Jan 31, 2013

Akira Hyde Park Grand Opening 2/3 hosted by @NikkiandTheCity

With numerous Chicago locations already under their belt, fashion retailer Akira is making it's way South with the newest addition coming to Hyde Park. The Grand Opening will take place Sunday, 2/3 from 4-6p and be hosted by Chicago blogger Nikki and the City.

The launch time is cutting it close to the Superbowl Kick off, but if you're in the area I'd suggest stopping by to get a peek at the location and snag 20% off all purchases! Can't beat that deal.

Will you be there?

Jan 30, 2013

Hard Drive Wednesdays @ Network with DJ @jayilla

"For those too old for the Hump Day late night, but too young to be cooped up in the house. Not the turn up, it's the cool down."

As I get closer and closer to turning 30, I've started to wonder where the 28 - 35 crowd likes to hang. Everyone doesn't want to be busting it all the way open in a club on a Friday night. So, for those that enjoy a mid-week event radiating with casual coolness, Network is the answer.

Wednesdays at Network Cyber Bar & Grill have quickly become my version of "Cheers" -- a comfortable atmosphere featuring great food, drinks, and music... where everyone knows your name, and if they don't they're willing to learn.

DJ Jay Illa keeps the place grooving with melodic sounds, and the Network chefs and bar staff keep your drinks full and stomachs happy. Best part? There's no cover and the WiFi is AMAZINGLY fast.

What: Hard Drive Wednesdays
Where: Network Cyber Bar & Grill - 810 N. Clark
When: Every Wednesday 
Time: 8p-12a
Cost: Free 99

Jan 29, 2013

@WalkingDead_AMC is back: Feb 10th 9/8c

The Walking Dead is back for their Season 3 "midseason" premier February 10th at 9/8c. I'm not a huge fan of the way the season gets chopped up, but it's safe to say I've been waiting anxiously for its return. Who else will be watching?

Jan 28, 2013

Chicago Blogger's Meetup: 2/13 @ Network CBG

Blogger's Meetup 2009
Life as a blogger can sometimes feel isolating considering the fact we do our best work in front of a computer screen. Back in 2009 I was feeling the "social isolation" itch, so I decided to host a Chicago Blogger's Meetup. Not only did I get to meet influential Chicago bloggers like The Sassy Peach and Awesomely Luvvie,  but it was a great opportunity to meet other bloggers in person and do what we do best - - socialize! No matter what the blog is about, I've found that bloggers can not only carry a conversation, but make it soar!

So many Chicago bloggers have entered the scene since 2009, so I decided to host another Chicago Blogger's Meetup! This time I won't be alone - - hosting the event with me will be Lontier (from the accounting blog Noir CPA) and Kacey (from the relationship blog More Than Fate).

What: Chicago Blogger's Meetup
Where: Network Cyber Bar & Grill - 810 N. Clark
When: 2/13/13 
Time: 8p - 12a
Cost: Free 99

I hope everyone will be able to come out and partake in some blogger fun. The food at Network is awesome and Jay Illa is in charge of the tunes. Bloggers, Food and Great Music? You can't go wrong. Leave a comment if you plan on making your way out and feel free to share the event with your online family.

Jan 18, 2013

Kourtney and Kim Take Miami: First 10 Minutes (video)

They're back!! Catch a sneak peek of the First 10 Minutes of the new season premiering this weekend...

What do you think? Will you be keeping up with the ladies again?

God will 'Make it Rain' on your Life Force (video)

It's extremely easy to get overwhelmed by the challenges we encounter on a daily basis. You look up and feel like God is somewhere laughing at you... like, do you really think I can handle anything else? With the negative it can feel like "When it Rains, It Pours...." but the same applies for blessings.

When God hands out blessings he can make it rain on your life force. The favor that he shows can be overwhelmingly positive and bring you to your knees. The type of blessings that make you acknowledge that it's his doing...

Jan 17, 2013

How to Take the Perfect Instagram Picture (via @rihanna)

Rihanna takes flawless pictures. Period. Be it for fashion giants like Gucci and Armani, or her personal Instagram - - the camera loves her and she loves herself.

In her recent Complex interview, the bad gal gave tips for how to take the best self portrait because nobody can capture you the way you see yourself.

For once I actually agree with her - - nobody can take a picture like you can of yourself! I have found myself irritated TOO many times with the lackluster photography skills someone displayed while trying to capture a shot out and about.

I'm not trying to be a photo snob, but even with my short arms I can capture the entirety of my essence like no one else can. We live in a social media, self-portrait obsessed culture and I for one don't mind.

Jan 16, 2013

City of Chicago Parking Tickets: F*ck My Life

The City of Chicago has ZERO fucks to give for your car, life force essence, or sob stories. Basically, each time they write a ticket (be it warranted or not) they're saying, fuck you... pay us!

I'm starting to feel like living in Chicago isn't complete without a few parking tickets under your belt... or windshield wiper if I'm being more accurate. But for reals... these parking ticket struggles are REAL!!!

