Wednesday, July 31, 2013

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Business

The Shark Tank Social:  The Perfect Event for Entrepreneurs--

On Friday, August 2nd, Official Anais PR is hosting The Shark Tank Social, inspired by the hit TV Show.  This will be a great opportunity for anyone looking to start their own business, or continue building the brand you have.

Check out the details below and RSVP here!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Tops

Top 5 Things to Know About the Fashion Outlets of Chicago--

In 2 days (Thursday, August 1st), the Chicago shopping scene will be changed forever.  Just over the border of the City, the suburb of Rosemont will welcome an indoor outlet mall.  This shopping oasis is right by O'Hare Airport, one of the busiest transportation hubs on the globe.  A lot of things will make this place special, but here are just a few.

1.  It is an indoor outlet mall.
All of you true fashionistas know, outlet malls are great, but even better in the summer.  They are typically outdoor destinations.  Sure shopping in the midwest is done all year, but the Fashion Outlets will make it even sweeter in February by providing a roof. This is major--trust me.  It's great deals all year round, in a climate controlled setting!

2.  It's steps away from the airport.
When coming and going to Chicago, you can stop by the outlets and even check your bags while you shop.  It couldn't be more convenient.

3.  Bloomingdale's will be there.
Luxury fans are excited.  Bloomingdale's is at the pinnacle of fine shopping, and with brands like Louboutin, Michael Kors, Chanel, and more, shoppers are excited to see this retailer at an outlet mall.  

4.  Art will be everything here.
Artistic expression will be a major factor at Fashion Outlets of Chicago.  Where many malls keep their decor fairly simple, this one takes it to the limit.  There's bright colors, spotlights on local artists, and a scene to keep your attention.  I can't say enough about the art that'll be there.  Take a look and check out the artists making it so breath-taking.  

Daniel ArshamJen Stark and Jim Drain of The Arts Initiative are just some of the artists styling the hallway of Fashion Outlets of Chicago.

A piece by  Bhakti Baxter via The Arts Initiative

5.  There's shopping at all price points and styles.
Fashion Outlets of Chicago will have 130 retail outlets, and literally something for everyone.  We've gotten you excited about Bloomingdale's but the Outlets will have everything from Forever 21, to BCBG, Gap, Coach, Nike, and so many more.  

Here's the full list of stores.  Can't wait!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Tops

Top 10 Classic Pieces For Fun Fashion!

Lucky Magazine has shared 10 pieces you could technically live without, but might as well have for fun and taking your look up a level, right?  In addition to the Must-haves for the Fabulous Fashionista, we think these are totally worth sharing, too.

1.  The boot-cut jean, the cut that flatters everyone.

2.  The striped tee, what French girls wear.

3.  The Army jacket, a staple that makes any outfit cooler.

4.  The slouchy cardigan, easy and great over dresses.

5.  The motorcycle boot, the boots that make you a badass.

6.  The peacoat, warm without being bulky.
*You should just have one of these.  It's a must!

7.  The slipdress, endlessly versatile.

8.  The trench coat, instant sophistication.
*Again, another you absolutely should have.

9.  The ballet flat, the gold standard of flat.
*Another must.  Even if you can spend hours in your heels, concrete is the arch-enemy.  Put on cute flats to spare your treasured stilettos--and still look amazing!

10.  The plain button-down, boyishly preppy.

Hope you enjoyed these.  How many do you already have?

Monday, July 22, 2013

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Fix

Chicago Sidewalk Sale!

The 7th annual Chicago Sidewalk Sale will take place on Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St. The two-day shopping event on July 23-24, 2013 will be the perfect place for fashion enthusiasts and bargain shoppers to shop until they drop with the assortment of affordable apparel and accessories to choose from by Chicago designers and independent boutiques. There is also a fashion show at 12pm each day!

The Chicago Sidewalk Sale is produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and sponsored in part by Factor Model Management, Chicago.  

Be there!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Tops

Top Shopping Tips and Warnings, Part 2--

About a month ago, we gave you our first 4 tips and warning for shopping.  Now, we have more to add.  The summer is prime time for shopping, and we want to be sure you're all set when it comes to navigating deals and retail outlets.

5.  Be careful with "deal" websites and emails.
You decide what you want and when....not emails or pop-ups.  A lot of stores and e-commerce shops send emails with promotions and deals.  These are great if you're looking for something--but if you're not, they can lead to unplanned spending and impulse buying.  Be careful succumbing to deals.  If you don't need to spend money, don't!

