Making the Windy City More Beautiful- It’s the Make Up Show

make up show james“One of the most important things that I can’t stress enough is education.” James Vincent told a crowd of bloggers at the Bridgeport Center last Saturday. The ladies had gathered to hear the make up guru talk about his favorite products at the Make Up Show Chicago. As a member of the entertainment community, I know how important make up is. With all the productions in town now that are filming for prime time, knowledge is key so that these productions will stay in town.

The festivities began on Friday at Crown Plaza Chicago at a meet and greet where guests could mix and mingle and talk with some of the heavyweights that would be part of the Masters in Makeup series. These ladies are real game changers using new techniques that have made their way on red carpets and magazine covers. I got the chance to talk to one of these dynamite ladies.

Melanie Mills exudes glamour . She has made her mark and brought style to Hollywood. In 2007, Melanie was appointed to be the make up designer for the hit “Dancing With the Stars.” This resulted in her winning an Emmy for her make up designs in 2008. Her line , including Gleam body paint  gives the body a silky finish as well as a more moisturized look without that fake spray tan look. She was a lady with class and I had to meet her since we both are women with style with the same name. I was also excited to see the goodies and meet the lady who was responsible for some great lash looks, Danessa Myricks. Danessa gave all of us fashionistas a couple of her newest line , Elevation. I can’t wait to use these the next time I am on stage or just want to be glam.

James’ talk is one of my favorite parts of the day. Although sometimes when he talks about products, it would be nice to actually get some of the better ones. These products are still nothing to sneeze at. In the past, I have gotten goodies from Smashbox, Make Up 4 ever, and Cinema Secrets. One of the beauty products that I can’t live without is my T3 hair brush. It is perfect for blowing my hair out and takes those tangles right out. It was also nice to see old friends at the talk as well. With all of this knowledge, I was ready to go and check out some of the products at the show. Besame Cosmetics had to win the prize for presentation. I had tried some of their lipsticks before and am in love with their vintage look. Besame lip sticks have actually been used on such shows as “Agent Carter” and “The Astronauts Wives’ Club”. I was also impressed by the Temptu air brush system and how personal it really was. Perfect for travel and just to have on the set. I also learned some great make up tips from the folks at Cinema Secrets.  I am sure I can use them for that first time the name is on the screen, not just the face. Other companies that were represented included NYX, Essie, MAC, Alcone, Mehron, Sephora, and Crown that is from right here in Chicago.

Even though I am not a pro, I did learn many tips that I can apply to my every day life as a blogger. More importantly, the show also gave me the confidence to show my knowledge the next time I get cast . One more skill will make me a better actress, even before I set foot on the set or stage.

melanie millsMeeting Emmy award winning , Melanie Mills was one of the highlights of the mixer on Friday.

danessa myricksLove the sparkling personality and creativity of this make up diva, Danessa Myricks.

besame cosmeticsThis “doll” takes me back to the era of glamour and sophistication. She was at the Besame Cosmetics booth

besame displayIt evokes shades of “Mad Men” and my grandmother’s vanity, they are the actual containers of Besame products

cinema secretsLearned some great tips for the next time I am on film from the people of Cinema Secrets

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Going Back to the Kitsch- en – Pomp and Circumstance

pomp and circumstance outside

Just recently, a new bistro opened up in Old Town. It isn’t your typical restaurant , it combines a nostalgic feel with good food and comfortable settings. Pomp and Circumstance is the kind of place that Don Draper and Co would have felt quite at home at. Whether you want to join friends for a drink or enjoy a dinner that reminds you of an era gone be, Pomp and Circumstance caters to the discriminating gourmet or someone who just wants a filling meal.

