Disney is Still Magical: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas

It was magical. Thats how I felt watching the fireworks burst over Disney’s Castle at Magic Kingdom in Orlando, FL. Magic is what Disney and in this case, Mickey does best at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas.

I took a trip with my sister’s family to Walt Disney World to get in the Christmas spirit. It was my first time at Magic Kingdom as an adult and it was quite the experience.

We were only there for one night – Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. I had no expectations about lines or food or kids running around. Usually, the world is my amusement park – I love visiting cities like Seattle and LA. So trading in hiking and skyscrapers for Mickey ears and roller coasters is new to me.

Dressing Up for Mickey:

But it’s not new to everyone. From the moment we were in the parking lot – we saw the outfits and the Mickey ears and the t-shirts. This was a costume party and everyone couldn’t wait to meet their host – Mickey.

Even some of my favorite Chicago bloggers were going to Disney for the holidays.

But let me tell you, it took parking, a transit corral, and from there a train or a boat, and then a finger scan – yes they scanned our finger – to get into this party. Writing this makes me think the experience was similar to a James Bond film in slow motion. Que Trey Songz.

I think the Magic began on the boat when I saw the Disney castle. I don’t know if it was seeing Beauty and The Beast this year but I became a little girl inside seeing the iconic castle.

If You’re Going to Wing It – Here’s a ProTip:

From the moment you scan your finger, you enter into this magical space.

The first thing we did was read an article to with tons of tips. One of those tips was to make sure we had a plan. We had no plan unlike this guy. The other was to get the Disney Parks app. It tells you vital information like wait time for rides and for people like me who walk in the wrong direction, it’s the Google Maps for Disney.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party started at 7 pm but you could enter as early as 4 pm.

When we got to the theme park, we started with an easy ride – Swiss Family Treehouse – which is like walking in a well-built tree house. There was no wait and we got to see a great view of the Disney Castle. If you haven’t read the book, The Swiss Family Robinson about the shipwrecked family – it’s kind of fascinating. It goes in depth in how they used their resources on the island to survive.

Next, was dinner time! You could tell the theme park was probably at half the capacity because we could grab a table and eat with little commotion. They shutdown the park early for regular guests so that there were less crowds. Pro tip: you can bring your own food into Disney and I highly reccomend it, but also the Lobster Roll was on point.

Waiting in Line:

We then walked to our first ride – the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – where you drop and turn through a haunted gold mining town. I was with my 5 year old nephew and we were so close to being next in line when he had to go to the bathroom. This is the part where I emphasize with parents taking kids to Disney. The wait time during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas was fantastic. We literally only waited 10 minutes to go on rides. I cants imagine having to wait for an hour and then your kid had a bathroom emergency.

So, this is the part where I go on my first roller coaster this year and I’m so glad my nephew wasn’t there to hear me scream (some obscenities). Honestly, right turns, dark tunnels and the fear of the unknown had me dropping more f*bombs.

My nephew and his dad came back and we were ready for round two. Well, this was my nephew’s first roller coaster and he didn’t like it.

So, after that, we had to think of something besides rides. We tried to get him on the Magic Carpet ride but it was too soon. I personally loved the Magic Carpet ride. We got to fly pretty high but the speed was slower so it was like a horizontal Ferris Wheel. It was low key and nice.

The Mickey Parade:

Up next, we went back to the Disney castle and saw the end of the Mickey show. One of the biggest events of the night was the Mickey parade. We waited with tired kids and rows of strollers and then it began. There were flips. There was the muffin man and Snow White. There was Aladdin and the Beast. And last but not least, there was Santa reading off names of boys and girls. Everyone was happy – all the performers had an extra bounce in their step and a forever smile on their face.

Fireworks Over The Disney Castle:

We finished the night in Tomorrowland at an underwhelming car ride. Our lips were blue from the free blue snow cones and we caught a second wave of energy from the dancing polar beers. We walked past the spinning tea cups and met back at the Disney Castle with a fireworks finale. The streets were lined and the iPhones we’re up as the Disney Castle lit up with shooting fireworks. My nephew was tired and so were a lot of kids at 10 pm. As we headed towards the exit and I saw the last firework fade, snow started falling from the sky. I still get goosebumps thinking about that moment. Thinking about how perfect and magical it felt.

We followed the parents who were walking with their kids fast asleep and hanging onto them. We took the ferry and then as we went on the trolley back to our car my nephew out his hands up in the air like we were on a rollercoaster.

