The National Urban League is holding their conference in Chicago so there are a ton of events taking place throughout the weekend. Here's a recap of my Wednesday night:
Gen Art Event - Patron Social Club @ Market (West Loop) This was an open bar from 8p-10p w/ rsvp. Only snag? Everyone in the world seemed to be there. I guess free patron doesn't only appeal to me *smirk*. I loved the crowd that Gen Art pulled out - - very stylish, very hip, very diverse. I'll take more of that any day. After making our way thru the initial line to get in Market, we braved the line to get a wrist band. We were about 5 people away from getting a wrist band when we were told that they had no more free liquor (not a big surprise) and were having to close the event off (switched to an open bar).
Chicago Urban League MB conference kick-off party @ Dragonfly (West Loop) When things didn't pan out at Market we headed over here to enjoy the best of the buppie crowd and open bar. I was pleased with the setup and the people at the door were really friendly.... but I may have been easily wooed due to the lack of a cover charge and open bar. Nevertheless, I had an awesome time here. The music was on point, I had great friends out with me, and really had a ball. I'm still learning how to enjoy myself at an open bar without being too extra with it (I did successfully cut myself off) and Ron from Oak Park (random guy with great social skills) put me up on "open bar etiquette" ... which consisted of ordering 2 drinks at a time, switching sides at the bar where I was ordering my drinks, and tipping. I saw a bunch of chicks wearing pearls and figured I didn't get the "buppie dress code" memo. Everytime I looked at them all I could think of was the expression "clutching my pearls" lol... It may not be funny to everyone but if you envision some tightly wound person be so appalled that all they can do is clutch their pearls for dear life... *sigh* lol... nevermind. Oh yeah, another thing - - a round of applause for all of the men that were dressed on point (minus the guy with the shorts on... big time party foul - - pictured to the right). I was impressed with all the fitted suits and bow ties.
With the recession in full swing everyone is finding themselves with their thinking caps on and scrounging for ways to make a few extra bucks. Contrary to what most would think, NFL athletes are not immune to this and are leading the way towards multi-tasking careers as they take on a multitude of side projects. The other night I witnessed NFL baller Keyshawn Johnson's new show "Keyshawn Johnson: Tackling Design" on the A&E network. My jaw dropped and I was in a permanent state of shock as I watched Keyshawn try his hand at redecorating the bedroom of an autistic youth. HGTV is one of my favorite networks (blame my mother's niche for real estate, interior decorating, etc...) so I take my design shows very seriously. Though Keyshawn's show is featured on A&E, I still watched the first episode with the bar set high. After sitting thru 30 treacherous minutes I came to the conclusion that he should stick with football and leave interior design to the professionals. I respect him wanting to branch out but getting a tv show? I'll have to pass. Not only does Keyshawn's design sense scream amateur, but the team he assembled seems to be full of HGTV castoffs. Verdict: Keyshawn will NOT be tackling any design for me.
Terrell Owens has gotten a bad wrap for his attitude on the field, but in his new VH1 reality show, The T.O. Show, he hopes to reveal to fans a different side - - Terrell the person, not T.O. the athlete. In the first episode we watched as Terrell found himself fired from the Cowboys and without a job. His PR team, friends Kita Williams (the hater) and Monique Jackson, quickly came to the rescue and convinced Terrell to temporarily relocate to Los Angeles and work on himself as a person. When Terrell wasn't using his swag to flirt with the real estate agent that rented him his LA home (she later ended up in his hot tub) he was attempting to reconnect with his ex-fiancee. The 2nd episode airs on VH1 tonight and will show Terrell making his way to Buffalo to meet his new employers. The show is off to a good start and I'm not ready to write it off just yet. VH1 seems to be handing out reality shows as of late but this is a step up from the typical "I love" dating shows flooding their network.
On a sidenote, I still insist that the best NFL/Reality Show crossover star has been Dhani Jones (Dhani Tackles The Globe). Besides being the epitome of "thick neck perfection", he has the broad appeal to pull in female and male viewers alike. I know many of my male friends loved watching his travel show and felt like he was able to speak to the "regular guy" (as opposed to travel shows with flamboyant hosts, usually chefs, like Extreme Foods with Andrew Zimmer or Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations)
Walking around downtown it's easy to get bombarded with useless flyers promoting everything from club nights to lunch specials, but today I was pleasantly surprised to see black youth handing out flyers promoting the Million Father March.
A program established in 2004 by The Black Star Project, the Million Father March was created as way for fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers - - any significant male caregiver - - to walk their children to school, creating "an honor guard of strong, positive men supporting all children at that school". This year the Million Father March will be held on Tuesday, September 8th (the first day of school for most Chicago Public Schools).
