As Curators for GILT City, Laura Kujawa and Stephanie Trivino have two of the most coveted jobs in town. They stay on top of the hottest spots in Chicago, and share their findings with the rest of us via the great steals and deals offered on the site. From spa services, to gym memberships, and the best new restaurants- Gilt City has become a go-to city guide for anyone looking to experience the best of the best without breaking the bank. We recently caught up with Stephanie (left, above) and Laura (right, above) at one of their favorite spots, Nellcote, in the West Loop to learn more about their killer style!
What is your typical day like as a curator for GILT City?
LAURA KUJAWA: I start each day by checking my email and calendar, reading The Skimm, and also a really good cup of coffee. The morning is when I usually feel the most energetic and inspired. I’m also for better or for worse completely Type A, so as soon as I wake up, I’m making my to-do list for the day. I always try to take a few minutes either in the morning or towards the end of the day to read blogs and local news sites to stay on top of any recent openings or new hot spots.
Every day is totally different and that is what I love the most about this job! Some days are spent in the office, others are spent running around the city meeting local business owners or trying a fitness class at a brand new studio or a new treatment at a spa. We want to make sure we are bringing our members the best experiences possible so it’s important for us to check everything out first hand.
STEPHANIE TRIVINO: It’s anything but typical! Every day is different. I’m usually emailing as soon as I wake up. I work with a lot of chefs and restaurant owners who don’t check their email until they’re leaving the restaurant – at 2 AM. By the time I wake up, I have several emails waiting for a response. I make time to answer these, read blogs, and look at social media, etc. while I have my coffee. As a curator, it’s really important to stay informed about current trends, openings, and happenings in the city. We eat, breathe and sleep everything Chicago. You would be surprised to find out that some of my best leads come from Instagram! By the time I get to the office, I am already creating offers for our members. We are constantly thinking outside the box to determine the best offer for our members as well as for our business partners – I work with a great team where we bounce ideas off of each other and really come up with the best experience for our members. Someone has visited every single one of the businesses on Gilt City, which means there is a lot of multitasking involved. The best part of my job is seeing how thrilled vendors are when we bring them our members. It makes me feel like I’m doing something meaningful and helping them build their brand. Although I always feel great when we are able to connect our members and vendors, small business owners provide me with the most satisfaction! All in all, days fly by and I’m very thankful and proud of what I do.
How do you decide what to wear each morning?
LAURA KUJAWA: I love the saying “No matter how you feel, Get up, dress up, show up, and never give up”. I’ve always expressed myself creatively through my personal style and there is nothing I love more than getting dressed. What I wear usually depends on my current mood and style inspirations. Of course, I also take meetings and any appointments throughout the day into consideration. Most who see my closet are surprised at how little clothing I actually have. I’m a huge fan of editing and getting rid of anything that hasn’t been worn in the past year or so. I want a well-edited wardrobe that allows me to get dressed in five minutes or less, where I always feel confident in my choices. I try to only buy things that I love.
STEPHANIE TRIVINO: My routine varies depending on what meetings I have that day. Some meetings are more casual while others are more formal. Based on what my schedule looks like, I’ll pull together an outfit. On casual days, this means jeans and a t-shirt. I’ve found some fantastic James Perse tees on Gilt.com. On not so casual days, I’ll wear heels (booties in the winter) and a skirt or dress. Often, my outfit has to take me from work to an event or dinner. In these cases, accessories and lipstick help to make the transition!
What are three things in your closet you could never get rid of?
LAURA KUJAWA: YSL clutch (a Gilt City Warehouse score!), vintage fur coat and my wedding dress.
STEPHANIE TRIVINO: My grandma’s fur coat, Current / Elliott leather pants (a steal on Gilt.com) and my Burberry Trench Coat.
What’s one trend for Spring/Summer you’re most excited about?
LAURA KUJAWA: One word – FRINGE. I’m all about it.
STEPHANIE TRIVINO: The late 70’s trend. I’d like to channel my inner Sydney (Amy Adams in American Hustle) all season. I’m thinking crisp blouses, wrap dresses, jumpsuits, lots of gold jewelry, wavy hair, mules, and platforms – the bigger, the better!
What’s a trend you hope never comes back in style?
LAURA KUJAWA: Capri pants – not a good look for anyone. Also, hate the cowboy boots with dresses thing (sorry, Texas!)
STEPHANIE TRIVINO: Pajama pants as anything but pajama pants.
What’s your favorite accessory to splurge on?
LAURA KUJAWA: I shop a lot so I need to spread the love around and not splurge too much on one thing! A beautiful high quality bag is a great thing to splurge on. I recently got the 3.1 Philip Lim Ryder Tote to use as my work bag and it’s one of my all time favorite Gilt purchases.
STEPHANIE TRIVINO: Anything gold (real gold).
Who are some of your style icons and why?
LAURA KUJAWA: Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen hands down. They always get it right. Also, Kate Moss because as the anti-supermodel, she proved at 5’6” that shorter models can kick ass too. And, Nicole Richie because she takes risks and seems to have so much fun with fashion.
STEPHANIE TRIVINO: Sophia Loren, Ivanka Trump, and Carla Bruni. I love Carla Bruni’s street style. Even in jeans and a t-shirt, she looks effortlessly put together in a way that only French women can pull off. Ivanka Trump’s style embodies power and elegance. From suits to sheaths, her polished look says, “I can do it all.” She is the American woman – mom, friend, wife, sister, and businesswoman – she represents every role well. With her sultry, Mediterranean vibe, Sophia Loren is my all-time favorite style icon. Her style exudes confidence and sexiness without being over the top. In curve-hugging dresses, feminine florals, and oversized sunglasses, she’s my definition of an icon.
