Come Join the Party of the Summer – Blu

blu 10

For ten years, its been the party of the summer. It’s been the place where Chicagoans gather to network, dine, and just have a good time. It’s the benefit that benefits the Shedd and all those cute sea creatures and extinct monsters of the deep. This year , the event takes place on August 6 with such fun events as dancing , a dolphin show, and as always the night ending with the Navy Pier fireworks show.

Here are ten reasons why you should buy your tickets for BLU

1. You’ll have exclusive after-hours access to Shedd, a totally different way to experience this always amazing Chicago institution.
2. You’ll munch on delectable samples from top Chicago restaurants. The cocktails will be incredible, too.
3. You’ll be treated to up-close encounters with adorable Shedd animals.
4. You’ll enjoy a private aquatic show featuring magnificent marine mammals.
5. You’ll be delighted by local performers and surprise entertainment.
6. You’ll dance under the stars on our lakeside terrace, with the twinkling city skyline for a backdrop.
7. You’ll be dazzled by a fireworks show over Lake Michigan.
8. You might take home a cool prize from the silent auction or adopt a plush version of your favorite Shedd animal.
9. You’ll help raise critical funds to support Shedd’s rescue and rehabilitation, education, and conservation initiatives.
10. You’ll find out that BLU is summer’s best party.

The Shedd has many programs that are funded by events like Blu. These include rescue and rehabilitation of aquatic creatures, conservation of Lake Michigan and its wetlands, and education of the public on these important issues. There will also be an awesome silent auction with some really cool prizes and there are other opportunities to help the Shedd as well.

Tickets include the Regular Admission for 125.00 dollars which includes entertainment, snacks, and access to the exhibits at the Shedd
VIP Admission is 250.00 dollars which also includes access to a special VIP lounge , exclusive views, special entertainment , including a special aquatic show , and premier food vendors.
You can also purchase a special bulk rate of tickets for 1,250 for ten tickets. Surprise your friends or get a gang together.
For more info go to  http://www.sheddaquarium.org/blu/
beluga whale

 

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A Taste of Ole New Orleans Right in Edgewater -Pearl Southern

pearls southern tavern

Once you walk into Pearl’s Southern Comfort , you leave the commercial stores and streets of Chicago. You enter to smell the odors of a kitchen nestled deep in Southern tradition. The wooden ceilings and homestyle stylings beckon diners to a dining experience  not to be forgotten. It truly stands out in an area most known for its Asian cuisine and is a welcome bistro to Edgewater.

Not knowing what to expect, we were bombarded with the best of service and smiles. Since it was a summer evening, cocktails were welcome before dinner. Obviously the winner was the ‘traditional” Hurricane with its fruity taste and mixture of rums and pomagranates . It definitely had me with its sweet taste. I am not a big fan of whiskey drinks, so the Orange Blossom Special just didn’t do it for me. Maybe back when I was into my Mad Man obsession and ordering old fashioned, but not tonight. The best thing to dive into following cocktails was the sampling of small plates. Between the choices we made and those presented to us, everything was a winner. I was happy that none of the food was too spicy , but still maintained its flavor . The crawfish cheesecake was an absolute delight with the tasty creole mustard sauce . What made it special was its cheesy flavor mixed with the fish. The Bayou Boudin balls were another thing that made us smile. The remoulade was quite tasty as well. But the over all winner for the small plates was the smoked pork poutine. We have become afficionados of poutine thanks to Jen’s obsession of all things Canadian. This had the prequisite cheese curds and gravy , but what made it something to write home about was the use of pork rinds rather than the traditional french fries. The rinds could be used to scoop up the poutine. Bravo for creativity! Continuing the trip to New Orleans, you can’t talk Southern food without talkin barbecue and Pearl’s makes you want to smack your lips. The best way to sample the BBQ is with the Barnyard Combo . It s a little taste of each of the meats , including ribs and chicken, as well as the pulled pork shoulder.Team up that combo with the four cheese mac and the word of the day is cheesy. Jen is the cheese expert and she gives her ok with saying that it is the best she has tried . The mac and cheese just seeps with strings of cheese and that is what makes award winning mac and cheese. Their jambalaya beckons a return to the Big Easy with its tomatoey sauce and just enough spice to make the meal exciting, but won’t kill your mouth. The jambalaya also had the right amount of shrimp in it. Definitely will return to eat again.

After this kind of meal, you can’t even imagine the kind of desserts to try . Jen and I were split on our favorite. Jen fell in love with the banana bread pudding with the whiskey glaze. It was sweet enough and had that banana taste we love. My love of all things chocolate wins out again with the Nutter Butter Pie. The peanut butter taste was dynamite with its Oreo cookie crust. It was pure heaven.

