Style Stud: Caitlin Mateo, Executive Chef of Square 1682

unnamedI’ve become stupidly obsessed with the show Chopped on the Food Network. I have no idea why, but it soothes my soul. 

And hey, it has kind of sparked my interest in cooking and food, which was never a huge part of my life. Like for instance, I now know what “frisee” is (hey ma … look at me, I can cook … kinda, sort of, not really).

So when I got the opportunity to pick the brain of one of Philly’s most well-known executive chefs, Caitlin Mateo from Square 1682, I jumped at the opportunity.

She’s not only talented in the kitchen and stylish (gotta love a girl who adores an all black outfit), but has also overcome hardships and knows how valuable self esteem can be.

So enough from me … please have the pleasure of getting to know Caitlin Mateo a little better.

What is your most beloved piece in your closet right now? BCBG black leather jacket. Every Christmas I buy myself a kick ass BCBG item, and the last 2 years were coats. I love wearing black. All black, or as an accent piece, you just can’t go wrong, and I look pretty bad ass in it.

 Describe your style in 4 words: sleek, versatile, bold, effortless

Name a few chefs who inspire you. Iliana Regan, Enrique Olvera, Michel Bras, and the list goes on. There are so many influential chefs in our world.

Tell me a little bit about Square 1682. What is your favorite thing on the menu right now and what would I drink with it? Square1682 is much different now than when it first opened. We’ve evolved and figured out what works for us and who our loyal customers are. 

One of my favorites on the menu right now is the octopus. Part of that is the love that goes into preparing the dish. It’s quickly cured, then tenderized for a long time and cooked slowly, then marinated and charred. Served over capsicum puree with crisp peanut potatoes that are confit in duck fat. We finish the dish with shishito peppers and a balsamic reduction. Its flavors come together really well and I would pair it with our Cotes du Rhone blanc.


Do you get inspiration for dishes outside of the kitchen? If so, where? I get inspiration most times out of the kitchen. I can get inspiration while at a farm. I get a lot of inspiration with a clear head when meditating or taking a run. Sometimes I might just look at the clouds and ideas start popping into my head.

I understand you overcame anorexia through your love of cooking, and I think that is beyond amazing. What advice could you give girls in Philly who are suffering from body image disorders, or just don’t have great self esteem? I did overcome that issue, and it was one of the toughest life experiences I’ve been through. Cooking, professionally, taught me how to get over my fear and love to eat food again. 

I would tell those girls that (this seems so cliché) what matters in your life really is about the person you are on the inside and the lasting impression you can leave on this world. Be good to your body and your mind and think about what it most important. Also, find a style that helps you feel confident and comfortable with yourself.

What do you like to wear when you cook? Usually I wear jeans or slim black pants. I do wear a chef coat, but I really like to cook in a nice button down blouse.

Do you have a signature dish to make? Can you describe it a bit. It’s funny, I have a lot of signature dishes in the professional kitchen and at home. Every holiday I’m always asked to make spinach lasagna. It’s the simplest dish, but the difference is the fresh pasta and putting a lot of love into every step of making that dish.  Seasoning the fresh cheese mix and adding just the right amount of spice to the tomato ragu. People go nuts for it.

How do you feel about cheesesteaks, a Philly fave? And how would you make them even better … and may I please try it You have to love a good Philly cheesesteak. I think each part of the steak needs to be taken into consideration starting with kick ass bread. I’m really into baking bread so I would start there. I also love cheese, especially the stinky ones, so I’d probably make a taleggio sauce to top my sandwich with. 


Do you think there is any advantage being a chef in Philly compared to anywhere else? Yes. We have the best of both world’s in terms of fresh and local product with the sea being so close and some really great farms in PA and NJ. We’re also the most up and coming food city right now. The chef/food scene wasn’t even present 10 years ago, and now we have some of the best chefs and restaurants in the nation. 

I’ve heard that the culinary world is a bit of a “boys club.” Would you say that is accurate? As I came up as a young cook it definitely was a boys club, but that was 10+ years ago. Not anymore! Women are rocking and rolling in the kitchens and holding their own. 

If you could cook with anyone (chef of non-chef) who would it be and why? That’s such a tough question! I would probably pick someone like Tom Robbins (author) or Ray LaMontague (musician) so I could pick their creative brains and have a great discussion. I think it’s important to surround yourself with creativity and get inspiration not just from other chefs but people in all walks of life.

