I had in the past done Pinterest Challenges. What is that? I picked something I pinned from Pinterest and do a test to see whether it is really that easy to replicate or that good. I have done hair, cleaning and now it is time to try some food recipes. I have heard a lot of complains from readers about Pinterest recipes - that they are aesthetically pretty but once you make the recipe the food is disgusting. So I gave it a try. I just randomly picked a recipe that I had pinned. In this case it was Danelle's mini no bake key lime cheesecake. The original recipe can be found on Let's Dish so I encourage you to check it out. I am just replicating the recipe.
Ingredients (from Let's Dish website)
  1. 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  2. 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  3. 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  4. 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  5. 1/3 cup bottled key lime juice
  6. 1 teaspoon lime zest
  7. 1 (8 oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  8. 1-2 drops green food coloring (optional)
  1. Line 12 muffin pan cups with paper liners.
  2. In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and and melted butter. Press one tablespoon of crumbs into the bottom of each liner.
  3. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
  4. Add the condensed milk and lime juice and mix well. Mix in the food coloring, if using. Fold in the lime zest and 1 cup of the whipped topping.
  5. Divide the mixture evenly among the lined muffin cups. Cover pan with foil or plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours.
Results: This recipe was easy (literally 10 minutes and you were done) and AMAZING! It was so good I could have eaten all 12 muffin cups by myself. I think I would try to bake the cracker crumbs to create more stability when you grab a mini cheesecake with your hands. My advice would also to spread the mixture and level it on each muffin pan cup. I did not do that so the cheesecake did not look pretty as Danelle's but the taste was there. This is a super easy recipe if you have people over and you want to Wow them with something that only take few minutes and does not require baking. So Pinterest success!!!

photo by Mallory Brooks

Wow! These past two weeks have been insane. I have been so busy with my blog that I have been working at night just to reply to requests and schedule appointments. This is very exciting but also very scary. I finally have given in and created a Twitter account just for Fashion For Real People @FashionFRP. Please stop by and say hi. I would love to hear more from my readers. Mallory and I have been spending a lot of time together taking our photography (hers) to the next level and also enjoying some wine and art talks. Next week we are doing a photo shoot for Curio, a vintage store located in RailRoad Square. I don't want to spoil what we will be doing in the next weeks but trust me you need to check that place out and mention my name to Jackie the owner. Anyway, keep checking the blog for more on Curio.

In the meantime I wanted to share the other pictures from the last photoshoot with Mallory and also tell you how miserable it has been shooting at 97 degrees. This prompts me to talk about summer make-up tips and answer a pretty simple question: How do you get your makeup to stay in Florida in the summer?

1. Use a primer:
You probably need a primer for your face as well as your eyes. I was not into primers at first because I felt they clogged my pores, but that was because I found out later that you need to buy a primer with the same base of your foundation. This means if you use a water-base solution for your foundation your primer needs to be water-based as well. SmashBox has a collection of primers. I actually want to try one of their kits.

2. Use OIL FREE products:
Avoid any heavy foundation or make up that clogs your pores. This includes also powders. If you want to set your make up use Model in a Bottle, my friend recommended it and used it for her wedding. If you don't live in Florida you won't understand. You just can't wear the amount Kim Kardashian wears otherwise you will see strains and accumulation of your foundation on your face the size of Mount Everest. The next day you will break out and have zits and black heads all over your face. Opt for oil-free products especially a tinted moisturizer that has SPF and some level of coverage. Skinceuticals makes the best products for summer skincare. This should be your only face product. If you need a concealer I would suggest using a liquid one, not a crayon.  Revlon has a primer/highlighter that works really well as a concealer and highlighter.


3. Ditch powder make up:
Replace powder eyeshadows with mousse/cream blush. I use Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for lips and cheeks. They work magic because they give you that natural, kissed by the sun look. Even the blog LoveStyle by Bon-Ton suggests swapping out powder for cream blush.

4. Less is better: Instead of covering your face with make up, take care of your skin by getting a professional peeling. You will feel much better and fresh when you have to deal with humid conditions. Hope this helps, enjoy the rest of the pictures.

