Why Do You Want To Be Judged?

People were lined up at Soho House Chicago, a members-only club for professionals in creative fields, in the west loop, sixth floor. And, it wasn’t for another drink at the bar. Okay, guests had friend’s make drink runs to the bar as they held their spot in line—their spot in line to be judged.

We were there on the last Thursday in January 2016 for  a launch party for General Motors’ new car-sharing service via smartphones, Maven.

Smartphone Car-Sharing Service:

I knew 2016 was going to be different when I got off the plane at Chicago O’Hare International Airport and saw a perfectly placed advertisement for LYFT. I thought Uber was going to win with their creative campaigns and LYFT was more the Yahoo! of car-sharing services. But LYFT got a lift, a $500 million one, by partnering with General Motors, a company that is starting to break into a different part of the car industry—car-sharing.

On top of partnering with LYFT, General Motors has invested in its own car service, Maven. It originally launched in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where the target market included university students, but for the first quarter in 2016, General Motors has rolled out its Maven car-sharing city programs, starting with Chicago. A smart move granted The 2016 Chicago Auto Show is February 13-21, 2016.

Stepping up the car-sharing game, Maven works through an app and includes a seamless experience with OnStar and Apple CarPlay integration.

Meet The Bumbys:

As we mixed and mingled at General Motors’ Maven launch party, I met a group of girls in their early 20s.

“Have you heard of The Bumbys?” one girl asked.

I looked forward and, for the first time in the hour I was at the Maven launch party, I noticed them—The Bumbys.

 

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The Bumbys at the General Motors’ Maven car-sharing service launch party. Photo Credit: Amanda Elliott

Infamously called The Bumbys, the boy, and girl pair remain anonymous with blonde wigs, long sleeves, and a handkerchief over their face. They sat behind a long table with their typewriters in which they typed a fair and honest review of you simply by your looks and your body language.

Social Experiment: Do People Want to Be Judged?

Whenever I pick out my outfits (besides during winter) I dress partially for myself and partially for other people.

You want to fit into the environment.

Especially when you go to a party, you want to dress approachable, friendly, and perhaps trendy/stylish.

“Lena Dunham: ‘When You Turn 30, It No Longer Sounds Insane That You Might Be a Mom'” Article. Photo Credit: Refinery29

In an interview with Refinery 29, Lena Dunham was asked about her public perception and how she feels about it.

“I used to spend a lot more time than I do now trying to understand why people didn’t like me. I remember just sitting around in my early 20s and being like, ‘Why is that girl always mean to me at a party?’ And then I just realized that it doesn’t matter,” Dunham said.

The fact is as much as we don’t care what people think, we actually do.

Waiting in the line, with a guy getting me a drink at one bar and my new friend grabbing me a beer at the other, it was apparent that people were eager to be judged—to hear what others thought of them.

We all want to be connected to other people. We might not be interested in making the best impression every minute of every day, but I think overall, we care what our personal appearance says about us before we have time to say something.

The Bumbys didn’t start judging people at parties, they started judging them at a public transportation stop in New York City. The Bumbys really started as a social experiment in 2008 and now they are booked for parties, with one of the original Bumbys at each event.

A Fair and Honest Review:

The key difference with The Bumbys is that their reviews are meant to point out the good things in people, and not the negative.

So, maybe it’s not that we want to be judged, but that we want to be complimented?

My Review From The Bumbys:

It was a little bit past 10:00 pm, when the party ended, and I was next in line.

I was anxious because I really wanted to know what Mr. Bumby thought of me.

I asked the person reading her review if I could read it. She wanted to keep it private.

It was my turn, and I stood in front of Mr. Bumby, my drink barely full in hand. The guy next to me shares with me his review, and I tilt to the side as I read it and smile.

I look at Mr. Bumby and smile, knowing I am being judged. The girls behind me grab my attention as we make plans to follow-up with fellow marketers like Antonio Casanova from Starcom Mediavest Group.

Mr. Bumby just finished my review and he reads it to himself, looking for any mistakes, which he would cross out with a permanent maker. Mr. Bumby made no mistakes during my review.

I took in the first line and headed towards the bar. My face lit up by the last line, “I kind of love. you.”

A review from The Bumbys at The Maven launch party January 2016.

A review from The Bumbys at The Maven launch party January 2016. Photo Credit: Amanda Elliott

Your Bumbys Score:

“You got a 9.9!” the guy who was in front of me shouted as he read my review. He attributed my high score to the fact that a guy, Mr. Bumby gave me the review.