Cozy couches beckon patrons to sit and chat and enjoy nibbling on some great appetizers. We began our night by partaking in some of the cocktails that they feature. Drinks conjure up an era gone by when men gulped scotch and women sipped pink ladies. The pink lady was sweet and fruity with its froth . It was even served in a classic cocktail glass. Beers and wines can also be served as well. The highlight of the cocktail menu was a delightful apertiv called “the Shakedown” It is served in something that you would find in a kitchen from the fifties or sixties. The mixture is brought to the table in a copper pineapple with a removable lid. What made it special was that the liquor was mixed with freshly squeezed grapefruit , pineapple , and lime juices. Coconut water adds to the drink ‘s sweetness. As we sipped our drinks, we nibbled on some yummy starters. My particular favorites were were the cheese board and the crab ragoon. Four different types of cheese and preserves made a delightful prelude to the meal. Loved the glacial bleu with its pungent taste that reminded me how much I love bleu cheese. Such a clever idea to make it spreadable. What set the crab ragoon apart from others was the sauce for dipping. It was sweet and had a small kick to it.

Going on to the next course, we moved the party to the patio . The best thing about the patio was the furniture took me back to my childhood with its wrought iron charm. Heaters keep diners warm and the awning allows dining year round even during the famous Chitown winters. What really made the evening special was watching history being made as the Cubs made their way in game four toward the World Series. We dug into the next delight which was the yummy lobster roll.  It was nestled in a fresh NE roll stuffed to the brim with knuckle and claw meat mixed with a tangy herb aoili. Combined with the homemade potato chips , it was a perfect meal. The potato chips were seasoned with a spice that added flavor to the chip. Not too spicy, but just right. Jen always opts to try the burger and the Pomp burger didn’t disappoint. The meat was nice and pink and tender. The cheese didn’t overpower the burger and the special sauce was delicious. I indulged in a fall themed entree that was very enjoyable and highly recommended from the chef and servers. The bone in pork chop was paired with a spiced apple compote and pumpkin puree that emoted the perfect autumnal feel. Adding to the homestyle cuisine was mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts that were crisp and not limp. All of the vegetables and meats used at Pomp and Circumstance come from local farms and definitely give that feel of Americana.

It is always a pleasure to finish such a great meal with an even greater dessert and tonight was no exception. Seeing the hot fudge brownie sundae we two girls had to order it. Sitting on the plate was a large fudgy brownie with nuts that was surrounded with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. The concoction was sprinkled with fudge sauce. It made for a chocolatey delight that was pure heaven. The other dessert we tried was the cheese cake which was served in an unusual way. Cheese cake with a graham cracker crust was layered in a glass jar and served with homemade graham crackers made from a special toffee. We couldn’t stop ourselves once we got started.

With a chef who is influenced by his rural roots and an owner with a vision, Pomp and Circumstance promises to be a welcome addition to the dining mecca of Old Town. I can’t think of a better place to take a client or do an interview than on the comfy couches in the upper room or enjoy al fresco in the throes of winter. Pomp and Circumstance is located at 1400 N Wells and they also have a great brunch menu as well.  Stop in soon.

pork chop

Pumpkin and apple mix with the pork chop to give that savory fall flavor.

brussel sprouts

Further adding healthy to the fall harvest are these yummy brussel sprouts

pink lady

From a bygone era, is an elegant drink for ladies, the pink lady

shake down

Its ambrosia in a pineapple and a delicious drink to share, the Shakedown

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Better Than Your Typical Fast Food…It’s Greek Kitchen

greek kitchen logo

There is only one kind of kind of cuisine that I love as much as Asian and that is Greek.  Pungent smells and the sight of saganaki on fire always brings a smile to my face. Well I found a great place downtown and you don’t even have to go to Greektown.  GRK Kitchen has a tradition that started with the longtime restaurant HUBS. The food is fresh and it came with a great story of how the siblings gave up lucrative careers to run the restaurants. I laughed when I was told that HUBS was where a famous SNL skit came from. (Wow twice in one city.)

I never turn down great Greek food and this was no exception. The handheld sandwiches have to be one of the features of this downtown bistro. The restaurant itself reminded me of the many places that I ate at when I was attending college. It had a cafeteria feel but then again this was at the heart of the Loop and people want it fast here. But you probably can’t get fresher or healthier than here.  They stuff a ton of meat or veggies in each handheld. Along with the meat , you can get toppings for your sandwich. Vegetables and feta cheese are joined with such Greek favorites as hummus and baba ghanous . With these ingredients , you can enjoy a great sandwich. If you want something a little more filling , they also have plates with salad and my favorite the orzo salad. Made with the same love that a yaya would use on her cooking, it is a refreshing summer side with the various kabobs.The vegetables mix together very nicely with the spices to make a yummy side. The hummus is also fresh, no ready made and the chips are made from the pita bread. Finish your meal with something sweet , the homemade rice pudding hits the spot.