PAWS Chicago has partnered with The Oprah Store and will be holding their first-ever "Angels with Tails" West Loop adoption event Sunday, July 26th from 12p-4p. Precious pups, dogs, cats, and kittens will be available for adoption at various stores within the area. There is no greater joy in life than being able to save an animal. For a complete list of animals available for adoption click here. For a map of participating stores click here.
I have never been a fan of glossy, high shine nail polish. I like a more subdued look and lucky for me the makeup industry has taken notice. This month OPI launched their matte collection consisting of 6 shades that are sure to excite your senses. Following their lead, Essie will introduce their "Matte About You" matte finisher in August. This brush-on product will replace the usual top coat and essentially give any polish a flat, matte look. It will be priced at $10 and an affordable way to spice up any of your current nail shades, without completely going over to the matte side. Knock Out Cosmetics is another brand that has a nice matte collection of polishes. Their "Flatte" collection includes 9 shades that are matte perfection. Slight sidebar, but something nice about this company is that they're certified "cruelty-free". I know a lot of people not only care about the quality of their product but the path it took to getting in their hands. Matte polishes reflect light differently ands how depth. They're set to be the big thing this fall and I hope all the other nail fanatics out there will join me in being a few months ahead of the trend.
Many of you read my previous blog about the My Black is Beautiful tour 2009 and what my thoughts were surrounding the event. I mentioned that I had been contacted by the PR firm handling the event, Footsteps Group, and gave them my feedback on what I thought could be improved. I was honestly flattered that their company had found my blog and asked for my opinion. Most bloggers are dying to have someone seek out our 2 cents. Their firm was extremely professional and receptive to everything I had to say and at the end of our conversation I left thinking that I was able to help make a change for their 2010 event. Now, I think the idea behind empowering black women in phenomenal and had been let down by how the event was executed, so to feel as if I "had a say" was really rewarding. Well, to top things off I was contacted once again by their company and told they'd be sending me a gift. I didn't know what to expect but when the fed-ex package arrived at my house I was thrilled to see what was inside: a t-shirt, tote, leather planner, wrist band and personal letter were waiting for me! I immediately thanked the company. It's not every day that companies not only acknowledge the true value of, but also follow-thru with, good pr. Many thanks to the Footsteps Group for making this Chicago blogger feel special!
Halloween is right around the corner and I'm thrilled to get a head start on my costume search. Last year I waited until the last minute and braved the long lines and overcrowded stores to pick up my little gem - - this awesome military inspired outfit.
I was perusing Trashy.com (a great place to go for all your costume needs- - be it kinky, fetish or halloween) and found these top 4 contenders for my 2009 Halloween costume! I'd love to get feedback on what everyone thinks. You can probably tell that I have a thing for that military girl gone bad/naughty cop theme...maybe it's the inner-dominatrix that I try my best to keep at bay :)
I've been meaning to write about this for some time now but I've decided to "go natural", though it really just seems like I'm giving up relaxers/texturizers. I had an awesome hair texture when I was younger and why buy weaves when I can just grow it myself. lol... I mean, the big, wavy, curly hair that I love is capable of coming out of my head so why not. As the natural hair community calls it, I'm currently "transitioning" and have been for about 2 months now. I don't know when I'll do my "big chop"... I like length so maybe in 18-24 months. Dealing with the 2 textures isn't a problem for me. I've been trying twist outs and braid outs (twist outs are my favorite) and have become infatuated with a few blogs during my hair journey (Honey.Brown.Sugar, CurlyNikki, and Black Girl with Long Hair) It's amazing to discover this whole community of other black women that are embracing who they are and loving their natural hair. I am not as balls out as some, changing my diet - taking vitamins, being all holistic and what not - - but I am making a genuine effort to take the time to nurture and care for my own hair!! With the economy being in shambles folks are looking for any way to cut costs - - it's definitely easy on the wallet not being a slave to the salon. I'll be sure to keep everyone posted on my progress!
Celebrating its 11th year, the Black Women's Expo will be held at McCormick Place West Thursday, July 30th - Saturday, August 1st. The $10 adult ticket price includes access to the exhibitor's marketplace, seminars, workshops and daily main stage entertainment. An event schedule is not yet available on the website but it's being marketed as bigger and better with the theme "A National Destination Event". To register as an attendee click here.
While I'm not equipped with the skills to turn down a free drink (or crab legs) I do have the common sense to not spend my rent/mortgage money on shoes. Still, these are the latest shoes making me salivate...and the price tag makes my eyes bulge!