Is it hard having a social life as a chef? Absolutely. It wasn’t as hard before I got married and started a family. Then I had time to go out after work, plan days off with friends, and take day trips. Now my time is dedicated to my family and the kitchen. I rarely make it to a family birthday party, but there’s a certain amount of commitment you have to make to yourself to enjoy those times.

What is your most beloved item in your personal kitchen? Vitamix. We use it for so many things!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Possibly in a more senior role with my company.  I would like to get into restaurant and kitchen design and planning (all while cooking of course). I like to travel so there is always possibly of taking a few years and experiencing other cities or countries.  


Style Stud: Nicole Angemi of iHeartAutopsy

ce9cf13f-00bd-4a0b-af73-338b9838c922I discovered Nicole Angemi in an interview she did with Philly Mag last summer. The article was entitled “Meet the Local Hospital Worker Who Posts Autopsy Photos on Instagram,” and immediately I needed to know more. My curiosity got even worse when I saw the “local hospital worker” was this rad looking chick covered in tattoos.

And you know me, I love a stylish, bad ass looking chick.

With over 800,000 followers on Instagram, Nicole has this magnetizing way of drawing you in to her world of severed limbs and chest cavities with swords sticking out of them (LITERALLY … it was awesome). I normally don’t enjoy shit like that, but I find myself continuously scrolling through her Instagram account with one eye opened. It’s disgustingly addictive, what can I say.

Oh, and if you have a “tough mother” in your life, be sure to check out Nicole’s iHeartAutopsy line, and score your mama a “Dura Mater” t-shirt.

I want one and I haven’t even spawned yet.

What is your favorite piece in your closet currently? My custom Ben Venom battle jacket and my Valentino flats which were my push present from my husband for my middle daughter Lillian.


Where can we find you on an average spring Saturday afternoon? The Philadelphia Zoo

Your nails are notoriously rad. Where do you get them done and how long does it take? Ruby at Top Nails and Spa in Collingswood. It takes about 2 hours and I go every 3 weeks.  

Is it hard to work with nails like that? No. Everyone always asks me that. I have had nails all my life so I am used to them. Sometimes they actually help me dissect. 

What is your most beloved part of your job? When I get a really challenging specimen/autopsy with distorted anatomy and pathology and I have to take time to determine what the problem is. I also love very simple cases that have textbook pathology too. I always thought it was very cool to open a body and find exactly what I learned in school. 


You can’t show a nipple on Instagram, yet your feed is all random body parts. What is the trick to getting away with it? A nipple can’t be shown because Instagram has to draw a line with nudity otherwise hardcore porn shots will start showing up in your feed. The photos I post are within the guidelines of Instagram’s rules and do not show nudity or violence. 

Describe your style in 4 words: Modern, morbid, monochromatic, mompunk, 

I’m sure you get asked a lot of crazed questions about your profession. Which your least favorite and why? Are you scared of dead people? No! I’m scared of the live ones! 


Your tattoos are beautiful. Is there any rhyme or reason what you get or where you decide to place it? My earlier tattoos were picked based on design alone. As I have gotten older, my tattoos have become more sentimental and every one has a special meaning. At this point I just get one wherever I have room! 

Do you have a favorite tattoo artist in Philly? Pat Haney

Do you have plans for your next tattoo? Yes. My husband and I are getting matching coffee/Wawa themed tattoos for our 8th anniversary because we met there. 

Favorite store in Philly? The Strange and Unusual 


Your may be the red lipstick queen. What is your go-to brand? Mac makeup-always 

Who/what inspires you? Family/friends in my life who are doing positive things and constantly pushing themselves to do better. When you surround yourself with people who are always challenging themselves and striving for more, you find yourself doing the same. 

Is there anything that you get grossed out by? Explain grossed out? I touch other people’s poop, blood and body fluids every day. I don’t enjoy poop. I wouldn’t touch poop if I didn’t have to, but it’s my job so I do it. Yeah it’s gross. It’s poop of course it’s gross. 

What can we look forward to seeing next from you? Expanding on my iheartautopsy merchandise! A book, more lectures, a TV show, who knows!

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Style Stud: Prince

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When I heard Prince had passed, my heart began to hurt. And quite frankly I didn’t know why. While I adored him, I wouldn’t throw myself in the category of his “number 1 fans.” Would I get down to “1999” and interpretively dance to “When Doves Cry”? Hell yes. But could I name 20 more songs … probably not

I think I was mostly fascinated by his persona … the man who could give you the hand and forever shame you without saying a word. The man who had the balls to change his name from “Prince” to “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.” That is AMAZING. No one will ever be cool enough to pull something like that off ever again. NO. ONE.