My friend and I had lunch the other day at Zoe's Kitchen. As a FYI order the tossed chicken salad. It is so juicy and filling you won't regret it. I am impressed by the menu and customer service of that place. Anyway, we were briefly talking about my fashion blog and what it is like to be a fashion blogger, how to be a fashion blogger and how to inspire readers. She made a statement that caught my attention, "Don't you need to buy new clothes to be relevant and be a fashion blogger?" - I never thought about that. I never assume fashion bloggers need to constantly buy trendy or new clothes to maintain credibility or a repertoire of fashion items. Contrary to having a food blog, where you have to buy fresh ingredients every time you make a recipe, blogging about fashion, style or decor does not require to become a shopaholic. My blog is intended for real people, people who might have a fixed budget each month, or maybe they do indulge in heavy shopping each week. The point is that having a new-out-of-closet outfit for each post you write as a fashion blogger does not make you a better fashion blogger. We also need to remind ourselves that we probably have more clothes in our closets than Carrie from Sex in the City. That alone could generate different outfits for months. In fact I started blogging about fashion when my friend Hilary and I decided to go on a 90 days no shopping journey wearing a different outfit each day from our closet. At the end of the 90 days we had not had a chance to wear even half of what we owned. So we did a swap and then donated the rest.

In honor of re-using what we have saved over 10, 15, 20, or 40 years here a dress I bought back in 2006 in a small boutique in Tallahassee, now closed. It needs some TLC as the hem came undone but overall, the point is that I still wear it and I like it.


For more pictures from this shoot check out the "Walk these streets" session of my blog, which is dedicated to anything in Tallahassee. You should also check out my personal photographer Mallory Brook's website.
Shopping Tips for Girls Who Hate Shopping
by Liz Kores
Photo by Mallory Brooks

Here’s the weird thing about women who love clothes, fashion and looking stylish:  Not all of them actually like shopping.
It’s true, there are many among us who don’t quite love that necessary step of the process.  If we had it our way, we would just be able to snap our fingers and have a closet full of gorgeous clothes, shoes and accessories that fit us perfectly. 
I love the part when I get home with new items that I immediately try on in various combinations; I adore wearing something new for the first time; and I can’t wait to see what my friends will think of a fabulous new outfit.  It’s just the whole getting there part I don’t always enjoy. 
And I know there are many others out there like me, so I put together a list of helpful tips that can help make shopping a little more pleasant.
 1    Hone In On Your Style
Half of the battle for many women is just figuring out what they like.  Walking into a department store and staring out over a sea of clothing racks can leave you feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed.  How do you start?  What should you try on?  Which pieces go together? 
If that’s one of your struggles, begin with your signature style – and if you’re thinking, “I don’t have a signature style,” then think about what you’d like it to be.  You can even use Pinterest; spend a couple hours creating an inspiration board.  When you’re finished, sit back and look it over, and you’ll probably see a pattern emerge.  Then look for pieces that have the same feel as you browse.

North Monroe Tallahassee, photo by Mallory Brooks

       2 .Recreate Past Success
One of the biggest keys to shopping success and sanity is to really and truly know your body type and what silhouettes flatter it best.  Think about an outfit you have that you absolutely love and try to figure out what it is that makes it so perfect.  There’s a good chance you love it because it conceals what you don’t like about your body and highlights what you do. 
Next time you go shopping, be very intentional about looking for clothes that do the same thing for you.  By the same token, stop trying on silhouettes you know don’t do anything for you.  If maxi dresses are unflattering, just leave them be so you can stop feeling bad about yourself every time you grab an adorable one and find that it doesn’t work for you. 
 3. Dress for the Job
You know what’s pretty much the worst?  Fitting rooms.  No matter how luxurious the store is, there’s just something about fitting rooms that can leave even the most secure woman feeling down on herself.  This feeling is only heightened by the struggle of getting in and out of clothing again and again. 
Make the whole thing a lot easier on yourself by wearing clothes that are effortless to take on and off – no buttons, no zippers, no snaps, no problem.  And it’s also important to wear good undergarments that will allow you to more accurately assess the clothes you’re trying on. 

Photo by Mallory Brooks wearing Banana Republic's skirt and Cole Haan's shoes

         4. Opt for Custom Tailoring
Never underestimate the power of tailoring.  The reality of real women’s body shapes and sizes is a far cry from the very limited standard sizes available in most stores.  But you should never interpret that as a reflection on your body, especially given the fact that the sizes vary from brand to brand. 
But the fact is that clothes just look weird if they are ill-fitting, and that includes pricey designer ones too.  On your next shopping trip, keep this in mind.  If you try something you love that has a slightly wonky fit, it doesn’t mean you can’t get it.  By all means, buy it and then take it to a tailor who can make it fit you like a glove.