The three other girls I was with all received 9.8’s.

In an article in The New York Times, The Bumbys note that they rate people at an 8 or higher out of 10.

“I don’t ever want this to be a mean, hurtful thing. I’m not interested in tearing someone down. Where’s the art in that?” Mr. Bumby told The New York Times.

Overall Experience with The Bumbys:

Maybe it was the drinks, maybe it was The Bumbys, but by the end of the night, review in hand, the party turned from individual VIP sections to a lively dance floor. No one wanted to know you, they wanted to know what other’s thought of you.

This was better than a photo booth at a party—though, photo booths are still fun.

Everyone at the Maven launch party wanted to know how cool, funny or popular they appeared to be, and they didn’t mind if it was an inconspicuous average Joe who was judging them.

 

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Plan a Girl’s Weekend Chicago Staycation in Rosemont

This is a sponsored post. 

Rosemont is Vegas.

There are no strip clubs (just strip malls) and there are no dance clubs.

You don’t go to Rosemont for the arts or the history. You go there to be entertained.

I took my first vacation for 2016 in Chicago. Part of being a city girl is having access to the international and national airport hubs, buses, and trains to go travel some place new. As much as I love Chicago, I also love that it gives me the chance to getaway.

I recently had the opportunity to experience Rosemont attractions and accommodations through a Rosemont Media Tour for a staycation. Though I have crashed with other people at Chicago hotels for conferences and other occasions, this was my first proper staycation.

The experience was quite perfect, and I want to share with you some highlights of the staycation for a Rosemont travel guide.

Transportation in Rosemont:

Getting to Rosemont is like traveling. You take the Blue Line north and west all the way to the Rosemont Blue Line CTA Stop. There were Pace buses (you can use your Ventra card) right at the Blue Line CTA Stop to drop me off right in front of my hotel, Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel. My friend and I came right from work on Friday night for a girls’ weekend.

I had a moment to drop off my bags, and then a hotel shuttle took me right to MB Financial Park for a one-stop night of entertainment and of course, food and drinks.

Rosemont is walkable and offers free transportation to the main attractions. You don’t need a car because if the hotel shuttle isn’t taking you to your destination, there is a trolley, a bus, a train, or even your own feet can take you there. Everything really is that close.

You can be entertained longer in Rosemont. Most Chicago bars and clubs start closing down around 1:30 am. But in Rosemont, you will be entertained until 3:00 am—the time that most businesses close, including the candy store—when a complimentary trolley, the Entertainment Circular,  will take you back to your hotel.

There are many key sites in Rosemont for business and pleasure which include:

MB Financial Park for food and entertainment

The AllState Arena for music

Rosemont Theater for arts

The Donald E. Stephens Center for business conventions

The Fashion Outlets of Chicago for discounted shopping

Rosemont really is it’s own mini-city that is perfect for travelers from O’Hare International Airport to explore during a layover or for Chicagoans to have a weekend getaway because of the attractions and the transportation and nearby hotels and airport.

MB Financial Park: Non-Stop Entertainment

Rosemont is better than any block in Chicago for entertainment because the majority of the entertainment and restaurants is in one giant circle, MB Financial Park (5501 Park Place).  Within this 200,000 square feet circle, you have your choice of international cuisine, movies, live music, and comedy.

Don’t get me wrong, Chicago has some great neighborhoods to explore and world-class entertainment and accommodations, but sometimes you want a convenient bar crawl.

During the winter, the center turns into an ice skating rink for the first part of winter and then solely a hockey rink for the rest of winter. On the side is a mini snow slope for sledding.

Rosemont Restaurants:

What I love most about MB Financial Park is that there really is a different flavor and flare at each restaurant. While I was in Rosemont for a staycation, I was able to sample multiple restaurants. As a Floridian, I felt like I was visiting different countries like at Universal Studios because each restaurant expressed a different culture and at the very least, created an entirely different atmosphere—while at the same time being fun and exciting.

There were your calmer, more relaxing spots like the Muvico Theater and Park Tavern, but having a pub crawl is just too easy, especially with the trolley service at the end of the night.

Adobe Gila’s Margarita Fajita Cantina guarantees homemade guacamole and fresh margaritas. The entire restaurant is transformed into positive vibes and tropical theme despite Chicago winter’s stark contrast.