We finished the night at the 24 hour drive thru Starbucks for some hot cocoa and then fell asleep too fast.

Disney: Why It’s The Happiest Place:

When I woke up the next morning, I hoped into the jacuzzi and thought about this experience – Disney is magical because your smile is met with a smile and everyone’s nice. Imagine a world where everyone is nice. Nice is nice.

I hope you spread the Magic this year where ever you are. To wear that velvet blue dress or red skirt and to wear it with arms that reach out and help someone with their bags and lips that smile back at a passerby, and patience in a time when there’s too many parties, too many gifts and not enough alone time and sanity.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays! I’m thankful for all of you – my loyal readers and inspiration and party goers. Let me know if there’s something I can do to make your spirits bright!

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.


One of The Most Spacious Chicago Sports Bars Opens By UIC

If you want to chill on sleek black couches and take in 40 beers on tap or seasonal cocktails with front row viewing of your favorite sports game, then I invite you to Bracket Room, a new restaurant and bar located on 1315 S. Halsted St. by UIC. One of Chicago’s most spacisous sports bars recently opened at the end of summer and is catering to anyone who wants to get out and watch a football game with over 50 TV’s to choose from. But this sport’s bar offers more than just football games and beer. It also has a VIP section and a live DJ for parties on the weekend.  This will be Bracket Room’s 4th location to open, and the first Chicago location with plans for additional expansion in the city. Bracket Room is owned and operated by OHM Chicago LLC in partnership with Chris Bukowski.

“We are in the perfect location to embrace the University of Illinois, Chicago as well as the neighboring businesses, residents, and community,” said Chris Bukowski, the original founder of Bracket Room and partner at Bracket Room Chicago. “Our food and drink menu will be approachable, yet interesting with a wide variety of options, with some including a unique Chicago flair. Our array of over 50 televisions, including a huge HD projection screen, makes it the perfect spot to watch sports events, from not only your favorite Chicago teams, but everyone’s favorite sports teams.”

A couple menu items you will not want to miss include the; “The World’s Best Tots” and the “Lamb Lollipops.” When I sat down with the restaurant owner and former Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise star, Chris Bukowski, he insisted that I trust him as he ordered me these two “must haves.” And, I’m happy to report, that they were delicious!


As for this Chicago sports bar menu, it was adventurous and different. I was skeptical about the Philly Cheesesteak Rolls, which is an Asian twist to the Philly Cheesesteak. They were amazing and came with a tangy sauce.

Bracket Room is so much more than a sports bar – trust me – you can start with lamb lollipops and end the night with champagne and creme brûlée.

As far as cocktails are concerned, I enjoyed the peach twist to a Moscow Mule.

One of my favorite food bloggers, Katie from Appetite 4 Adventure also reviewed the restaurant. She enjoyed “The fresh Ahi Tuna Sashimi Salad was my personal favorite and everyone at the table really enjoyed it, too. Tuna is one of my fave proteins and it was cooked perfectly. The entire salad was well balanced and I really loved the addition of grapefruit. it was a great balance with the tuna, grapefruit, nuts, and ginger-soy dressing,” as she stated in her Yelp Chicago review. 

One of my favorite aspects of this spacious Chicago sports bar by UIC is that it is enclosed in glass garage doors. It was nice to take in the neighboring businesses (and the Chicago breeze) near UIC when I had appetizers and drinks there.

I’m excited to go back for these DJ parties I’ve been hearing about. And if you’re into happy hour, which who isn’t? Bracket Room has a Happy Hour menu Monday – Friday from 4:00pm – 7:00pm.


Why I’m Running The Chicago Marathon 2017 For Charity

A marathon. A whole 26.2 miles Chicago Marathon. When I googled how to keep my battery alive for 26 miles, I got answers pertaining to car batteries and not my cell phone battery which has sadly died during a long run. 26.2 miles is long. It doesn’t seem as far because I run back and forth on the Chicago Lake Front or on the 606 Trail. But, it’s long.

And I knew committing to running the Chicago Marathon 2017 wasn’t something I could do when I signed up. I had to train for it. I had to mentally prepare for it. I had to eat differently for it. And let me just say, it’s less than 2 weeks until race day, and I still feel like I did when I signed up to run a marathon – I can’t believe I’m doing the impossible.

