Chicago Events Celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018

Ladies! This week is a good week to network and meet other amazing, entrepreneurial women in Chicago for International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8, 2018. I went to a beauty event with the Tulle Project today and as we were introducing ourselves, one women shared the four, yes four jobs she has. Another woman, in awe, noted how ambitious Chicago women are. I wholeheartedly believe that. I encourage you to meet these Chicago girl bosses this week at one of the many Chicago events for International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018. Look for events and opportunities to connect all month long for women’s history month.

Quick note: International Women’s Day theme is #PressForProgess.

Global Strategist Association Event:

The Global Strategists Association is hosting a luncheon in honor of International Women’s Day to discuss opportunities for women of color.


Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Location: The DuSable Museum of African American History


1871 Event:

1871, a Chicago incubator for startups is hosting a day of workshops and speaking events for women. 1871 is such a great resource that female founded companies like this 3D printing jewelry company, this beauty services company that is now offering company perks to GrubHub, and this designer clothes and accessories startup all used to help grow their business.

This event series has several sessions that you can drop into throughout the day. I’m personally looking forward to the Building Your Company’s Brand Panel Discussion.


Time: 8 am – 9 pm

Location: 1871, Merchandise Mart


SheSays Chicago Event:

SheSays Chicago, a Chicago chapter of a national organization of women in creative fields, is putting together an event with Leo Burnett on Thursday, March 8, 2018 right after work.

I’ve been attending SheSays Chicago events for years and even spoke at one of the panels about networking. You can read about some of my past coverage of their events like Turning Passion into Profit and Networking Advice from Edelman, PR Agency.

There will be a panel discussion.


Jessica Papilla, Data Analyst at Leo Burnett


Monika Black, PhD, CPC | Chief Strategy Officer at DyMynd

Kayte Malik, CEO and Co-founder of Dresscode

Beth Sehgal, Global Director of Diversity & Inclusion for A.T. Kearney

Priya Shah, Founder and Executive Director of The Simple Good


Time: 5:30 – 8:00 pm

Location: Leo Burnett Office


Ladies Get Paid Event:

Ladies Get Paid, an organization that helps women achieve their professional goals and get equal pay, is hosting an International Women’s Day event at Ace Bounce. This looks like a causal event to get drinks and meet other professional women.


Time: 5:30-7:30 pm

Location: Ace Bounce


WeWork Kenzie Event:

WeWork Kinzie is hosting an International Women’s Day workshop for freelancers and female entrepreneurs. Over 150 people have signed up for this event. In this workshop, speakers will present four topics: (a) finding the courage to lead, (b) the foundations of entrepreneurship, (c) a woman’s story of finding her purpose, and (d) establishing a position of influence in a competitive industry.


Time: 6:00-9:00 pm

Location: WeWork Kinzie

RSVP ($20)

She Means Business Event:

She Means Business will be presenting a panel discussion and gender equality and female leadership in the workplace.

The Panelists:

• Naima Prince, Expert Budget and Financial Analyst at GSA

• Lindsey Branding, Controller at Hireology

• Colleen Wilson, Founder & CEO of Collaborate Chicago

• Holly Glowaty, Co-Founder at K+H Connection and Founding Co-Producer at Flourish

• Katharine Hebenstreit, President & COO at Link Capital


Time: 5:30-8:00 pm

Location: Topstep Trader


Edgewater Chamber of Commerce:

If drinks aren’t enough for you, the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce is hosting a dinner crawl. Get all the savory details below!

Time: 5 pm

Location: Edgewater, over 10 restaurants



I hope to see you at one of the Chicago events for International Women’s Day or you can join the conversation online using the hashtag: #PressForProgress.

How do you build a professional community in Chicago? Tag me on Twitter or Instagram @windycitycosmo.

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.


5 Things I Learned From My Frist Facial

Getting my first facial was a big deal. A lot of my friends are talking about getting Botox and I’m not at that stage yet. So, I’m opting for preventative care – eating right, working out, and having a good skincare routine.

