It’s A Celebration at the Shedd with Blu

blu-10-years

On August 6, the hip young professionals of Chicago came to the Shedd Aquarium with two  purposes , to party and raise money for the Shedd.  This wasn’t just any ordinary party though. For ten years, the event of the summer has been Blu. Chicago’s professionals have converged upon the Shedd to eat, drink, and party. The main reason for all of this merriment has been to raise funds to use to rescue creatures and educate the public about the creatures and our precious waterways throughout the world.

Since this was the tenth anniversary, there were many special events and features for the night. VIPs were given commemorative pins and led to the North Terrace  where they could indulge in some special cocktails and h’ or derves  They could also enjoy a special treat as some of the friendlier aquatic creatures performed for the party goers.   As per usual , there were great restaurants and lots of fun. Guests could indulge in More Cupcakes, Insomnia Cookies , and other sweet treats as they danced and watched the fireworks from the Sick Family Lakefront Terrace  Navy Pier. Some of the restaurants included Bombay Wraps, McCormick and Schmicks,

I got a chance to talk to a few of the chairs for the evenings event. Each person had different reasons for joining the auxiliary. Susan Hedlund joined because she was new to the city and has been a member since 2008. Before joining, she tried different  organizations and did her research. She found that the Shedd was her best fit. “It’s important to have a connection and people to reach out to you when you are the new person in town.” She also came to the Shedd because of Blu because it is such an “iconic event.” Another co chair Alex Ross joined because of his interest in aquatic life and its preservation. “I am a scuba diver and wanted to get more involved than just on a volunteer level.. This is Alex’s third Blu.and he is glad to see the bright future of the Shedd. The evening was a total success with 1,070 guests who showed their generosity by donating more than 450,000 dollars. Featured performers for the evening included Madi Davis from the Voice, John Vincent, Guy King, and a performance of the National Anthem by the Blackhawks own Jim Cornelison . Guests were also given a ride back to the city on special buses to end their special night.

entrance-to-blu

At the VIP entrance guests were given a special pin and treated to some pretty special nibbles

shrimp

One of the highlights of the evening was some great seafood. This shrimp had quite a kick to it.

salmon

Salmon is one of the healthiest food you can eat . This one had a delicious gourmet sauce

lassi-from-bombay-wraps

Yummy lassi from Bombay Wraps. They were one of the many restaurants that participated in the evening

the-porch-at-the-shedd

The Sick Family Terrace offered the perfect view of the city and a great place for dancing

seals

This adorable seal was part of the aquatic show for the party guests. The show also included penguins , dolphins, and belugas

co-chairs-hedlund-and-ross

These events are great places to meet people like co chairs Susan Hedlund and Alex Ross. They were so happy that Blu was a huge success this year

more-cupcakes

Before the fireworks, More provided cupcakes to munch on and also to take home

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“Glampers” Enjoy A Caribbean Experience at the Godfrey

view-and-bar

It was a beautiful , clear night last Friday. Totally the perfect night for “glamping.” What is glamping? It is when you combine camping with the best things in life. Christy Collins Design wanted to bring a little bit of St Lucia  to the Windy City and she succeeded. Party goers came to the Godfrey Hotel to experience “Glamping In Chicago”. Guests were totally immersed in the island experience. Everything from the rum in the drinks to the colorful fashions brought about that Caribbean feeling.

Before I knew it, I was getting that island feeling . The drinks had a fruity taste and were made with Chairman’s Reserve. After a little bit of socializing, we were in for a treat. The smells were intoxicating as we were led on our culinary safari with Chef Orlando. Each treat that Orlando prepared was presented as a surprise. We didn’t know what was going to come next. Each selection was prepared with only the freshest ingredients and with that island flavor.  The gazpacho was flavorful , but my personal favorite were the yummy fish cakes. The best part was that none of the dishes were too spicy. Presentation was also key as the servers brought around hollowed out pineapples that were used as serving trays.