People do things every day and they don’t know why they do them. Sometimes, I think a lot of times it’s out of habit.

This year, I wanted to break some of my habits. My New Year’s Resolution was to be more committed to the activities and people in my life. I’m the girl that goes to a lot of events and dabbles in everything.

I like projects and new things. But, I also love results and making a difference. And those two things happen when I stay focused and I’m committed. So, when I went to church one February morning and wanted to become more involved, I didn’t think I would be signing up for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon that day. But I did. I signed up for six months of training, and also I signed up to raise money and awareness for Team World Vision, an organization that helps people in Africa have access to clean water.

Why am I running the Chicago Marathon: To Change Myself?

With your help, I’m running with Team World Vision to do a lot of things I’ve never done before.

Two very big challenges come to mind.

The first is training and running a whole marathon – 26.2 miles. See when you run a marathon – you actually have to run it. You are given 15 minutes per mile and after those 15 minutes are up, the road is re-opened. So, it wasn’t only distance. It was speed.

This is something that has challenged me both mentally and physically. My training started in April and ends October 8, 2017, when we run the Chicago Marathon. I have ran in thunderstorms. I have ran at midnight. I have ran at 6 am. I have started running to only run back to my apartment to go to the bathroom and then finish up the 12 mile run. It took me three whole hours to run those 12 miles, which in running world is bad since I had ran 10 miles in 2 hours a few weeks earlier.

I have ran in 60 degrees, and I have ran in 95 degrees. I have stayed home on a Saturday and not gone out on a Friday night just so I could run. I stopped going out to lunch every day at work and instead went to the gym to do Nike Training Club workouts or 5K runs.

I have tried running to podcasts. My favorites are The Robcast, Socially Authentic, The Political Gabfest, and Marketing Over Coffee.

I have tried running to Apple Music playlists. If you have any good workout music to share that isn’t house music I would love to discover new music.

Lastly, I’ve tried Audible and running to audiobooks. Thank you, Kevin Heart for recording an 18-hour audiobook, “I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons” that was actually funny and interesting.

Mentally Preparing to Race with Just Do It:

When I saw the miles go up on my training schedule I got afraid and you know what I thought of? Nike. I thought of “Just Do It”. I can either sit here and tell myself I’m too tired or it’s too late or it’s going to be a bad run, or I can just put on my shoes and go for the run. I never knew three words would take me on over 250 miles of running this summer. That’s a lot. And let me tell you I still have a long way to go in terms of fitness, agility, speed, focus, determination.

So, this was my first reason – I wanted to become a better person. I wanted to learn how to be dedicated to something and to transform my community by helping transform other communities. I needed to not give up just because it was hard or challenging or I wasn’t feeling okay.  

I was running for something more.

Why am I running the Chicago Marathon: To Change Lives

The second and most important reason why I’m running the Chicago Marathon is to put time and money into a cause that I can’t relate to, but that so many people have to live with on a daily basis. And, that cause is access to clean water. For me, I challenge myself to drink enough water that is purified and delivered to me, whereas a lot of people don’t have access to even begin to drink clean water.

I’m running to help raise awareness and funds for communities in Africa to have clean drinking water. The needs are real, but we believe that we can end the clean water crisis in our lifetime.

$50 = clean water for 1 person

Transform one person’s life by donating here. 

For the cost of  Starbucks for two weeks, we can transform someone’s daily life. This is huge! And I’m running because I think you can help me and we can do something bigger together.

Will you invest in the future and provide clean water for 1, 2, 3, or even more people in Africa? We can help change lives, together.

In 2016, 85% of World Vision’s total operating expenses were used for programs that benefit children, families, and communities in need. So the money raised is going to help this great need of helping communities have clean water.

I hope to be transformed through this experience – by giving my Saturdays and evenings to training my mind and body to this big goal of running the Chicago Marathon.

Most importantly, I hope to transform people’s daily lives through clean water. A lot of times we know that things are happening in the world and we don’t know how to help or we don’t see the struggles or the situation up close,  so we can’t see the true need.

Help Support Team World Vision:

There’s so much need in the world. There is. And sometimes I feel like I can’t make a difference. But we all can. We can take steps to live a better life and help other’s live a better life, too.