6.  Sell or donate first.
If you feel the urge to shop, but want to keep your closet space in check, or even just balance the incoming items with outgoing, make some donations.  Shopping can be the gift that keeps on giving.  Whether you like donating to entities like Goodwill, the Salvation Army or Purple Heart, or smaller organizations, take the time to pass on your good fortune to others.  Your items can gain new life in the hands of someone who needs them.  You can feel good about giving and enjoy your new stuff.  Win-win.  Also, check out our suggestions for Where Fashion Meets Charity and  5 Ways to Give, Fashionably.

7.  Buy clothes fit for any day of the week.
Of course we all need items for special occasions, but for the most part, you need staples and everyday pieces in your wardrobe.  Ladies and gents alike need to have things they can wear in a variety of ways and for as long as possible--whether dressed up or dressed down.  When shopping in general, think about how many different ways you can wear or use what you're purchasing.  You'll get more for your money.

8.  Don't always trust the setting in the store.
Stores are designed to make you want to spend.  Things are carefully placed, and the decor is all done with purpose.  When buying shoes, be sure to walk in them on the carpet and tile floor (if possible) before buying.  Carpeting makes shoes feel comfortable, but in many instances, it's not the only floor type you'll encounter once you buy those shoes.   Also, check out how things look on you in different lighting.  This will let you know if the colors and fit are genuine or not.  Step out of the dressing room into the big mirror and better lit space to really see how items look on you.  
*If the store you're in doesn't have a variety of conditions, don't stress, you will likely be able to make returns if you get home and are unsatisfied.  

We hope these tips are helpful to you.  

More to come!

Monday, July 15, 2013

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Sports Law

Are College Athletes Being Exploited?

This question is not new at all, but with pending litigation, the spark has been reignited.  

The Latest
Former NBA players Ed O'Bannon, Oscar Robertson,and  Bill Russell are all parties to an antitrust suit against the NCAA regarding revenue from TV broadcasts, and merchandise licensing fees on video games and clothing. To explain a little, antitrust is the regulation and limitation of business organizations like monopolies or cartels, to ensure competition is promoted in an industry.  Many lawsuits have come up in the professional sports industry to keep the leagues from having a monopoly on talent, marketing, licensing, among other things making them so profitable.  2 years after filing, a California judge set a July 2014 trial date. 

A New Idea
The players claim they, and those following them should be compensated for use of their images in all media--but in a way limitedly discussed before.  Rather than directly paying student-athletes, who are technically amateurs, money will be put into a trust fund for payouts once they leave school.  This idea may also allow for teachable moments in money management--something players tend to struggle with upon going pro--or not.  This could also make way for athletes who may not be able to go pro as soon or at all to remain in college and get degrees which will be helpful to them afterwards--another common issue in the industry.  The NCAA makes millions of dollars in marketing, licensing, and other lucrative deals, all done because of the athletes attending their institutions.  Granted, they are attending these schools with the chance to make the most of their careers, in sports or otherwise.  Shouldn't the players, who typically are not allowed to work during the school year, be able to get a piece of the pie in some way?  In 2012 college merchandise revenue about 5 billion.  

NCAA says players waive marketing rights when entering college; they are not professional, and are fully aware of the business of college athletics.  This is more true these days because of the wide array of media outlets, but at a time, most notably when the Fab 5 at the University of Michigan were popular, this was not the case.  You might remember from their ESPN special, they all of a sudden realized they were struggling students, yet their style was making everyone else millions.  

Moving Forward
This case will be paramount in the way sports marketing and the business of sports moves forward in general.  The court could create a whole new way to define what determines "amateur" and could provide guidance for the use of likenesses when they belong to students.  

This case is also the perfect set-up for discussing entry age into professional sports.  Surely some of you recall the Maurice Clarett case.  We'll be diving into entry age soon.  

Tell us what you think and stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Tops

Top 4 Tips for Flea Market Shopping--

All shopping isn't created equal, and sometimes you need to shop outside the box.  Flea Markets offer a different twist to shopping, and the cool part is, you never know what you'll find.  If you're not an advance flea marketer, check out these tips:

1. Take these items with you:
--Cash.  Some vendors may have credit/debit card readers, or even now be using Square, but you never know.  You can't go wrong with cash.  It can also be a good boundary for how much you spend.

--Have a "notes" feature on your phone, or take a pen and paper.  You never know what you'll need to make note of to find later.

--Tape measure.  If you're looking for furniture or other non-wearable items, you might need this to be sure it'll fit as you want it to when you get home.

--A magnet.  This is how you test the reals and fakes.  If an item sticks to the magnet, it is not a precious metal.  This is ok, but you should be fully aware of what you're purchasing.  

2.  Know the best time to go.
Typically you can find the best items early in the day.  If you're not a morning person, try to get there soon after your day starts.  There may be good things there late in the day, but you get the best pickings early.