Going to the spa has always seemed like something for the rich and famous, not the young and entrepreneurial.

But according to experts, one of those self-care things we should be doing is going to the spa for a facial.

“Going to the spa is like going to the dentist,” said my esthetician from Bluemercury.

I got my first facial at Bluemercury’s new store at 1153 N. State Street in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood.

And, I want to share with you what it was like to get my first facial

It’s so Comfortable.

The first thing many people will tell you about going to the spa is that you usually have to wear spa attire – a robe and slippers. While I was nervous, it’s quite the luxury to wear the robe and then slip into the warm blankets while you get a facial. Plus, when you wear a robe, it makes it easier for the esthetician to give you a shoulder robe and neck massage during the facial. Ahh, relaxation!

You Should Have Four Facials a Year.

As my esthetician said, going to the spa is like going to the dentist. While it’s important to practice at home care, you also need a professional to unclog your pores and bring back that healthy glow.

My esthetician recommended that men and women (yes, men too!) with healthy skin need to get a facial about four times a year with every change in season. 

Lauren Conrad, one of my favorite lifestyle bloggers and designer, shared that she gets facials every other month and in between does DIY masks.

In an In Style magazine interview, a skin care expert from The Body Shop shares that one a month is the magic number for getting a facial, but with diet and exercise, you can take fewer trips to the spa.

So, basically, find what is right for your budget and for your skin. I would say start with a facial in your late twenties, invest in a good skincare regimen (even if that starts with making sure you take your makeup off at night) and treat yourself to one or two every year.

Facials and Skin Care Routines Are Important.

What you eat and what you do at home matter. This is true for the doctor. It’s true for the dentist. And it’s true for the spa.

Unless you’re smearing pizza grease on your face, your diet will not completely change your face the esthetician told me. I just did the Whole30, a new 30 day cleanse, and by eating my vegetables and drinking lots of water, my skin was more hydrated and therefore clearer.

Diet and exercise are so important to being healthy. But, genetics play a big role in your skin conditions, and ladies, so do hormones! I asked my esthetician why I was breaking out on my neck and she said that’s because of hormones.

I’ve developed a nighttime skincare regimen. Consistency and using the right products have helped clear up my blackheads and protect my skin.

There’s five steps to a skin care regimen:

  • Cleanser
  • Exfoliate
  • Toner
  • Serum
  • Moisturizer

I was excited to try some new Bluemercury skincare products. I was using an eye cream from Arbonne, but I learned from my esthetician that you need to combine an eye serum with an eye cream for maximum results. I love Bluemercury’s Hydraboost Eye Serum, it has 4.5 out of 5 stars on their website.

I’ve also started using the Hydraboost Serum 2.0 to my face after washing it. It also has 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Bluemercury website. I like the lightweight formula with ingredients like Peptides and Glycolic Acid that help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. The natural tamarind and vitamin B5 also help plump and hydrate your skin!

Chemical Peels Are Amazing.

Not all treatments are the same. At Bluemercury they offer a few different types of facials that you can combine with eye zone treatments or chemical peels.

I got the most popular facial treatment blend, the modern facial + glycolic peel + vitamin oxygen blast. I added the eye zone treatment for the bags under my eyes.

I had seen another fashion blogger have a chemical peel and she said it wasn’t as scary as it sounded.

I had the glycolic peel – a gentler peel – and didn’t have a bad reaction to it – usually your skin tingles. But I will say to hydrate the day of your facial! When your skin is hydrated, it won’t be as sensitive. So products won’t burn or tingle as much.

It Takes a Minute.

Just like with a healthy diet and exercise, you aren’t fit after one gym session, the same is true for skincare products and facials.

When getting your first facial, don’t be like me and go on a trip the next day. You don’t know how your skin is going to react to the treatment.

Below is a picture of my face immediately after the facial. Warning: my face is so red! I was smiling because I was so relaxed and my esthetician was so nice!

My second photo was taken a few days later, and almost all my redness was gone.