I hope to see you on race day, October 8, 2017. I’ll be posting about the places to grab lunch with your friends and family after the Chicago Marathon. Know that I wouldn’t be able to run without your encouragement and help. I’ve met about three people that have really helped me as I run this race. They’ve helped me with tips and training and we’ve helped each other grow in the process. We all need community and we all need help from each other. Whether that’s hugs, that’s a nice text message, a running buddy, or donating. I’m really grateful for your support.

I encourage you, to learn more about World Vision and start transforming lives today by donating here. 

I have to run! And get a few more miles logged. But I hope this encourages you to do something you never thought you could do and to realize that reaching out to people makes you stronger and also helps you accomplish your goals!

Thanks to Sponsors and Running Buddies who have supported the Chicago Marathon Training and Team World Vision:

Special shout out to bloggers: Katie from Personally Paleo, my first running buddy, and Sany from Chicago Food, Fitness, and Lifestyle Instagram Influencer, Sany.Delights, my last running buddy.

Thanks to Andrea Miller from Miller Chicago Real Estate for donating and for Maddy Osman from the SEO content site, The Blogsmith for donating. And special thanks to my Aunt Aimée Scarpetti who has always encouraged me and for my first anonymous donor.

And lastly, thanks to World Vision for organizing group runs every Saturday morning and putting together the first official 20-mile practice race on Saturday, September 16, 2017, where over 500 people signed up!

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I didn't say it would be easy – I just said it would be worth it. We're running a whole marathon which took 6 months of training. I still don't feel ready but when there's a big goal there's also bigger obstacles. That's how I feel about solving as big of an issue as bringing clean water to kids in Africa. It seems huge. It seems impossible. But it's not. Every $50 donated brings clean water to one child. Please help my team by donating to these kids – because everyone deserves clean water. Tap the #linkinthebio to donate as little as $5, which will probably be less than your bar tab this weekend. Thanks in advance for being the change in the world 💋#justdoit #marathontraining #teamworldvision #chicagogrammers #windycitycosmo

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It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

It’s okay to not be okay. Life is not linear. There isn’t one path or one way. Sometimes you are stuck. Sometimes you don’t know where to go next. Sometimes you don’t like Monday’s. Sometimes everything you worked for is a total mess and you have to start all over again. Sometimes you get fired. Sometimes you break up with the guy who couldn’t commit. Sometimes, no matter how many miles you run, your love for alcohol and fries will perturb you from losing those 3 inches off your waist. Sometimes your best friend moves away. And then another one does. Sometimes, your parent’s house is full so you can’t move back home. And despite it all, you take a shower, you get dressed, and you put on that brave face and you coat it with a smile.

You know that everything will be okay because everyone keeps telling you that it will be okay. That this too shall pass. That what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Stop it. Seriously stop it. You can let that tear roll down your face. You can feel your body tingle. You can see the goose bumps. You can run and get a tissue. You have permission to wallow. You do. Because right now it might not feel likes it’s all okay. Right now, you might be going through that moment in life that will change you. It will determine your character. It will determine who you become.

Let me just be clear. Your circumstances are not permanent.

Breaking up with a guy you love hurts. And Ben & Jerry’s isn’t going to help.

Losing your job, it hurts. Booking a one-way trip isn’t going to solve it, though you can still travel alone and take advantage.

Getting the body of your dreams isn’t easy. No matter how many miles you run or how many kale salads you eat or how many health apps you try.

It takes a lot to be an adult. To pay your bills. To do work with integrity while your coworkers are on Tinder. To save. To count your blessings. And, yes, you, the girl down on her luck, the girl who feels so deep in the tunnel that she can’t see the light, yes, darling you, have many blessings.

But I want you to take this moment and realize that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to feel a little taken aback. A little less confident. A little tarnished. A little unwanted.

It’s not easy to rebuild your life. To find a new job. A new man. A new best friend. To carve out a new lifestyle.

So, as I write this, my tears have finally dried on my face, but the computer screen is still blurry.

You have permission to curl in a ball, grab your blanket, and have a moment. You don’t always have to be strong. You just have to know that you can’t stay in bed and think that all your problems are going to be solved by ignoring them.

Tonight you can cry. Tomorrow night you can cry. But in the morning, or maybe two weeks later you’ll realize that you can’t keep crying. You have to get up and keep going. You’re an amazing person. And one setback. Five setbacks. Ten failed relationships. A bad job. An undefined waist will not define the rest of your life. You’ve got this. You are stronger than you think you are. But right now, it’s okay to not be okay.