Another highlight of the evening was the fabulous fashion show. Christy , as well as the lovely models were wearing millinery wear and resort wear from the incomparable Audra Elisabeth. Her use of color mixed with the biggest hats you have ever seen made for a delightful fashion display to round out the evening. The ensembles were accessorized by Erin Leary and her Be Buddha Jewelry.

godfrey-hotel

The luxurious rooftop was the perfect place for “Glamping it Up” at the Godfrey Hotel

the-tent

This tent proved to be the perfect centerpiece for the party

party-goers

It was the perfect place to socialize . We actually met a few new friends

gazpacho-with-rolls

Here is some of the delicious gazpacho that was served

chicken-spears

The hollowed out fruit made an attractive way to serve these yummy chicken strips

happy-glamper

The Happy Glamper had a fruity taste and was made with Chairman’s Reserve

the-romper

Love this fun and colorful little romper. The green hat brings out the colors perfectly

pirates-of-the-carribbean

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum , this outfit gives that Pirates of the Caribbean look. Love the  off the shoulder top and nautical stripes

group-shot

Each girl brought something with their splashes of colors

me-and-chef-orlando

Here I am with the true star of the evening , Chef Orlando

me-and-christy

Thank you , Christy for a most excellent time

be-buddha-jewelry

These pieces of Be Buddha Jewelry are gorgeous. Erin Leary is so talented

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The Day the World Changed- 15 Years Ago

the-view-that-changed-forever

The view that was visible up until 9 am EST September 11,2001 – after that the world changed forever.

New York was always a place I wanted to visit, at one time I could envision myself as living there and living the life of an actress. But time and dreams fade, people get older and fall in love and life changes. New York became iconic for the big city life I wanted to live and got to live vicariously through television. I would sit at the coffee shop with my friends or sip cosmos with my gals in NYC. Far away Ohio was still far away from NYC. But then my girl friend , Starr took me to NY so she could see her favorite singer, Dennis De Young at the former park known as Playland in Rye. The following day , I would see a view that shortly after would fade into the abyss forever.  She wouldn’t tell me wherewe were headed, but she quickly put in a cd in the car player. Before I knew it, we were listening to Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind.” She told me to look and there it was. I was seeing my first views of the skyline of New York. The sky was bright and blue and above it all were the twin spires of the World Trade Center. Alas I would never get to climb them or eat at the Windows on the World ,because in nine days jet airliners would change all that and the world forever.

If anyone can remember that day, they remember where and what they were doing on that fateful morning. Jen was watching cartoons with her nephews and niece and getting them ready for school. I was on my way to the mall and work. Strolling into the office, I asked my boss what was going on. Chris directed me to the television and the pictures that would be on the television for days. At this point, only one plane had hit the North Tower. He also remembered a plane that passed over head . This would be the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania as the crew and passengers devised a plan to save the White House. Everything was changing and nobody knew why. Suddenly  the world watched as a second plane hit the South Tower. This was no accident, these were terrorists. People began to take notice , Jen’s sister informed her that the Sears and Hancock buildings were being evacuated and the CTA tunnels were closed. Thousands of miles away from NY, Chicagoans were unsure what the demons would try next and if their city would be the next target. After all, they were set on destroying our Nation’s Capitol. No big city was safe. Meanwhile back in Ohio, we stood in an empty mall and watched as each store got the word from their corporate to close. By two o clock , the mall was closed. That’s not all, every plane was taken from the skies and no others replaced them. Every airport was closed and NY hospitals were filling up. The towers were now gone and they became a graveyard for thousands of bodies. Loved ones searched for their family members and lovers. Posters were put up with pictures as people hoped to find the loved ones that were missing.

the-attack

One tower had already been hit- now the other one was getting ready to attack

loved-ones-put-up-posters

Sometimes the only way  that people could find their loved ones were these posters with pictures of the people that were in the attacks