For anyone that never experienced the joys of attending an HBCU (myself included) going to the Old School House picnic was like getting your fix... minus pledging a Greek organization. Black folks, BBQ, and good ol' house music were in full abundance at the picnic and as a first time attendee I wasn't disappointed. After having a late Friday night (I got home at 5am Saturday morning) I was in no rush to wake up and be at the park by the recommended 3p or 4p. I made my way there around 7p and soon realized that I was late for the festivities. Most people were starting to clean up their tents so I had to enter scavenger mode to find some food (a nice man ended up feeding us shrimp, hot dogs, chicken, etc... I don't think his chick was thrilled about the mob of 5 hungry women invading her space. lol...) The crowd was definitely older but as the newest member of the 25-34 box I was trying to keep an open mind and take in all the sights.
A few things that stood out to me were the massive amounts of tape and rope people had used to section off their tents/bbq areas. It was like mini tribes marking their land and daring you to cross. There were a few hater ass friends seated nearby to deter any unwelcome guests. lol... I also notices a few hot messes that were worthy of being noted.
~ The grown man walking around with his Pucci Shirt, Gucci bag, and Prada ski goggles... yes, ski goggles in the middle of summertime in the Chi (and actually having the nerve to have the damn things pulled down over his eyes) had me scratching my head! To make matters worse his walk was slightly more fierce that Tyra. I think he may have had a few personal catwalk sessions with Ms. Jay.
~The guy walking around with his creepy ass lizard on his shoulder! Eww... I don't like reptiles and wish he would've kept that to himself.
In addition to some of the atrocious sights were even worse pickup lines. For the record, my name is not "Tig-O-Bitties" nor does "That's a pretty dress, why don't you lift it up" work...so please, go back to the drawing board and get your shit together.
All in all I had an enjoyable time but for next year I'll be prepared to arrive earlier, organize my own tent with my friends, and be sure to have a nice amount of food and rope so that I can keep scavengers out.
sidebar: Can I also just say that this is probably the only time I'll ever walk from 63rd/Stony Island to 71st/Stony Island. That was an experience in and of itself. lol...
As many of my friends know I have an absolute weakness for men with thick necks. I think my fascination began in college once I truly started noticing (and appreciating) the football physique. Something about the way they'd hold their necks in team photos would send me into a frenzy. Today I stumbled across a spectacular sight - - Takeo Spikes, aka King of the Thick Necks. This guy is a thick neck GOD!! I want to erect temples in honor of the neck on this man - - he's half man, half amazing! I've never seen him or heard his name before today but I'm glad I can now put his neck (my dream neck) into my mental rolodex. This guy is definitely a 10 on my "need to wring out my panties" scale. My God... I could stare at his neck for hours!!!
Since it seems like authentic summer weather may never really come, we Chicagoans need to take advantage of as many outside festivities as possible (because I bet fall/winter will be clocking in on time).
For all house music lovers this weekend the 2009 Chosen Few Picnic (aka Old Skool Reunion) will be held at 63rd and Hayes on the South Side. The picnic which is the largest house music fest in the midwest and has been going on since 1990 will feature the Chosen Few DJs Wayne Williams, Alan King, Andre and Tony Hatchett, Terry Hunter and Jesse Saunders... as well as special guests Maurice Joshua, Laurie Branch and DJ Flx.
The picnic starts at 10a so come equipped with your tent, drinks, food, and hefty supply of OFF (mosquitoes are the devil). If you're eager to keep the party going you can take your drink and 2-step to the official after party at Da House Spot (7130 S. Chicago Ave) from 10p to 6a.
If you're looking for something to do this Friday night, Bravo TV's Real Housewives of NY star Bethenny Frankel will be hosting her "Skinny Girl Cocktail Party" at Enclave. It's being billed as the "Ultimate Girl's Night Out"and will feature fashion, luxury services, hors d'oeuvres, and Bethenny's signature "skinny girl" cocktails.
Tickets are $30 and include an open bar from 8p - 11p as well as complimentary services (manicures, make-up application, eyebrow waxing and threading, etc.). Tickets can be purchased until 5p the day of the event by clicking here.
By this time I'm sure everyone has heard about Steve McNair, 36, allegedly being shot and killed by his girlfriend, Sahel Kazemi, 20, before she took her own life... but I wanted to throw in my 2 cents.