Prince was among the select few artists that paved the way for every “weirdo” to know it is okay to be yourself. And that just because you are “different” doesn’t make you any less worthy of love and respect. And best of all, to embrace who you are.

So while I know Style Studs are using Philly-based women, I had to select Prince today, because quite frankly no one had his swagger and style. If only I could strut like this man. If only.

The creative world has a major hole in it today, kids. So to all my Prince fans, and to all of the kids who never fit in … let’s pay our respects.




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Style Stud: Nicole Michalik of iHeartRadio

30001c41-2486-41ad-a44a-a0344e8626daNicole Michalik has most likely talked to you on your way to work or school. Given you the right pop culture dish to share with your friends or coworkers (you know … so you don’t look like a complete square), and perhaps even offered you a chance to win free concert tickets.

She’s been a staple in the Philly radio scene for years, wearing several different hats across the iHeartRadio network, from Nik the Web Chick to Nicole and Chio in the Morning.

I mean … this chick is BUSY. Talk about “girl boss.” She works hard and looks good doing it, if I do say so myself. SLAY, Nicole (isn’t that what the kids are saying nowadays??).

Now let’s do the damn thing and get to know the woman behind this iconic voice, shall we?

What is your most beloved item in your closet right now? This long black, kind of see through, but not really, tunic/shirt from Macy’s. It goes with gym clothes and heels. And also my Louis crossbody. I bought it for myself for my birthday this past summer. It’s like my husband and kids until I get my own.

Describe your style in 4-5 words.  Casual, classic, with a little edge.

What is your favorite on-air interview to date and why? Oh, this is always such a hard question. I have to go with Bradley Cooper. 1.  Because he’s my #1. 2. Because he lived up to everything I hoped and more. I interviewed him 3 times and hosted a movie screening with him. He was always down to earth, friendly, gave hugs (swoon) and told me, “wow, that is a great haircut” (double swoon)

Where could we find you on an average spring Saturday in Philly? Flywheel at 12:30pm (FLYBEATS!!!!), brunch, then just bee bopping around. I also LOVE my couch and catching up on my shows. I want to find a husband who loves me as much I as love laying on my couch. Ha!


You’re so open about your health and weight, which I think is awesome. What is a piece of advice you can give to someone with low self esteem or struggling with their self image? It’s fuc$king hard! I am very blessed with great hair, and not so blessed with a not so great metabolism (and hypothyroidism). So I try to focus on the good. I have an amazing family, amazing friends, amazing jobs, amazing apartment. The days where I get really upset about the scale, I remember that I used to be a size 24/26. And I just keep going. 

In a world where Podcasts rule, and streaming music is king, why do you think radio is so special? It’s a way for people to connect.  You turn on the radio and I am talking to you. I’m telling you a cool story about an event in Philly (like how Soul Cycle is FINALLY coming!) or how Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris celebrated their 1-year anniversary, or how I think Chio is being ridiculous. It’s like having your friend in the car, at the gym, or on a walk with you. 


What inspires you? That I am a girl from a really small town in Pennsylvania who graduated with 104 kids in her class who always said she wanted to live in the city and be in entertainment. I always wanted this. It’s always been my passion. I’m inspired by people who have it a little harder than everyone else. I always felt I wasn’t the norm. I was always a little different. I still am really. I like being unique. Sometimes it just makes it harder, or takes longer to get where you want to go. Remembering that, keeps me going.

Since we only hear your voice, I have to ask, what is your work style like? Do you feel like you can dress down more, even go makeup free? I am pretty casual day-to-day, but I still always try to look presentable. Today I have on skinny jeans, a grey and cream open stripped shirt with a black tank underneath, my Yosi Samra flats, earrings, bracelet, and necklace. Almost every day I AM makeup FREE. I only wear makeup if I have a client meeting or an artist interview. I wake up at 4:30am, in work at 5:30am … so I’m not putting on a full face of makeup.  

Do you have a signature style? I LOVE my red lipstick. It works really well with my dark hair and blue eyes. 

What is your go-to lip color? Mac lip liner in “Follow Your Heart” and Mac lipstick in “Ruby Woo”.


I feel like as a radio personality, you have to be so connected, to social media channels, pop culture. How do you feel about that? Do you ever wish you could turn it all off?  I am the Director of Social Media, and I also get to do a lot of cool projects for national (i.e iHeartRadio Music Festival, iHeart Radio Music Awards), but yeah, sometimes it’s overwhelming. I love that it’s instant news, but there are times I wish things could just breath a little more. Plus, I loathe the Internet trolls. I hate that it produces so much hate. The whole culture of “mean behind the screen.” It makes me so sad and worried about the future.

