Tag Archives: Chicago

Cruise Chicago for a Cause

I think if there’s one thing all Chicagoans can agree on, it’s how beautiful the city is in the summer. The beach has been a frequent spot of mine these past few weeks, but with views like this, who wouldn’t come here after a long work day? I’ve come to the conclusion, the best way to enjoy Lake Michigan and a beautiful Chicago day/night is to #getontheboat.

Get on board with the twelve community and the Jesse White Foundation for the third annual Cruise Chicago for a Cause! Join the fun on the Anita Dee II for a 3 hour open full bar and a view of the city skyline only made more beautiful by the Navy Pier fireworks.

Save $20 on early bird tickets until July 15th!


cruise chicago 2

About twelve:

twelve is a charitable platform that encourages followers to participate/support 12 charities in 12 months. Don’t wait for a cause to affect you before you get involved. twelve is a facilitator. They organize, plan, and attend events that are affordable and fun.

About Jesse White Foundation:

The Jesse White Foundation provides young people with a place to become physically fit and mentally sound through focused energy in educational tutoring, athletics, and scholarship resources.

Event Details: 

  • August 16, 2014
  • 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM (boarding begins at 7:30 PM)
  • Open premium bar
  • Fireworks at 10:00PM
  • Post-event is open to all attendees and will be hosted at Quay
  • Benefits the Jesse White Foundation
  • Must be 21 on the day of the cruise to attend. Tickets are non-refundable.

Tickets: Early Bird (expires: 7/15/14) – $85 General Admission – $105

Now that I’ve provided you all of the details for the best boat party of the summer (for a great cause), what are you waiting for?

Purchase your ticket here! Now #getontheboat.


Happy Spring?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from living in Chicago (okay…..Chicago suburbs) for the past 20+ years, it’s that you never know what the weather is going to be like. We have 80 degree days in March and sometimes 50 degree days in June. Yesterday, however, was a perfect spring – borderline “summer” day. The people of Chicago came out of their almost 5-month winter long hibernation to enjoy Summer Shandy on patios everywhere.

So with the first 70 degree day of the year, I had to ditch black for a day and wear my first white dress of the summer accompanied by my new YSL lipstick.

IMG_2458 What’s the weather like tomorrow you ask? Snow and temperatures in the low 40’s. IMG_2464 IMG_2476 IMG_2493

|Dress: Forever 21 |Shoes: Steve Madden Wedges (see similar)|Clutch: Michael Kors (old, see similiar)|
|Bracelets: Alex and Ani + Deepa Gurnani |Lipstick: YSL ‘Fushchia Tourbillon’|

Photographed by: Stephanie

Wednesday’s Wish List

As I was deciding which items would make my wish list for today’s post, I realized everything I chose screamed spring/summer (all bronze everything). I mean can you blame me? Chicago has had one of the longest winters to date…so with the temperatures looking up-ish for the rest of the week – it’s only fair to dedicate this post to the months ahead!

In the meantime, you can find me also wishing I was here. What’s on your wish list this month?

Here’s to a beautiful spring + summer! 

Bottlefork Bar + Kitchen

I know I’ve said this before…..but Rockit Ranch you’ve done it again. The much anticipated Kevin Hickey + Billy Dec collaboration, Bottlefork, was nothing short of perfection from the second I walked in. The cozy space features bar seating, Chef Hickey’s table, and wooden shelves filled with a packed wine list, craft beer, and cocktails for every mood and occasion.

During my experience at Bottlefork, I had the pleasure of not only getting the scoop on Chef Kevin Hickey’s favorite dishes off the menu, but the inspiration that went into each item we ordered. Did I mention I was seated at the best table in the house? I had front row access into all of the prep work that went into every dish that came out of their kitchen that night.

Now for the most important part…….what was ordered off the menu.

photo 3 (2)photo 4 (5)

photo 5 (2)|The pimento cheese drizzled “Tots”  was the perfect way to kick off dinner|
photo 1 (5)|Fermin Black Hoof, a special ham from Spain accompanied by some damn good bread|

photo 1 (4)|Tamarind BBQ + Yogurt + Mint Smoked Lamb Ribs |

photo 2 (5)|Wood Grilled Ground Bacon Burger with a special sauce to accompany|
photo 2 (4)

A special shout out to Matthew for some pre-dinner cocktail recommendations, Alexandra our awesome waitress, and Chef Kevin Hickey for his hospitality.

This post would not be complete without the full low-down on our dessert. Their delicious mix of pretzel, caramel, chocolate fudge, and stout beer inside a shake was absolute perfection.

photo 3 (3)
Have you checked out Bottlefork yet? What were your favorites off the menu?