3.  Negotiate.
The beauty of the flea market if being able to get what you want for price you want.  You won't always get your desired price, but you  never know unless you ask.  It's worth it.

4.  Have a plan.
Know what you're looking for, and walk around to find it.  It's fine to go there with a open mind for purchasing, but plan your shopping so you don't get to the end and find a slew of things you want to buy.  If it's manageable, walk as much of if as you can first--then go back and make the purchases.

Hopefully these tips are helpful to you.  Happy shopping!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Discusses

The Supreme Court's Decision on the Voting Rights Act--

Just last week, the SCOTUS decided on the constitutionality of Sections 4 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in Shelby County v. Holder.  Section 4 describes certain voting areas which have used "tests and devices" or other programs to discriminate against minority voters. The areas are determined based on a "coverage formula". Section 5 restricts the use of these tests, protecting the equal right to vote for all citizens across the country.  Ultimately, the decision found these sections unconstitutional, saying they are now unnecessary for the current political conditions; minority voting is at an all-time high, and minorities are holding elected offices at unprecedented rates.  Is this enough?  Was the VRA the reason?  

The opening passage of the Opinion Syllabus says "The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was enacted to address entrenched racial discrimination in voting".  The Court asserts the entrenched discrimination is not a current condition.  Many were upset by the decision, and found it to be a setback in the suffrage rights and progress made to date.  Others have found it to be a way to get Congress to move and look at current trends to take action.

With tomorrow being Independence Day, we thought it'd be interesting to share parts of a conversation M and I had on the decision, and get your thoughts, too.

Was the ruling correct?

M:  Actually, I am surprised that Roberts did not recuse himself from ruling on that issue. I don’t know if you know it, but he actually worked on weakening the VRA in 1981 when he worked for the Reagan administration. Is that kind of strange that he didn't recuse himself? I mean, it is up to the individual justice, isn't it?

V:  I agree.  He should have recused himself.  Looks like they made a questionable decision one day, but a great decision in the Defense of Marriage Act case the day after. 

I do get their reasoning, but I don’t agree with it. From what I read in the decision, Roberts is saying that he does not believe that institutional racism exists anymore because more black people have been able to vote since the 60s (which is true). However, in practice, there were a number of attempts to create new voter registration burdens, even since the last time Congress extended the VRA in 2006. Even last year’s presidential election cycle had municipalities and states attempting to impose more barriers to voting that adversely affected the poor and minorities.  The decision basically looks like they kicked it to Congress to create a new formula for section 4 and they must know that Congress will likely not agree on that (I doubt it would even make it to a vote).

Interestingly enough, Ginsburg’s dissent was pretty fiery. She had some sass in there.

V:  I would add sass, too!  I agree with Roberts' points on how voting access has changed, but maybe the answer here is to have Congress take another look at Section 4 and force them to do something based on what is happening now.  To play Devil's Advocate, I don't doubt there's a slew of attempts to hamper minority and poor voting, but maybe, as applied, the current Section isn't working.  I think what many don't see is, legislators are supposed to legislate, i.e. keep laws current for the times. So, something like this may not need a 50 year extension, it might need a 5 or 10, and should be re-examined and election cycles and trends change.  I think this opinion is more scary for some people than flatly incorrect.  The dissent addresses these points. 

This also begs the question:  If the current VRA was working, how were municipalities, etc able to implement discriminatory practices?

M:  Ah, Ginsburg addresses your question: “…a reviewing court should expect the record supporting reauthorization to be less stark than the record originally made.  Demand for a record of violations equivalent to the one earlier might expose Congress to a catch-22. If the statue was working, there would be less evidence of discrimination, so opponents might argue that Congress should not be allowed to renew the statue. In contrast, if the statue was not working, there would be plenty of evidence of discrimination, but scant reason to renew a failed policy regime.”

She later says in this passage that:

“In summary, the constitution vests broad power in Congress to protect the right to vote, and in particular to combat racial discrimination in voting. The Court has repeatedly reaffirmed Congress’ prerogative to use any rational means in exercise of power in this area.”

She also goes on to say that she felt Congress’s judgment in the 2006 reauthorization states that it has not been long enough to eliminate discrimination is not only true but “merits the court’s utmost respect”.

Good luck with forcing congress to do anything…if it gets to the point that congress having to do something would solve an issue, then forget about it (in the short term anyway). I think this might be a bigger deal in the mid-term and local elections than the presidential one. Sure, the presidential elections are all sexy and have all that ridiculous fanfare, but it is local and state elections (along with congressional ones) that really affect people on a day to day basis.

