“Anything That Pushes the Envelope” Is How Erica M Views Style

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 When you watch those ladies on the Red Carpet, you probably wonder who makes them look fabulous. It’s not just the hair, the dress, or the jewelry.  Girls also have to have fierce footwear. One of these shoe divas, is stylist Erica M. As a young girl in the streets of Baltimore, she learned at an early age that it is better to look good than to feel good. Sadly,  she was a victim of bullying. But she knew that her dreams would take her away from her inpoverished world. She had always loved fashion and like so many other girls played dress up. Her first influences? Versace and Oscar De La Renta. No K Mart for this gal.

The other day , I got the chance to chat with this fellow diva and gladiator. I always love to talk about “Scandal” with fellow gladiators and we had fun talking fashion and television.  One of the topics that we discussed is how women should embrace who they are. They should embrace their curves. Erica is a curvy girl herself. She also believes that young girls should be given more encouragement to accept themselves and give them empowerment. In fact in 2009, she created an organization for teens and women called Tru Goddess Entertainment and Events. Erica ‘s beliefs came from her grandmother , Teeny, who prided herself on her sense of style and didn’t let society  tell her how to dress because of her age. “You are as young as you feel.” Erica told me. I totally agree with that. She also spoke glowingly of the role models that women have to emulate on television today. Women like Viola Davis, Taraji P Henson , and Kerry Washington play these strong women on television .They also wear these sexy , but sophisticated outfits when they play these characters. “Young girls see Olivia Pope in her silky blouses, and pencil skirts. She is a strong woman and they see that you don’t have to dress like a hoochy to be a success.” she laughed.  “Women have to learn to love themselves.” Using this philosophy, Erica and her sister opened their own shoe boutique in 2012. Appropriately it was called Goddess Couture. These shoes allowed all woman to think of themselves as goddesses.

About a year later, Erica began using her fashion talents to dress some of television’s biggest reality stars. like Love Majeewski (Mob Wives) , , Krystle Couso (Jerseylicious) and Alexandra Dilworth (The New Atlanta) and that is just a sample. No surprise of who Erica’s dream celebrity would be if she could dress her for the Red Carpet. Actually she had two. Oscar winner, Lupita Nyong and tv star Kerry Washington. “Kerry has such great style and Lupita looks just like a little Barbie doll.” Asking her advice on developing my own Red Carpet style, she told me to wear something you are comfortable in and also allows you to strut your stuff. ” She gives the same advice to her celebrity clients. “They never know what to wear, so she sends over some different styles and sees how comfortable the client is with each shoe. Then they narrow it down.” When I asked about her mother and style , she just laughed and said that her grandmother said that it skipped a generation.  She also bragged that she was related to model/body builder Ernestine Shepherd. With role models like these, Erica can definitely continue to reach for the stars.

19398798_10212779703031242_883210214_nTo look at some of Erica’s shoes and order them go to http://www.askericam.com

She is also on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

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Art vs Commerce Brings The Make Up Show to Chicago

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 One of my favorite events that I look forward to every year is The Make Up Show. It is a celebration of the visual , rather than the other senses. It is also a way that beauticians, make up artists, and other beauty professionals can purchase make up and educational materials. With the budding fashion industry and our thriving film/ television community. This is critical so that beauty is not just a second income. The show features make up pros to educate and help the students to put on their game face to take them to the next level of their career.

The ringmaster for this beauty circus is the fabulous James Vincent. He is the foremost expert on make up and what he uses. One of the highlights of the show is his talk to the press and influencers.  He tells an eager audience about some of the great products and companies that are at the show. He is such a sweety and today he greeted me with a hug and a kiss.. The best part is that at the end of the talk, each audience member is gifted with a bag of his favorite goodies. After that , each gal is left to explore the show to establish relationships or pick up some fun things for her own bag.  Last year, I got the privilege to interview Fredrick Sanders, who was the brand ambassador for Temptu. Today, I got to see first hand the airbrush system that has revolutionized the make up industry. Getting celebs ready for the Red Carpet or camera, has been cut in half with this wonderful airbrush that does all the contouring and covering. This is one of the little goodies that I must have.

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Temptu makeup artist ,Jackie works on me with Temptu’s Air Cordless. It can help me get ready for that once in a lifetime audition or help me pull it together before an event.

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Look at all these goodies . Along with the gun, you get foundations and colors used for brows and cheeks.