 

Fogo de Chao Rosemont dining room

Fogo de Chao Rosemont dining room. Photo Credit: Fogo de Chao

 

The best food in Rosemont was at Fago de Chao. Oh, my word, the jumbo shrimp was so fresh, and the meat was cooked to perfection. Fago de Chao offered Brazil’s national drink—yes, Brazil has a national drink—the Caipirinha, but their food was far superior. They offer a full salad bar, generous meat portions, and a classy, upscale environment for business meetings or a nice dinner out for a romantic staycation.

Live Entertainment with Dinner:

I really felt like I entered a different country when we ate at Hofbrauhaus Chicago, a German restaurant complete with live German singers and musicians, and authentic German beer served with soft pretzels alongside the standard cheese dips and mustards.

There was also live entertainment at Five Roses. Five Roses reminded me of Lady Gregory’s in Andersonville because we sat in the back in the library. We tried English fish and chips and paired it with Old Rasputin’s, a heavier drink. On a Friday night, they had a live singer and guitarist. He had a John Mayer vibe.

 

The library room at Five Roses Irish Pub in Rosemont.

The library room at Five Roses Irish Pub in Rosemont. Photo Credit: Five Roses

 

Candy and Drinks:

For drinks, I would actually go to the candy store. Don’t skip The Sugar Factory. They have a bouncer outside because  you are sure to leave with a sugar high or, at least, a bucket of candy. The Sugar Factory has too many types of sweets to offer from the sweet and sour to the chocolate dipped nuts and pretzels. We decided to grab our bucket of candy after laughing the night away at Zanies. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a photo behind The Sugar Factory banner.

Park Tavern is just that, a tavern. Their food is above average bar food, and their drinks can get super sweet. However, the favorite beverage of the night went to the Park Tavern for their cherry drink—The Irish Soda—with Cruzan black cherry rum, Jameson Irish whiskey, and Sprite.

Kings Bowl

Kings Bowl in Rosemont. Photo: Amanda Elliott

Another favorite drink was at King’s Bowling Alley. They have a fruity drink, Sour Patch Kings, with Sour Patch Kids candy inside. It’s an actual fish bowl and also has Tequila, Midori, Fresh Lime Juice, Orange & Apple Liqueurs, Blue Curacao, Sour Mix and Sour Patch Kids Candy with a Sugar Dipped Lemon. Bring friends to help you as you drink and bowl at King’s Bowling Alley.

For beer lovers, you can’t pass up, Hofbrauhaus, though. Their beer is really good. We tried the Dunkelgold, a malt flavored beer.

 

A Night in Rosemont:

We were offered to eat the world, but we decided to drink it instead.

One of the most anticipated activities of the night was indoor skydiving at iFly.

 

Indoor skydiving at iFly in Rosemont.

Indoor skydiving at iFly in Rosemont. Photo Credit: iFly

Be warned, iFly is a sober activity. I suggest starting with skydiving. And after that high, drinking your way into the night and ending with comedy at Zanies.

It can also be overwhelming to do everything Rosemont has to offer in one night. I think you need a good drinking and entertainment night in Rosemont and then a fun, active day of shopping and indoor skydiving.

After eating and drinking in Rosemont, we had the option to do indoor skydiving, bowl at King’s or laugh at Zanies standup comedy club.

Zanies Comedy Club:

We opted to laugh in Rosemont. Chicago has some great comedians, and I have been to Second City, Up Comedy Club, iO Theatre, and The Laugh Factory, but honestly, I haven’t laughed as hard as I did at Zanies.

Zanies Comedy Club in Rosemont. Photo Credit: Amanda Elliott

Zanies Comedy Club in Rosemont. Photo Credit: Amanda Elliott

Zanies is strategically set up on one-level so that everyone can see the comedian, Cyndi Nelson, the General Manager told us over Mango drinks. I greatly appreciated this because we were late to the 8:00 pm comedy show. Even though we were seated in a booth in the very back, I could still see the comedian the whole time. In standup, body language is just as important as the punchline.

The first comedian was funny. His best joke was about his height.

The headliner was James Davis, a writer, comedian, and reoccurring guest performer at the B.E.T. awards. Davis was amazing. Everyone agreed. He brought us back to Boy Scouts, to the days of high school, and then added in lines about being a closer on Christian Mingle dating to being that one black friend.

Davis called himself a California roll.

“If black people are sushi, I’m the California roll. Go to some other hood for wasabi.”

The best quote of the night was:

“Being in yout 30s is like being in the same party bus in your 20s, but being in it on your way home.”

Like most comedy clubs, there is a two drink minimum at Zanies. There is also a special dinner at a local restaurant and Zanies comedy club combo.

