5 Chicago Lifestyle Bloggers: The Story Behind Their Following

Chicago Lifestyle. How do you become the Chicago cosmopolitan city girl you’ve always aspired to become? At Windy City Cosmo, we focus on building genuine relationships and the beauty, events, skills, and cocktails behind them.

There are a lot of Chicago lifestyle bloggers with a lot of followers. As we’ve dined with and liked their Instagram posts, a few of them stood out. I’ve spoken with some of the most active Chicago lifestyle bloggers to learn why they blog and how they build a following. These bloggers post about food events, botox and beauty trends, the next best cocktail, how to get over your exboyfriend, and how to throw your next holiday party.

If you’re looking for what to do on a Friday night, an event to take your girlfriends to if you’re a Dior girl, or if you are more Chanel, and some fashion tips, then let me introduce you to some of my trusted Chicago lifestyle bloggers on Instagram.

This article includes the following bloggers:

Hungerlust Travel, I admire her photography and how she makes me want to wanderlust.

Now You Know Events/Appetite 4 Adventure, I love how she is always on the scene at the latest food events. She always makes me hungry with her cheesy pizzas and boozy cocktails.

Once Upon a Dollhouse, I love their personalities and their twin vibes when it comes to photo shoots. If you are looking for outfit inspiration, they are always adding a little sparkle and maybe a bow.

The Haute Seeker, I love her weekend events roundup. She always has something creative.

Jodidangerous, I love that this Instagram has spunk and variety, but also serenity.

Hungerlust Travel:

Meet Lily from Hungerlust Travel.

She’s a food and travel blogger based in West Loop Chicago. When she’s home, she introduces you to new and classic restaurants around the city, and when she travels, she post photos of my activities and meals to inspire you to visit those cities as well!

How did you get started?

Hungerlust used to be solely a food Instagram, then I started to feel too restricted that I couldn’t post what I was seeing on vacation, only what I was eating. I’ve had my Instagram since December 2015, and just started blogging this summer.

View this post on Instagram

Lakeview, Chicago: Earlier this month I attended a @dablonvineyards wine tasting at the beautiful music box theatre. Dablon is a winery in southwestern Michigan that is aiming to chance the face of Michigan wine! The reputation is that all wine in the area is sweet, given the cold climate. However, they're growing a lot of traditional dry grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir! I went on a Michigan tasting a few years ago that involved mostly ice wine and s'mores wine so this year I'm going to plan my own and start it off at Dablon! Their tasting room has been recently renovated and they have a brand new private room that I can't wait to visit! #hungerlustlakeview #dablonandcg #dablonwine #chicagogrammers

A post shared by lily📍chicago | travel | food (@hungerlusttravel) on

What’s your favorite platform to share content? Do you use social tools to help you? If so, which ones?

I am solely Instagram at this time, but I know I need to start working on Pinterest more to grow my blog viewers.

How much time do you devote to blogging each week?

I spend about 10-15 hours on Instagram per week, but blogging is more sporadic. When I sit down to write a new city guide, I will spend 5-10 hours on it over a few days, but then I go weeks without adding new content… oops! (which is actually one of the current trends according to Orbit Media’s research with over 1,000 bloggers). I post on Instagram once a day.

How do you choose what to share with your readers or followers?

I share a photo if it’s visually pleasing, and I enjoyed the story behind it. I could have a beautiful picture, but if I didn’t enjoy the activity or meal, I won’t share it (which is similar to what Erin from 312 Food does, as well).

You can follow Hungerlust Travel on Instagram or her blog below:

www.instagram.com/hungerlusttravel
www.hungerlusttravel.com

Now You Know Events:

Meet Katie Cahnmann from Now You Know Events.

Katie created Now You Know Events (NYK) to offer a comprehensive site to share cool events and openings happening in and around Chicago. It’s an easy way for anyone to find something interesting and fun to do. She tries to share a little bit of everything to cover everyone’s interest from fashion to charity, food, sports, art, free, etc.

Kate
How did you get started?

I was working full-time as the Director of Social Support at a charter high school on the south side of dealing with really heavy issues with my students – anger, depression, suicide, gang violence, etc. I needed an outlet I sought out fun things to do in Chicago and would invite friends out. Everyone encouraged me to start my own website as I knew about an eclectic mix of events going on in and near the city. That’s how NYK was born!

What’s your favorite platform to share content? Do you use social tools to help you? If so, which ones?