James also stressed the importance of social media.  Now more than ever, make up artists and bloggers can influence their followers with Instagram and Pinterest posts from the event or MUA can use them for their portfolio. He also pointed out that “Make up is a connection. It brings together for the special moments of our lives.

james vincent talking

James gave so many insights into why the Make Up show is so important in Chicago. He wants to help the make up artists to move into making beauty their number one income instead of their second. “Its Art vs Commerce.” The money is definitely there in the wedding industry.” I also learned this talking with reps from the Knot Magazine.

mehron glitter

The Make Up show is a sensual experience utilizing the sense of sight . Glitter and bright colors entice the beauty professionals to purchase items for their businesses. Plus it’s fun to look at all the pretty colors and glitter. For the first time, there was actually a play area where make up pros could play with new colors and products.

brush set

 

Brushes are just tools of the trade. But don’t be fooled, they are also works of art and are taylor made to the task. These Bambu ones are from Bdellium and I am loving the purple color. Another future goody .

smashbox vendor

Smashbox was another vendor at the show. Vendors sell the latest products. They also provide them in the goody bag we received at the show. Wouldn’t you get up at the crack of dawn to get these goodies?

goody bag from mashow

Each member of the press and blogger was given this goody bag filled with make up remover, concealer, bronzer, makeup sanitizer, and lots of lipsticks

make up for mehron

Thanks to the television industry and shows that shoot here like “Chicago Fire”, “Shameless” and “Empire.” , Make up is a big business here. Mehron is one of the biggest theatrical make up companies in the world.

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Here is one of the bags from one of the companies. Some of them were so creative, and others were colorful like the bag from TEI SPA. I loved Nigel’s bag because the company is located in West Hollywood . See the masks, they are a symbol of the theatre . They also represent my industry as an actress. Definite signs!!!!

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We are not just friends, but family. It is always so great to see James and talk about the one thing we both love. And that is make up. Can’t wait till next year at the Make Up Show LA, fingers crossed.

 

 

 

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Pizzeria Due Presents Thin Crust Pizza with Deep Dish Attitude

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Chicago has long been known for pizza , deep dish or thin crust. Almost every tourist or vendor , can tell the story of when they had their first slice and where they had it. When you talk about Chicago Pizza, chances are you had that pizza at either Pizzeria Uno or Due.  Since we tried the Deep Dish at Uno , we were invited by our friend, Howard to try some of their  Thin Crust.  Using semolina , it makes the crust grittier . The best part is that the pizzas we got to sample, were delicious.

Each of the pizzas we tried had plenty of yummy toppings. And there wasn’t one empty spot on the top, each pizza had tons of cheese, meat, and the freshest of veggies. My personal favorite was the veggie extravaganza. It had a harvest of healthy vegetables that were roasted like zucchini, red onions, yellow squash, spinach and mushrooms. The veggies were cooked with three kinds of cheese , mozzarella, aged cheddar, and romano. Jen preferred the Windy City Works.  The difference between the two pizzas was that the WCW had some veggies but also included different meats like bacon, pepperoni, and crumbled sausage. She is not really a fan of spinach on pizza, but she does love her cheese and all three pizzas had plenty of stretchy cheese on them.  Pair them with a huge salad and you have got a winner of a lunch or dinner. Can’t finish it? The gang at Due  will be glad to box it up for later. Want a souvenir of your Windy City visit? They have shirts and hats. You can even have your pizza shipped from Chicago. Don’t feel that you have to get only the pizzas on the menu. You can create your own pizza.

Pizzeria Uno, Due and their sister restaurant SuCasa are all located  steps from the Mag Mile at 619 N Wabash. Taste the best that Chicago has to offer.

three pieces of pizza

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Kerry Rocks the Disney Carpet for Cars 3 Premiere…

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Tonight at Disneyland , Kerry did it again. On a Red Carpet evening where she shared the spotlight with such stars as Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, and Nathan Fillion, Kerry walked it with like it was a runway where most of the gals dressed in jeans and casual. The occasion was the Cars3 Premiere. Kerry was by herself, causing fans to wonder where husband Nnmadi Asomugha was as well as frequent escort and co star Tony Goldwyn. There were pictures on social media of Goldwyn this afternoon as he walked through Central Park. Like Kerry’s Olivia Pope, she is a woman who showed her independence tonight. Kerry voiced the character of Natalie Certain,  who she described as a bossy , know it all. Other ABC stars who have voiced Disney cartoons include Kevin McKidd, Patrick Dempsey, Katie Lowes, Sara Ramirez, Minnie Driver, and Tony Goldwyn.

This has been Kerry’s year as she has graced Red Carpets most of the award season. It would figure that since she is such a fashion icon, she would rock the premiere. The dress was fun and sparkly and showed her long legs. There was very little make up worn except for some Neutrogena lip gloss and blush. It was a staunch contrast to the power suits she wears as the Washington fixer on her series. Along with the dress in theme with the fun event, Kerry carried a clutch that sported a model of her character in the movie. The clutch was designed by Sophia Webster and her nail polish was from her OPI Washington collection. The shade was named after her first born, Inside the Isabelleway.

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This is such a fun clutch that was designed by Sophia Webster especially for the premiere. She also shows off her Levian ring as well. Her nail polish is from the Washington collection from OPI, Inside the Isabelletway. She dedicated it to her daughter, Isabelle.

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Go see Kerry in Cars 3 !!!