I want to write "fuck you" on them and mail it all back... but that does nothing, so I figured posting a blog to try and vent/help others would be more beneficial.

Getting a ticket is enough of a pain in the ass, but even harder is trying to figure out where in the hell to pay them. Everyone doesn't have the mental capacity to bother google searching where to pay their parking tickets. Some even  rip up every ticket and make it rain on their apartment floor, but before that happens it's good to at least know the options for paying. 

Need to pay a City of Chicago Parking Ticket? Click Here.

Need to search for how many tickets you actually have? Click Here.

Tickets busting your budget ALL the way open and need a payment plan? Click Here.

I actually didn't know the city offered payment plans for those with ticket fines approaching that "bust the budget all the way open" mark. They have 2 options: One for those with under $500 in tickets, and another for those with over $500 in tickets. Sidebar: If I had over $500 in parking tickets my life force would crumble.

The City of Chicago is greedy as fuck, so I shouldn't be surprised that they'll write a bogus ticket then be so gracious as to offer you a way to pay them back over time... but yeah, getting a boot is NOT a good look so I'd definitely suggest this as an option for those that don't have the money, don't wanna give them ALL that money at once, or are annoyed but don't wanna get a boot lol.

Under $500 in tickets?
  • This is a 6-month payment plan for motorists with $500 or less worth of parking or red-light ticket debt.
  • A deposit of 50% of the ticket debt is required.
  • Pay all outstanding boot, tow, tamper and storage fees.

Over $500 in tickets?
  • Requires a deposit of $500 or 25% of the parking or red-light ticket debt, whichever is greater.
  • Payments can be made over 1 year.
  • Pay all outstanding boot, tow, tamper and storage fees. Some plans may be eligible for an expanded duration of up to three years should monthly payments be over $100 when calculated for a twelve month term.

Not 1 ticket, but 2!! This is what everyone wants to see waiting on their car

If you need help contesting tickets properly, please feel free to hit up my girlfriend Jillian (click here). She is a PRO at navigating her way out of tickets lol...

Jan 14, 2013

Breaking Bad Habits: Grumpy Bitch Struggles (video)

I blogged about my 1 week challenge to encourage and inspire others, but I also decided to focus on trying to improve some of my bad habits. When I'm not radiating happiness and good vibes I'm pretty emo/moody and can be quite a bitch. Not like the type of bitch you wouldn't be friends with... but more like the friend you adore that has occasional fits of bitchiness lol. Nevertheless, I wanted to check my grumpy bitch struggles and do better.

How did you encourage and inspire others this past week, or work on yourself?

Jan 10, 2013

Thickie Thursday: Baddie Bey Edition

I'll be honest... I had a decent Thick Neck lined up, but then I saw the full spread for Beyonce's GQ shoot and well, that changed everything! lol... She likes to be called "King Bey" so I'll go ahead and let her cancel out the boys this week.

For the full GQ Interview click here.

Jan 9, 2013

Linda's Apartment Tour (via @nomnomblngblng)

I'm completely smitten with Linda's apartment design I recently saw on Apartment Therapy. I love the idea of saving corks, want to snatch up her gold vase asap, and think her bedroom and office space are lovely. My amazing friend SexyandtheChi sold me her white lacquer West Elm Parsons Desk, so I'd be interested in recreating this look using that as the foundation for my color palette. What are your thoughts? Do you enjoy this space?

Name: Linda, pharmacist and fashion and food blogger of NomNomBlingBling, and dog Mandu
Location: McLean, Virginia
Size: 903 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year; own

Working as a pharmacist by day but a fashion blogger in her spare time, Linda describes her home style aesthetic as being much like her fashion sense: a mix between high and low, elegant and modest. In her one-bedroom condo that she shares with her cute dog Mandu, pieces from Home Goods and Ikea mix with vintage purple suede and lots of shine.

Along with her new neighborhood, home design is another area Linda is looking forward to exploring a bit more. "I'm very comfortable with fashion, but home design is new and seems a bigger, more personal reflection of you."

Within her small space, Linda focuses on the little details and touches to make it feel more homey. Accent pieces and pops of purple and red inject a little energy into the quiet space. Flowers fill vases in every room. "I'm pretty much done in terms of the overall big pieces, but details and little things I'm always shopping around for. Perhaps next season I'll change out the details, like switching out the rugs or pillows. It's winter so I figured I would do a winter palette."

Being on a high floor of her building afforded Linda the opportunity to transform her sun room into a multipurpose office/dining area to take advance of the natural light. "The sun room area is my favorite. Especially taking food photography for my blog, the natural light is the best. It was a major selling point for me." Using her wanderlust as inspiration, she created a sort of a gallery showcase out of her dining room wall, where she displays photos of her travels.

Symmetry is another theme throughout the space, whether it's the two pillows on the couch mimicking each other, the glass lamps flanking either side of the bed, the lined picture frames above the dining table, or striped carpet in the living room.