 Greek Kitchen has a few convenient locations , one of them is inside of Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The loop is home to three more Greek Kitchens and the one on Wells and Van Buren also has a roof top bar with original cocktail.  For great food and plenty of it , visit one soon.

you like the juice

HUBS Restaurant was where the phrase “You like a dah  juice ah?” originated for SNL. The same homestyle goodness from HUBS is still alive in all of the Greek Kitchens

greek fries  at greek kitchen

Covered with feta and spices , Greek fries are great with one of the handhelds

chicken kabob plate

Filling and so healthy, you are going to love one of Greek Kitchen’s plates. This one has chicken kabobs with that delicious orzo salad

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Jeans for the Figure – Challenged – LOVE PREMIUM DENIM

love logo

Nobody has the perfect figure. Not even celebrities or models. But it just seems that women like us just have the flaws or imperfections in our body that can render us fashion flawed. In my case, I am all legs, guilty of having a muffin top, and possess absolutely no butt whatsoever. When I was a little girl, I had to buy jeans that were too long and always had to be hemmed. For a while I even had to buy Wrangler jeans because I had no figure and was straight up and down.

Last year, someone sent me what I have deemed the “perfect jean for an imperfect body.” and that is a pair of the LOVE Premium Denim jeans. First looking at them, I immediately fell in love with them because of the name of the style I was sent. How did they possibly know to send this “gladiator” Olivia jeans. ?   These jeans are dark colored and rich looking . Obviously I am not a candidate for the stonewashed jeans. I have a fashion slogan. If you can remember when you wore a certain style or piece of clothing from the past, then you don’t have any business wearing it again. In other words, if your hair was moussed and pouffed and you strutted around the club in a denim dress, don’t buy it again. Your time is passed.

I love these jeans with their lycra material. The give is wonderful and allows me to be able to move freely . Another feature I love is that the lycra also holds in my tummy. Let me tell you something, If I didn’t have the tummy , I would have a pretty hot figure. The jeans also make me look like I have a booty as well. LOVE Denim makes every girl look hot and these jeans look sophisticated enough they can be dressed up with a designer top or dressed down enough to be paired with that cute tee. They are the ultimate jean. Whether you are tall or petite, you will look like a star in LOVE denim.


 My “OLIVIA” jeans look smart and stylish with my original Paul Sisti top. Perfect for a night in Chicago

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Never Worry About Panty Lines Again .. Bumbrella To The Rescue


As a young girl, my mother always said that a young lady should never go out without a slip. I have to say that my mother was from another generation, actually two generations behind me. But these words of wisdom never left me. It usually wasn’t a problem unless I was worried about panty lines under the skirt or dress. More lines meant more bulk and that was the last thing that I wanted under my clothes.

Tara Gallagher had a really great idea and I am totally in love with it. She came up with the Bumbrella. It is part panty and part slip. But be prepared, it is not your mother’s slip. It is a short little piece of fabric with one little exception. The difference is that this  slip has a pair of panties in it. It is a panties and a slip, talk about awesome. One of the little benefits of the Bumbrella is that if you haven’t done laundry yet, you will always have one pair of panties that is clean. I love the color choices as well. I picked a neutral because it worked the best under summer dresses. Blue is the favorite color of brides and there is also a black Bumbrella as well. Another great feature is that the lycra . With all the talk about the damage that Spanx and other formwear  do to interior organs, Bumbrella is a welcome part to a woman’s wardrobe. The lycra also acts as a tummy controller as well. It holds in the tummy to make a smoother look.

Tara was recently featured with her invention on NBC’s The Today Show. TODAY was sponsoring a contest called “The Next Big Thing..” Viewers were given the chance to between several products that would be featured on a special on QVC.With media coverage like this, I have no doubt that Bumbrella , win or lose will be the next big thing.