Tell me … how do you feel about Beyonce’s new “atheleisure” line and will you purchase it? She’s a genius. She knows how to make money. If I like something, I’ll try it.  For now, Athleta is my go-to for workout gear. 

What is next for you? What does the rest of 2016 have in store? I would love to find the man of my dreams and lose some weight. Both are always such a struggle for me. I would love Bradley Cooper to come back to Philly for some more interviews, along with Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, and Gaga. Ha! Plus get some travel in. Not to mention have the show(s) grow so more people can hear our antics. 


Style Stud: Vittoria Woodill of CBS 3 Eyewitness News

unnamedYou may know Vittoria Woodill as a member of the CBS 3 Eyewitness News team and her reporting on “Taste with Tori” and “CBS 3 down the shore.” But I came to know her from her super successful fashion blog, Polished for Pennies.

After talking with Vittoria, I walked away from this Style Stud interview insanely empowered, almost having a new found respect for my “stripes” as she would put it. She just has the affect on people.

The girl is real, down-to-earth, and all about giving ladies the confidence they need to look their best and own who they are. I mean … does it get any better than that?

I hope her words have the same affect on you as they had on me. So without further adieu, meet Life Sucks In A Strapless Bra’s Style Stud of the week, Vittoria Woodill.

What is your favorite item in your closet right now? A Chanel Suit I got at a thrift store for under $10.

Where can we find you on a spring Saturday in Philly? I’ve been cruising around town on Citi Bikes more than I ever thought I would recently, so I’m hoping to keep that up this spring with my boyfriend to discover more of Philly’s corners and crevices. With coffee, cool sneaks and sunnies, of course.

Coolest moment as a reporter to date? The Papal coverage. When I covered the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia it changed my life. Also rappelling down more than 30 stories of a Philly building was pretty epic. 

What was your most star-struck interview so far? Steven Tyler. He was just so cool and chill. It’s hard to believe rock stars can be so grounded and it seemed he was. 

Describe your style in 4 words… Polished, Eclectic, Cool, and Bold

How do you juggle your full-time reporting gig on CBS with Polished for Pennies? Is there a method to the madness? The method is trying to balance the madness and not being so hard on myself. Both take so much dedication so a lot of it has to do with writing and styling for the blog when I’m inspired and not being so hard on myself if I’m not pumping out posts everyday, when I have to produce creative content regularly on TV. So the method is to just do, feel it, and don’t think about quantity, but quality and meaning.


Where is your go-to place to shop in Philly for on-air looks? Usually Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Jomar, or H&M, but I don’t go out for specifics when I shop… I’ll shop anywhere if that something POPS and will POP on camera.

The earth is going to blow up tomorrow, where in Philly do you have your last meal and why? That’s easy… home and it doesn’t matter what’s on the menu… I’d pick that table over any any day. 

Who do you look up to/admire? My mom, my grandmothers, and Julie Andrews. 

What are some key pieces of advice for people starting out in communications? Work. Work. Work. Free work? Do it anyway. Work on networking, work on your craft, keep working to be a “brand” that make people feel something. Communication is all about people and if you’re working on your relationship with your audience and you care about that relationship enough to work on it and your skill… people will feel your authenticity. Be good hearted and sincere and they’ll listen. 

What is an accessory you could never leave home without? Sick shades. My Miu Miu cat eyes, Prada round frames, or classic wayfarer Ray Bans. 


Do you have a favorite designer from Philly? If so, who? Nyjha Lawerence. She’s a talented 7 year old fashion designer and she’s a bright light in this world. 

I know you were an Eagles cheerleader, which is pretty awesome. Is there anything you miss about cheering? Quality time with the girls. We had such a blast practicing and working together and those women were beautiful, supportive, smart, and loving. A great group to be around and work with. 

You seem to be all about confidence, which I love. What advice can you give to girls to enhance their confidence? Wear your stripes. Be who you are. Feel what you feel. Speak your mind and celebrate the beauty of being an individual everyday. If you allow yourself and others to truly see your colors, and you wear them without fear of being seen… you’ll find yourself in your own skin and you’ll feel great about it. That’s how you define your style and from that your confidence. 

Your career really seems to be booming, congrats! Any insight into what we can see next from you? Great question and I have no idea! I just feel so humbled by the job and blog I have now and the ability to connect to people in the ways I am. Whether through writing, fashion, or television. So as far as the future is concerned I have no plans for what’s next, I’m really just trying to relish in the present and be open to whatever falls into my lap. 