Staycation Accommodations:

After a really good night, we started phase two of girl’s weekend back at our hotel, Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel, where we received fruit and Fiji and slipped into our comfy robes. All I need in life is a comfy robe, fruit, and Fiji.

 

My friend and I had a private tour of the hotel and saw the art gallery in the hotel with pieces priced at $70,000.00. We also toured the banquet halls, where we stood beneath gigantic rose-shaped light fixtures.

Art gallery at Loews Hotel in Rosemont.

The art gallery at Loews Hotel in Rosemont. Photo Credit: Amanda Elliott

We then met the Sous Chef, Scott Becker, at The Ashburn, the restaurant at the hotel which took its name from Chicago’s first airport.  Becker took us on a tour through the kitchen, where they were slicing what appeared to be dozens of apples for their homemade Whiskey Apple Cobbler. This new restaurant opened two months ago and includes unique features like sectioned off barn doors.

That night, we had a nightcap. The Ashburn has 13 beers on tap, though not Stella. We decided on cocktails and chatted with other guests on the media tour over popcorn, which I promise tasted like pickles.

Becker explained that he adds different garnishes to the popcorn.

We had a good stay at Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel, but it is definitely set up for business clientele due to their conference space, huge lobby, and proximity to the airport. It was a great stay for a staycation, it was only missing a pool.

Our hotel room faced west,  but if you get a hotel room that faces east, you can wake up to a picturesque skyline view of Chicago.

Loews Rosemont hotel lobby.

Loews Rosemont hotel lobby. Photo Credit: Amanda Elliott

The next day we had brunch at The Ashburn. The smoothies on ice, the fresh orange juice and the fruit and yogurt parfaits were a perfect way to jumpstart a day of shopping.

The Fashion Outlets of Chicago:

A girl’s weekend staycation trip would not be complete without shopping. The Fashion Outlet of Chicago is huge and it is right next to Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel.

The hotel shuttle dropped us off right in front. We met at the concierge service, where they took our coats and our bags, for a hassle-free shopping experience.

A guide pointed out new additions to the 130 shops including LuLu Lemon, which just opened this winter and now ships all of their sale items to this fashion outlet location.

We also learned about British fashion, with shops like L.K. Bennett, where Kate Middleton finds her infamously stylish shoes.

The Art of Shaving shop in Rosement

The Art of Shaving in Rosemont. Photo Credit: Amanda Elliott

My favorite shop was actually The Art of Shaving. Yes, it’s for men, but I was part of the demonstration and learned how to exfoliate, brush, and have a proper shave for men and women. My hand never felt so soft—and I have very soft skin. The cream that we apply protects our skin, but the key step that women miss is exfoliation, which you achieve through rubbing in the cream with a brush. The silvertip brush, which lasts almost a lifetime retails for $195 at the outlet location.

Michael Kors in Rosemont. Photo Credit: Fashion Outlets in Chicago

Michael Kors in Rosemont. Photo Credit: Fashion Outlets in Chicago

My friend and I went home with something from The Limited. I kind of love The Limited, Ann Taylor, and the Banana Republic. The Limited had better selection and pricing than the Banana Republic at this mall, though.

Overall Recommendation:

I am all for a weekend getaway with arts and entertainments and exploration, like my 48 hours in Charlotte, NC experience. But sometimes, it’s nice to stop planning and start relaxing and enjoying. That is what a Rosemont staycation can do for you—provide an entertaining vacation in one-stop without the lines and with all the perks.

A travel guide took us to almost all of the restaurants in the MB Financial park. She was amazing and informative. Alex Jakubiak from Carol Fox and Associates helped with the planning and logistics of the media tour and she was organized, responsive, and a key player in making my stay at Rosemont so enjoyable.

When you’re planning your Rosemont staycation, I would recommend at least one night in Rosemont. This will give you enough time to fully enjoy the nightlife and restaurants in the MB Financial Park at night, take advantage of the great hotels, and wake-up to indoor sky-diving and perhaps shopping the next day.

Where’s your favorite place to have a staycation in Chicago?

 

 

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Romantic Valentine’s Day Plans for the Chicago Foodie

In the time when a date usually is meeting for coffee or drinks, a dinner date has become kind of special.

For instance, that time a guy took me out on a first date for drinks, and then halfway through decided to step up his game and buy me dinner, I used it as a cocktail party story because I felt so special. It was simple really, he bought a small pizza for us to share—Papa John’s, but those were just details.

While my taste in men is still developing, I do adore good food.