Why Summertime Chi is Magical: Chicago Bucketlist

We wait – through the cold and wind and as we thaw out, our ray of light is summertime Chi. I always question why people love this time of year. People are quick to talk about the festivals or movies in the park or Lollapollza and I’m here to tell you while those all sound great, And I have some tips about them, there’s more to living in Chicago than that. I’m here to show you the magical aspects of summertime in Chicago. 

This is a list of everything I’ve loved doing in Chicago this summer. There is so much more to do, but it’s a good taste of Chicago’s summer from outdoor sports to beach days, to patios and Chicago’s rooftops.

1. Yoga (or any sport) in the park

Every summer in Chicago there are endless Meetup groups and also free Pilates and boot camps in parks throughout Chicago. The last series in Millennium Park is Labor Day Weekend!

2. Go to a wedding. If you don’t have an invite, you’re sure to see beautiful brides taking pictures on streeet corners or near Navy Pier. I went to one of the most beautiful weddings at the Ivy Room in State and Ohio St. this August. There were flowers hanging from the ceiling with tea lights and a live band. Going to a Chicago wedding is an honor.

3. Have a girl’s night in the city at museums with al fresco martinis. While summer is a great time to be outside, you might want to mix it up. One of the most amazing nights was having a girls night at the Chicago History Museum where we learned about fashion and then went a mile south to the Waldorf Astoria for cocktails al fresco and makeovers from Dior. Chicago has so many fun mixers like this and pulling off a multi-destination event could only be done when it’s still warm outside.

4. Go to a Chicago rooftop. One of the most memorable day parties I went to this summer was at Gino East’s rooftop where we had our hair done by The LISA app and ate delicious pizza with out vodka lemonade’s for the Chicago Instagram Influencers group, Chicagogrammers’ first birthday. The patio is so nice and has beautiful furniture for epic photoshoots.

5. Enjoy shopping on State Street or Michigan Ave. Summertime is amazing because you can actually start your shopping spree on State Street, then walk along the Chicago Riverwalk and all along the Magnificent Mile. Stores are always hosting events and having blowout sales. For instance Nike had a curvy girl fitness event on August 31, 2017 where they had a braid bar, martinis, wraps and a runway. 

For my shopping adventures. I went to Nordstrom Rack a few times and bought too many BCBG heels,  and then fell in love with a white blazer at Express. I walked all the way to Water Tower Place where I found my favorite party dress at Akira for $10. 

6. Get that mani and pedi. During the winter, your feet always are covered up with socks on them and your hands always have gloves. Summertime is that one opportunity to enjoy a fresh manicure. You don’t have to go with the nude polish if you don’t want to! This summer, I tried Groupon’s new beauty booking app, Beauty Now. In less than 5 minutes, I could book an appointment for the same afternoon without waiting. And that, my love, is nice.

7. Go to the movies. It wouldn’t be summertime without a summer movie. I had so many amazing movie experiences. If you haven’t been go to the VIP room at the movie theatre, the Showplace Icon Theatre in The Roosevelt Collection. They had red recliners and you can get dinner and cocktails there. It’s truly one of the best date nights I have had. Very comfy. The other spot to check out is The Music Box Theater. A little secret is that they have a bar and a game room and a gorgeous patio with twinkle lights. 

8. Enjoy the parks. Whether it’s Lincoln Park or Millenium Park or Museum Campus. Don’t miss the opportunity to sit and read in the park and soak up the sun. Talenti partnered with the summer in the park series and handed out thousands of free Talenti gelato on multiple occasions. So, free ice cream and sunshine. You can’t go wrong. Another favorite activity is seeing people tightrope in Oz Park – if you’re lucky, they’ll let you try it but you might need someone to hold on to as you walk across from tree to tree.

9. Work out. This summer I challenged myself and signed up for The Chicago Marathon on October 8, 2017. It’s a big commitment and I’ve ran everywhere from the 606 trail to 31st beach. Almost have 200 miles logged.

It seems that everyone is working on their summer bodies. It’s a good time to challenge yourself and try a new workout. One of the coolest workout experiences I had was at a new virtual cycling experience, Cycmode. The bikes literally swerved left to right with you and as you stare at the big screen it takes you on a journey going uphill and downhill. You no longer have to visualize hills.