Style Stud: Emily Goulet, Editor Of Philly Mag’s Shoppist

Photo credit: Lauren McGrath

A lot of people like to say negative things about Philly. We’re fat. We’re mean. We’re ugly. For most of us, hearing these things is like nails on a chalkboard. We cringe and want to be like, “no stop! We don’t just eat cheesesteaks and whip batteries at Santa, we are more than that, dammit!”

But thankfully we have fine humans, like Emily Goulet, also known as the editor of Philly Magazine’s Shoppist, who uncovers the beautiful gems our city has to offer and puts them on display. To show people Philly is not only stylish and savvy, but we’re also chockfull of tastemakers.

I’ll admit it, I’m a huge fan girl of Emily’s as everything she writes about I immediately become obsessed with, a la Sticks + Stones, a beyond drool-worthy jewelry line. (I would sell my soul for a piece)

So I’ll shut up so you can get to know one of the finest writers and tastemakers Philly as to offer. I give you … Emily Goulet.

I can only imagine your closet is epic, but what is your favorite item in there right now? A black leather IRO moto jacket. And a collection of caftans from the ‘70s. I love a good caftan.

How did your editorial career start? I began as an intern here at Philly Mag just after college and have held countless positions here since, from research editor to managing editor. I’ve always naturally gravitated towards lifestyle coverage, so—after nearly 10 years—I’ve finally found my perfect role here.

Did you always want to work in fashion? While I’ve always had an interest in fashion, writing has always been my first love. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was old enough to hold a pencil. That’s what many people don’t understand about being a fashion or lifestyle editor: Writing is a huge part of the job. That’s how I spend most of my time at work, in my office with headphones on, writing.

I love your bathtub selfies. Where did you get that epic mirror? That was a gift from a couple who owned Love Illuminati, a since-shuttered (sob!) boutique in Newtown. They were getting rid of it and I adored it. Yes, it’s the only full-length mirror in our house, and yes, propped over the tub is the only place it fits.

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What are three of your favorite places to shop in Philly? Joan Shepp, Ninobrand, Material Culture. And any flea market ever.

What is your least favorite place to shop and why? Forever 21 and H&M. I find both stores incredibly overwhelming, messy and stressful. Zara is really the only fast-fashion retailer I like.

Photo credit: Lauren McGrath

Do you ever get writer’s block? How do you cure it? All the time! I’m lucky in that I get to work with so many talented writers and editors. It helps to sit with them and talk out what I’m trying to say, what message I’m trying to convey. And we read each other’s stuff constantly.

What is something clothing/accessory-wise you would never leave home without? My wedding rings. I wear a mismatched five-ring stack, which includes a spiky gold ring by Angela Monaco, a local jewelry designer (her line is called Concrete Polish) and owner of NoLibs boutique Ritual Ritual. I love the contrast between the diamonds and the modern, funky metal. And I’m almost always wearing at least one Tom Binns safety-pin earring.

Photo credit: Lauren McGrath

I know you’re a vintage lover like myself. Where are some of your go-to spots? Malena’s Vintage in West Chester is terrific, and Philadelphia Vintage and Consignment Shoppe has incredible treasures. Meadowsweet Mercantile is a newer spot, and they’ve got a great selection of women’s vintage, too. Jinxed has fun gems for the home. And The People’s Store Antiques Center in Lambertville is a total wonderland.

Describe the fashion scene in Philly? Do you feel it is up and coming, or do we have some work to do? It’s definitely up-and-coming, and we’re making huge strides. Our retail scene is better than ever. Sure, we’re getting a lot of off-price chains in town, but we’re also seeing a flood of new independent boutiques, too. The support between shops is terrific—everyone seems to understand that we all ride the wave together. We get a bad rap, but we’ve got some of the most stylish people in town I’ve seen anywhere.

Photo credit: Lauren McGrath

You definitely have a style to you, which rocks (love dresses over bell bottoms). Is there a method to your looks you pull together? I’ve found that my style goes in waves. Winter means a lot of black, a ton of layers, lots of texture, a tad more modern. In spring and summer, I find myself gravitating toward a more ‘70s, hippie-ish look, with much more color and pattern-mixing. I don’t mean to, but it always works out that way. I find that I’m most comfortable when I’m a bit uncomfortable, when I’m not quite sure if my outfit is working. If I feel too comfortable in something, then it’s boring.