You will be happy to know that you can also get these tasty treats for brunch as well. Pearl’s also has one of the best rooftops in Edgewater . Unfortunately, the rooftop is only opened Tuesday through Saturday .  But if you are cravin some of that good ole cookin, then make your way to Pearl’s. You won’t regret it. Pearl’s is located in the Edgewater neighborhood  right down from the Red Line Berwyn stop.

hurricane

Sweet , fruity and yummy is one of Pearl’s faves and now mine – The Hurricane

jambalaya

Spicy and filled with that Creole flavor- Jambalaya

crispy bayou boudin balls

Tangy sauce with the bayou boudin balls

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A Fab-ulous Night for a Fabulous Cause

heels and suits

Dashing men, drinks, and Dior ! What more could a girl want? Well the fierce and fabulous of Chicago came to help out and party last Wednesday night at the Virgin Hotel. Gorgeous views and networking were just a part of the evening as guests received a goody bag with some yummies from Dior when they arrived. Ciroq furnished the liquor for some of the tastiest sangria to cool everyone down on a hot summer night.  The diva of town , Vunzai Yeazel hosted the summer soiree. Entrepreneur and philanthropist , Emile Cambry spoke to the crowd followed by the presentation of a huge check to A SafeHaven . Lite nibbles were the order of the night as well as networking. Guests were also treated to the most beautiful site as a rainbow graced the Chicago sky during a summer rain. The door prize was a box filled with Dior and our own Jen, was the recipient . Yaay!!

chicago virgin rainbow

The rooftop of the Virgin hotel was the setting for Heels and Suits event. What a gorgeous site and in these times, don’t we all need a little hope?

guests at the party

Everyone enjoyed themselves , had some yummy h’or derves , and it was all for a good cause

j marc jones me and seven

The event was great for meeting new friends that had something in common with each other. J Marc Jones and I are both actors and Okema “Seven ” Gunn are both two of Chitown’s hottest entertainment bloggers.

Vunzai Yeazel

Vunzai Yeazel gathers the crowd together to hear the great work that Heels and Suits have been doing. Notice the great view from the rooftop of the Virgin Hotel.

jen learns the gospel of dior

There was a spectacular raffle where the winner would win a collection of Dior products. Jen was the lucky winner

Emile Cambry

Entrepreneur Emile  Cambry inspires the gathering

red berry sangria

Ah a relaxing drink hits the spot like this Red Berry Sangria made with Ciroq vodka.

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Give Up the Soda Habit for Healthy Refreshment with Wyler’s Light

wyler 's light label

Finally summer has arrived and that means drinking more liquids. As temperatures go up, hydration is more important than ever. It is not just a good idea, but it is necessary to save your life. If someone doesn’t get the right amount of fluids, they may end up dehydrated. This results in erratic behavior , heart palpitations, and possible hospitalizations . If someone gets dehydrated, they are usually administered iv fluids to replenish the patient.

But drinking water benefits people in many ways. It flushes the system and also replenishes skin. Unfortunately, there are people who do not like the taste of plain water. I am counted among those people. Sure, I will fill my container at the jump before I hop on the bike. Drinking plain tap water is another story. At our tastings, I usually gulp water because sometimes the dishes are a little on the spicy side. I also learned a trick when I worked for market research. If you take a sip of water before you eat , it cleanses the pallet and makes you able to taste your food. I also will just plain drink water when at a restaurant and make a point to finish the glass. This gets some water in me. Smartwater is the only bottled water I like to drink. Blame Jennifer Aniston!

When I received the Wyler’s Light , it came at the right time. I have always resolved to cut down on my soda drinking. I love the taste but also realize that soda contains sugar and other chemicals. I also vowed to start drinking more water. It helps me look younger and also allows me to go to the bathroom easier. But just like so many things that are good for you, it was something I didn’t like the taste of it. “Too bland.” I said. But after adding a packet of the Wyler’s Light Single’s to go, I actually enjoyed the fruity taste and in a month actually increased my water intake . My favorite flavor was the unusual Blueberry  Lemonade. But the greatest part is that these single serving packets come in so many delicious flavors. You can either pour one into a glass or container and then its ready for that long commute or that workout at the gym. For some originality, add some of your favorite liquors for some summer refreshment. Top off the glass with some fresh berries and you have a delightful cocktail.

