, if there is enough interest, I will write them and others!  But for now, I will continue to provide you with fun posts like these.  “Let them all [read brain candy]!! 🙂

Until next time!  Stay chic!

A Girl’s Night Out with Gus Mayer and the Birmingham Humane Society

Last week, I attended Gus Mayer’s Fall Fashion Preview.  It was an incredibly fun event!  I didn’t get to go to New York Fashion Week again this year, but this set up and the event in general was a close second:




It was my first time getting a preview of a store’s Fall collection, so I was beyond excited to participate.  As per usual, my first reaction is always to figure out what I am going to wear.  No surprise there!  This time, I planned my outfit around a pair of earrings I won recently as part of a Society Social/Lisi Learch giveaway on Instagram.  Aren’t the just stunning?!


Here I am wearing the earrings.  In case you are wondering, they are not clip-on’s!  They are about 3.5″ in length and light enough to wear for a few hours.  Not light enough to wear all day every day. 😉


Next came the outfit styling.  I hadn’t worn this J. Crew skirt in a while, so I decided to pair it with a NY&Company flowy top and nude heels.  Since I was attending a Gus Mayer sponsored event, I also knew I had to wear the bag that I scored during their last major sale event – a chartreause, quilted, Rebecca Minkoff bag!


Top: NY and Company (old, similar here) // Skirt: J Crew (here) // Heels: BCBG Generation (old, similar here)

I actually have to thank Nancy Nagrodzki, the Gus Mayer Handbag and Accessories buyer, for this bag.  I arrived late to their previous sales event, so by the time I got there, all of the bags that were majorly discounted were gone.  Buyers in the store could only buy one bag however, so she kept an eye out for customers who were walking around with 2 bags, and when one customer decided to take another and not this one, she got it and handed it to me!  I was SO grateful!  Isn’t Nancy amazing?! I was therefore elated to see her at the Fall Fashion Preview and learn about the new bags and accessories for the Fall.  Take a peak at some of the handbags and accessories she curated Gus Mayer buyers:


For handbags, mixed media, such as shearling and leather will be popular this Fall. Bucket bags, clutches with a broaches, and backpacks in all colors will be on trend.


Jeweled embellishments on belts, handbags and headbands/combs will also be big hits.  Guess what’s also back in style??  You guessed it!  The FANNY PACK!!  Rebecca Minkoff makes a quilted version that is ALL the rage!


Scarves in floral and digital prints will be in all shapes and sizes will also be popular. Wraps, infinity scarves and cashmere scarves with fringe like the one Nancy shows us here:


Ponchos and capes are also in. Look for versatility and neutral colors. For outerwear in general, rain coats in fun prints, like polka dots or animal prints, leather jackets in all shades are going to be very popular this Fall.


Next, we heard from Cami Krablin, the Contemporary/Ready-to-wear and denim buyer.  I really loved many of the items she picked out for Gus Mayer’s Fall selection.  She described fall trends as “boho chic”, “leather and lace”, and “Janice Joplin meets 2014”.


Among some of the lines she selected for Guy Mayer is a clothing line by a new, up-and-coming designer, Benjamin Jay.  Not only were all of his clothes incredibly unique and well-made, but he is also formerly a microbiologist in training!  That’s definitely a brand that I can stand behind.  Check out the distressed tee’s I am still coveting:

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Finally, Rita Lindsey – the Cosmetics and Gifts buyer – talked to us about the new “it” Chanel nail polish hue, as well as a trapper keeper/planner of sorts made by Trish McEvoy, which comes with everything you need for lips, eyes, cheeks, and even includes foundation.  Make up trends for the fall include smokey eyes and a bold lip.  My favorite part of this presentation was learning about a fantastic new line called Royal Highnies.  It’s a line of men’s boxers and women’s sleepwear, boasting 400 thread count, soft cotton boxers and PJ’s.  What awesome stocking stuffers these would make!?

The best part of the beauty presentation was that we actually got to take some samples home with us.  I’ve since tried several Chanel and La Mer face products and am a fan!  The products not only smell amazing, but they are also effective!  Definitely going back for more of these products:


In addition to carrying a pretty amazing selection of clothes, shoes, beauty products and accessories, Gus Mayer sure knows how to host a fun event!  This one was a huge success in my opinion, but it was exclusive to bloggers.  This Tuesday, September 16th, you get a chance to shop TAX FREE and enjoy some appetizers and drinks while mingling with fellow shoppers at Gus Mayer’s Girl’s Night Out from 4-8pm.  That’s not all.  The event will benefit Greater Birmingham Humane Society with giveaways including $750, $500 and $250 Gus Mayer gift cards!  Pretty exciting, right?!  They may even have some pets on site that you can adopt.  Sounds like a win-win to me!

Here’s some additional information on the event:

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Sounds like fun, right?  AND, it’s a great cause!  If you are in the Birmingham area tomorrow, make sure to stop by Gus Mayer.  If not because you’re a shopper and lover of retail, then shop to support a worthy cause. 🙂

Until next time!  Stay Chic!