Favorite designer … from Philly and not from Philly: In Philly, it’s Bela Shehu. I adore her. Not from Philly: Dries van Noten, Rosie Assoulin, Valentino and everything from Alessandro Michele’s Gucci. Everything.

Advice for girls/guys breaking into the editorial fashion scene: It’s not as glamorous as it might seem. And you have to love to write, first and foremost.

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Special thanks to Lauren McGrath, assistant editor of Shoppist for the rad pictures

Style Stud: Adrienne Volpetti, Owner of Baked Tanning

unnamed-5I’m pretty much the palest person in Philly … maybe the world. I’m like the close cousin of Casper the Friendly friken Ghost.

A few years back I wrote about my paleness, embracing it and making fun of it (per usual … do I ever take myself seriously)? And that is when my spray tan fairy God Mother walked into my life, Adrienne Volpetti of Baked Tanning in Queen Village.

I had only been spray tanned once before and I ended up looking like an Oompa Loompa for my best friend’s wedding … so I was hesitant to take her up on her tanning offer.

But she showed me the ways of Baked Tanning – which will be celebrating its FIFTH anniversary in June 2016. You not only feel completely pampered (she hooks it up with champagne and her space is so soothing and peaceful), but like a bronze goddess. Even me … the see-through lady.

So without further adieu, pour yourself a cocktail and get to know THE spray tan queen of Philly, Adrienne Volpetti.

Favorite item in your closet right now? Burberry Cape – who doesn’t want to be wrapped in essentially a blanket this time of year?

A perfect afternoon in Philly consists of BRUNCH! Walking around the city, shopping the Italian Market, and cooking the rest of the day, while having a glass of wine.

How did Baked come to be? I worked in UV tanning salons in College, so I was trained. I had been talking to my friends about [opening a business] for such a long time that it finally came to a head. I was 24, single, no kids, and figured if it failed I was only hurting me, no one else, SO I gave it a shot. My first year I was mobile, and then in June 2010 opened the Baked in Queen Village.

How did you learn how to spray tan and did you ever make someone orange when you were learning? Of course! Different companies will send complimentary products for you to try and some of them are awful. But my friends were really good sports and didn’t hold it against me.


What are three pieces of wisdom before getting a spray tan? 

  1. Exfoliate! Proper exfoliation will help the tan apply evenly, fade perfectly, and last longer.
  2. Have realistic expectations. To avoid looking fake, have a conversation with the person tanning you. Tell them what you’re looking for and ask their opinion. They should be experts on their product and should suggest the best tan/shade option for you.
  3. Moisturize! Hydrating and moisturizing the skin will help you extend the life of your tan.

What was the strangest spray tanning request you have ever received? Nope. Saving that for the book.

Do you ever get super uncomfortable when people get butt naked in front of you for tans? Not anymore. It’s quick and whomever is bronzing your bod should be more concerned with making sure your tan in applied perfectly.

Does Baked Tanning just offer tanning or are there other services? We offer teeth whitening (think heavy duty stain remover – two months of White Strips in 15 minutes), and a Diamond Dusting treatment. They are crushed diamonds we apply to the skin for some sparkle for a big event (I’m obsessed with them #sparkle).


In regards to spray tanning, are there trends? If so what is the trend right now? You will see a lot of different tan styles and techniques pop up around fashion week and with red carpets. Last year at London Fashion Week, a freckle tan trend was used. Recently, red carpet tans have been very natural (finally) adding just enough warmth to the client so they look sun-kissed.

There are so many spray tanning salons in the city. How do you differentiate yourself? Well I try and keep up with the latest products and education programs so we are constantly perfecting our technique. We understand that everyone’s skin is different, so we offer a number of different shades of tan so we customize the perfect tan for you. Customer service is HUGE to me. I want everyone relaxed, happy, and loving their tan.

Are spray tan abs a thing? And if so where could someone get them (totally asking for a friend … :::shifty eyes:::)? HA! Kind of? If you naturally have muscle definition then we can further extenuate that. We mostly stick to contouring, similar to makeup, which is a large part of getting that killer spray tan.


Style Stud: Elena Brennan, Owner of BUS STOP

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 2.33.35 PMI have a few secret hiding spots in the city where I go for peace and serenity, or when I’m sad and need to buy myself a lil something somethin. And since I share pretty much everything with you people, I will let you in on one of my favorite places … BUS STOP Boutique in Queen Village.

You know me … I love out of the box fashion, and BUS STOP’s shoes are just that. There’s just something special about them.