Windy City Cosmo has rounded up some cute spots to have dinner or brunch. Of course, there are also some other treats if you want to make a romantic Valentine’s date extra special.

Bowl:

King’s Bowl (1500 N. Clybourn) in Lincoln Park’s new plaza, New City, is hosting a special weekend for you and your valentine. The dinner includes a special Valentine’s Day dessert, and, of course, specialty cocktails like the Love Potion #9 and the Stubborn Heart. A DJ will top off your perfectly romantic evening.

Date: Thursday, February 11 – 14, 2016

Reservation: Book Online

Expand Your Palate With Wine Pairings:

Wine is the new water, so why not learn to properly pair it?

Pinstripes: Bistro, Bowling, Bocce in River East is hosting a more traditional romantic evening for Valentine’s Day. The Italian restaurant and upscale entertainment venue is partnering with Milbrant Vineyards for an interactive four-course wine dinner featuring perfectly-paired wines. Guided by a Milbrant expert and Pinstripes Bistro chef, the evening will be both delicious and educational as they demonstrate how each pairing enhances the dining experience.

Menu:

Reception: Stuffed Dates Gorgonzola, Applewood Smoked Bacon / 2013 Riesling, Evergreen Vineyard, Columbia Valley, Washington

Pasta: Butternut Squash Raviolo Brown Butter & Sage, Honey Spiced Pumpkin Seeds / 2014 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Washington

Main: Rain Crow Ranch Bone in Short Rib American Grass-Fed Beef, White Grits, Cajun Shrimp / 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope, Washington

Sweet: Housemade Truffles Assortment of Chef’s Artisanal Hand-Rolled Chocolates / 2012 Red Wine, Brothers’ Blend, Columbia Valley, Washington

Date: Friday, February 12, 2016, at 7:00 pm

Reservation: $45/person

Get Medieval:

Dine with royalty (besides yourself).

Chivalry is not dead at Medieval Times Dinner and Entertainment. Harken back to the romance-filled days of yesteryear and treat your prince or princess to a Valentine’s Day themed dinner & show experience unlike any other at a castle—an actual castle.

The special $110 package includes admission for two, a couples’ photo, a four-course meal, two cheering flags, a light-up sweetheart rose, and two glasses of champagne with which to toast your budding—or established—romance.

Date: Thursday, February 4 – 15, 2016

Reservation: $110 package, Use Code: VDAYWEB16

Get Chocolate Covered:

Katherine Anne Confections (2745 W. Armitage Ave.) in Logan Square is offering a special treat for you and your sweetie.

Make your own truffles, add some champagne and have a fun night out. You’ll create classic hand-rolled truffles with Katherine Anne.

I went to one of her truffle making classes and it was an amazing experience to smell and taste new ingredients. At the end of the night, after measuring, chilling, scooping, and rolling your truffles, you  will leave with a sampling of the truffles everyone created (approximately 10).

truffle

Katherine Anne’s Truffle Making Class for Valentine’s Day 2016 Photo: Amanda Elliott

Date: Friday, February 12, 2016, 6:00 p.m.

Reservation: $70/person

Make Dinner Together:

Don’t worry, you don’t have to impress him with your cooking skills. You can cook together. Bake425 is a bake at home, farm to crust pizza concept. They are located right in Evanston and deliver (4:00 pm – 7:45 pm) to your Chicago front door. Bake425 has a variety of veggie topped pizzas as well as meat lover options for your man.

I love that you can make healthy choices while eating pizza. For the sides, add Caesar Salad and even cookie dough to complete your meal. All of the food is pre-packaged and includes clear directions on top of each dish that read more like a letter than directions.

I made the Omnivore pizza with a friend. It was something that got us in the kitchen and turned your standard take-out into a fun little dinner party.

As a Valentine’s Day special, Bake425 is offering a special, custom heart-shaped pizza. All you have to do is choose up to three ingredients and the chef will work on the heart-shaped part.

P.S. it is one of the freshest pizza’s you will ever eat—it even tastes better than some Chicago restaurant pizza. Bake425 sources food from Midwest farms and they focus on organic foods like their artisanal pizza crust and organic tomato puree.  Plus, Bake425 doesn’t use GMOs. It is truly a farm fresh experience that reminded me of this time.

Date: Valentine’s Day weekend or future dates

Reservation: Call 1 (847) 425-1000

Make Reservations for Two:

There is always the simple, more respected option to be picked up with red roses, go to dinner and a movie and stay up all night telling each other how much you love them.