New York, The Pentagon, and Sharpsville Pa became the stories of the world that day. Churches would invite people to pray that night and television dramas brought the real life dramas to our screens through their characters. However, television’s comedies were left up to the tough job of making the nation laugh despite the tragedy that unfolded before their eyes. There was no 9/11 on any of the sitcoms that surprisingly took place in NY. One of the creators of these comedies was actually killed on that day. (Frazier creator , David Angell and his wife Lynn were killed on American Airlines Flight 11) Another show , “Sex and the City” addressed the fact that NYC had changed that day, but never included it in the plot. Creator Darren Starr said that the episode was a love letter to the city of New York. Big informed Carrie that he was leaving NY and Carrie realized that to her Big was New York. The two spent an iconic evening with them listening to Moon River and twisting. Carrie never finished her date because Brady Hobbs was on the way. When he was born, she came back to find Big gone. But she was left with an airline ticket and a hope that she would take the ticket to come to him. The show ended with the famous epitaph  “Dedicated to the City of New York, yesterday, today, and forever.

i-heart-new-york

carrie-s-speech

Well its 15 years later and life is completely different now. People get on planes after they are patted down, x rayed, and scanned. They leave their loved ones at the security  gate leaving them to wander the airport alone. We communicate with the world on small phones. Movies have been made to commemorate that day as well as specials that chronicle everything in those days and the days that followed. Our military is stronger than it has ever been and we have been at war with that part of the world since that day. But we will always remember not only the terror of that day, but the heroes .

september-11-ground-zero-flag

memorial

Today in New York, a memorial dedicated to that day

911-tribute-plaque

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Small Cakes Fills Your Sweet Tooth

small-cakes-exterior

Everyone seems to make the claim of the best cupcakes in Chicago. There are so many places that sell the small treats. We have definitely tried our fair share at tastings and events. Each place gives the cupcakes their own special personality and that is what makes them unique. Unfortunately, we can’t eat these treats all of the time. That is why we search out the best because they are worth the cheat.

Smallcakes is located on Greenview Avenue. Like so many places, it is inconspicuous from the outside. When you walk inside, the brightly painted walls take you back to the days of the old fashioned ice cream parlor. It’s a kiddie wonderland with the many flavors of cupcakes and ice cream. You can also come in and order special cakes for parties and events as well. Fido isn’t forgotten as well. Dogs are given the special “pup cakes” . There is truly something for every member of the family.

I knew we were in for something special when we saw the huge variety of cupcakes . They have so many flavors that they have had to be put on a rotating basis. Each month promises 18 different flavor combinations.  We got to try some of the most  delicious cupcakes that I have ever tried.. My favorite was the hot fudge sundae and chocoholic. They also had cupcakes with liquor infused in them. Each season brings with it more cupcakes surprises and new flavors. I especially enjoyed the cupcake smash. The cupcake is put in the blender with ice cream and smashed together. It’s the richest milkshake you will ever drink and oh so chocolatey. We finished our visit to “Sweetland” with a fresh baked cookie ice cream sandwich. Delicious.

Small Cakes promises to make the most original cakes. So if you have a birthday, wedding, or special event , give them a call. They will give it the personal touch. The best part is that you can feed your sweet tooth rather late. Some nights they are open until ten o clock. Feed the inner child in you today.

 

pup-cakes

Here are the special treats that Small Cakes makes for doggies

strawberry-cake-smash

I tried the chocolate cake smash and here is Jen’s. She couldn’t get enough of the strawberry cake smash

cupcakes

It was hard to choose just a few to take home because all of Small Cakes cupcakes taste and look so good. I definitely say Best in Chicago.

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OPI is the People’s Choice with the Washington Collection

Washington DC collection

It’s not only an election year , but a historical one. For the first time in history, we have a female candidate for the White House. Women are now the power brokers. It’s a great time to be a woman and to celebrate it.