If cycling isn’t your thing, there’s a place on the south side called Razzmatazz which has indoor bubble soccer and an adult obstacle course. You get to be a kid again but it’s also difficult to keep a bubble around you while playing soccer. Seriously, though, it was a fun way to workout. 

10. Go to a conference. Chicago has so many amazing conferences. One of my favorites is Techweek Chi – it’s a week long of multi-location parties all around Chicago’s tech scene. Check out my interview with the CEO here. 

11. Volunteer. I joined the Chicago Cares group for their volunteer day, where 5k people came together to connect and build relationships for a stronger, more unified city. Today we are painting murals and classrooms with positive messages at Burnside Scholastic Academy. Our collective work will save CPS $3 million in facility impacts! Love making a difference? Sign up for Chicago Cares 200 monthly volunteer projects at chicagocares.org.

12. Take a weekend trip to another Midwest city. While it’s hard to leave Chicago, it’s also nice to explore other cities.  This summer, I experienced St. Louis for the first time and it was amazing. They had a music festival going on and I got to try their famous BBQ and art scene. 

13. Ride Divvy bikes. There’s nothing more exciting than riding a bike. I would suggest riding a bike on the Lakefront path but you can also ride down Michigan Ave. They did raise the price a bit (it’s about $10 to rent a bike for the day). I still think you should experience seeing Chicago by bike. 

14. Go to a baseball game. This summer I went to my first White Sox game and then I went to a Cubs game. Baseball games are exciting to go to – the city comes alive and I must say there is nothing quite like singing baseball games with excited fans in Wrigley. 

15. Eat ice cream. My favorite summertime treat is ice cream! I tried Bombobar for the first time and found out their shakes are actually frozen hot chocolate, which I tried and honestly doesn’t taste good. It’s very rich. Their gelato however is amazing and even better than Eataly’s gelato.

16. Go on a boat. This is always the mission. Chicago has a beautiful river and lake and it’s really nice to experience them while on a boat. I did the Architecture Tour for the first time and it was a great experience to not only look at Chicago’s architecture, but also learn the stories behind the skyline and how Chicago’s skyline will continue to change.

17. Go to the beach. Okay well the beach was actually amazing because I found a Pier at 31st beach where it was safe to jump off. Turns out you don’t have to go to Europe to jump off a pier. It was a pretty steep jump, but it was also one of my favorite moments of this summer. All of the beaches have a bit of charm to them. North Ave. Beach tends to be the most active with volleyball nets and the infamous, Castaways.

18. Ride the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier. I have to say that one of the scariest moments of this summer was prepping myself to the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier. I hate heights, so I almost didn’t do it. But the staff showed me the panic button in the Ferris Wheel. One thing you have to note is that this is an enclosed Ferris Wheel. So it doesn’t feel like you are as high up as you are. With your purchase, you get to see Chicago’s skyline three times before getting off. 

19. Try something new with your hair. I don’t know about you, but while summertime in Chicago is nice, my hair is not. So rather than putting it on my bucket list for another summer, I decided to do something about my hair and try Keratin treatment. I got in July 2017 and was sad to hear that you can’t go into a pool or the ocean with Keratin treated hair. Luckily, you can still go to the lake. I’m glad I did the treatment because now I just have to straighten my hair and I don’t need product. If I lived near the ocean, though, I wouldn’t have had the treatment done.

20. Go to a Foodie event or festival. I would be remiss if I didn’t add this to list. The best festivals of summer are honestly Taste of Chicago or Greek Fest (you can ride a camel downtown). But if you want a smaller scale foodie events, there’s Culinary Fight Club. I went to the BBQ edition where they had some of the top regional chefs make BBQ creations that you could vote on. They also had a Black Jack table and had ring pops in their goodie bags. The Thrillest also had a BBQ cookout for restaurants in Chicago. They made it into a country theme with a love band, string lights and Jenga. 

21. Date. Chicago, oh Chicago is known for its dating scene. Cuffing season happens right about the time when football comes back and Labor Day ends because everyone needs a cuddle buddy for the cold Chicago months ahead. But rather than dating and swiping this summer, I had more of a Grease Lightning experience – only dating one guy. And it was pretty magical going on date nights to steakhouses and The Grand Lux Cafe and having beach days and taking him to launch parties with me. I think everyone should experience a summer with a guy they like. Dating in the summer is so much better than any other season because you actually get to do things and explore the city together. Also, if you missed my segment on WGN radio – you can listen to my dating stories here.