Before I explode with excitement for my 16th “What’s in HER bag,” I have to apologize for the blogging hiatus I’ve been on for the past month. In case you didn’t know, I just recently moved to the best city in the world, CHICAGO (apartment tour to come).

To tie in with my new Chicago home, my next “What’s in HER bag” features Jill Badlotto, one of the fabulous bloggers behind Jess & Jill and the social producer for the Chicago Blogger Network.

For this edition of “What’s in HER bag,” SITNB readers will not only get to peak inside Jill’s makeup bag….but also some of her favorite ways to have fun in the Windy City.


FYI: Jill and I are not responsible for your Sephora shopping haul after taking a peak inside her bag.

(Jill’s products are in constant rotation in her bag, but these are currently occupying it)

Inside her bag:

– Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit

SITNB: What’s your favorite beauty product of all time?
Jill: I’m a rule breaker, so I’m going to have to go with two – Bobbi Brown’s creamy concealer kit for my dark circles and Anastasia Clear Brow Gel. Eyebrows are the windows to the soul, and mine are my best friend.

SITNB:  If you had to pick three key beauty items what would they be?
Jill: Moisturizer with sunscreen is definitely number one. I wouldn’t be caught dead without sunscreen on! Under eye cream and a bright lipstick (for a fun pick me up) come next.

SITNB: Who is your beauty inspiration?
Jill: My mom! She barely wears any makeup but has always been an avid moisturizer/sunscreen wearer, and it shows in how gorgeous her skin is.

SITNB: What was your biggest beauty no-no (come on, we all have had them)?
Jill: I gotta go with Jena on this one, roll on glitter. So embarrassing!

SITNB: Guys want to know, how much do you really spend on makeup?
Jill: They say they want to know, but trust me, they don’t. I love a good drugstore product, but I spend a lot of money on skincare – cleanser, moisturizer, under eye cream, etc. All the makeup in the world won’t matter if you don’t take care of your skin. And of course, splurge on a good foundation!

SITNB: When did you first start wearing makeup?
Jill: I think I was around 12, but it was very minimal, usually just mascara or concealer. My under eye circles have always bugged me, so I learned from an early age how to conceal them.

SITNB: What has been your biggest beauty splurge?
Jill: Does stealing my Mom’s La Mer count? That stuff is the fountain of youth trapped in a bottle.

SITNB: Do you have a product that changed your life and/or beauty routine for the better?
Jill: My Clarisonic Mia 2. I don’t know how I survived without it! Also Josie Maran Argan Oil has helped my dry skin fight the Chicago winters.


While I let you finish taking notes on Jill’s favorite beauty finds…here are some of Jill’s favorite Chicago places & feel good tips.

Your favorite happy hour spot: My balcony with a bottle of Champagne and my dog (he’s over 21, don’t worry.

Your favorite restaurant in Chicago: Nellcote. The decor, the food, and the drinks are A+.

Your favorite way to treat yourself: Shopping for a new pair of heels. I’m always more confident when I’m a bit taller.

Your favorite go-to meal: The Mama Depandi Bucatini at RPM Italian.

A guaranteed good night is where? RM, or anywhere that my friends are. Good company is the most important thing!

To find out more of Jill’s Chicago whereabouts – you can follow her on Twitter or on her fabulous, two girls & one blog: Jess & Jill.


For my 14th installment of “What’s in HER bag,” I was so excited to not only have a serious cosmetic junkie, but a very close friend of mine, share some of her favorite beauty products. Mel Wilson is one of the most passionate makeup artists I’ve met and is a true hustler when it comes to building her portfolio and making her clients look and feel beautiful. She is a blossoming Chicago makeup artist who specializes in commercial, video, and print work.

Mel has also worked with some of the top brands in the industry and teaches classes at the Media Make Up Academy (Chicago).


I hope you’re ready to take notes, because this is one serious makeup discussion.


Inside Melissa’s bag


SITNB: What’s your favorite beauty product of all time?
Mel: Believe it or not this question is easy. My favorite beauty product has to be Rosebud Salve. I have one in my purse, by my night stand and in my kit. I use it on a daily basis. It can be used under the eyes at night or on a dry patch but I use it on my lips. It hydrates my lips without drying them out over time. Plus it gives my lips a nice shine as if I am wearing lip gloss.

SITNB: If you had to pick three key beauty items what would they be?
Mel: Breaking down all my makeup into only three items is extremely difficult. If I absolutely had to I would have to choose my Ole Henriksen Truth Crème (daily moisturizer) which I never skip. I always say if you’re not going to moisturize then don’t bother putting on foundation. That being said, my second choice is my Make Up For Ever HD Foundation followed by my L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara. If I’m running out the door I know these three items will make me socially acceptable.