I have a website (www.nowyouknowevents.com) where I share all upcoming events as well as recaps/reviews of events and places, occasional interviews with cool people doing cool things in Chicago, photos, and more. I also use MailChimp to send out newsletters and social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I used to use Pinterest but not so much anymore.

Who inspires you in the blogging community?

The entire group of incredible bloggers. There are so many. I’ve belonged to different groups of bloggers and stayed up-to-date with some including Chicago Bloggers Network, Windy City Bloggers, and Chicagogrammers to name a few. There are so many amazing bloggers in Chicago and it’s been a super supportive community.

How much time do you devote to blogging each week?

I used to devote a lot more but given everything that has happened in my personal and professional life over the last couple of years that time has decreased. I used to update the blog daily but now I do it weekly.

How do you choose what to share with your readers or followers?

I really try to be conscious of my readers, subscribers, and followers and only share what I truly believe they will appreciate and enjoy. Occasionally, I will share things I personally love and just hope my followers do, too. My hope is that anything I post resonates with my readers.

You can follow Appetite for Adventure on Instagram or Now You Know Events blog below:

Website: http://www.nowyouknowevents.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NowYouKnowEvents/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NYK_Events
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/appetite_4_adventure/

Once Upon a Dollhouse:

Meet Caitlin Campbell and  Danielle Sommerfeld, the dolls behind Once Upon a Dollhouse.

Once Upon a Dollhouse chronicles the dolls’ friendship and their adventures as they celebrate the beauty of life. Their ultimate goal is to inspire readers to become their healthiest and happiest selves – whether it’s through your own best friend, yoga, music, crystal healing or even fashion.

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How did you get started?

This has to be one of our favorite questions! Of course we have a story behind it. Shall we start with Once upon a time… ? We met by a combination of serendipity and magic and became the fastest of friends. Soon enough, we became roommates and moved into the glam pad that will forever be remembered as our life-size Dollhouse. The Dollhouse became the meeting place for all of our best friends where we shared laughs, meals, girl talk and plenty of champagne. Before we knew it, people started to ask us what events we were going to, our favorite music to listen to, our workout routines, our favorite boutiques and more. Then, we decided to write it all down and to share our sparkle with the world! Once Upon a Dollhouse was officially launched in January 2016 to chronicle our best friend adventures and celebrate the beauty of life. In this world, our ultimate goal is to share positivity and inspire our fans and followers to become their healthiest, happiest self.

What’s your favorite platform to share content? Do you use social tools to help you? If so, which ones?

Instagram is our absolute favorite! Our main resource is each other. It’s important for us to always be in constant communication so that we can maintain an authentic brand message that we are both proud of. We encourage each other and celebrate our ideas and every milestone we hit along the way.

Who inspires you in the blogging community?

We have met so many inspirational women in the blogging community right here in Chicago! We are proud to be a part of such a strong network of women that supports one another. A few of our go-to gals are Windy City Cosmo (duh!), Julz Chez and Caroline Taft.Everyone has their own unique story…. WCC is always there for us . and right now is training for a marathon, Julz Chez is the sweetest small town gal turned fashion maven and Caroline Taft is a former U.S. Army Reserves Intelligence Officer turned culinary creative and photographer. The best part about these inspiring ladies is that we’ve become great friends along the way!

How much time do you devote to blogging each week?

It really varies week to week. For us, it’s all about balance. We balance our friendship with our business to keep our motivation, consistency and vibrant energy in tact.

How do you choose what to share with your readers or followers?

We like to share content with our readers that sparks a sparkle! We’re an open book and looking to share our light and positivity with others – especially at a time when we need it most! Stay tuned for a more “risque” topic coming up on the blog soon about aging gracefully.

We like to share content with our readers that sparks a sparkle! We’re an open book and looking to share our light and positivity with others – especially at a time when we need it most! Stay tuned for a more “risque” topic coming up on the blog soon about aging gracefully.

You can follow Once Upon a Dollhouse on Instagram or on their blog below:
www.instagram.com/onceuponadollhouse
www.facebook.com/onceuponadollhouse
www.pinterest.com/OUADollhouse
www.onceuponadollhouse.com

The Haute Seeker:

Meet Taylor Justin from The Haute Seeker.

The Haute Seeker is a curated lifestyle blog that seeks out and shares the unseen fashion, food, arts, and community good in the city of Chicago.

How did you get started?

