5 New Spots to Grab a Cocktail in Chicago This Summer

Summertime Chi is a time of discovery and well, cocktails. We’ve combined the two to give you five of the newest bars to grab some cocktails in Chicago this summer – including one of the most talked about rooftop! From cocktail bars to social clubs, chances are there are some hot spots that will help you plan your next happy hours and Friday night benders. And if you’re gone every other weekend or spending the summer in Rome – we’ve covered some solid choices to put in your rotation for months to come. When you’re drinking and having a great time, you’ll definitely want to think about how you’re going to bar hop! I suggest organizing transportation ahead of time so you can focus more on the drinks and catching up, than on the logistics when you’re soaking up the sun. Click here for some suggestions. 

Z Bar

108 E Superior Street

This rooftop bar has an awesome location near the Magnificent Mile downtown. It just opened this June with a few evening parties with some of the hottest bloggers like Olivia Rink. It is often packed, especially during weekends, but the hand crafted cocktails are certainly worth the wait. Their cocktail menu is inspired by luxury travel around the world, and you’ll notice it in the quality of the drinks here. Plus, the rooftop terrace has unbeatable views of the city – am I right? 

80 Proof

1500 N Wells Street

You can find this new American bar in the Old Town near the North side of town. Their dishes are upscale comfort food with options like chorizo sloppy joes and spicy shrimp tacos. They have a DJ at their brunch which is the perfect way to start your weekend! There are a lot of photo opps – so if you missed 29 Rooms or Happy Place – you can still spice up your insta. 

Flight Club Darts Chicago

111 W Wacker Drive

Flight Club Darts Chicago is a social club with fun games and delicious food and drink options. It’s fun to play darts while socializing with friends – because sometimes we need another activity besides just drinking.  You can expect the usual bar food menu here. They even host fun events with magicians and other entertainment through the month.

The Gringo

1201 W Grand Avenue

When a taqueria meets a beer garden, you get The Gringo, and it’s as magical as it sounds. You can order elotes, margaritas (by the pitcher), and if that isn’t enough motivation to get you here, maybe the oreo churros will be! They play hip, indie music, and you have a variety of meat and salsa options to choose from.

Dutch & Doc’s

3600 N Clark St

This new restaurant in Lakeview is located right across the street from Wrigley Field, so it’s a perfect stop if you’re doing some sightseeing in the city or heading to a Cub’s game. They serve a variety of cuisines on their menu, and they make a mean homemade vanilla bean soft serve for that hot afternoon or if you’re starting early they have you set with fresh, bloody Mary drinks for brunch.

This is a sponsored post. 

Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.


Summertime Chi is busy. Everyone wants to find that friend of a friend who has a boat. And when that doesn’t happen, we turn our attention to rooftops and patios. So this year, I’ve decided to put a twist on dinner parties and create a patio party series.

Once or twice a month this summer, I’m taking my networking skills to my home and inviting people over for brunch or dinner. I start by reaching out to people I want to catch up with or meet IRL and invite them to come cook and dine at Windy City Cosmo’s patio.

I wanted to share with you my patio party series and hopefully you’ll find your own summer twist on dinner parties.

Windy City Cosmo Patio Party

Creating the Look:

You can have dinner anywhere – but I’m a settings person. I need the flowers, the candles, the comfort and the company. So far, I’ve had a brunch patio party and a dinner patio party.

For the dinner patio party, I brought out my Christmas white lights and strung them over my terrace. Then I picked up an Off! candle (or you can be fancy and make your own bug repelling candles). Add a lot of wine and it’s a perfect girl’s night.

For the brunch patio party, I woke up early and had a beautiful bouquet of purple roses from celebrity’s favorite florist, Ode á la Rose. There’s something about waking up to the smell of fresh roses that makes me smile. It was a hot day, but the flowers looked lavish in their signature box.

I added them to my patio table to brighten up the setting and add some plants to my concrete patio. I tried to grow my own rose garden (and only one rose grew last year), so I appreciated the help.




