Celebrity Makeup Artist Debuts Line at Ulta Beauty Wicker Park With Must-Have Purple Mascara

Fiona Stiles. I already wanted to meet her because I love Fiona Apple. There’s something in a name.

Stiles’ bio reads that some of the world’s most famous and recognizable faces trust her, as do a roster of top photographers and directors, including Mario Testino, Steven Klein, Inez & Vinoodh, Annie Leibovitz and Ellen Von Unwerth.

I was intrigued.

The petite, denim-styled blonde has spent the past year transitioning from celebrity artist to a creator of her own makeup line.

Her new line hit shelves this February 2016 at Ulta Beauty Wicker Park and your favorite Chicago bloggers were there to meet Fiona Stiles and play with her new line in hopes that we can also achieve a face worth photographing.

Fiona Stiles Helps Bloggers Pick Out Makeup:

Seldom do we have the opportunity to meet the person behind the product. With startups, it’s a little bit easier, but with an international, celebrity makeup artists, this felt like a dream.

So, I asked Fiona Stiles some of my top makeup concerns, starting with the number one component of my Snow White look—red lips.

The Trouble With Red Lips:

Help me, I looked toward Fiona Stiles, “My Mac red lipstick smears so much that it looks like I ate my lipstick.”

And The Fix:

Stiles told me that it’s best to use a lipstick pencil than a lipstick. I used two different lip pencils from her collection, Fiona Stiles Beauty!. At first, it felt like my lips had dried up like a flower without water, but when I went back to pick out a foundation, it was more comfortable, and didn’t dry out my lips as much as some long-lasting lip stains and lip pencils do.

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Meeting celebrity makeup artist, Fiona Stiles. Photo: Amanda Elliott

Fun, But Mature Looks With Eye Shadow:

For her eye shadows, Fiona Stiles kept things natural and added some rich, vibrant color.

She explained her trick for helping us look playful, but sophisticated at the same time.

“I added black in the eye shadow colors,” Fiona says, “so that there is great, vibrant color, but it looks mature rather than meant for a teenager.”

 

Fiona Stiles at the Fiona Stiles Beauty! launch party event at Ulta Beauty Wicker Park. Photo: Amanda Elliott

 

“Pigment and payoff were really important to me in developing the line so the products all have incredible, vibrant, long wearing colors,” Stiles says in her recent blog post.

“I also wanted to create something that has the quality of an expensive high-end brand at a reasonable price point so that incredible quality can be available to everyone.”

I met the bloggers behind Once Upon a Dollhouse, another Chicago Lifestyle Blog that is just as fun as adorable as the roommate pair who created it.

We had fun as we took our makeup to the makeup artist for mini makeovers.

Danielle from Once Upon a Dollhouse picks out the prefect lip color with makeup collection creator, Fiona Stiles. Photo: Amanda Elliott

 

On a Scale of 1 -10, I’m White Stone:

The thing that I love about Fiona Stiles line is that she paid attention to all the details that go into picking out makeup so that we don’t have to.

Her foundation and concealer line are all labeled 1 – 10, so that if you are #1 foundation, you can match it with the #1 concealer.

Guess who has #1 foundation skin tone? Yours truly. I am the whitest pigment in Fiona Stiles’ new makeup line, Fiona Stiles Beauty!.  The foundation is called Porcelain, but the loose setting powder is fittingly called, White Stone.

If this isn’t a call for more sunshine in your life, I don’t know what is.

Stiles said that she didn’t want to add white to the foundations, which is why my skin tone is the lightest color in her line.

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Makeup artist, Lauren, who previously worked for Mac Cosmetics,gave me tips for applying Fiona Stiles White Stone Loose Setting Powder and Porcelain Foundation. Photo: Amanda Elliott

Must-Have Purple Mascara:

My absolute favorite part of her collection is her mascara. I went through a Chicago snowstorm to get to my speaking engagement, and my mascara didn’t smudge.

For all the girls who wind up with their mascara all over their face instead of nicely held on their lashes, the Fiona Stiles Beauty! purple mascara is a must-have. It’s everything you want in a mascara that volumizes your lashes: smudge-resistant, clump-free, flake-free.