SITNB: Who is your beauty inspiration?
Mel: This question hits my heart. My beauty inspiration(s) are the two people that helped me grow into the artist I am today. They are both working makeup artists, one in New York and the other in Chicago. My first inspiration is Amanda Shackleton. She was the first person to teach me how to pick up a brush, apply makeup and most importantly…how to hustle my way up in order to make my dreams come true. My second (but equal) inspiration is Nika Vaughan. Nika is an amazing and humble artist. She will always take the time to answer my ridiculous questions at all hours of the day.

SITNB: What was your biggest beauty no-no?
Mel: My biggest beauty no-no was not matching foundation. We have all done it. Rule to live by, if you have a friend that does this just be a girlfriend and tell her.

SITNB: Guys want to know…..How much do you really spend on makeup?
Mel: I am fortunate enough to receive a lot of gratis as a working artist in this industry. So I don’t spend a lot but I do work for it.

SITNB: When did you first start wearing makeup?
I probably started wearing makeup when I was thirteen. I remember my father telling me I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup and remember my mother secretly giving me some to play with.

SITNB: What has been your biggest beauty splurge?
A beauty splurge is usually a beauty must! For me, it was my Clarisonic. I recommend it to all. My skin has changed so much and I always appreciate the compliments that come along with it.

SITNB: Do you have a beauty product that’s changed your life….or makeup routine?
Mel: Changed my life is a bit drastic. Let’s just say this product has impressed me with its skill. NYX “Milk” Jumbo Pencil. This product makes any eye shadow pop and look fierce.

I hope you all enjoyed this installment of “What’s in HER bag?” with Mel Wilson. To see more of Mel’s daily work, you can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Are you interested in being featured on the next “What’s in HER bag?” Send me an email at shrtisthenewblack@gmail.com for more information.


For my 13th “What’s in her Bag?” post, I’m proud to have a lovely lady who represents all things fun and fabulous in Chicago. Amelia, one of the beauties behind The CHICago Life Blog, is ready to share some of her favorite beauty products and give us the inside scoop on what she carries in her makeup bag.


Read further to find out Amelia’s biggest beauty splurge, which I just might (read: definitely will) add to my collection too!


Amelia’s makeup bag:

SITNB: What’s your favorite beauty product of all time?
Amelia: Probably Bobbi Brown’s pot rouge.  While I’ve started to experiment with powered blushes (mostly just for fun) I still think the potted rouge is genius and so low maintenance.

SITNB: If you had to pick three key beauty items what would they be?
Amelia: My Hourglass “Riviera” Lipstick, a good blush and coconut oil – I use it for everything.

SITNB: Who is your beauty inspiration?
Amelia: Definitely, Lauren Hutton.  Then, and now!  I think she’s one of the ultimate American beauties, and I’m obsessed with how she’s aged 100% naturally and gracefully.  I’m all about taking the best care of your skin possible, and then letting the chips (read: wrinkles) fall where they may.  Let the lines and spots tell your story.

SITNB: What is your biggest beauty no-no?
Amelia: I’ve had some bad eyebrows over the years!  I think “over plucking” is a teenage right of passage.

SITNB:  Guys want to know…..How much do you really spend on makeup?
Amelia: I admittedly spend a borderline obnoxious amount of money on makeup, but I try to buy products that I’ll be able to use with out spending an obnoxious amount of time.  I’m all about saving money and finding the best deal, but when it comes to my skin I don’t like to cut too many corners.

SITNB: When did you first start wearing makeup?
Amelia: I probably started playing around with makeup in 8th or 9th grade, but just wearing it for fun… not on a daily basis, and heaven forbid I wear it to my Catholic school!  I do remember my mom buying me a Bobbi Brown makeup book though, and saying if you’re going to wear makeup it’s going to look “right”.  That might be why I’m still obsessed with Bobbi Brown to this day!

SITNB: What has been your biggest beauty splurge?
Amelia: I have a $50 lipgloss from Hourglass that I’m in love with!  I thought the price was so asinine at first, but after reading about it I had to have it, and now I’m worried that I might not be able to live without it once it runs out!  The beginning of a bad habit is the best part, right?

SITNB: Do you have a product that has changed your life?
Amelia: The Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush is pretty amazing!  It makes your skin look flawless but never gives you that “makeup-y” look.

For more on Amelia and The CHICago Life Blog, be sure to check out their blog here.

Are you interested in being featured on the next “What’s in HER bag?” Email me at shrtisthenewblack@gmail.com for more information.