It’s an answer to a fashionable woman’s prayers.

as seen on the today show

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Papaspiros – A Tasty Little Secret

serving saganaki

I was led to believe that the best foods come from certain parts of town. (Devon-Indian, Cernak-Chinese, etc.) In fact, one of my favorite cuisines is Greek. Well I am here to tell you that you don’t have to go to Greektown for great food. It isn’t even in Chicago, but in nearby Oak Park.

Oak Park reminds me of small towns where I come from. When you come to the restaurant , it reminds me of a little Taverna  in Greece. Smells abound in Papaspiros, it is full of life and the staff is so friendly. The owner is filled with pride as he brags how his restaurant put another one out of business and how his establishment has been around for eighteen years. With so many good things to eat and drink, it was so hard to decide what to try.

I started off with a yummy cocktail called a Mykonos Martini . I am not usually a fan of the gin variety, but I loved this martini. It was made with pineapple juice and Malibu I love fruity drinks and kudos for this one. You have to start off an evening of Greek with a saganaki. Here at Papaspiros , it’s like a party in a pan. The place rings with an oompa ! as the flames dance above the cheese..This saganaki is made with a special cheese imported from Greece and has a sweet taste.It is actually better than Greektown. You can’t truly enjoy authentic Greek unless you have traditional dishes. Luckily, they have a combination plate with several favorites. The spanakopita has flaky phyllo dough with lots of fresh spinach and feta in the roll that means delicious. Layers and layers of goodness sprinkled with cinnamon are mixed in the pasticho . The egg lemon sauce is a crowning touch with the flavorful dolmathes. It mixes well with the grape leaves surrounding the mixture.Gyro meat is tender and moist , not dry.  The potatoes are oven baked with a flavorful mixture. It is a smorgasboard of  yummy.

The meat and seafood are fresh and delicious. We will have to come back to try it next time. We get to enjoy some of the bountiful offerings from the sea. The Kalamari was larger than other restaurants, and so was the shrimp. We tried a pasta dish that was filled with some of the biggest shrimps I have ever seen. The garides pasta dish was flavored with mixed vegetables, shell pasta and a light creme sauce that tempted the tastebuds. I got to have some of the most flavorful and healthiest chicken with the chicken shara. The skin was cooked to golden and was covered with a pungent but delicious lemon-oregano and olive oil mixture. Once again, the meat was not dry at all. This is the way that meat should be.

Sipping my blueberry tea, I pondered the dessert tray. I finally decided to make some creme brulee and chocolate mousse cake the grand finale to this Grecian journey. The cake was as light as air and chocolatey and the creme brulee was as sweet as it could be. Bravo for the wonderful service and fantastic food.

Papaspiros isn’t that far away , only in Oak Park. For city dwellers, just hop on the Green Line going toward Harlem. It’s a small town filled with family owned restaurants and quaint little shops. It is definitely worth the trip and you will thank yourself for treating yourself. Oh and plan on bringing home food because there is plenty of it. Papaspiros is located at 728 Lake Street in Oak Park. The restaurant also has a spacious upstairs for meetings and holiday parties.

broiled chicken

combination plate


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Fresh From the Runways-It’s Ready to Wear

skin perfection foundation ready to wear

One of the cosmetics that I can’t live without is foundation. Unfortunately I am one of these women that has rosacea and have had it my whole life. I can’t even go to the store without some sort of foundation. Working for department stores has familiarized me with many different brands. Foundation has to have two functions, hiding the every day red and presenting the best face possible when I go to an event.

Recently I was presented with Ready to Wear Foundation. I had to be honest that I had never heard of the brand before. It’s consistency reminds me a lot of Estee Lauder quality. Definitely gives the coverage, but I might have chosen a shade that wasn’t so light. It’s so light because it is part serum and part foundation. I am in love with the consistency . It spreads so easy and I also love how you can use the applicator to squeeze out amounts of the foundation. I usually take my brush to apply for even coverage.

Last week I gave it the supreme test, I used it while working on the set of the NBC series “Chicago Fire.” When working as background, it amounts to long days on the set. Usually I am not able to reapply during these long days, but when I checked myself in a mirror, I still had the coverage.

For this being a product that you can purchase from HSN, it had the same quality as the expensive lines . The best part is that the foundation is a good value because it lasts longer than regular brands.

Ready to Wear Skin Perfection Serum can be purchased through for 30.00

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