For more traditional Valentine’s Day plans, there’s Valentine’s Day Dinner of Valentine’s Day Brunch.

Valentine’s Day Dinner:

  • Miku Sushi (4514 N. Lincoln Avenue)

Miku Sushi continues to celebrate its 1st anniversary in February by offering half off their Lincoln Square Classic Maki and Traditional Maki rolls, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Saturday until February 29.

Start off with an Asian-inspired cocktail, such as the Red Octopus with Effen’s vodka, triple sec, Rose’s lime juice, and pomegranate juice (a known aphrodisiac).

Date: Sunday – Saturday until February 29, 2016

Reservation: call 773-654-1277 or book online

  • Osteria La Madia (59 W. Grand Ave.)

Osteria La Madia offers traditional Italian cuisine, featuring housemade pastas, anti pasti, salumi and prosciutto, formaggio, salads, and a full entrée selection. There are more than 75 wines by the glass, as well as bottled wine and craft cocktails.

Date: February 12-14, 2016

Reservation: Three Course: $47, With wine pairings $65, Four Course: $57 (with Pizzetta Selection), With wine pairing $79

Anti Pasti 

Yellow Tail Bruschetta

Foie Gras Ravioli

Spinach and Taleggio Fondue

Chopped Italian Greens, Creamy Herb Dressing, burnt Caramel bacon

Entrées

Orecchiette, Chicken Sausage, Tomato Conserva, Roast Eggplant, Green Olives

Casoncelli, Butternut Squash Filled Pasta, Brown Butter & Pistachio

Pan Seared Steak Florentine

Wild River Salmon, Fennel, Blood Orange

Desserts

Chocolate Tortino

Berries with Sweet Mascarpone Cream

Zeppoli, Bitter Chocolate Gelato

Poached Eggs 300 Coal seared beef carpaccio300Pizza 3 300

Valentine’s Day Brunch:

  • Bella Bacinos Chicago (75 E. Wacker Drive)

Bella Bacinos is offering a special Valentine’s Day brunch for you and your valentine. I hear mimosas are in future because brunch comes with a complimentary glass of bubbly. Cheers to you and your love.

Bella Bacinos has more than 600 wines from around the world, with more than 20 wines by the glass.

Specials include:  Make Your Own Omelets ($12),
Very Berry Strawberry Waffle and Chantilli Cream ($8.50), Crème Brulee French Toast ($8.50), Ricotta  Stuffed French Toast ($12), and Heart-Shaped Frittata ($13).

Explore Bella Bacino’s full menu here.

Date: February 13 – 14, 2016, 8:00 am – 2:00 pm

Reservation: Book online 

 

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How to Spend Valentine’s Day With Your Girls in Chicago

You’re cordially invited to replace that little black dress with a red dress.

It’s February. It feels like love is in the air—for your man, for your friends and for yourself.

I know that this holiday can bring anxiety for some, pure dread for others, and is basically a public service announcement for singles, for others.

If you want a man for Valentine’s Day, there’s still time.

But for those who would rather not be desperate or feel alone, there’re tons of ways to celebrate this all too familiar commercial holiday with your favorite girlfriends. After all, they are more likely to hang out with you for longer than your Valentine’s Day flavor of the week.

So, get excited.

Run:

Cupid’s Undie Run is an international fundraising event for Neurofibromatosis (NF) with a fun twist—you don’t have to wear pants. The one-mile race in Wrigleyville begins on Saturday, February 13, 2016, in Chicago.

  • Noon – Doors open & the party starts!
  • 1:00 PM – Awards ceremony
  • 2:00 PM – Cupid’s Undie Run
  • 3:30 PM – Earned “open bar” closes
  • 4:00 PM – Bag check closes, Cupid’s officially ends

Learn all the details about Chicago’s most liberating race. Hurry! February 4, 2016, is the last day to get discounted race tickets. xoxo

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Crawl:

Don’t worry, the 17th Annual Screw Cupid Pub Crawl will put you in the Valentine’s Day spirit.

On Saturday, February 13, from 8:00 – 11:00 pm in Lincoln Park, enjoy a $20 meal package that includes:

Food buffets at each bar
Domestic drafts
Cupid Punch (Reviewed by Metromix)
Looping trolley transportation to all 5 bars

Best of all, this pub crawl includes drink tickets, which according to the CDC should not be more than 8 alcoholic beverages in a WEEK.

Get your tickets here. 

