Warming Up at the Newest in the Home Run Family

home run inn lakeview

It may be cold outside but we found a great place to warm up and try some dishes from an old friend. Long time Chicago friend, Home Run Inn has opened a new place for gatherings. The pizza chain just opened a new store and we couldn’t be happier that it is located in Wrigleyville-Lakeview area. Tonight we decided to come out and try the place out.

I always start the meal with a cocktail and a starter. I picked two winners. Always trying to bring the sunshine to my life, I ordered a tropical mule. Svedka and pineapple are mixed together to make this island delight. I could have sipped this drink all night. But then my appetizer arrived. Home Run doesn’t carry all the same appetizers at each of its locations. One of those selections is only available at the Lakeview store and that is the Bleu cheese fries. Now these fries were loaded and I mean loaded with bleu cheese and goodies. I hate to admit it, but when I was a kid I would eat the Marie’s Chunky Blue Cheese dressing out of the jar by the spoon. So when I saw these chunks of bleu cheese, I thought I died and went to heaven. The fries are also seasoned with a lemon zest and a little bit of spice. That wasn’t the only pleasant surprise that was to await us. When the snow is flying, you don’t expect a salad with fresh strawberries, apples , almonds, and a light vinagrette mixed in it. But the Harvest Salad is summer in a bowl. The best part is that it is such a popular item that it comes in a small size, entree size , and a size for sharing. You can also get the salad and have chicken added to it as well to make it hearty.It’s also great for all of those who made healthy eating resolutions for the New Year.

bleu cheese fries

harvest salad

After this, we decided to go to the comfort foods. There is nothing more soothing and warm than a pan of mac and cheese and nothing more decadent than the HRI  Mac and Cheese skillet. No bull, these people do not skimp on the cheese on anything.  This skillet has three cheeses( fontina, parmesan, and sharp cheddar)  that blends together in perfect harmony. The skillet is topped with garlic bread crumbs and is the perfect warm up.  Chiberia won’t win if you take control with some soup and HR has the perfect soup for this weather, the Beer Cheese soup. Thick and zesty, this soup consists of cheese mixed with beer and veggies float on top of this creation. I will tell you this, I usually do not care for soup unless it is cream based or oriental. This soup warmed my tummy and made me smile. Bread comes with it and all I wanted to do was dunk the hot bread in the soup. It is that thick! As I said cheese is the word. This was also the case with the Legend Burger . The burger was thick and covered with a blanket of Velveeta.

Home Run is known for its pizza and there are so many ways you can eat it here. All pizzas also come gluten free. You can eat one of the ready made recipes or create your own with the many toppings. With all these choices, it was so hard to pick . We finally settled on a traditional pizza with sausage , mushrooms, onions , and bell peppers. The Nick’s Special was covered with meat and had a thick crust. I also wanted to try a veggie pizza as well since Lent is coming up soon. The one that caught my eye was the tasty grilled artichoke, roasted garlic, and spinach and I knew I would enjoy it. Instead of the usual tomato sauce , it was covered with a sauce with white wine cream. The staff was awesome and they are more than willing to make the meal the way you want.

artichoke spinach and garlic pizza

Finishing up our meal, we decided to sample two of the homemade desserts. They not only make great pizza, but also yummy cupcakes. Butter and yellow cake make up the rich Gooey Butter Cupcake and make the world a little sweeter. It was time to embrace the hometown with a scrumptious peach cobbler covered with vanilla ice cream. It reminded Jen of her grandmother’s kitchen and was the perfect finale to this dinner. It makes me smack my lips as I treasure the memory of it.

Home Run Inn is a Chicago company that serves food in their eight locations. The restaurant is located at 3215 N Sheffield near the Belmont L Stop. You can also purchase Home Run pizzas at a store near you.

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Your Best Defense Against Winter

 

 

 

Winter is a cruel time of year and Chicago has to be one of the cruelest cities because of the wind and the cold. They don’t call it the “Windy City” for nothing. Wind blowing off of Lake Michigan makes the skin age faster and takes the elasticity away. It also makes the face redder than usual. For those of us that suffer from rosacea, it can really be cruel. The cold wind blows and dries it out even more.