Jan 8, 2013

1 Week Challenge to Encourage and Inspire (video)

Following up to my blog post yesterday, I had the idea to try and challenge myself to encourage and inject life and hope into those around me. Now, this is something that I'm trying to do for the entire year, but over the next week I will make it my primary focus. I want to invest time and energy into actively uplifting those around me in ways I may have not done before.

To kick things off, I'm planning a brunch with some girlfriends on Sunday that will focus on us all sharing our goals and seeing how we can help one another get there. We all make time to twerk and party, but when's the last time you sat your circle of friends down and made an invested interest in what they're currently working on and asked how you could help? I'd like to think of it as a Female Fellowship Brunch full of Encouragement and Inspiration! Yeah, it's a mouthful lol... but my challenge to you is to do the same.

Challenge yourself to spend the next week actively encouraging and inspiring those around you. There's nothing better than lifting up your friends and in turn having them lift you up. We'll all be flying high on the shoulders of one another. Let's get high on this friendship peace pipe! lol... 

For those that feel like they are shoulders deep in working on themselves, choose you!! Consider it a Life Force Resuscitation. You can commit to spending the next week encouraging yourself, changing some habits, and injecting your life force with some much needed TLC.

** I filmed this video right before I hopped in bed... thus I look the part lol **

Jan 7, 2013

Encouragement Listens (via @CityChurchChi)

I went to church yesterday for the first time in forever. Seriously, it had been years since I rolled out of bed on a Sunday to praise and worship in the midst of others. While I don't consider myself an overly religious individual, I was raised with a strong spiritual foundation and have a relationship with god.

I was invited to City Church Chicago (777 N. Green St.) and had a great time. It's a mix of young urban professionals with and without kids, racially diverse - - very United Colors of Benetton, and the message is inspiring.

City Church Chicago

"Encouragement listens..."  was the tone of the message, and Pastor Kent went on to explain that we should all strive to open our spiritual ears and be of encouragement to others.  

There will always be things that can discourage and destabilize us, but we must remain focused and strengthened. Sometimes God allows undesirable things to happen to us. However, we should commit in the midst of those circumstances to build a life for ourselves. These "Trials by Fire" are meant to cause us to change some behavior, but stay faithful that God will bring us through and give us the life we ultimately want for ourselves.  

It was refreshing to have a completely different church experience. I was raised catholic in the suburbs and then went to Pentecostal churches on the South Side... but City Church Chicago was a much better reflection of who I am today and the type of ministry that appeals to me.

They offer 3 services on Sunday: 10a, Noon, and 6p. Super flexible for any schedule. You can learn more about City Church Chicago by visiting their website. They're also on Twitter and Facebook! Yay for being linked into the social media stratosphere in 2013 lol.

Jan 3, 2013

New Year, New Me: The Cloud of Divorce has Lifted (video)

I feel so incredibly blessed to be able to start this year off with ZERO baggage and in a truly balanced state of mind. I spent the entire year of 2012 going through a legal separation and divorce, and while it was one of the most difficult things I've ever experienced in my life, I feel better for having successfully weathered the storm. I've learned so many lessons about love, life and myself... but what is ringing most true and loudly for me right now is this:

New Year's Eve 2013
Your life and the current state of everything in it is a reflection of the choices you've made. It's up to you, and you alone, to create your own happiness. I believe God has a plan for all of us, but we're charged with making sure we wake up each day and are proactively taking steps towards getting closer to our dreams.

We should never be void of dreams and goals. Every moment we're blessed with breath we should spend it striving to fulfill something.

Yes, it's safe to say I'm on cloud 9 shitting sunshine and glitter. Life is short and when you've made it through something you never thought you could handle alone, it puts everything in perspective. Nobody ever said life was easy and each day you have to fight for what you want... but know that no matter what life is throwing your way, you can and WILL get through it. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, but nothing worth having will come easy. There will always be work and some level of sacrifice that must be made.

I don't want to sound preachy or stay on this rant for too long... but having my marriage fall apart and being faced with the reality that all of "our plans" were no longer going to happen was a tough pill to swallow.

No shit... this was draining, emotional, enraging, enlightening... it really shook me to my core and now that I've gotten past it I have so much clarity, happiness, joy, perspective... wisdom! Life throws you lemons and sometimes you have to say fuck that, I wanted La Croix lol. A total life force remix!

My close friends and parents were an amazing support system for me, but at the end of the day when I was left with my own thoughts I had to weather this storm alone. I feel like I fought for my happiness and peace of mind and there's nothing anyone can do to minimize this period in my life or how impacting it was. I know that I'm better for having this experience and hope to share joy and encouragement with others out there.

So yeah... I'm pretty much radiating happiness!! I know folks don't like happy people lol, so I at least wanted everyone to understand the source of my joy... and umm... this shit has been over a year in the making so please know that I have zero fucks to give for those that continue to live struggle lives with no intention of doing better.

Otherwise, Happy Freaking New Year!!!

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