Accept The Final Rose from The Bachelor:

Laugh about love or accept the final rose in a night of improvised parody of ABC’s greatest dating show, The Bachelor. Special guest includes Ed Swiderski from ABC’s The Bachelor. Don’t miss a minute of the drama, the journey, or the obligatory jacuzzi scene at Under the Gun Theater.

Laugh About That Romance Novel:

Because there’re so many romances that occur at Book Club, Under the Gun Theater is making a whole play out of it in Smut! Improvised Romantic Comedy. The show has two parts. A member of the SMUT ensemble will have read a popular romantic novel and have prepared a steamy, but academic presentation distilling the STYLES, the THEMES, the MOTIFS and other words you heard in English class about that particular novel. Immediately after class, enjoy an improvised performance based on what they learned from the romance novel.

Tickets for both shows are available here. Each show is $12 or you can see both shows for $20. Tickets include a drink voucher.

Throw Your Own Galentine’s Day Party:

Oh, this will be fun because girl’s just wanna have fun. Throw a Valentine’s Day Dinner Party. Invite men, too, because well, we like men.

Send out invitations with a chocolate kiss on top. Wear a red dress.

Make some of these Valentine’s Day drinks.

And top it off with games like charades. And best of all, play secret admirer. I made it up, but it’s cute. Everyone draws a name from a hat and has to write a Valentine’s poem for them. They read it out loud and guests have to find out who their secret admirer is.

P.S. Mojo Spa has an all-inclusive Galentine’s Day party ideas from Netflix and Chill to sweet cocktails and the best beauty gifts for your best friends.

 

Take A Day Trip to The Vineyards:

How about a day trip to the vineyards?

Get you guy friends and girlfriends together for a day out of Chicago for an all-inclusive winery tour at four locations in Southwest Michigan. A tour guide will take you to four nearby vineyards and provide an Italian lunch to pair with the 20+ wine tastings of your choice throughout the day.

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Wine Tasting Tours in Southwest Michigan with Cannonball Productions. Photo: Amanda Elliott

 The Southwest Michigan Wine Tour is an awesome Valentine’s Day plan because you don’t have to plan, you just get to enjoy.

Get your Cannonball Productions tickets for Michigan Wine Tours on February 13 or February 14, 2016. Roundtrip transportation from Chicago to Michigan is included.

Wishing you a fun weekend with your girls!

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When is the Super Bowl? I’m Not Single.

“I’ve been putting myself out there,” I told my friend

“I’ve been going to dinner parties and museums, and I have only met gay guys,” I went on.

“That’s because straight men don’t want to comment on centerpieces. Single men go to concerts and sports bars,” she divulged.

“Oh, I don’t go to any of those,” I sighed.

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Super Bowl 50 Details:

We’ve concluded that if your winter has been more Hulu and Isolation instead of Netflix and Chill, you should make plans to attend a Super Bowl party (which is this Sunday, February 7, 2016).

P.S. The Denver Bronco’s are playing the Carolina Panther’s in this year’s 50th (no Roman numerals this time) Super Bowl.

You can still go just for the Super Bowl commercials which are $5 million for a 30-second spot. You can also go for the Super Bowl Half-Time Show with Coldplay, Bruno Mars, and Beyonce. Yes, Beyonce is back.

Kick-off is at 5:30 pm on CBS.

Bonus: The weather is going to be perfect compared to last year – no precipitation and a high of 43 degrees.

Where to Watch the Super Bowl:

Chicago is the best sports town. We turn into a college campus with pride and support for our Chicago sport’s teams.

Chicago Eater put together a comprehensive map of places throughout Chicago to watch the Super Bowl. 

Below are a few options for the sport’s fan, the Chicago foodies, the rooftop lover, and your average meetup.

The True Sporting Experience:

Timothy O’Toole’s Pub

Address: 622 N. Fairbanks Court

Super Bowl Sunday

This is one of my favorite bars for holidays. People show up —a lot of people show up here for a good time. They get decked out for holidays like no other Chicago bar. I expect the Super Bowl 50 to be no exception.

Specials include:$4.50 Miller Lite/Coors Light Stadium Cups, Jameson Shots $6.50, O’Toole’s Vodka Cocktails $6, Panthers Shots – $5

Bonus: Super Bowl Squares and scratch cards to win prizes every quarter. Flat screen TV Giveaway.

Bub City

Address: 435 N. Clark St.

Reservations recommended. 5:00 pm – 12:00 am

I love this place. It’s definitely a sport’s bar with a country flare. It’s trendy, it’s in a great location, and Bub City already has the 16 flat-screen TVs. I just hope you like Whiskey and southern food i.e. pulled pork nachos, Carolina pulled pork sandwiches, and hot, sticky, and sweet wings.