Cooking and Bonding:

Girl’s Dinner Party Edition:

It’s true that you bond when you cook together.

For the dinner party, I invited over Chicago food blogger and Time Out Chicago Tastemaker, Mary Mangia.  She’s like, “we’re making pasta.” We both split up the ingredients and bought them. It was cute because I’ve never actually cooked dinner with someone like this and I loved it. I bought fresh basil for the first time and it was just domestic af.

We opened the bottle of champagne and chopped and sautéed in my kitchen. As we let the sauce simmer and thicken, we went out on the patio and quickly realized that I didn’t own a wine opener. Mid-talk about someone’s bad date, I headed to Mariano’s to find the most complex wine-opener ever.

We ended the night learning more about each other’s careers, relationships, and how we really are just a bunch of pasta loving bitches. Case in point, we met up at Summer Truffle Festival at Eataly a few weeks later.

Can You Cut a Watermelon Edition:

Brunch is one of the best parts of Chicago summers. I use to have a designated brunch friend and every weekend we would travel throughout the city for gourmet French toast or savory chicken and waffles. But I was glad to make my go-to scrambled eggs with a side of asparagus (yes, for some reason I like this combo, Thank you Whole30), and sausage.

I’m not going to lie, I impulse bought a personalized watermelon and thought this was the opportune moment to bring it out. My friend and Instagrammer, Lee Lepe from Chicago Standard, came to my rescue and brought out his picnic skills by cutting the watermelon for me.

It was cute and we turned my basic breakfast into a lavish brunch fit for discussing when we were going to check out Happy Place (because we’re the only ones who haven’t jumped into the sunshine ball pit). We finished brunch and headed off on our next adventure – heading to Ulta to spray tan.

How to Host a Patio Party Without Cooking For Yourself Recap:

We’re in Chicago – we all don’t have rooftop pools, so the next best thing is patio parties. This is like the one time you can host from your studio apartment.

Make a list of people you want to get to know better or catch up between their Paris vacation (seriously who isn’t in France right now?).

Add some ambiance to your patio. If it’s a day party or brunch, I suggest flowers. For a dinner patio party, make sure to get some bug spray and either light up lanterns or string lights.

Don’t put all the pressure on yourself. Cooking can be very difficult. I get that you want to impress everyone, but it’s so much better when you invite Chicago foodie’s and add an activity to your dinner party. Cook the meal together – not by yourself – and make sure you have a wine opener.

Cheers to more patio parties and more connections in the city.





Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.


Summer 2018 Beauty Trends: From Aqua to No Makeup Makeup

As summer approaches, I find my beauty routine also shifts, I put my scarlet lipsticks to rest, and they are replaced with springy pinks and bronzy nudes.  I pull out the stronger sunscreen moisturizers in a conscious effort to keep my skin as young and radiant as humanly possible. Along with these typical summer transitions I make there are a few other trends I am loving for the 2018 summer season.

Aqua Eyeshadow:

Now we’re not talking Cher’s all over aqua shadow from the 70s. These colors should be used as an accent if you are new to more colorful makeup looks. Brands like Urban Decay have recently put out palettes sporting a beautiful range of sea blue shades more beautiful than the color of the Maldive waters.  If you had given me these pallets 4 months ago I wouldn’t have touched these colors but this season I am all about them. I personally love to use them under my eyes to add a pop of color.


Rusty Orange Shadow:

I’m sure we’re all very familiar with the phenomenon that is the Naked Heat Palette.  Every influencer created some kind of look using these beautifully warm shades. Although this palette launched last year I don’t see it falling out of rotation anytime soon.  The rusty orange shades are so beautiful with even the aqua trend, and can make any eye color really pop.