V:  I couldn't agree with Justice Ginsburg more.  She hits the nail right on the head.  I think she makes a great point about the importance of local elections.  Sure, the federal elections are important and high profile, but what really impacts voters, and with more immediacy are their local elections and elected officials.  States should have their own sovereignty, sure.  But, when it comes to such a critical federal right, it is the duty of the federal government to watch out for all citizens and be sure everyone is treated fairly.  History tells us we can't always leave this in the hands of the locals.  

Further, I am a major proponent of laws fitting the times and legislators being the conduits for keeping our laws relevant to the world we live in--so I get Chief Justice Roberts's points about times being different and the VRA having different impacts.  However, as the opinion points out; "case-by-case litigation had proved inadequate to prevent such racial discrimination in voting, in part because States 'merely switched to discriminatory devices not covered by the federal decrees'".  With circumstances like these, and litigation not even being a solution, something has to be done and remain in place.  The opinion mentions the Act only applying to 9 states and impairing the tradition of equal sovereignty, yet standards to ensure equality in all States does not particularly discriminate against state sovereignty.  Like the Home Rule authority used in many state for their larger municipalities, the intent and effect of the relevant VRA sections work to protect something to be afforded all citizens equally--and where the locals handle it improperly or inconsistently, it is up to the higher sovereign to step in.  The reference to their prior case, Northwest Austin provided, the Act constitutes "extraordinary legislation otherwise unfamiliar to our federal system".  This may be true.  It is not then also unnecessary.  

The opinion also notes in more than one place, the Voting Rights Act is, in fact, working.  So why completely invalidated it, rather than call for more frequent review of its effect?.  Forcing and waiting for Congress to take action is a big risk, if for any reason, because of the size of the legislature and magnitude of the issue.  The dissent actually noted hearings both the House and Senate had on this issue, so it is being reviewed and examined.  This further shows the importance of local elections--where voters can interact with their electeds easier, and see results in action sooner.  

M:  I basically agree with all of that.

How do you guys feel?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Tops

Top 5 Skincare Tips--

Not too long ago, we gave you 5 beauty mistakes you shouldn't make.  Today, we're giving you more tips on how to keep your skin healthy.  Summer can be a critical time for skin, so we want to be sure you know what to do.

1.  Drink plenty of water.
This is a repeat, but it's just that important.  Water not only refreshes you in the heat, but clears toxins out on the inside.  Some don't find it tasty, but drink as much as you can to stay healthy.  You won't regret it.

2.  Embrace products you already have at home.
Many of us are self-proclaimed product junkies.  We see a product, hear the promises, and are sold.  This isn't too bad until your pocket suffers.  To avoid this and get the most out of your money, use things you likely already have:
-Baking soda for a mask to help curb oily skin and clear blemishes
-Lemon juice or a real lemon to clear dark spots and scar remains
-Apple cider vinegar to help clear blemishes
-Ice cubes to reduce the size of pores
-Honey for a mask to help clear blemishes and reduce shine
Using these in conjunction with the right cleanser for your skin will help keep it healthy in the summer...and your wallet, too.  

Here are 5 beauty products you can make at home, too!

3.  Care for your eyes.
They're not exactly skin, but they're surrounded by your skin and are critical to your face!  Carrots are great for supporting your vision and keeping healthy eyes.  Even if you wear glasses/contacts, carrots are good to keep in your diet.  Also, if you're pushing yourself pretty hard and are worried about dark circles, freeze tea bags, preferably green tea, then lay them on your eyes.  They'll reduce the circles and have your eyes bright again.  Sleep, of course, is important for this, too.  Get as much as you can.

4.  Stay moisturized.
Even if you have oily skin, you need moisture.  Find a moisturizer perfect for your skin type to be sure you can keep the balance.  Dry skin isn't good in any case.  It's also a good idea to find a moisturizer with other effects, like skin clearing or another benefit.  This gives you the most for your money and makes the most of your purchase.  If your scalp is dry...because that's skin, too--keep sweet potatoes in your diet.  They help with moisturizing and taste good!  You should also use coconut oil and eucalyptus oil, or tea tree oil on the scalp to help it keep from getting dry.  

5.  Exfoliate.
You have to remove the dead skin cells from your face, and exfoliating is a great way.  Clinique, in addition to these brands, offer great exfoliators or scrubs.  Exfoliating should be done about 2x a week to keep the skin fresh.  Be sure you use an exfoliator appropriate for your skin--something too harsh will scar, and something too soft will be useless.  Stores like Sephora are great at helping you choose and offer samples.  Ulta is a fave, too.  Check them out!

We hope these tips were helpful to you, and if you have any to add, please share!

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Sports

NBA Free Agency Popcorn Watcher By: Tonisha Hood,  BMMO Consulting NBA free agency started with a few bangs.  First, everyone was am...