Elan Rose has two products that help in the defense of winter’s fury, Hello Sunshine and Wake Up Beautiful. Combined these products can help maintain that youthful glow as well as improve the skin’s texture and elasticity. This does wonders for a woman’s self esteem and contributes to feeling good. The best part is that it really doesn’t take that long to see a difference. They claim it would only take three days and they were right. My skin actually felt softer and it wasn’t as red as usual. Wrinkles also weren’t as visible either. My skin actually was glowing and for that to happen in the dead of winter is a miracle. The products also boast they are filled with good things like vitamins B and E and contain no fragrances or silicones. Now winter doesn’t have to hurt so much.

I love the way that the products make my skin feel. Anyone who knows me knows that one of the things that I have worked the most on is my skin. As a teen and college girl, it wasn’t the most attractive thing I had. My parents sent me to a dermatologist and the medicine they used on me has allowed me to maintain a young look which is essential for the profession I have chosen. I can actually go out without any makeup and can let my skin breathe.

To learn more go to hello@elanrose.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comfort Cookin Comes to Chicago

kinfork logo

Last month,  The folks at Woodfield Mall were treated to the grand opening of a brand new concept restaurant. Kinfork. American comfort food and ole fashion shine drinks are featured at the restaurant. We were happy to make the trip to Schaumburg to mark the occasion, meet some awesome people , and of course try some yummy food. Here are some photos from the occasion.

ribbon cutting for kf

December 14 was the chilly day where people gathered for the ribbon cutting of this rustic restaurant opening

bar and interiors

Kinfork boasts a rustic interior as shown in this picture at the bar. Beer and moonshine drinks are a specialty like this one.

harvest apple

Capturing the spirit of the holidays was the Harvest Apple served in an authentic mason jar mug

hush puppies

We also got to try some delish appetizers. This was our favorite ,  hush puppies with a peach sauce.

enjoying  the grand opening

Here are Jen and I enjoying the party after Christmas shopping at Woodfield Mall

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Latinicity- Chicago’s Newest Food Experience

latincity logo

 

Chicago is a world of food, Asian, Ethiopian, Italian, and so many others. Last year, Chicago opened it’s gates to a NYC institution, Eataly. Foodies could immerse themselves in the Italian experience , while purchasing items to create their own banquets. In the past few weeks, another food journey made its way to the Windy City. Latincity in Block 37 recently opened its doors and we were one of the fortunate ones to get to sample the dishes that everyone is talking about in Chicago’s newest foodie haunt.

Located on the third floor of Block 37, Latinicity first appears to the first time visitor as a college cafeteria or food court. Diners are given a card where they add up their purchases and pay at the end of the food hall. Stalls give the diner a lot of options.

We began our food journey at Tortas and Cocas. Since I am a ham fiend, I absolutely had to try the Cubano. I had learned before that Cubans are huge fans of meat and this sandwich was proof of that . The ham meshed very well with the swiss cheese . Add the special habanero mustard and pickles and you have got a sandwich grande. You can even get a burger at Latinicity, try one of their original ones or just enjoy the all- American ones. Most people think that Sushi came from Japan, surprise! the oriental fish treat originated from Peru. Knowing this , it would figure that you could enjoy your sushi addictions at the Sushi and Cerviche bar. I just had to try two of the sushi rolls. The Angry tuna featured the yellow fish tuna, green onion, avocado, with a combination of wasabi tobiko and chipotle rouille for a spicy delight. My favorite was called the Volcano because it featured more spices dappled through a roll of salmon and spicy crab and more chipotle. Needless to say, the spices woke up my mouth.

sushi

Latin American foods traditionally are filled with spice and also a use of seafood. Seafood is also part of the Latinicity cuisine. Whether you have it added to your stir fry at Latinicity Wok or throw it in guacamole , seafood lovers will be in heaven. The guacamole was filled with chunks of crab and was delicious. Some of the dishes might be a little too spicy so be warned.

crab guacamole

cocktail

They also have a great cocktails. Latinicity is located downtown in the Block 37 building right in the theatre district. This is a perfect alternative to the many pre-theatre spots because it won’t wreck your budget so you can buy those Broadway in Chicago trinkets.  If you are looking for something that appeals to everyone, than Latinicity is a safe bet.

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Gifts for the Modern Girl

christmas girl

 I know by this point, everyone should have their shopping done. That has to be the saddest part of the season for someone that has no family, no kids, or no partner. Sometimes you have trouble getting into the spirit of the season. You immerse yourself in the parties , watch the specials, but when it all comes down to it, that magic just isn’t there anymore. You just want to pull the sheets over your head and come out on the 31st just long enough to get drunk NYE.