No Makeup Makeup:

This is definitely a no brainer summer trend.  I look forward to the days where I believe my makeup would literally melt off my face if I wore any.  I love summer for the opportunity to show off those freckles and the glow you get across the bridge of your nose from being in the sun.  I think along with really exposing your natural skin with a simple bb cream the very bold and unkempt brow will continue to be a summer staple.  Of course the queen of brows Anastasia Beverly Hills brow wiz is the perfect product to create the definition and fullness of the brow but I am also currently obsessed with Boy Brow by Glossier for it’s tiny brush that pushes your brow hairs into place and the product locks them there all day.  The tint to this product is also perfect for those days you can’t be bothered to fill your brows in or if you’re just blessed with beautiful brows.


Festival Glitter:

Coachella is kind of the queen of summer trends, we also look forward to it even if we’re not going to get a taste of the season to come.  Of course this year was a sea of cowboy boots and lingerie bodysuits. But there were some beauty trends that made a comeback that I’m really excited about.  As we all know Chicago is home to festivals like Mamby on the beach, Riot Fest, and the coveted Lollapalooza. These music festivals and really any summer concert is going to be a great opportunity to get a little wild and try out some glitter. In your hair is a really fun way to try out this trend.  French braids, or space buns with glitter down the part is such a fun look. Adding extra shimmery shadows in your eyelid crease to highlight your eye or even using glitter as a highlight on your cheekbones can give you that festival fairy vibe. My personal favorites are the BeautyMarks by Mr. Kate.  They are temporary tattoos she specifically designed for your face. They come in gold and silver as well as multi colored. Cut them in different shapes to place over your eyebrow or under your eyes, even on your eyelid for a really unique look.


Lastly, we’re bringing back the gloss this summer.  Now it’s a bit different from the stuff we slathered on our lips in elementary school.  Many brands have perfected the formula so that your lips are no longer glued shut but are still have that glossy shine.  With your no makeup makeup toss on a slightly coral tinted gloss for a super summer glow.

Jessa Lynn has loved fashion from a very young age, pushing the envelope on fashion norms since she could walk. She grew up traveling all her, and has has brought along a piece of each place with her in her ever evolving style. She’s passionate about style, positive living and the new arrivals at Sephora. You can hear more about her tips and reviews over on her blog, Dollface Diaries.  


Riley Rose Empowers Millennials With New Instagram-Worthy Makeup Concept Store

A new makeup concept store, Riley Rose, empowers Millennials to try on Korean beauty products as if they were getting ready in their own bedroom.

Riley Rose is not like Sephora or Mac. No one’s going to give you a makeover. Instead, Riley Rose tapped into Millennials’ obsession with makeup and learning from social media. The popular makeup Instagram account, Wake Up and Makeup has nearly 12 million Instagram followers. The New York Times depicts Meghan Roark who spends $300 a month on makeup and skincare and watches about 3 hours of YouTube tutorials weekly. And these aren’t stand alone examples, they represent the new way Millennials and Generation Z want to shop and learn about makeup.

Using the Millennial’s dream of an Instagram-worthy location, the daughters of the founders of Forever 21, Esther and Linda Chang recently launched their new makeup concept store in several cities including Chicago’s Water Tower Place on Michigan Avenue.

Some Riley Rose store highlights include:

  • Selfie lighting vanities for you to sit and swatch and apply lipsticks and highlighters
  • iPads next to the vanities with step by step makeup tutorials
  • Online-only Korean makeup brands like  RMS Beauty, Tonymoly, Too Cool for School, Winky Lux, R & Co, Stila, and CosRx
  • A fridge filled with face masks and much more face and skin care products
  • Beautiful packaging that makes everything look cute and original and sayings on them like Huxley’s “Great things never came from comfort zones”
  • Lots of pink – “Millennial Pink”
  • A pink brick wall “Wish You Were Here” photo booth with a selfie-camera and seats for all of your friends
  • Notebooks and supplies cuter that Urban Outfitters
  • Glitter injections and cute party favors
  • A candy section with sweet and sour treats from Dylan’s Candy Bar
  • Hair product section that brings you a new tool that makes amazing beachy waves

Online Only and Korean Beauty Brands at Riley Rose:

Watching YouTube makeup tutorials and seeing beauty bloggers explain how to apply makeup is fun, but not having that makeup at home can be a problem. Sure there are apps where we can virtually apply makeup and hair dye, but nothing where we have a lighted vanity and endless Korean beauty products. And let me emphasize – Korean beauty products.