Not all facials are the same. Sometimes you have chemical peels, which literally can cause your skin to peel a few days after the facial. I was lucky and didn’t have any issues. I wore an invisible skincare mask from Bluemercury the first two days after the facial – which meant no make-up. Good thing I was on a roadtrip!


I hope my first facial experience has helped you learn more about skincare and taking care of yourself.

A few takeaways about my first facial is that the process takes about an hour, your face might tingle at some point, and it’s best to have at least one day or an afternoon off right after the facial in case you have a reaction.

Make sure you’re subscribed to Windy City Cosmo and follow Windy City Cosmo on Instagram for behind the scenes on city life!

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.


How I Prepared for Being on WGN Radio

Do you know the best way to prepare for being on the radio for the first time? Not just the radio, but WGN in The Chicago Tribune Tower. The answer is a tequila party.

Thursday, August 17, 2017, Amanda Elliott, founder of Windy City Cosmo was part of a special radio show – Pretty Late with Patti Vasquez Birthday Edition. We were celebrating Patti’s birthday and talking about dating in Chicago.

Since this was my first radio show – I had a few questions – like how long I was going to be on air, what topics they wanted to discuss, and most importantly – how would I sound on air.

So, I thought the best option to prepare for a late night radio show was to:

1) ask my friends who runs a podcast how I should prepare (check out Deena McKay from Black Tech Unplugged: A Tech Podcast here)

2) figure out the meaning of life – and read this blog post 

3) go to a Codigo Tequila tasting event before the show

4) make friends

5) invite a friend

6) take the PR girls’ advice and take the last bottle of tequila left at the party and bring it to the show

7) go to the Chicago Riverwalk and have a moment  (aka cry)

8) eat a Wonder Woman cookie

While this thought process may sound like a bad idea – it was actually the best thing that I’ve ever done. And not only that, being on the radio is by far the coolest experience I’ve ever had.

So, I know you want to know how this night unfolded. I’m going to say yes I made it to my interview.

I’m Going to be on The Radio:

It was finally the day – the day I was going to be on the radio. I had met Patti Vasquez at a Lollapalooza after party. I was talking to Ken Smith and pitching him to be on his show, The Mancow Show. We had met at brunch and after about a year or two of pitching, he finally said that he was doing me a favor by not putting me on his show. I later found out that it was the truth because I had dinner with Chris Bukowski, former Bachelor contestant, who was on The Mancow Show and he backed up what Patti described as being a pretty raunchy show.

Back to the story – so Ken told me to talk with Patti Vasquez at this Lollapalooza after party. I was in a sparkly dress from Akira – 3 fake tattoos in, with a donut hole from the donut wall in one hand and my second Jack and coke in the other. It was about 1 am. It was there that Patti and I talked about how I shouldn’t be on The Mancow Show, but should be on her show. Less than two weeks later – it was happening. I was going to be on Patti’s show!

The night actually started in the late afternoon when I got into a huge fight with the guy I’m dating. This is how all good stories start – with a fight. I walked away and he went on his guy’s trip.

About two hours later, I left work late and decided to go to a Codigo tequila launch party. I show up, unattached. After a few crab legs and a tequila drink, we made it to introductions. I had a fellow blogger from Chicagogrammers, a Chicago Instagram Influencer community,  meet me at the party.

There were a few notable people at the Codigo launch party including the Chicago Food Dude, Adam Soko,  who was there with Victoria Kent, Founder of the restaurant, hospitality and lifestyle company, Victoria Kent PR. Victoria immediately knew the show, Pretty Late with Patti Vasquez, because a couple of her clients were on the show. She advised to be calm and bring a bottle of alcohol to the show.

Later into the night I met the Account Director of Lion & Lamb PR, Amanda Watenberg, and Chief Strategy Officer at The Worth Agency, Shaena Flangan.  They helped me further prep by asking me questions about Tinder dates and what it’s like dating in Chicago. You know it’s bad when you start quoting 90’s country songs about a broken heart, John Anderson’s “Straight Tequila Night.”

Getting to the WGN Studio:

Around 11:30 pm it was time to walk the mile to The Chicago Tribune. Tequila bottle in hand, we were off.

