“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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Carpe Diem-Jasmine HELPS You Seize Your Life

seize your life

In this modern world with all of its tragedies, we realize life is short. We must embrace our passions and get all that we want in this world. A paycheck may be an ends to a means, but a dream keeps us alive. If we don’t dream and wish, then we might as well be just a bump on the couch.

Jasmine Stringer’s “Seize Your Life” is a road map to getting that life you always wanted. It encourages you to get the things that you have always wanted. Each chapter has a place to put reflections on what you have read. What seemed to help me out was the thought invoking questions also in each chapter. It encouraged me to embrace dreams and also to focus on goals. Great! I can use this book with my plans for the blog and my acting career. You are also encouraged to check off the goals as you achieve them. Jasmine gives the reader hope that these actions work when she discusses meeting Oprah. She pictured interviewing Oprah and she not only met her , but Oprah acknowledged her as well as giving her a personalized copy of her book. In each chapter, she gives the reader suggestions to live the most abundant life.

Soon students will be headed back to school and some young ladies will also be headed to college for the first time. “Seize Your Life” is the perfect book to tuck in that footlocker or suitcase . of that young freshman. It will give them the tools to help with that all important decision of what do I want to do with my life. It will challenge them and make them think. They can also record those big milestones in their young lives and help them to them to dream even bigger dreams. So if you want to stop on the road and make a u turn, Jasmine Stringer’s “Seize Your Life” should definitely be in your bag as well.

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Not Just a Trip to the Mall-Kinfork

kinfork logo

Growing up in Ohio, a trip to the mall was a visit to a favorite Chinese restaurant. In later years , it was the food court. As someone who has worked in malls for years, I am probably an expert of dining on everything from Aunt Anne’s to Wendy’s. I never made a special trip to the mall just to eat. It was always for shopping. and nothing else.

Last December, Woodfield Mall got a new place for dining. Kinfork provided shoppers a gourmet place to enjoy homestyle food rather than fast food. Recently the restaurant unveiled their barbecue menu and we were given the pleasure to try some of those yummy dishes. Everyone was gotten in the food mood with some of Kinfork’s world famous hush puppies. These deep fried puffs were paired with a kicky sauce just enough to get everyone psyched about the meal we were about to eat. Since it was all about the barbecue, we got the chance to try many of the specialties. One of the tastiest to me was the ribs that were brushed with a sweet whiskey bbq sauce. They were as tender as tender could be and the meat slipped right off the bone and broke apart with ease. The meatloaf had a homey feel to it  especially when it was served with broccolini and mashed potatoes. The broccolini was crisp and not soggy. The  brick chicken had that barbecued burnt skin with the moistest white meat . The chicken had been coated with more of the yummy whiskey bbq. Most of the sides could have ate as a meal all by themselves. The potato salad was moist and didn’t have that mustard taste that I don’t like. One thing I had to note is that under a pile of the succulent beef brisket was a piece of Texas toast. This took me back to when most of America was into homestyle dining when families would dine at Ponderosa. back in the day. This little piece of heaven made me smile. Jen’s fave was the giant loaded baked potato. It was not lacking in ingredients and was covered with shredded cheese that melted right into the meat of the potato.My favorite part of the meal was the cobb salad. I love a salad that is chock full of ingredients and we served a winner. Usually when one thinks of a cobb salad they just envision chunks of bleu cheese , veggies, and bacon. This wasn’t the case. The cobb was stuffed chunk full of bleu cheese crumbles with a Southwestern twist. The cobb was accompanied with black bean corn relish and pieces of avocado. that was  drizzled with a basil vinagrette. Perfect for a warm summer day. Kinfork also prides itself on their bbq burgers. They are eight ounces of hand packed beef on a parker house roll with either homemade tater tots or hand shaped fries. You can also make these burgers any way you want with their toppings. End your meal with a dessert that gives that home style feel. We chose a summer favorite that brought back strawberry festivals and childhood. This seems to be a theme in all of Kinfork’s dishes. The strawberry shortcake was topped with luscious strawberry sauce on top of airy angel food cake mixed with a mascarpone and whipped creme.

Kinfork also has a full stocked bar , filled with wines and also great craft brews. They also make a great moonshine cocktail that emphasizes that homestyle feel that Chef Jeff Croswell has put into all of his food. Jeff may not have started out as a gourmet chef, but he obviously puts the passion into all of his dishes. Most of that passion he also puts into his personal life as a single dad to his son, Declan. “I wanted Kinfork to be a destination dining place. People would come to the mall just to eat.” he said. One thing for sure, Kinfork is definitely not your typical food court place.

If you wanted to be transported back to the kind of places that you might remember as a kid, Kinfork will take you there. It is located in the middle of the beautiful Woodfield Mall in Schaumberg .

me and chef jeff

It was great to tell Chef Jeff how much we liked his food. Coolest thing about him, we both started out as communications majors. Jeff originally wanted to be a sports broadcaster.

Cobb salad

Packed with veggies and goodies, a Cobb salad with a Southwest taste

bbq plate

The Combo gives you a chance to try everything, and you won’t go away hungry and you will also probably bring some home for lunch

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The Last Pair of Shoes You’ll Ever Want – Chacos


It is very hard sometimes to find a shoe that is comfortable , stylish , and durable. Shoes are either meant to be comfortable or to be stylish, they can’t be both , until now. I was very surprised to see the Chaco’s when they actually arrived. I love the fact that you can create your own webbing on the shoe. That is for the artist and actress in me. What would have been really cool is if they had the red/white / blue for election year. I think I was happy with the pink/purple webbing that I received. Purple is my favorite color and it matches so well with the many pieces of purple in my wardrobe. It also gives the shoes a fashionable look .What really got me excited was the Z shaped strap that can be adjusted to make a better fit. Those shoes are not going to come off either. The Z sandals are perfect for those summer visits to amusement parks. Whether you get on the swings or on a coaster, those shoes are not going to fly off. It’s the end of the pile of shoes on the ground under the coaster. The Chaco grip rubber bottom prevents falls and give you traction in the shoes.The polyurethene keeps the shoes in good condition and also allows you to keep them for years. With all these gadgets on the shoes, you would think that they would not be comfortable.No! these are probably the most comfortable shoes you will own. The design is called cloud and that is exactly what they will feel like. You will swear that you are walking on a cloud. Chacos give you that cool , earthy look that are also perfect for those summer music festivals like Lollapalooza and Coachella. So look stylish and feel cool with Chacos. Along with the shoes, they also have killer gear like wraps and t shirts.

chacos retro logo tee.png

chaco z cloud


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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.


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


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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