What’s a major fashion risk that you’ve taken and learned to love?
LAURA KUJAWA: I guess at one time high waisted denim was considered a fashion risk and I can’t imagine life without it now. I live in Madewell high rise skinny jeans.
STEPHANIE TRIVINO: Plunging necklines. It takes a little getting used to but I think that done right, a low cut dress or blouse can look pretty chic.
What are the cornerstones of your beauty routine?
STEPHANIE TRIVINO: I believe that it all starts with great skin. For me, this involves a lot of sleep, moisturizer, SPF, and eye cream. After that, Chanel’s Vitalumiere Aqua Ultra Light Skin Perfecting Sunblock Makeup does the trick.
More about Laura Kujawa…
GUILTY PLEASURE: Jeni’s Ice Cream and Truffle Pizza from Craft Pizza
CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: My husband. And wine.
BIGGEST LAUGH: My pup Jane. She does this thing where she balances on her front legs when she goes #1. Our dog walker named her pee handstand champion. It sounds ridiculous I know but it’s the best thing you’ve ever seen. She’s the apple of my eye.
RESTAURANT: Kai Zan
BEST COMPLIMENT: I get a ton of compliments on my eyelashes because they’re crazy long. The best compliment to me though is being hard working, nice or a good friend. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how long your eyelashes are, but people remember if you’re nice to them. How you make others feel about themselves says a lot about you.
STARBUCKS ORDER: Grande Iced Coffee with Soymilk not sweetened.
DREAM JOB: fashion editor or creative director of a major fashion brand. I’m obsessed with Jenna Lyons.
BAG: Mansur Gavriel Black Bucket Bag
SHOE: Current rotation: Loeffler Randall Black Booties, metallic Birkenstocks, Vans classic slip-ons in black perforated leather
DRESS: Tie Back Maxi Dress in Harvest from Mara Hoffman’s new collection. I also love Zara for dresses. I’m drawn to black, interesting silhouettes and amazing, bold prints.
WATCH: Don’t wear one
PERFUME: Kiehl’s Original Musk (day); Nova Chakra (night)
SIGNATURE ACCESSORY: gold lower case “k” single stud earring from catbird nyc. I rarely take it out.
MOISTURIZER: Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream
LIPSTICK: NARS Red Lizard and NARS Schiap
NAIL POLISH: Mademoiselle for nude, A list for red (both Essie). Also Union Jack Black by Butter London.
HAIR STYLIST: Amanda Diedrich, owner of Blohaute. She’s so talented and her braids are incredible. You must follow her Instagram!
FAVORITE DESIGNER: Mara Hoffman
BEST DEAL: Gilt City/Gilt.com.
NEWS SOURCE: Huffington Post
SNACK: kale chips
BEST VACATION: The beaches in St. John were unreal and Tulum will always be a favorite spot.
WORKOUT: Zen Yoga Garage
MOVIE: Weekend (Godard)
HOTEL: The Langham
CURRENTLY READING: Yes, Please by Amy Poehler. Up next – Grace: A Memoir
DREAM DINNER PARTY: As much as I’d like to say Ellen, Obama, Jimmy Fallon and T Swift, I think my dream dinner party would be all of my closest friends in one room at one table. I’ve moved around a bit and so have a few of my friends. It’s been a long time and would be a dream to have all of those nearest and dearest to my heart in the same place at the same time. You know who you are.
More about Stephanie Trivino…
GUILTY PLEASURE: Bang Bang Pie’s Key Lime
CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: Carbs
BIGGEST LAUGH: My boyfriend’s impersonations of myself – I’d like to think he’s laughing “with” me.
RESTAURANT: Nellcote – their simple pasta is to die for!!
BEST COMPLIMENT: My skin
STARBUCKS ORDER: Grande Iced Coffee + Soy, Unsweetened
DREAM JOB: Owner of a small, boutique hotel in a beach town
BAG: Currently dreaming of Stella McCartney’s Falabella Foldover Tote in beige leather and gold chain
SHOE: Red Gucci pumps (from the Gilt Warehouse Sale)
DRESS: Dolce & Gabbana’s classic LBD. It’s timeless and has completely been worth the investment!
WATCH: A gift from my dad on my eighth grade graduation. It’s engraved with my name and the year.
SIGNATURE ACCESSORY: A diamonds by the yard gold necklace, a gift from my boyfriend.
MOISTURIZER: Oil of Olay Complete all day UV moisture Cream, SPF 15 – best value ever!
LIPSTICK: Boy by Chanel (daytime), Exaltee by Chanel (nighttime)
NAIL POLISH: One coat of Essie’s Angel Food plus a coat of Ballet Slippers
HAIR STYLIST: Mary at Blowout Junkie – her beach-waves are the best!!
FAVORITE DESIGNER: Diane Von Furstenberg
BEST DEAL: Gilt City
NEWS SOURCE: GMA (does that count?) and Anderson Cooper 360
SNACK: Fage 2% with blackberries
BEST VACATION: St. Barth – I’ve never seen beaches quite as beautiful!
WORKOUT: Spinning at Flywheel
MOVIE: Seven Pounds
HOTEL: In Chicago, The Trump Hotel. Outside of Chicago, Meadowood Napa Valley
CURRENTLY READING: Frommer’s Italy – we are heading there this Fall!
DREAM DINNER PARTY: Sofia Vergara, Lara Spencer, Sarah Jessica Parker, Britney Spears and Ivanka Trump. I imagine we’d have the best girl talk!
[Photos By Hallie Duesenberg]