I seriously just threw out three mascaras during my extensive spring cleaning process, and this purple mascara has been what every close-set eyed girl has been waiting for.

Fiona Stiles Beauty! Line Makes You Look Cool, Calm, and Collected:

I’ve been waiting for a makeup line that helps you look cool, calm, and collected, and this is it. There are some fun colors to play with, like the Fiona Stiles Beauty! Oceanus eye shadow palette, but her makeup line really focuses on enhancing your natural beauty. 

Fiona Stiles sent us home with awesome swag at her launch party event at Ulta Beauty in Wicker Park.

Bloggers went home with two lipstick shades, purple mascara, a Topanga eye shadow palette, and skin beautifiers.

There are 120 pieces to the Fiona Stiles Beauty! makeup collection. This is one practical collection that everyone who wants to look like a somebody should have.

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Fiona Stiles makeup swag from the launch party at Ulta Beauty Wicker Park. Photo: Amanda Elliott

The day after this Ulta Beauty event, I had a big presentation at 1871. I trusted the makeup tricks from the funny and talented makeup artists, Lauren, and Fiona Stiles’ advice and came up with the below creation.

 

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Testing Fiona Stiles’ first makeup line, Fiona Stiles Beauty! Photo: Amanda Elliott

 

You can shop Fiona Stiles Beauty! online and in-store at Ulta Beauty. Seriously, start with the purple mascara. When Fiona told me that mascara is one of her must-haves, I now understand the true value in a good mascara.

 

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Bloggers Meet Startups: Hear From Windy City Cosmo at 1871

Are bloggers startups?

Maybe. Sure.

This week there are a lot of startup events and blogger events in Chicago.

I’m going to start with some exciting news—I’m speaking at one of these events. I’m so honored that my first speaking event is at the most innovative hubs for women and men in Chicago, 1871.

On Wednesday, February 24, 2016, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm, bloggers and startups will be meeting for a special edition of Bloggers Meet Startups, a local networking group where startups and bloggers can pitch their ideas and connect with other entrepreneurs in Chicago.

This networking event will mark the four year anniversary of Bloggers Meet Startups.

In the past, I’ve met local startup founders and even international startup founders at these events. Mike Bandar, for instance, spoke about a new startup he was involved with in London called, Hopper, which helps individuals and businesses create and schedule Instagram posts. Hopper is the Hootsuite of Instagram.

Bloggers Meet Startups is a casual event and starts with featured speakers, who give a five-minute presentation. Then, the floor is open for attendees to pitch their blog or startup with a one-minute presentation.

Featured Bloggers Meet Startups Presenters:

Amanda of WindyCityCosmo.com – Windy City Cosmo is a lifestyle blog that invites you to meet entrepreneurs, taste inventive cocktails, and explore Chicago through events (with or without heels).

Susie of Suzlyfe.com – Susie is a Chicago-based Certified Running Coach and Personal Trainer (Coach Suz Training) and the voice behind Suzlyfe, a fitness and wellness blog that aims to educate, connect, and inspire readers to live beyond expectations.

Justin and Matt of Backspace App – Backspace is a community of people who are just like you. Nothing shared on Backspace lasts forever. Be funny. Be weird. Be quirky. Be unique. Be you.

Niku of Paris 312 – Paris312 is a party planning company specializing in Party Boxes wrapped in a bow and shipped to you.

 

Bloggers Meet Startups Four Year Anniversary Photo: Bloggers Meet Startups

 

RSVP to Bloggers Meet Startups:

RSVP to this free networking event through Eventbrite. Bloggers Meet Startups at 1871 is sold out, but more seats may become available, so add yourself to the waitlist!

Special thanks to Intelligent Events for the featured image.

Special thanks to Maddy Osman, Founder of Chicago Cheap Ass, for this opportunity. Osman is a new leading member of Bloggers Meet Startups and you can read about her plans and involvement on Built in Chicago here.

Other Blog Events and Tech Events This Week:

February Wine & Web: Blogging Best Practices

On Tuesday, February 23, 2016, from 6:00 – 7:30 pm,  learn about writing better blog posts from Orbit Media. The event includes wine and Lou Malnati’s pizza, and tips on the following:

  • How to write for scanners
  • How to write blog posts that get more traffic and clicks
  • How to optimize for social
  • How to use visuals to increase dwell time

RSVP to Wine and Web here.  P.S. There are only five tickets left!