In honor of the powerful women , whether they run the country or run a household, OPI has introduced the Washington collection. They have gotten one of the most powerful women on television to collaborate with them on this collection. Kerry Washington plays a woman who deals with power on a daily basis as Olivia Pope on the ABC smash “Scandal” . She has helped create a President , cover up the scandals of the Grant Administration, and follow her heart with the men in her life. In real life, Kerry is active in politics, has worked with OPI and Neutrogena to design make up for the African American woman, starred in and was the producer for her Emmy nominated role in “Confirmation.: On top of her many causes and pursuits, Kerry is also a mother to a fur baby by the name of Josie , plays mommy to her angel Isabelle, and will soon be giving birth to baby number two. She truly is a superwoman.

Since “Scandal” was so close to Kerry’s heart when she created these colors that truly announce that fall is here, we introduce these shades. Each one has a special meaning to her . By using scenes from “Scandal” we proudly present OPI’s Washington collection.

kerry blossom

The first shade that we will introduce is called Kerry Blossom. I love this  fall shade because it is dramatic and stylish. It works with those plums, leather jackets, and boots . It also embodies the beauty and style that is Olivia Pope. Whether she is defending the underdog or canoodling with her Presidential lover, she always looks great. That’s why she turns heads at government events and galas.

hell hath no fury

never a dulles moment 2

 Never a Dulles Moment is symbolic of the runways of Dulles Airport in Washington . On the show , there have been many times that Olivia has been on the runways of the Capitol. She is a real jet setter gal .  Here she is on a private jet as she escapes Washington

the price of a free and fair election

suzi the first lady of nails

Suzi the First Lady of Nails is fabulous with those tweeds and dark greens as summer makes way for fall. It resembles almost a military green but much richer. Olivia would have made a great First Lady , unfortunately we will never get the chance to see it. Here she is on the day she was going to get married to Fitz.

get out of a jail free

stay off the lawn 2

Stay Off the Lawn has that rich autumn green. Perhaps it reminds me of the last leaves that will be falling from the trees. The color works perfectly with jeans. Olivia is not that big of a fan of the outdoors, neither is her GBFF , Cyrus. This is actually one of the only times that Olivia has enjoyed being outdoors. It’s also a great place to discuss the latest shenanigans of the Grant family.

olivia and cyrus

cia color is awesome

With an evergreen color as we look toward the glamour of the holidays, CIA Color is Awesome is perfect for those holiday parties. It brings up images of tinsel and velvet. Here Olivia is trying to be that perfect White House hostess for her first Christmas in the White House. Love the dress!

KERRY WASHINGTON, ELYSE MIRTO

pale to the chief

Kerry and Olivia have a love for all things that are pale. Most of the beautiful clothes by Scandal costume designer , Lyn Paolo, have been in pale shades. Kerry also likes to wear the same kind of shades on her hands.  Pale to the Chief refers to Olivia’s taste in men as well. There is only one love in Olivia’s life and that is Fitzgerald Thomas Grant 3.

fitzgerald loves olivia

yank my doodle polish

Yank My Doodle takes this Ohio gal back to her roots. It reminds me of apples on the tree and hot cider. There are  orchards in Olivia’s future as she ponders her future living in Vermont with Fitz. That was the only thing that kept her sane when she was a hostage.

vermont dream

freedom of peach

Freedom of Peach is a color that still has that summer feel. Gals with pale skin probably wouldn’t look good with this shade. It is something to consider though when summer returns or when traveling in tropical climates. Peaches remind Olivia of the state of Georgia. This was the first time that her and Fitz would make love on the trail after his wife lied during a photo op. While eating peach pie, Mellie lies and says she had a miscarriage. Olivia learns that Mellie will do anything to get to 1600 Penn.

the trail fitz has sex for the first time

squeaker of the house

Squeaker of the House is a rich , chocolatey brown. It reminds me of hot chocolate and golden boxes of Godiva. Olivia is not a fan of chocolate, but Fitz sure is. vermont is for lovers too

liv in the grey

One of Olivia’s most popular fashion color is represented in Liv in the Gray. From her Prada purse to her Burberry coats, Liv knows how to rock this color. She also knows how to relax in this color.