Wyler’s Light can help make your life healthier and also motivate you to have a healthier llfe and isn’t that the best thing in the long run. Oh and the small little packets are also cheaper that soda. And that money you save , you can use it on other things. I am sure you can think of some of those things. Right girls!

vera bradley  tote

You can stick some single packs in your tote for summer refreshment

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Pizza Lovers Unite! It’s the Chicago Pizza Tour

chicago pizza tours

Since we have started this blog, we have had so many pizzas. No  cancel that, between birthday parties, cast parties, and church events we have had so many pizzas. Everyone has their favorites . But there are so many pizza places in town that it is literally impossible to try them all. We have one advantage over the tourists, we are supposed to know where is the best pizza places in town. What do you do if are a transfer or heaven forbid not a foodie? Fear not, pizza lovers. Your prayers have been answered..

Recently we had the pleasure of going on the original Chicago pizza tours. We had heard about the tours and decided that we wanted to venture into the best of Chicagoland’s pizzerias.  The best part is that they do not discriminate , local and tourists alike can partake into these Italian delights.Curiosity took over and off we went. Warning: You will be partaking  the equivalent of two and half pounds of pizza, so plan on hitting the gym the following day . Also please don’t freak out when someone mentions the word pizza.

We started out our journey from downtown at the oldest of the Lou Malnati’s chain , Pizano’s. This is where we got to meet our pizza ‘family” for the next three hours. We also met out pizza tour guide, Danny. Danny  proved to be friendly and also a font of knowledge.Before he joined the pizza tour, he worked for another tour company. Participants not only learned about pizza , but some fun facts about Chicago as well. When we sat down to eat, the servers put in front of us two of the most delicious pizzas that I have ever had. The deep dish had a flavorful sauce despite the absence of meat . The other two pizzas were thin crusts. Surprisingly, it seems that most of the pizza sold in town is not deep dish which is expected. Most pizza served in town is of the thin crust variety.

danny knows pizza

Danny proved to be a font of knowledge on pizza history and Chicago.You will learn a lot about Chicago , even if you have been here your whole life. The tour is a great introduction to the Windy City .

After we left Pizano’s , we got on a bus and headed off to points south. Luckily, that meant the South Loop and Flo and Santos. Chicago has some deep Polish roots and we found them at this South Loop destination. Along with their pizzas, they are known for pierogis and I made a note of that for Lent next year. They also pride themselves on serving authentic Polish vodka. Flo and Santos  is truly a haven and was filled with lots of Chicago’s finest. This is a sign that you know the food is good. Today, they served us three of their specialty pizzas . The first one was a tribute to another Chicago favorite, an Italian beef pizza complete with giardinara. It had a little bit of spice. The second was my favorite at this restaurant . The pizza was covered with polish sausage or kielbassa and then one of my favorites , sauerkraut. Needless to say , Jen and a few people had an aversion to the sauerkraut and wouldn’t touch it. Some people were also surprised to know that almost anything could be put on a pizza. They only associated the traditional pizza toppings and sauces with pizza. With my own knowledge of pizza, I informed them of some of the more unusual pizzas we have had. Following the pizza entrees , we were treated with a s’more pizza for dessert. The pizza brought back pleasant memories of campfires and childhood. That is what food is supposed to do , it is supposed to remind us of happy memories . I think that the s’more pizza served that purpose for everyone. My favorite at Flo and Santos, was the polish sausage and sauerkraut. Chalk one up for originality and a great crust. Back on the bus we went, for a wonderful whirlwind tour of Chicago and our next destination.

soldier field

On our way to our next destination, we got to see the best views of the city and the skyline. We started up toward the North side and went past such landmarks as Soldier Field, The Shedd Aquarium, and Buckingham Fountain. Lake Shore Drive always proves to have the most inspiring sites especially during the summer. Today was no exception as we watched joggers along Lake Michigan.  Our next pizza place was not far from where we go to church in Lincoln Park, Pequod’s.

in front of pequods

Pequod’s featured a thick crust that was flavorful despite being burned. The pizza was stuffed with cheese and it was at this point I started to get full. Repeat if you are on a diet or eat like a bird, you may have some problems. However, if you are a hearty eater and can enjoy your afternoon by eating pizza and drinking beer. (Note: Water is provided, but if you are planning on drinking any of the microbrews or summer shandys , they are not provided. You have  got to pay for your own beverages. There is good news though , the boys at Chicago Pizza have another tour where your beverages are included. It’s called the Pizza and Cocktails tour)  Finally we arrived in the chic neighborhood of Wicker Park. I love it because of the vintage clothes and used dvd stores located there. It is also a plethora of eating places as well. Our final place was a yuppy type microbrew and thin crust pizza place called PIECE . Almost stuffed anyway, their pizza did not impress me so I didn’t finish. It was also kind of greasy. Everyone who took the tour had fun, met some new friends, and took away the memory of their visit to the best pizzerias in town. They were such good sports that they even let me take a picture of them for the write up. I hope those that were visitors to Chicago continued to have a great time for the rest of their trip.