When I walked into Riley Rose, I didn’t recognize a lot of the brands. But for internet beauty buyers, there are popular beauty brands like Lime Crime, RMS Beauty,  and Winky Lux. This, of course, made me excited to try on the Koren makeup brands.

There were so many different beauty products in cute packaging to try on and take with me to a selfie lighting vanity next to an iPad with makeup tutorials.  The marble countertops, good lighting, and neon signs made for an Instagram-worthy backdrop. I don’t think I’ve ever had that much fun trying on makeup and taking selfies. I was literally in the store for hours.

The Quality of Riley Rose Makeup: Lipstick

There’s been some debate about the quality of the products as Bustle mentioned because Riley Rose does have low price points and high price points and most of their products are not usually found in-store.

I quickly found that the pigments and packaging were all very alluring, but there were two things I noticed. The lipstick and gloss applicators weren’t the best – that’s something even Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kits its improved on as YouTuber, Andrea Renee showed. Although the packaging is cute at Riley Rose, it isn’t cute to have pink and red product smeared on your face. Applicators are like paint brushes and just like you wouldn’t put a paint roller on a small cabinet, you don’t want big wands to apply vibrant colors on your face.

The second issue, and I think it’s because of the applicators, is that too much of the product would go on my face. So, it just felt like a wet kiss on my lips at times – something that a) never feels good and b) I haven’t experienced from other beauty brands like Elf, L’Oreal, or Mac.

What I love about sharing this with you is that I tried on several different makeups and compared them to learn what beauty products worked and what didn’t. I found Riley Rose to be so empowering – to not just see makeup in packaging, but try it on and discover how to apply makeup and what looks best. Best of all, the store has great lighting.


The Perfect Everyday Lip Color:

Hands down, try on everything. I found two of my favorite everyday lipsticks and glosses at Riley Rose. I spent hours at the pre-store opening trying on several Korean lipsticks and found my new 2018 lip color – which is the Winky Lux double matte whip liquid lipstick in shortcake. It comes on wet but dries quickly and doesn’t smudge. Plus, it’s a darker red like a burgundy that makes me look like the girl boss I want to be. When I went to The Chicago Woman’s Magazine food industry cocktail party in January, I got a lot of compliments on my new lip color.

I also found the perfect lip color to brighten my face. It’s the Peri’s Ink Velvet. I got the wow pink color. It comes on like whipped cream.

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Ohhh let’s debate. How many days can you hibernate before you get cabin fever/go insane? I’m on day three and going strong. I see all you boo’s ordering pizza cc: @agirlandafoodstagram. I just feel bad for those delivery people going out in Siberia like temps. Tonight I’m having a dinner party with one of the first journalists and friends I met in Chicago (you can still hear her on WGN). We met on a street corner and she turned to me and said “you look like you’re going to the same event as me. Do you know where it is?” We’ve been friends now for over 7 years 😮 And tonight I get to make dinner for her and do my face with @rileyrose cosmetics without leaving my house. If the salmon doesn’t taste good, there’s pizza around the corner 💁🏻‍♀️ PS this texture spray is goals

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Skin Care Section:

Let’s be real, LUSH bath bombs are a thing and so is taking care of your skin with facials and bedtime routines, not just covering up bad skin with makeup.

Riley Rose has a whole tub full of bath bombs and a whole fridge filled with face masks, not to mention other cute Korean face masks and feet masks. Yes, feet masks! I bought one to try after my 30 days of hot yoga.


Lazy Girl Skin Care Routine:

While I was at Riley Rose for their grand opening at Water Tower Place, I learned a lazy girl skin care routine that took 5 minutes and you could do in the car or plane when you’re on your next Intagrammable vacation. 