And Philly wouldn’t have access to such glorious shoes if it wasn’t for BUS STOP owner, Elena Brennan. Why yes, getting to oogle the shoes ain’t too shabby, but getting to chat with Elena is a even better. She is so cultured, stylish, and personable that I just HAD to make her my Style Stud this week.

So go … take over one of my happy places in the city, and in the meantime, get to know Elena…

What would you say are your favorite shoes of all-time? My absolute favourite shoes of all-time are from two designers: Coclico, and Marcello Toshi

What did the beginning of your career look like? My background is advertising and marketing, a career I had for 27+ years, which started in London and spilled into Philly. I was ready for a career change after I moved to Philly, so I decided to open my very own shoe boutique (partly to satisfy my own craving) and to fill a need, as women in Philly have very few options for “good” shoe shopping.

In your opinion, where do you think is Philly’s most interesting/stylish neighborhood? I would say Queen Village is one of the most interesting and stylish neighborhoods, as I’ve seen so many brilliant changes since I first opened. My boutique is on historic Fabric Row in Queen Village. The street was famous for fabric shopping, but the street has evolved, mixing the old with the new. I like the eclectic mix. I love to shop local and I can buy anything from jewelry, to vintage finds, gifts, clothes, and books right on my doorstep. I do love Fishtown, too. It has a different feel (more gritty), but that’s what I love about Philly, every neighborhood has its own essence.

What is a signature part of your every day style? Building my wardrobe from my feet up and lots of accessories. I love jewelry, especially rings, and let’s not forget a statement handbag.

BUS STOP is such a stylish and interesting place to walk through. What inspired the design? I would say I was inspired by the art galleries in Manhattan. The shoes are treated like works of art, but with a reasonable price tag, and are showcased to spotlight the unique features of each shoe so they pop on the shoe gallery shelves.

Of course, I’ve also added my own personal touches with a few of my favourite bits and pieces from London, such as my random array of English tea cups and my book collection, which I could have sold over and over again to my customers who think they’re for sale.

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I adored the collection you did with Bela Shehu. Is there another collab in the works? The collaboration with Bela Shehu of NINObrand is launching early spring. Last year, I reached out to Bela to see if she was interested in designing one of the oxfords from the new collection launching this spring, and voila that’s how it happened. BUS STOP designed twelve and NINObrand one. I think you will love all 13 variations of the exclusive BusStopX oxford. I always to love to collaborate… you never know what’s next.

How do you feel about Ugg boots … be honestTo be brutally honest, I do not like Ugg boots at all!

What shoe should every girl in Philly be wearing in the spring? Why, a pair of BusStopX oxfords, of course! The collection is launching March 2016 and is a follow-up to my Classic capsule collection, which I launched last spring.

Favorite place to shop in Philly (besides BUS STOP)? Oh that’s a hard question as there are many places I love to shop, but here are a few of my faves – Sugarcube, Moon + Arrow, and NINObrand.

As a small successful business owner, what are 3 pieces of advice you can give? Have strong branding, stay true to your mission, be dedicated and focused. When facing any issues, “sleep on it.” That’s my mantra so you don’t rush into making the wrong decisions. As important as it is to sell a good product, excellent customer service goes a long.

What’s next for BUS STOPLast spring, I launched my signature classic shoe collection of 12 oxfords in collaboration with All Black Footwear. The BUS STOP x All Black collection was my first ever shoe design. The shoes were named after Hollywood icon starlets and the campaign was, “Which Girl Are You?” This spring, I’m launching my second shoe collection, which is very exciting, so stay tuned for the launch in March.

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Style Stud: Emma From Philly Love Notes

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 9.51.59 AMEmma from Philly Love Notes has a huge crush on Philly … and I, in turn have an even bigger crush on her art work and Instagram account. 

Seriously, every single one of her posts makes my Instagram look like amateur hour and gives me this strong urge to up my Insta game HARD (yeah I just said that).

While you’re snowed in this weekend (or not … based on the track record of Philly meteorologists … I’m still skeptical), I demand you check her out. 

From her intricately designed and meticulously crafted maps (which my walls are crying out for right now), to her inspiring Instagram that makes Philly look more desirable and beautiful then ever … you too will fall in love with her work, if you haven’t already.

So behold, my Style Stud of the Week, Emma from Philly Love Notes. 

1. What inspired your intricate and beautiful maps? Like with all of my projects, it started on a whim. I had been practicing paper cutting, and decided that I should try and cut the entire city of Philly. I finished about 3 months after I started. A friend forced me to scan it to preserve it (thank God he did), and now I use that image to make my maps. 