I am not new to this. I’m inquisitive by nature. I moved to Chicago out of college and had no family or friends in the city. I wasn’t going to sit at home so I would go out everyday and visit neighborhoods that interested me. I became very acclimated to Chicago and always knew where to go and became a resource to close friends. I decided to challenge myself and become a resource for others who are culture vultures and that’s when I started The Haute Seeker.

What’s your favorite platform to share content? Do you use social tools to help you? If so, which ones?

Instagram by far! I treat it like a mood/ inspiration board.  I use Buffer to keep my social media in check. Thank God I discovered that tool. It helps me so much!

Who inspires you in the blogging community?

I am inspired by the stories that people share. It’s awesome to seek fellow bloggers shine and grow.

How much time do you devote to blogging each week?

Every single day. If I am not writing I’m planning my content and generating leads. My post goals are two a week, 3 if I’m being very ambitious.

How do you choose what to share with your readers or followers?

I share what I would want to read. I’ve realized my content is not for everyone and it never will be because not everyone likes the same things. And that’s okay! If you are inspired by everyday people, you like interesting things, or are moved by cultural innovations than you will love my content.

You can follow The Haute Seeker on Instagram or on their blog below:
@thehauteseek
www.thehauteseeker.com

Jodidangerous

Meet Jodi Dudek. Her blog will be launching in the next couple of months. For now, you can find her on Instagram: @jodidangerous

Jodi wanted to use my actual name, but make it a little fun. The “dangerous” is because she does what I want. 😉 People should follow her because I’ve experienced a lot in life and continue to enjoy a good adventure and try to share that in a thoughtful way. She’ll be working on some fun things shortly, she’d love to grow interest.

How did you get started?

I was interested in blogs and eBay stars years ago, have been in the design community for over 15 years, joined Instagram when it very first started, and am even now head of social media creative for a large company. Travelling and being naturally curious have been huge catalysts, and I have grown to really love meeting new people and sharing great stories!

What’s your favorite platform to share content? Do you use social tools to help you? If so, which ones?

Instagram, hands down. Specifically, I post an Instagram Story nearly every day.

Who inspires you in the blogging community?

So many people. On a large level, Brit+Co and Bri from DesignLoveFest really kill it. Beyond that, I appreciate anyone who is well-curated, and even informative… thoughtfulness, organization, and beautiful content!

How much time do you devote to blogging/content creation each week?

It used to be a decent amount, but due to having a full-time gig in social media, my presence has been minimal.

How do you choose what to share with your readers or followers?

First, I don’t over-share. Relevancy is fairly important, but also things that I am passionate about.

You can follow JodiDangerous on Instagram here:

Jodidangerous is the only one that I’m comfortable with at this time… stay tuned!

Conclusion:

There’s a lot of Chicago bloggers. Some are sassy, some take a killer #ootd (outfit of the day) photo and others build a community around cultural events or the love of shoes.

I hope you connect with some of these Instagrammers and bloggers.

Who do you love to follow and why do you like or comment on their content?

 

 

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Rest and Relaxation at the Palmer House

My friend is a workaholic so she decided to book a room at the Palmer House and bring me along for a girl’s weekend.

We spent Sunday night for Memorial Day weekend in a queen sized room.


There was no view. We had a full load’s worth of towels from one night. And for once, we drank more water than alcohol.

This is my second staycation of my life. It’s a recent trend that I haven’t really explored because I love traveling.

But, there are so many parts of Chicago to explore that staying in a different part of town can seriously feel like you are in a different part of the world.

Transit to the Palmer House: Taxis v. Uber

My friend and I both live in the northside of Chicago. We could easily take the CTA redline downtown, but she said we should take an Uber. Uber’s were surge pricing, so we grabbed a taxi—big mistake.

This taxi driver was nice at first. He called us models and played Beyonce. But, then my friend got on the phone and the taxi driver asked me to take off my sunglasses so that he could see my eyes. I looked down and started playing Views. 

Shortly after his wife called and he put their conversation (in another language) on Bluetooth.

We finally got to the Palmer House, and I jumped out of the taxi. And taxi drivers wonder why we take Uber’s.

Which way to the Steam Room?

The Palmer House is gorgeous. It’s located right off State Street on Monroe.  It’s ornate and has so many passageways, stairways and oddly enough, not enough elevators. We check-in and immediately wanted to do what we came here to do – get a steam and go for a swim.