  5. Make Snap Decisions  
We’ve all been there:  You see something on the hanger that gets your blood pumping, but you take it to the fitting room only to find that once it’s on, it doesn’t look at all how you imagined it would.  But there’s a part of you that thinks if you stare at it long enough and fuss with it a bit more, maybe you can make it work.
Stop that!  It’s precisely this kind of thing that results in buyer’s remorse.  No amount of fussing or staring will magically transform the thing.  Instead of wasting time and getting increasingly sad about it, take it off and move on as quickly as possible. 
 6. Shop at Low Traffic Times
If shopping isn’t exactly your forte under the best circumstances, then it certainly won’t be any good if you hit the shops at peak times.  If possible, try to go during the workday or early in the morning on the weekend.  Another good time to avoid the crowds is during major events – if you don’t mind missing the big game, you’ll have the place all to yourself on Super Bowl Sunday for example. 
 7. Phone a Friend
You may not have a personal stylist, but you do probably have friends who fancy themselves amateur stylists and expert shoppers.  Offer to buy one of them lunch in exchange for being your fashion consultant for the day.  She can steer you in the right direction, grab you another size, and give you valuable feedback in the fitting room.  And best of all, she’ll probably have no trouble saying things like, “No way, take that off right now,” and sometimes that’s all we need.

Photo by Mallory Brooks

Shopping might not ever be your idea of a good time. 
But if you love clothes as much as I do, you’ll at least want to learn a few tricks of the trade that make it as painless as possible.  And just think, once you do master the skill, you’ll be that much better at building your dream wardrobe.    

About the Author: Liz Kores is all about fashion, in both her personal and professional life.  She is the managing director of Oak Street Chicago, an association of businesses in Chicago’s Gold Coast, which is home to some of the best places to shop in Chicago.  Liz also sites on the board of the Chicago Fashion Incubator and enjoys contributing to a variety of style publications. Click here to learn more. 

About the Photographer: Mallory Brooks is a street photographer based in Tallahassee, Florida. 
About the Model: Ginevra Adamoli is the editor and curator of Fashion For Real People. 
I have promised myself that I will try to buy fashion items that are out of my comfort zone. This means I would stay away from basic cuts, prints and color and opt for something more trendy and totally not me. The first item I bought was a striped jumpsuit at TJmaxx for $16. It is totally out of my comfort zone: it has stripes (which usually make you look bigger), it is a bare back jumpsuit (which means no bras), and it has a low cut front (again no bras). I would never think I would wear this in my 30s, but I was quite surprised how classy, fun, and normal it looked on me whether I used sneakers or 1970s inspired BCBG sandals. All pictures taken by Mallory Brooks. Scroll down to get her details and book her now.


Urban Casual Chic: Hair Up,  Kick Ass Shades and Sneakers

Ash white leather shoes (similar at Vans), TJMaxx Jumpsuit (similar at Forever 21), Kenneth Cole Shades

1970s jumpsuit: Hoops earrings, a bare back, waves, and sandals

    BCBG wood and leather sandals (similar here), Bare Back Jumpsuit TJMaxx, Kenneth Cole Shades, and Italian gold hoops.  

All pictures are taken by Mallory Brooks. For booking with her please visit her website http://www.mallorylbrooks.com/#hello

From time to time I review places in town whether it is a store, a pub or a restaurant. This week review is about Moda the 'Italian' restaurant located by Madison Social. Now, let me just tell you that I am Italian so my standards for decent real Italian cuisine are very high. I also studied Italian history in details which  I will use to explain why there is no such a thing as authentic Italian cuisine in the States unless you are in Miami or New York.

Italians migrated in the States in mass during different phases but predominately at the end of the 1800s and after War World 1 and 2. Italians who migrated came predominately from southern regions of Italy with dinstict cuisines. As a matter of fact because of the geographical territory of Italy each region and even city has their own traditions and cusines. For example, the south is rich in fish, the north is based more on heavy, starchy foods, using butter rather than olive oil and so on. This is again just a result of geography and invasions back in the day (e.g. Arabic influence in Sicily). Italian immigrants were also predominately poor, escaping poverty to make enough money to buy land back in Italy. {This is a very simplistic explanation of Italian immigration, which explains Italo-American cuisines in the States}.