olivia rocks it

ssh its top secret

Ssh its top secret symbolizes the deep dark secrets that have been part of “Scandal” through the years. From Defiance to B613, everyone in Washington has secrets. Olivia ‘s biggest secret is her romance with the (then) married President of the United States. Here he urges her to kiss him in the privacy of the Bunker.

in the bunker

madame president opi

 Madame President is dedicated to the one other female character who has the power on “Scandal” and that is Mellie Grant. Mellie is truly a survivor. She has endured a political marriage where she has had to make sacrifice after sacrifice for the good of her husband’s career. Finally, Mellie is no longer tied to her husband and she is free to be her own person. From Senator and back to the White House, Bellamy Young’s Mellie sets poised to rule the world.

madame mellie

opi by popular vote

OPI by Popular is a bright candy apple red. It is very much in tune with the red , white , and blue. Anyone who knows anything about “Scandal” knows that one of the main plots that have been used involving elections. Currently the show is involved in its own Presidential election between Vargas and Grant. No matter how many candidates have been a part of the political drama, there will always be one candidate who made the biggest impression on Olivia Pope. Remember when Governor Grant told the world he was in love with an incredible woman?

i am in love with an incredible woman

we the female

We the Female is one of my favorite colors. I have always loved dark and dramatic colors. That must be the actress in me. Since I have always had long, beautiful nails, this is the type of color that works for me. We the Female symbolizes the women of power that have been on the show. She may have never appeared on screen, but she made quite an impression on the cast members. Kerry and the whole “Scandal” gang support Hillary

kerry and hillary

inside the isabelletway

Finally we come to the end of our color journey. The last color is Inside the Isabelltway . Kerry says that this color means a great deal to her. It is the color of her pride and joy, Isabelle. Isabelle will soon be a proud big sister to Kerry’s new baby.  Here is a picture of right before Isabelle was born.

86th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

 

These nail enamels can be found either on the OPI web site or exclusively at Ulta stores

 

www.opi.com

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It’s All About the Yum at Meli Cafe

Meli Cafe & Juice Bar  706642

Greektown or Halsted is well known in food circles. It is the part of Chicago where you can go to enjoy Hellenic treats like lamb, gyros, or baklava. The streets are lined with Greek bistros that promise family style meals and lively music. Greektown has also received the reputation for being hip and trendy. (Especially for certain actors in town) Yuppies habitate lofts and spend the morning at Starbucks.

Today , Jen and I wandered to the land of gyros to try the food at a homey little bistro called Meli  Cafe. The bistro also has locations on Dearborn and Wells as well. If you are planning on having a dinner at Meli  , be forewarned. Meli  closes at three. It does make a pleasant brunch/lunch place and you can’t get any healthier than the food there. Gluten free and vegan  eaters are definitely welcome. Hurray! you can also get egg whites in your meal as well. There are so many choices for breakfast/brunch that you will have to come back to try everything on their menu. Be sure to prepare for blue ribbon service from this crew. Everyone was so friendly and kept asking if there was anything else. Believe me, you will not go away from this place hungry.

We started off with a drink. Jen needs to work on being more adventurous . I was quite pleased to try one of the special smoothies. Meli  has it all. They have coffee to start your day with. They also have one of the most extensive juice bars that I have seen in quite a while. Forget about plain old oj here. You can indulge in anything from pear juice to juice blends that cleanse your system. I started my meal with the island breeze smoothie. It was tropical heaven in a glass. Frozen yogurt was mixed in a glass with pineapple, banana, mango, orange juice, and kiwi. It was so delicious that it should have been mixed with rum.