Chicago has a monthly tech showcase sponsored by Technori. The Technori Winter Showcase brings together 500 entrepreneurs, developers, designers, investors, and tech enthusiasts to watch five companies present for five minutes each, with an interactive Q&A session. The event is Wednesday, February 24, 2016, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm, with an after party at Rosebud Teatre District.

RSVP to Technori Winter Showcase for last-minute tickets here.

P.S. I know this event is the same day as my event, Bloggers Meet Startups, but I really wanted to go to this event, so I’m sharing it.

P.S.S. The conference is recorded and you can watch past speakers here. 

Hope to meet you in person and share with you the story behind Windy City Cosmo!

 

 

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How White Should Your Teeth Be?

Oh, my goodness her teeth are so white!

I wonder this every time I look at a contestant on The Bachelor.

Whether your teeth are crooked or not white enough, there are always ways to fix a beauty insecurity and ways to go overboard making ourselves beautiful.

Your mouth is so important and smiling is so important.

In honor of smiling more and feeling more confident, I’ve talked with Dr. Timothy Chase, Cosmetic Dentist and Practicing Partner at SmilesNY, to learn about the safe ways to a healthier, whiter smile.

 

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Dr. Timothy Chase teaches you how to safely get a whiter smile. Photo Credit: Dr. Timothy Chase

The good news is that bleaching your teeth is safe. Colgate approves of this message and so does Dr. Chase.

“Whitening is very safe, and I agree with Colgate if it’s done properly there are no risks,” said Dr. Chase.

It’s safe to whiten your teeth and anyone can whiten their teeth.

Dr. Chase recommends cleaning your teeth and making a dentist appoint to make sure you don’t have cavities and that you do have healthy gums. Taking proper care of your teeth will help you be healthier and have whiter teeth.

But you want to make sure you aren’t whitening your teeth to mask health issues. Health comes before beauty with teeth whitening.

There are a few options to teeth whitening, which include:

  • teeth whitening strips
  • teeth whitening toothpaste
  • home remedies
  • professional teeth whitening services

Dentist Recommended At-Home Teeth Whitening:

There are a few formulas that naturally whiten teeth according to Everday Roots, like  a baking soda and lemon juice paste.

Oil pulling has also become recently popular, an act of swishing coconut oil in your mouth for twenty minutes and spitting it out.

“If you’re opting for an at-home kit, I recommend Crest White Strips,” said Dr. Chase, “Using peroxide, which is contained in the kits…is the only proven way to really whiten your teeth.”

When you are using kits keep in mind three signs of over whitening:

  1. Sensitive teeth, especially to cold
  2. Inflamed or bleeding gums
  3. Teeth that look blue or see through along the edge

In the past, I have tried oil pulling and felt that my teeth were healthier, not necessarily whiter.

My teeth become noticeably whiter when I use Crest whitening mouthwash twice a day and combine it with Crest 3D whitening toothpaste.

I will be trying a popular European teeth whitening product, Black is White whitening toothpaste. Stay tuned for the update on that experiment.

Professional Teeth Whitening:

Being professionally beautified feels very Kardashian to me, but I agree that we have the right and some have the privilege to enhance our beauty and transform our insecurities.

Dr. Chase explains the benefits of a professional teeth whitening service, which is both a faster approach and more effective teeth whitening method.

“Your dentist is able to whiten teeth faster because we can cover your lips and gums and use a stronger whitening agent,” said Dr. Chase.

Professional teeth whitening takes an hour and the procedure only needs to be done once a year at most.

“I always recommend Zoom! If you are choosing a professional whitening treatment,” said Dr. Chase.

Your dentist will also have specific recommendations for you based on the health of your teeth and gums.

Teeth Whitening: Health Before Beauty:

The important thing to remember is that health comes before beauty. Once you are healthy and properly taking care of your teeth (flossing, brushing, and using mouthwash), then you can enhance your teeth through a teeth whitening method.

 

Cheers to smiling more.

 

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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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