How does this relate to Italian Food in America? Let me state here that according to research in food studies, authentic Italian food accounts for only one third of Italian food purchased in the States. Everything else that is called Italian cheese, wine, etc. is a product of American marketing. In addition, food regulations around authenticity of food in the United States are low if not inexistent, making every cheese a possible parmesan cheese. {Real Parmigiano Reggiano cheese needs to follow rigid processes and validation checks to be called parmesan cheese, same with real pizza (e.g. diameters, water, etc.)}

American advertising played a crucial role in framing American food as Italian. Advertisers perceived Italian language as exotic and a way to sell more products. Here why we got some crazy Italian names for 'Italian dishes'.

So, are we or not eating something that is close to Italian cuisine? Here, I will get back to the story of immigrants. The answer is yes and no. The lack of Italian ingredients in the United States has led immigrants to readapt and re-invent Italian popular dishes. This is exactly why I consider Italian food that I eat in the States Italo-American. There is nothing wrong with this cuisine, but it is not Italian and purely for the simple reason of ingredients. Take a simple pizza dough. The flour used in the States is very high in gluten if I remember correctly. In Italy we use Farina 00 (can be found in speciality stores). Dishes that are 'Italian' but you will probably never find in Italy are: pizza pepperoni. Try order it in Italy and you will get bell peppers. Garlic bread covered in butter and toasted. Italians do like their garlic, but Americans have an obsession with Italian garlic. Anything Alfredo, Vodka, and lasagne with ricotta cheese..... fried mozzarella sticks, cheese bread sticks, gigantic meatballs served with spaghetti and marinara tomato sauce.....
Pretty much everything on the menu of so called Italian restaurants in the States is not authentic. These dishes are creations of either Italian immigrants from specific regions or pure advertisers and American entrepreneurs.

With this said, please find my review for Moda, an "Italian" restaurant in Tallahassee. I never eat in Italian restaurants in the States unless I am in Miami, but I thought I should have an open minded since the restaurant claims to be authentic Italian. [Foolish me.]

There are many things that are wrong with the restaurant in my opinion from the service, to the atmosphere of the restaurant, to the table outside with dripping water from the ceiling to the food which is overpriced and bland. I will only focus on the food.

The first red flag was the length of the menu - There are too many dishes ranging from pizza, focaccia, fish, meat, jumping from Tuscan dishes to southern dishes to ravioli with lobster. Italian good restaurants focus on few items that are local. If you are in Lucca, Tuscany you will be eating dishes based on that territory. This means fresh ingredients and well-done. We ordered the fritto misto, a combination of calamari and zucchini. We also ordered a focaccia with prosciutto crudo. Then we ordered wine, which in itself was a story, the waitress referred to moscato as a prosecco (cute, but scary at the same time). Before we even started we got complimentary house bread, the one that looks like garlic 'Italian' rolls from a fast food chain like Fazoli. They were burned, drenched in butter or some unknown liquid and they were just hard. They tasted like something you keep in the freezer for a year, you forgot about it so you cook it but does not quite turn the way you remember it: fresh.

The calamari fritti $14: Not too bad but again too oily and saggy, not crispy and light like those you eat in Sardegna. The batter was off the zucchini, so not really a fried zucchini at that point and they were served with a marinara sauce. Why? Why everything Italian and fried must be accompanied by a marinara sauce? That is not Italian. It kills the flavors of the entire dish.  And why serving a tomato base sauce with a lemon? Acidity with acidity on top of fried fish?

Focaccia with prosciutto $12-14: we received a pizza. I was confused but that was a pizza, not a focaccia. It had tomato sauce, cheese, arugula and prosciutto: a pizza and not even a good one. The dough seemed home-made because it tasted like when I used to make it as a child (not that great), also the shape of the pizza and the edges were not smooth, again like when a child makes a pizza. The wrinkles on the edges of the pizza were an indication of dry and not crispy. Seemed like the dough was sprinkled with too much extra flour before working it. Not an Italian pizza.

Here you have it, a review of an Italian restaurant from a real Italian. I know I am super picky about Italian food and that is why I cook it myself in my house, but I don't understand why it is so hard to make and sell good Italian food. It's bread and pasta with some tomato or herbs. How hard can it be? I don't mind if a restaurant serves Italo-American food, but don't call it authentic Italian. If only people knew what authentic Italian food was.... They will be shocked and probably they would either hate it or love it.