island breeze

Choosing to forgo breakfast for this time, we decided to try the lunch menu. Salads are an event because they are packed with healthy vegetables and homemade dressings. Wraps and sandwiches are accompanied with sides like hand cut fries or pasta salad. Take the meal to another level with homemade ketchup. Delish!! Jen tried the brisket burger which was a thicker burger with cheese. I tried the reuben and found it to be delightful with the rye bread and piles of corned beef and melted swiss between the sauerkraut. We also shared the club which was toasted brioche, turkey , bacon, lettuce . tomato, and mayonaise. What was amazing about the sandwich is that the bacon was nice and crispy. Before we left, we had to get a glass of their special homemade lemonade. They were so nice that they filled up our water bottle with  lemonade so we could stay nice and hydrated.

brisket burger

Meli  Cafe is found in three locations in Chicago. All of them serve the healthiest and yummiest breakfasts in town. The Meli  we ate at was located in the heart of Greektown at 301 S Halsted Street.

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“You Can Turn Back the Clock” Panel Advises Lifestyle Writers

town and country talk

 It’s a cruel fact of life that we can’t do what we once could do. We may have been able to gobble down MickieD’s fries or party all night when we were in our twenties. Unfortunately, the march of time goes on and it usually marches across your face. Lines and crows feet creep up as well as love handles. Even though it seems they are perfection, celebrities are fake , air brushed, and hardly real. Today , a group of beauty experts and bloggers were gathered at the luxurious Peninsula hotel this morning to learn how we can preserve that “college” look. Town and Country Magazine Beauty Editor, Jamie Rosen assembled a panel that discussed how we can make the clock go backwards. Everyone assembled learned ways to improve life and they way we look. Dr. Anthony Youn, world renown plastic surgeon and author gave suggestions about ways that minimal office procedures can help maintain that youthful look. He talked about a procedure that will actually reduce that nasty double chin without liposuction. By injecting the drug Kybella , it reduces the fat around the chin. This helps to retain that youthful look. He also was an advocate of using sunscreen no matter where you were going during the day. Anne Owen, the owner of Owen and Alchemy, advocated a purge of all the poisons from your system . This could be achieved either by cutting sugars and starches from the diet or using a juice cleanse. She also advised not to dive in to the cleanse but ease into it. I also found out that a cleanse isn’t necessarily just juice but also consists of salads and the drink. “Not every one can handle an intense cleanse” she said. “You can also make the quality of your life better by advocating to a plant based diet. ”  Gideon Akande, trainer and fitness coach also proved that there can be a healthy balance between exercise and spirituality. He told the audience that the best way to get in shape is to find your passion and do it. “If you love to run, do it. If not , find something that ignites your passion. ” Spirituality can either be that yoga class at the gym, regularly attending services at either church or synagogue. I have found out that sometimes just communing with nature can be just  as spiritual as attending church. God can be anywhere. Finally the last member of the panel was Rodney Cutler, of Esquire magazine and owner of Cutler Salons. Rodney has worked on some of the biggest names in Hollywood. He pointed out that we are real people and so are the celebrities we emulate as beautiful. Even if you have that hairdo the same as your favorite celebrity , it isn’t going to look the same on you as it does on them.

Guests were treated to a sumptuous, healthy breakfast . This also included many beverages and gluten free baked goods. Each attendee was also given a gym bag courtesy of sponsor Kybella . The bag contained the latest issues of Town and Country and Esquire. and a Swell hot and cold beverage container. Everyone enjoyed an educational and enjoyable morning.

fresh fruit

 This plate of cut up fresh fruit was certainly refreshing on a humid summer day.

plastic surgeon

Dr Anthony Youn couldn’t stress the importance of using sun screen. Words of wisdom in these hot , humid summer days. I guess the people at Neutrogena know what they are talking about.

me and jamie rosen

It is always exciting to meet someone who preaches the gospel of health and beauty. Jamie pointed that this is an anniversary year for the iconic magazine. Chicago was a stop on the panel tour. Note , her gorgeous figure and fashionable look.

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