Step 1: Apply Banila Co Clean It Zero balm with your fingers. It feels so refreshing on your skin because it’s kind of oily and brightens and refreshes your skin while also removing makeup. No more harsh toners to take off all the makeup.

Step 2: Apply Huxley Secret of Sahara Essence to hydrate the skin.

Step 3: Apply Dr. G Red-Blemish Clear Cream. This is especially good for people who have redness or who have dry skin.

Three steps and you’re done. No water necessary and very simple!



Riley Rose is a dream. Honestly, you can spend hours at Riley Rose and still want to try on more makeup and take more Instagram-worthy photos and selfies. It’s Millennial pink. Most of all it empowers you to try on different lip colors and experiment with highlighters and creams.

If playing with makeup and finding new skincare and lifestyle items are something you love to do, then this bright, pink store is your dream.

Riley Rose is located on the 4th floor of Water Tower Place next to Victoria Secret’s Pink in Chicago.




I Rented an Hermès Birkin Bag From This New Chicago Start-Up

A Chanel bag. A Birkin bag. That sounds like a dream closet. Just like you can live in a dream house for a week with Airbnb, you can walk around with a thousand dollar bag – or like I did –  with a $19K Birkin Bag for two weeks with the new Chicago startup, DesignerShare.

“Women love to bond over this idea of sharing their clothes and accessories with one another,” Sarah Perkins, Co-Founder of DesignerShare, the first peer-to-peer marketplace for women to rent their designer clothing and accessories in Chicago.

We’ve all envied our friends closet at one point or another – or borrowed a friend’s shirt or a sister’s earrings. But, it becomes another level when that closet includes Chanel and Hermès.

Windy City Cosmo sat down the Co-Founder of DesignerShare to learn about how some of the most coveted items in fashion are now being shared with other women in Chicago. And then, I share my experience with the service and what it was like to rent a $19K Birkin bag for a two-week vacation.

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I’m ready for the weekend! Who’s with me? 👋

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The Story Behind The Chicago Start-Up:

DesignerShare started with a problem, as most startups begin. In college, Sarah Perkins had too many sorority formals to attend and not enough outfits. So, she borrowed from her friend’s wardrobes – something that resonates with a lot of women.

Rent the Runway was actually starting when Perkins was in college and she thought “I’ve done this. I just haven’t monetized it yet.”

There are other places you can rent handbags and shoes and clothes from – but all designer, and all from your peers? Nope.

Monetizing an Idea:

Having an idea is great, but finding an idea to fund it is another story. Windy City Cosmo has spoken with a bunch of female entrepreneurs. Some reach out to their network and alumni like this 3D printing jewelry start-up and some do a mix of e-mail outreach and venture capital funding, which is what DesignerShare did.

For pricing, they looked at their competitors and other sharing economy companies. They did a heavy pricing analyst.

Sarah shared the mentality, “We want everything and we want it now. We want it cheap. But people will pay for the convenience. We really focus on being fast and efficient and wanting to make sure the experience was everything she wanted.”

The start-up had an office in 1871 and used some of their resources to grow their business. They also did rounds of venture funding and used PR to gain exposure. So far, they have several articles on sites like The Chicago Tribue and DNAinfo.

They even held a  runway event at the rooftop at The Godfrey Hotel in October 2017 with other entrepreneurs like makeup and hair startup for employee perks, The Lisa App. 

Finding Balance as an Entrepreneur:

Business wise it’s always a journey. How do you grow your brand and also stay sane?

“I was raised to have a lot of balance,” Sarah Perkins shared, “I go to bed by 10 pm and I wake up at 6 am to work out. I am non-functional if I don’t get enough sleep. I take the longest naps on the weekend.”

“I haven’t gone on vacation in 8 months. I think January I’ll have a few days.”

GirlBoss Was Right: Customer Service is Important:

“We don’t want to be mean girls. We want to be the friendliest shopping,” Sarah Perkins shared.