pizza gang

Here is the happy tour members after an afternoon of pizza and beer drinking. Bet you wish you could spend your afternoon this way.  If you want more info then ,. go to their website at http://www.chicagopizzatours.com.

pizza images

For a chance to try some of the best pizza in town

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You Can Have Fresh Summertime Skin with Neutrogena

jennifer garner

kerry washington neutrogena

Summer time has finally arrived and that means showing off that skin. Neutrogena has it all together with all of their great lines to baby your skin. Whether you are a teen struggling with acne or just fighting the march of time, I have found that Neutrogena has something to help. With the help of my friends of Neutrogena, i have some tips that will make your summer skin feel fresher.

On those hot and humid days, you can feel cooler and open those pores. Put a pack of makeup remover towelettes in that bag and then wipe your face with it. It will cool and refresh you. The best thing about the make up remover wipes is that they are guaranteed to take off all or most of the days make up.. They are gentle and easy to use. Oh and brides, they are great to tuck in that bridal bag for your bridesmaids. It’ll be a nice treat after you have as much make up on as a Hollywood starlet on that big day. Speaking of starlets, two of Hollywood’s biggest use Neutrogena. No wonder Jennifer Garner has that fresh country girl look and no gal has made more magazine covers than Olivia Pope herself, Kerry Washington. Kerry actually works with the company and was vital in developing more shades of their winning foundation for women of color. I also like to use one of the wipes before I wash my face with one of the daily cleansers.

make up remover

Before I start my day , I like to have a fresh canvas. That’s why I am in love with the Fresh Foaming Cleanser. It takes off all the residue of the night creams from the night before. It leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth. If I don’t have to go anywhere, I will just clean my face just for that fresh feeling. At the end of the day, it also takes off all of makeup and doesn’t sting my eyes. Best of all, it will even take off waterproof mascara. For those with more sensitive skin, there is also an ultra gentle cleanser that works with acne, rosacea, eczema and any other skin problems. It also rinses clean.

The most beautiful skin in the world comes from Neutrogena. Believe me, they have played a big part in making me feel beautiful and isn’t that what we all want?

me and my skin

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No Time Tonight ? Bake425 Makes It Alright.

Bake 425 logo

We all lead such busy lives.  There is work and those nasty deadlines, little league and play practice, and don’t forget relatives that just show up at a moment’s notice. Not everyone has the time to run to the store or stand over a hot stove in this weather. Well we found an answer to the those meal time questions and more . All your meal time prayers can be answered at Bake425. Bake425 provides a healthy meal that the whole family can enjoy and with hardly any bother. Their meals are made with only the freshest ingredients that come from local farms right to our kitchen. That’s good for our local economy and the environment.

practice, and don’t forget relatives that just show up at a moment’s notice. Not everyone has the time to run to the store or stand over a hot stove in this weather. Well we found an answer to the those meal time questions and more . All your meal time prayers can be answered at Bake425. Bake425 provides a healthy meal that the whole family can enjoy and with hardly any bother. Their meals are made with only the freshest ingredients that come from local farms right to our kitchen. That’s good for our local economy and the environment.

Buzzwords and slogans are nice , but the proof is in the pudding so to speak. The day before the Snacks and Sweets expo at McCormack, we put the food to the test. We got an order to try and one thing I can say, when the folks at 425 say they will deliver they mean it. Our order was waiting for us at the door. There are many artisan pizzas to try , so choosing one was hard. We finally decided on the Americana. The ingredients were not spicy and they were spread generously over the pizza. The pizza was large enough for a couple of meals which is also economical. You don’t have to worry about lunch for the next day.  Our meal deal also included a salad and I picked a good one. The Cobb was refreshing and chocked full of avocado pieces and large pieces of blue cheese. Bacon was spread throughout the salad and I hate when my protein ends up on top and not throughout. That was a plus for me. Tie it all up with a huge , homemade cookie that goes in the oven and you get a satisfying meal that everyone can enjoy. Those subscription box meal services may be fine, but 425 is more family friendly. Not every kid is going to jump for joy over pesto or wild salmon, but they will get a homemade , healthy meal with Bake425. They will make you the heroine of the day and your whole family will thank you for it.

Bake425 will deliver because I had a friend have a delivery waiting for her when she landed at O Hare. That is what I call convenience. They also have six locations and all of them deliver for those pizza munchies. Deliveries are handled from 4 to 7:45 and store hours are 1-8 on Friday and Sunday and Mon through Thursday from 2 to 8.

http://bake425.com/

Cobb saladAmericana

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