But there is still a need to buy gifts for those who you work with , your buddy or even that gay bff and that is what I am here for. I will help you find that perfect gift for the gal in your life. And yes, you can still find it this late or also in the event the exchange is after the holidays.

Every body needs a good carry on because most major airlines charge for a full size suitcase. This is also good for your gal/guy pals who are actors or models. It can be so taxing to have to bring all your clothes and make up to a shoot or film site. With this bag  from Wildkin, you can travel with fashion and style. It also makes a great gift for the kiddles in your life. They can take one of these bags when they visit Grandma and Grandpa, when it’s daddy’s turn to have the kids, or that family trip to visit Mickey.

pinwheel 65.99

Wildkin.com

You bang your head and wonder what to get as a stocking stuffer, or those gals in the office, or your “girls” that you drink with . Here is the perfect little token. Beach Girl has taken that summer feel and made it sexy year round with their body sprays. They come in these adorable little purse shape sprays. Stick one in the designer purse you are giving to your bff or save them to stick in your own purses. They give off that “Sex and the City ” feel. that we single city girls love with names like Fashion, Chic, and Vogue. The fragrance is definitely sexy and feminine.

beach gal body spray

beachgalswim.com/

 Wine is always a great hostess gift. It’s also a great gift for your gal pals who won’t leave their house on Thursday night watching their favorite show. This one is a winner from Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants. They specialize in everything wine. They have a wine club, menu, and opportunity to have wine tastings. I received a lovely bottle of their winter white wine.  With it’s delicious apple pie, pear , and nutmeg aromas, the wine is great either served chilled or mulled on the stove top.

winter-white

 Music is one of the best gifts that you can give to someone. Even though most of us just download these days, it is still nice to get a cd to play on the stereo. One of my faves is the Empire soundtrack. Empire is hot and so is the music. There are two soundtracks one for each season. There are a lot of great songs on the tracks like “Conqueror” and the cast singing “You’re So Beautiful” .

Girls love jewelry and I can’t think of a better gift than a gift certificate from Kendra Scott. Kendra Scott allows women to come in and make their own jewelry to match their favorite outfit or show their style. You come into the color bar and then choose a style and then a stone . Voila ! your jewelry masterpiece.

kendra scott

Of course you can’t go wrong with a DVD box set. With a box set, there is something for everyone on your list. For the comedy fans, there is shows like “The Big Bang Theory” and “Two Broke Girls”. For those who love a good mystery, there is “Castle”, “Major Crimes”, “Bones” and “How To Get Away With Murder” . Like a little (or a lot of drama ) in your life? There’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and Scandal”for binge watching. And if you like a little music added to the drama then you might want to get the music fan “Nashville” or the hot show everyone is talking about “Empire.”

 

Of course we all know that when you don’t have someone to buy for, the best thing to do is treat yourself. In that case girls, get yourself something real special. That designer purse or a special trip to escape the cold . Whatever and however you choose to celebrate the season, best wishes from Chitownstarconnections

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It’s A Celebration! NENA Cosmetics Marks Five Years

 

nena cosmetics logo

Last night, I felt like a star thanks to the “elves” from NENA Cosmetics. NENA wasn’t just celebrating the holidays , the party was also marking a five year milestone in the company. NENA Cosmetics has a lot to celebrate. It truly is an international brand now since the product is marketed not only in America, but in Europe, the Orient, and very soon in Africa.

Guests were treated to a make over using NENA Cosmetics with an opportunity to buy products that the make up artists used on them. The girls gave tips and showed the guests how to emphasize their best features with make up. Following hair and jewelry by Stella and Dot,  the ladies were treated to their very own professional photo session. Refreshments featured holiday cocktails and authentic Filipino cuisine.

The party took place at Loewe’s O Hare in Rosemont.

nena girls working on me

Morgan Henn gave some great tips about brows. Ngai Malik is working on me and showing me how to make my eyes stand out. Both of these girls are inspirations.

lisa and lorena

Here are the two ladies of beauty  Lisa Cristia and the founder of Nena Cosmetics , Lorena Nena Mondonedo Perez . They are on the set of the photo shoot at the party

nena makeup

I love Nena Makeup . My favorite is the Foundation which has given me the best coverage. The sheer tint is perfect for those trips to the store. Guests also got a lip gloss after their makeover.

beauty gals

Finally I share my new gorgeous look with my fave Nena girls , “Lady” Lorena and Lisa Cristia.. thanks for a fun night.

 

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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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