Yes, it's not everyday that your jump-off kills you but are we seriously shocked that a rich man (an athlete at that) was cheating on his wife? Are we shocked that he had bought this chick a car, vacationed with her, and was playing house in his free time? I hope not because anyone with a tv, oxygen or lifetime will know that stuff like this happens every single day. I am tired of hearing people rip his football legacy to shreds because he was cheating on his wife. His personal life and who he was on the football field are completely different things. I don't think that having an affair necessarily affects your work life. Many people go thru various things on a daily basis and still get their job done with a smile.
Unlike most, I don't feel this overwhelming sympathy for his wife either. I haven't come across a girlfriend/wife... woman of any kind that wasn't aware that her man was cheating. People cheat all the time and unfortunately marrying/dating an athlete usually comes with a guarantee that he's more than likely going to be getting it poppin with other women. Most females are okay with this as long as he's taking care of home... and it seemed like that's exactly what he was doing. His wife and children were being taken care of.
The worst case jump-off scenario is having them lose it and kill you... and that's exactly what happened. Is Steve McNair the first to experience this? Of course not... Is it still a tragic thing? Yes. I think that Steve knew what he was doing. Sahel knew what she was doing... and I'm sure his wife knew of what was going on (you aren't with someone for that amount of time and completely unaware of who you're dealing with).
I don't view this situation as a cautionary tale meant to scare married men into being faithful... but do think it shows the reality of the situation. Sometimes when you're dealing with a crazy chick she can really snap off and show you how psycho she is (this goes for men too - - don't forget about how guys act nuts.. i.e. Jennifer Hudson's sister's dude killing their family)... So what I say is to be a bit more selective about the chicks you decide to boo up and give the girlfriend role too.
2 weeks ago I had my 25th birthday and am now the newest member of the "25-34" box! I feel so grown-up being able to leave the "18-24" crowd behind and kick it with the big boys/girls.
Experts say that women go through major life changes on the 5s (i.e. 25, 30, 35, etc...) and true to form I've experienced a lot in the last few months. I find myself sitting in my new apt, back in the 'burbs, getting used to the single life and ready for the next part of my 20s. I'm still shocked with how effortlessly I eased back into the suburban life. I find myself wanting to take tennis lessons at the park district, go to the farmer's market on Saturday mornings, run my errands during the day and be in the house by 9p lol... I'd much rather watch HGTV than videos , read books over magazines and cook dinner instead of dining out. I guess I'm growing up.
Leaving the bright lights of the South Loop was disheartening at first... living there the past year represented so much to me but I feel comfortable and confident moving on and ready to explore all of the wonderful things that come with being 25.
After 2 days of fun in the sun I found myself covered with insanely annoying and itchy remnants of mosquito bites. Now, I did a little research and discovered that only female mosquitoes are capable of biting so it's technically correct to call them little bitches. These monsters have wreaked havoc on my skin... destroying my arms and legs in the process - - one even being brazen enough to bite my cheek!
With the holiday weekend quickly approaching I feel like responsible hosts should provide their guests with OFF or at least have the decency to burn citronella candles. Nothing is worse than enjoying the weather, music, food and drinks of an outside event only to spend every other second swatting at your skin. It's a buzz kill. *I just scratched my arm and thigh while writing this... I hate mosquito bites* For some reason I don't remember them ever being this annoying. Maybe they're back with a vengeance because of the late summer weather... I guess they're just making up for lost time.
Because I've been spending all of my free time incessantly scratching my body (yearning to dip myself into a bath of oatmeal and calamine lotion) I did some snooping to find the new products that OFF offers.
1. OFF PowerPad Lamp & Latern - Provides up to 4 hours of bug free enjoyment for an area up to 15' x 15'.
2. OFF Yard & Deck Area Repellent VI - Perfect for your backyard, deck, camping or bbq area. This can be sprayed on your area prior to entertainment and you can enjoy hours of bug free fun.
3. OFF Active - Offers sweat resistant coverage for 6-8 hrs and comes in cans 3-9 oz.
4. OFF Family Care Insect Repellent I (Smooth and Dry) - Up to 6 hours of protection with a smooth a dry feel .
5. OFF Family Care Insect Repellent II (Clean Feel) - For those want the bugs gone but sans the typical "off" odor this is perfect for you. This comes in an odorless formula and doesn't have the typical greasy feel of most insect repellents.
6. OFF Repellent VI Towelettes - Perfect to keep in your car or purse. These offer up to 2 hours of bug free peace of mind and are great for quick trips outside or applying the repellent exactly where you want.
~ Keep in mind that mosquitoes are most active at dusk & dawn ~ OFF can be applied to the face (avoid the eyes/mouth) ~ A mosquito activity forecast for you zip code can be found on the OFF website via weather.com
Here's to hoping everyone can have a bug free weekend!