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2. Describe your style in 4 words. clean, urban, comfortable, detail-oriented

3. What one thing excites you most in your closet? My new Madewell sweatpants for home and a beautiful Anthropologie dress that works for summer and winter

4. I see that you live in South Philly (not stalking you I swear). Where are some of your favorite places to shop there? Haha. I used to live in S. Philly, I’m in Callowhill now, so these are all over the map. Favorite spots: Fantes Kitchen Supply, Verde, Occasionette, and Vagabond (near work, so hopefully that counts)

5. Best place in Philly to take a pic for Instagram … GO! Race Street Pier and PSFS Building. No contest

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6. You have such a large presence on social media. What is a big social “no no” that would make you stop following someone? Posting too much. Also, if you’re a big account posting to the public and not just your friends, when it gets too personal, I unfollow. 

7. You’re hands down one of my favorite Philadelphians to follow on Instagram. Who is yours? @cbeatz852 (all things Philly) @meadowsweetmercantile (styling game on point) @nealsantos and @jasonvarney (for food porn)

8. A perfect day in Philly consists of … a chocolate croissant somewhere — currently trying to find the best, some time on the waterfront, hummus from Dizengeoff somewhere in there, and a walk around some part of the city I haven’t been to in awhile.

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9. Favorite restaurant/meal you are craving currently within city limits? Bud and Marilyn’s and Little Nonnas. Those ladies behind the 13th St corridor kick ass

10. What can we look forward to seeing next from you? I’m going to be changing jobs (still in the works) and having a little adventure. Also more maps. Always more maps.

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To purchase Emma’s custom woodcut and papercuts of Philly, click here

Style Stud And Giveaway: LashBee

i-h5kVKWZ-LThey say that your eyes are the windows into your soul. So that would mean your eyelashes are your blinds (or drapes for you fancy, folk), so they mine as well look fantastic, right? 

Meet Anjali and Erin, the owners of LashBee, a lash extension company focused on giving the ladies of Philadelphia gorgeously natural looking extensions that aren’t damaging.

And did I mention they are giving away a $100 gift certificate to one lucky Life Sucks In A Strapless Bra reader? Because they are. I will be drawing a rando winner on Friday, November 13!

Click this link to enter to win a $100 gift certificate to LashBee: a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Now let’s get to know LashBee a little better, shall we? 

I see you and your co-founder Erin just graduated from Wharton’s MBA program. What made you decide to open a lash extension service? What was your inspiration? 

Erin and I had worked together on Wharton’s Entrepreneurship Club and both wanted to start a company. We brainstormed all sorts of ideas but kept coming back to lash extensions, since we knew that women would love them if it became more accessible with higher quality. We tested out the concept in the Wharton community and had overwhelmingly positive results.


What makes LashBee different?

We are committed to offering the highest quality extensions. We have analyzed every step of the eyelash extension process and have innovated ways to make it faster and safer.

We rigorously tested products for over a year before launching LashBee. We used a number of analytics to figure out ways to make the extensions last longer, considering factors such as humidity and different skin and eye types. We also have a product engineer on our team who is helping us develop new tools that will make the extension process more ergonomic for the lash stylist.

Since we partner with existing spas and salons, we can be in more locations that are convenient for our client.  Whether someone is getting their eyebrows done or a skin facial, they can easily add their eyelash fill onto the treatment.


For a newbie to the world of eyelash extensions, what service would you suggest?

Our signature style is the LashBee and it where we put a lash on every healthy lash.  Since it is so full, it replaces the need for eyeliner and mascara.

What should a person know before getting lashes if they never have?

It is such a relaxing process! Over 80% of our clients fall asleep. Think of it as a little nap where you wake up looking gorgeous.

Also, eyelash extensions are unregulated in PA so it is very important to go to a reputable place that will not damage your lashes. Not all eyelash extensions are the same. We do recommend consultations since we are significantly different in our approach compared to most spots.

I have really long eyelashes (:::hair flip:::). Why would someone like me get my eyelash extensions done?

We love long, healthy lashes! No matter the size of your natural lashes, we can always make thicker, longer and darker. Our clients are often surprised how much less dark their under eyes are when they don’t have to deal with mascara or eyeliner.  Extensions make you look more awake, younger and they draw attention to your eyes.


What is next for you ladies? Will it always be lash-focused, or do you have plans down the road to expand?

We are currently in two locations in Philadelphia (About Face and ANJUthreads) and hope to continue adding partners in different geographic areas in and around Philly.  We hope to then expand to other major cities; we are predominately eyeing NYC, DC and SF