This part of the night was the saddest. It was time to switch tequila for some fresh air. Me and my blogger friend, Lee from It’s In Chicago, took a walk on the river walk to The Chicago Tribune. It was here where I started to realize I’m about to be on air -where I thought about what I had to say. I thought about why meeting in person was important, but then how despite how much I wanted a career, I still wanted a man and that there’s no guarantee. No matter how many jokes you remember or dates that you go on, you can still end up swiping for the fifth year in a row to find your soulmate.

I heard my phone vibrate and two guys were texting me. It wasn’t the time for “why didn’t we work” texts. I sat on the river and put my hands to my face crying about my ex’s, about the fight I had with the guy I’m dating, and about being worthy enough to be on the radio. My friend, Lee just stood there – he let me cry. And then he nudged me – assuring me to dry my eyes because I had a job to do.

The Green Room:

We made it to The Chicago Tribune and checked in. I’m not going to lie, it was an incredible experience. I literally had so many strangers help me prepare for this moment. We went to the green room and we took all the back stage photos we could. It was a special night because there were Wonder Woman cookies. I felt that extra boost of confidence  – that women were supporting women.  And, also bloggers were helping bloggers.



On Air:

It was finally the moment I was waiting for – being on air. We were escorted to the iconic WGN radio studio, where I learned it was Patti’s birthday. We all took a group photo.

This special edition included Dan Kotowski (Child Serv), Scott Stantis (Chicago Tribune Cartoonist), Rep. Anderson, and Rep.  Ann Moller, Amanda Elliott from from Windy City Cosmo and Comedian Paul Farahvar, host of the Podcast “Singles Only”.

I had the pleasure of being on air with the host, Patti Vasquez, Dan Kotowski (Child Serv), and Comedian, Paul Farahvar.

Once we went on, it was like having a normal conversation. We literally talked about dating faux pas like using a Groupon on a date, and about where we find men. Then we went on to talk about ghosting and how to get out of a bad date.

It was a perfect evening. We closed the show at 2 am, when we all got a moment to share our gratitude. I felt so encouraged to do this segment and supported by friends and party goers alike.

In the segment I said, “I’m just thankful for the Chicago community. There’s really great people who are actually supportive of your goals and dreams. The bloggers – I mean I’m part of Chicagogrammers and the person who is here tonight is part of Chicagogrammers and they’re all very supportive of helping you reach your goals so that’s huge that we actually care about each other.”

I feel like Chicago is a special city with a great sense of community and support not only in business and blogging, but in life. Lucky to be Windy City Cosmo and live here and date here and write another chapter of my life here.

What I learned from being on the radio:

There’s a few things I learned from this experience.

1) You never know who you are going to meet at brunch.

2) Be persistent – even if you don’t get the job or the opportunity you were pitching, it might lead to a better pitch.

3) Build a support network – tell people about what you’re doing and help one another.

4) Take lots of photos.

5) Bring a gift – even if it is a bottle of tequila.

You can listen to the full show here. My segment starts an hour into the show. Let me know what you think about dating in the city and about preparing for a big presentation or event in your career. Cheers!




Woman Wins Exporter of The Year 2016 Award for Illinois

When I met Sophia Leaguedi, General Manager of Ameroc Export Inc., she said she would do anything for women.

Leaguedi, a Moroccan woman, accepted the Exporter of the Year 2016 Award for Illinois at the International Business Forum in Chicago this November.

During the International Business Forum, over three days, The U.S. Commercial Service brought together international delegates and business leaders from Illinois and 23 other states to discuss international business opportunities in fields like renewable energy, infrastructure, and advanced transportation. The forum concluded recognizing Leaguedi’s accomplishments.

Leaguedi’s story started in Morocco. She had a finance job and she told herself, “Now I have a job, now what. I feel like I  can do better. My capability was beyond the reality.”

With her husband, she owned several businesses in California. After learning the business world first hand and experiencing failures including receiving containers of damaged goods. Not only did she experience business losses, but she also had to overcome personal losses including the death of her husband.