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Sandal Weather is Here…You Could Use a Pedi Pro

pedi pro by silkn

The cold temperatures have finally gone away and the sun is out. Time for flip flops, sandals, and the beach. Oh no! you take off your socks and your feet are a mess. They are dry , cracked, and the last thing you want the nail technician to see is those naked feet. I have my own issues with my toes, so the most petrifying thing I can see is my “Flintstone” feet. Now I am not so scared of my feet because of Silkn’s Pedi Pro. It has two tools for beautiful feet. The first is the polisher, but the best part about this tool is that it can be used on your fingernails as well. It lets you have that manicured look that you get in the salon. It buffs your nails as well as files them . The second tool is a pumice stone for removing dry skin and calluses from your feet. You can actually use it in the shower too.  It is makes a great bridesmaid gift to use to show off those gorgeous shoes. Pick up an extra one for yourself to take on that tropical honeymoon. The beauty editors at Cosmo named it one of the Beauty Award winners of 2017. So get your tootsies ready for summer with Pedi Pro. They will thank you for it.

http://www.silkn.com

 

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Just A Few Steps Away From It All…Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap

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There are many places to eat in downtown Chicago and in the heart of River North, they range anywhere from the upscale bistros of the five star hotels to McDonalds and Chick Fil A. It depends on what you want to eat, but most out of towners prefer to find places where they can find familiar dishes they can find back home. For us “Chicago” ers, we just would like to find a place to unwind after a day’s work or have a casual business meeting. One of these cozy places is just steps away from the world-famous Peninsula Hotel. My apologies to those folks at the Shanghai Terrace, but if I was a guest at the Peninsula, I would order up some wings and a sandwich from Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap. Good food and good fun that is just steps away from the Mag Mile. Just recently, the gang at Jake’s invited us to try some of their faves. Needless to say when were at the two trade shows at McCormick Place ,  we couldn’t stop talking about the food .

I like Jake’s because you get just plain good food. No fancy restaurant portions or spices are served. They use meat and plenty of it. It’s got wings, it’s got salad, and it ‘s got just plain old killer portions that you can take home. One of their specialties is their craft beers and bars. Lots of people just like to come in for a drink or to watch whatever team in playing that night. In a town filled with sports teams, that isn’t hard to do. But along with the sports, the food is the star.

 We started the meal with some yummy appys, the pig skins were huge and filled with all the good stuff. They were cheesy and filled with delicious pulled pork. The potatoes were crispy and there was plenty to go around. But you can’t call a restaurant a sports bar without talking wings. One of their stars , is definitely Jake’s wings. In fact, Jake has won prizes for their wings and their sauces. They range from the super hot to a mild one. My personal faves were the PB and J and the Fajita Chicken. The PB and J reminded me of pad thai that mixed well with the raspberry chipotle jelly. The fajita wing was grilled and marinated with a saucy tequila sauce and served with cilantro. It was truly an original .

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It was time to move on to the entrees. Jen is a longtime cheese freak, so she had to have the Big Cheese as well as the Homestyle Baked Mac and Cheese. It was cheesealiicous , the cheese was creamy and the cheeses were a good blend. When they say “Big Cheese, they mean it. The cheese was melted between two pieces of Texas toast and paired with a delicious tomato basil soup dusted with parmesan. I am the BBQ fanatic so I indulged into the triple play combo. It was pure meaty heaven covered with Jake’s BBQ sauce. I also am now addicted to the fries as well. With so many sauces, I had a lot of choices to dip my fries in. I chose the homemade ranch. I also tried the sweet taste of firecracker with its yummy sweet chili and sriracha . Finally, I also had to try the French Onion burger for May. After all, May is Burger month. It was everything I liked in a burger , swiss cheese carmelized onions, and put them on a ciabatta bun.

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The piece a resistance was a Jake’s fave, their world famous fried oreos. The oreos are dipped in pancake batter served with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce. Yummmski.  If you want to enjoy eating and have some for the next day, come to 41 East Superior to the one and only Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap.

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Pamper Yourself with Pinky Up!

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With the exception of a short time in the nineties, I am a lifetime tea drinker. My mother made me tea and toast on the first day of kindergarten and I would rather go to Argo than Starbucks.  Oolong Tea takes me back to the Chinese restaurant in Youngstown, Ohio where we ate before they had a food court in the mall.  I even got the ultimate tea experience and that was Holiday Tea at the Drake Hotel.

That is why I got so excited about the Pinky Up collection from True Brands. One of the best things we can do for ourselves as busy women, is to pamper ourselves. What is more elegant than enjoying a cup of tea and cookies. The teas are treats in themselves with flavors like Tirasmu, Candied Apple, and Peaches and Cream. But the pieces come in contemporary designs as well. I also found out that infused tea has a richer flavor than a tea bag. The Bailey also has an infuser that is included with its special mug.  The bamboo lid keeps the tea warm and also serves as a coaster. They also have other matching accessories with each piece. I love my “Easy as a Piece of Cake ‘ tea towel.

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Here is the PinkyUp display at the Tru Brands booth at the International Housewares Show a few months ago.  Love the little tea containers and fun flavors.

a piece of cake tea towel

Make a mess? Simple clean up is easy with the matching tea towel. It can also be used as a dishtowel as well.

 Want to order or learn more go to http://www.truebrands.com

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