Stretch Bar & Grill

Show up for the game. Enjoy specials: $15 domestic buckets, $5 mimosa’s and bloody mary’s, Half-price bombs.

Bonus: Each shot you purchase gets you a raffle ticket to win a Bear’s jersey at the Super Bowl Halftime or at the end of the game.

Super Bowl Packages:

Bar Toma

Address: 110 E Pearson St.

Tickets: $30 per person starting at 5:00 pm to the end of game

Bar Toma_1

Bar Toma is excited to play host for the first time this year. With 22 big screen TVs and your bar food of wings, S’mores pizza, and more elevated by Chef Tony Mantuano’s, it’s going to be a good time.

Bonus: Stay till the end of the game  and you could win four tickets to the Cubs Opening Day Game at Wrigley Field, and a cute ensemble to wear to game day. Double date, anyone?

Rockit Bar & Grill

Address: 22 W. Hubbard St.

Tickets: Pre-Party Charity Event: $10 or $20 from 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Furever Football

If you’re more about the pre-party then the actual party, you are in luck. Rockit Bar and Grill is hosting a special Super Bowl 50 pre-party to benefit, Furever Rescue, a local animal rescue non-profit. Your ticket includes two free drinks and appetizers.

There are game-time party packages for parties, which range from $200-$400.

The Pony

Address: 1638 West Belmont

Tickets: $40 per person from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

There will be the usual TVs, but each table also gets their very own flat-screen. Yes, this will be up-close and personal for you. Your ticket includes a pizza and wing buffet, domestic, import and craft pints, call liquors. Specials: $4 Jameson.

Bonus: Super Bowl Half-Time competition, where you can kick a field goal to win a $250 prize. The game will be broadcast on overhead plasma TVs and at tables that feature an individual flat-screen TV for viewing.

The Super Bowl + A View:

The J. Parker

Address: 1816 N. Clark St.

I’ve always wanted to go here. It’s one of the classiest places in Chicago, and it’s not even downtown. Go up in the air for a Super Bowl tailgate atop Hotel Lincoln. Chef Paul Virant will be preparing: chili, patty melts, pork sandwiches, chili cheese fries, and sliders. Specials on Bud Light and Tecate buckets.

360 Chicago

Address: 875 N. Michigan Avenue

Tickets (at the door): $20 per person starting at 5:00 pm

Don’t eat too much or drink too much if you’re going to the 94th-floor observatory of the John Hancock Center. Like Bar Toma, this is the first time the John Hancock is hosting a Super Bowl party. They will have two 80-inch TV’s.

It’s worth noting that this is a family event.

It’s also worth noting that there is seating for about 40 people, a Hancock spokeswoman said, but a lot more standing room available, reports DNAinfo.

Bonus: Specialty cocktails themed after the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers are on the menu. We know you are classier than beer.

Extra Bonus: Anyone who shows up wearing an NFL jersey can ride Tilt for free!

I Need Something More Than The Super Bowl:

Howells & Hood

Address: 435 N. Michigan Avenue

Tickets:  It’s free, but $16 chili-trio packages

You’re invited to eat something besides wings on Sunday. The Third Annual Chili Cook-Off Super Bowl Sunday will add tasting and voting on something other than who is going to win the game. Zed 451 and Chop Shop will be battling for the title of “Chili Master.”

Super Bowl Parties:

If going out in groups is more your style, there are a few Super Bowl parties to join:

The Chicago Adventures Meetup Group is organizing an event Super Bowl Party @ Trophy Room: $40 3.5 Hour Food Drink Package! 56 people have signed up thus far, so you’re sure to meet someone. Start time: 5:00 pm

The Chicago Loop Happy Hour Group is meeting up at Roanoke Club for the traditional Super Bowl food and drink specials including $3.00 beers and $5.00 wine. 13 people have signed up. Start time: 4:00 pm.

Go Team:

You don’t need to cook, just show up with team spirit. Let me know how your Super Bowl boy turns into your Valentine’s Day date. I’m rooting for you because I honestly don’t know who to root for in the Super Bowl.

P.S. Windy City Cosmo’s top pick is The John Hancock. Themed cocktails, a view, a new experience, and a socially relevant game all in one? Yes, please!

P.S.S. If you are single and want to mingle, Bub City might be the better option. It’s less family and more friendly.

 

 

 

 

 

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