Leaguedi took her losses and she discovered that with her business acumen and her ties to Africa, she could start her own international trade business. She founded Ameroc Export Inc., an international trade company that specializes in material exports from America to Africa and the Middle East.

“If the opportunities are not there, find out how to make opportunities,”  Leaguedi told me.

She developed exclusive agreements with Tenessee’s Mitco Industrial Tire Manufacturing that helped propel her business into the award-winning company it is today.

“Be passionate about what you are doing. Make sure that you are good at it. Believe in yourself. Be determined and mostly persistent. If you have all this then you are on the right track, ”  Leaguedi advises for female entrepreneurs. 

Leaguedi has been recognized for her hard work several times including her award for Enterprising Woman of the Year in 2016.


Belle & Whistle Swimwear Adds a Little Silk, a Patent, and a Cocktail Bikini to Chicago Boat Parties

Summer is a beautiful time in Chicago for sandy beaches, kayaking the Chicago river and of course boating.

A native Chicagoan recalls spending her summer’s on Lake Michigan and enjoying the boat parties. From her experiences, she got a business idea – a fashionable business idea.

She’s a real life Elle Woods, as she stands before me, a petite blonde in head to toe pink, except she started out as a lawyer and had to learn the fashion industry.

Meet Carla Ham, founder and president of Belle & Whistle, a one of a kind bikini line that draws from the burlesque scene and the Chicago boat scene, to bring the modern day belle a combination of glam, sophistication, and practicality.

In her recent launch, Ham has transformed the industry with a special attention to detail and a solution to woman’s biggest beach problem – a place to put her valuables.

Coming up with her design, Ham not only created several different looks with various fabrics in rich jewel tones like fuchsia pink, royal blue and emerald green with embellishments from sequins to rope to metallic jewels. She also created a solution for women to place their valuables on them while also adding to the look instead of detracting from it.

A Swimsuit with a built in Waterproof Clutch:

So, she created a waterproof silk back tie for each suit called the Peek-A-Boo Pockets that have a a zipper at the end to hold a cellphone, keys, an I.D. and cash. The design seamlessly flows into the suit and is pictured below in the blue bikini.

“My goal is to grow a memorable brand with show stopping bikinis, while cultivating Chicago’s unique, fashion industry by headquartering here in my hometown, ” says Ham. “We have a lot of talent here with an interesting mix of backgrounds and styles.”

Ham worked with a designer to launch the line. And she explained that it took several steps, including fitting the suits for each body type. For each size she sells on her website, she had a different model to make sure the fit was created with each woman’s unique frame and body in mind.

Then came the details of the suit. With sequins and other delicate additions, Ham tested each design for quality – one of the most extensive parts of the fashion creator’s journey to this cocktail swimwear launch.

Ham’s collection is sold exclusively online, but she also has started to debut her line this summer at various festivals including one of the most creative markets, Chicago Reader’s Made in Chicago 2016 Market.

It’s so exciting to meet another fashion designer part of Chicago’s startup scene who started as one who admired fashion, but had to learn the industry and the details of making clothes for women’s bodies. But the true value is that she saw a need – cocktail inspired swimwear, and she made it not only for show but also for use. One of the hardest parts of fashion is that it’s not practical. It’s not practical to walk in the city in heels all day or to bring a purse with you to a boat party.

Ham created a line that is beautiful, practical, and adds sophistication where no other swimsuit has gone before. It’s truly inspiring to see what one woman could create in a year simply by seeing a need and looking to fill it.

Ham continues to practice law and grow her new cocktail swimsuit line.

In her first year, Ham created seven designs: the showstopper, the goddess, the vixen, the diva, the starlet, the seductress, and the princess.  One of the distinguished cocktail swimsuit looks is featured in the 2017 Dallas Cowboy cheerleader calendar.

I asked Ham if she has seen her design worn at Chicago boat parties this summer. She looked at me and said, no but she was excited to see an Instagram photo of a client in her designs.





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.