“No one wants to leave home. I’ve delivered to a girl at happy hour,” Sarah Perkins shared. “I walk into Monks Pub in the loop. It’s a very old bar. It’s one of those places with peanuts in the bar. And I show up and say ‘here’s your clutch for her friends birthday party this weekend.’ The customer said, ‘look at this customer service, you’re delivering to me while I’m having beers!'”

And the craziest part of the story is that Sarah is allergic to peanuts. So, she literally had to find the client, deliver the designer item, and leave before having an allergic reaction.

The customer said look at this customer service, you’re delivering to me while I’m having beers!

It’s not always delivery that equates to great customer service. Sarah Perkins describes a situation where one client was unhappy with a bag and within 2-3 hours they got her a new one.

The Dream Closet:

DesignerShare has expanded to 800 users and 700 pieces. Some notable items include Dyanasua bag from Gucci and two Birkin Bags.

Women Using DesignerShare:

“We really want women to look and feel great on a regular basis. We focus on the problem of people feel scrutiny in how they look, ” Sarah Perkins shared.

Clients use DesignerShare for a number of reasons  – sometimes it’s a birthday party or a vacation where women want to rent a bag or a dress.

Today, with the need to constantly go out and do photo shoots for blogging and business, it can get overwhelming (and expensive) to constantly update your closet. Chicago fashion blogger, Caitlin Patton shared in a recent blog post, “Personally, I don’t have the time or money to be spending thousands of dollars on new clothes just to take pictures in…”

It goes beyond photo shoots – sometimes it’s having a nice bag for a corporate event or an interview that can help give women a confidence boost.

Sarah also eluded to other times you want to look your best for – “like when you see your ex for the first time, you’ve got to turn it up.”

My Experience Renting a $19K Birkin Bag:

I rented a Birkin Bag – something I learned about from Gilmore Girls about and was like – who can afford a $19K Birkin bag?

Well, for two weeks, I got to be that person. And I couldn’t believe it. It’s fun to play dress up when you’re a kid – I use to make clothes out of sheets and wear clip-on earrings. But to actually play dress up from a dream closet as an adult was surreal.

I got to take it with me to visit my family in Boca Raton, Florida and then on a mini vacation to Orlando Florida for Mickey Christmas. And then I went to the Bahamas and took it with me as I had a few drinks with friends at the Bah Mar Resort. It was really nice to dress up my casual sundress and beachy vibes with a designer purse. But it also felt weird. My entire life and business worth cost less than this bag – so I tried to only take it out to classy places.

Let’s be real, a Birkin bag costs anywhere from $12,000 – $223,000, according to Fortune. I am so not used to walking around with something so valuable – it was a gift as much as it was a curse. There’s something different about renting an item from a person rather than from a company. It’s like when you spill coffee on your sister’s shirt – you know she’s going to be mad because it’s her favorite shirt. Well, I felt that liability when I rented this handbag.

The best part of my experience was customer service. I was speaking at a conference in the morning. Sarah had texted me about renting a bag. I literally got off stage and she found me a Birkin bag. On top of that, I was only home for an hour to grab my luggage and get to the airport. DesignerShare was able to work out all the logistics and deliver the bag on time so I could catch my flight.

The service was so personal and fast-paced. DesignerShare acts as a middleman between the borrower and the lender. They coordinate drop-offs by hand – without a scheduling app. They partner with Lyft to drop off and pick-up the luxury item and then they partner with Tide Spin for dry cleaning to return the item in the best shape back to the lender.

DesignerShare Empowers Women to Be Entrepreneurs:

What’s great about DesignerShare is that the women lending their items are like entrepreneurs. DesignerShare can help women take photos and they offer a suggested pricing model, which is 10 percent of the original worth of the item. But ultimately, a lender can deny or accept a request and they price their goods.

Lenders enjoy putting their closet to good use and earning money when they’re not wearing the items. We all can’t wear all our clothes at the same time.

Learn More:

To learn more about DesignerShare, you can visit their website here. 

DesignerShare had an office at 1871, an incubator in Chicago. 1871 offers events regularly and spaces for start-ups, you can learn more about their weekly events here. 











Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.