They have an entire spa on the fifth floor, but we opted for a steam and a few minutes in the Jacuzzi.

I recently joined LA Fitness and have become obsessed with their sauna, but it was nice to be in an actual steam room. It helps you calm down and breathe and not become overwhelmed by your environment.

Becuase the steam room literally makes you feels like you are suffocating.  I had to leave the room twice – but once I started focusing and breathing, I calmed down. If you are feeling stressed – go to the steam room.

It’s Just You and Me (and the rest of the world):

After the dew collected on our skin, it was time for the Jacuzzi.

We realized everyone and all of their children were in the pool. I literally felt like I was at a daycare. So we climbed up the stairs to the more secluded Jacuzzi.

We got in and started chatting. My friend showed me that a Jacuzzi is supposed to be a massage.

We sat back and let the bubbles massage us. I’ve seriously been Jacuzing wrong my whole life.

Steamimg_6319, Jacuzzi, Beautify:

After a little pampering, we decided to grab our third towel of the day and go back upstairs for some Kesha.

The best past of a girl’s weekend is getting ready. My friend loves hair and makeup, so she helped me contour my face. We used Fiona Stiles powder and purple mascara, and then a travel kit from Ulta with eyeshadow and blush.  And yes, it does take 45 minutes to get all dressed up.

 Nando’s Chicken:

My friend grew up in the UK so I surprised her and took her to Nando’s Chicken. Yes, it’s got a casual vibe, but the chicken is so good.

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We ate chicken and talked about our work life. As two single girls, it was nice that girl’s weekend didn’t turn into a diatribe about men but more about talking about our goals and dreams and our next career steps – you know, productive things.

 

 

 

 

Dancing on Hubbard Street:

The best part of staying downtown is walking across the bridge and seeing the Chicago River and all of the beautiful buildings surrounding it at night. It’s sights like this where I am still amazed that I live in such a beautiful city.

We went to Hubbard Street – a spot in Chicago known for its night life. We started the night at Rockit Bar, where I met a girl who is 6’2″ sans heels. We had to take a picture.

We got back to the dance floor and security came beside us.

“What’s he doing?” I asked my friend.

“He’s escorting us.”

After the bar got too techno, we went to Mercer. Mercer always has good music – but not a lot of people. We formed a girl group and started getting low to Jay-Z with more UK girls.

We were going to meet up with a guy, and ended up at the Bottled Blonde, which is on Wells and Illinois. I’ve never been there, but it is pretty amazing.

The drinks are good, the music is on point, and there are people – lots and lots of people. We danced with an Indian visiting from Atlanta.

A guy came up to our table and complimented us for being the most diverse group in the club.

After a few throwbacks (hey, R. Kelly), we walked the mile back to our hotel and like a true girl, spent the rest of the night trying to get feeling back in my toes after five hours in four-inch heels.

Hollywood Theme:

The Palmer Hotel is Hollywood themed. It has pictures of movie star classics on the wall, and yes, you do feel like a movie star just walking into their lobby.

My friend saw a picture on the wall and she was intrigued. She went online immediately and looked up her name from the picture. It was Dorothy Dandridge.

Dorothy Dandridge is like Kerry Washington. She is stunning.

Dorothy Dandridge was part of the Dandridge sisters, but like Beyonce, she went solo and then was cast in a movie that made her a sensation. She was the first African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Carmen Jones (an adaption of the opera, Carmen). Gace Kelly won the award, but she was still an overnight sensation.

She became over $100,000 in debt from bad management (p.s. never date your manager). She was going to make a club appearance when they found her dead at 42 in September 1965. It was reported that she didn’t even have $2 in her bank account.  A tragic life; a Hollywood life.

You can read more about her life here.

Amenities of Life:

We woke up the next morning and jumped on the bed. Yes, that’s what you should do. It makes you feel like a rockstar. My friend did a four-mile run and then we did a repeat of last nightimg_6383 – steam, Jacuzzi, beautify. We met a .mother and daughter from Minneapolis. Pro tip – Minneapolis is one of the most healthiest cities in America. I asked her how that is. She said it’s because all of the lakes are free and open to the public.

“And what do you do during winter?” I asked.

“Oh, I go to the gym,” she laughed

All a girl needs is a good steam, some Jacuzzi time, music and makeup, a dance floor, and some Burberry Touch mixed with Victoria Secret’s Heavenly, and some next door chicken from Nando’s, and some Matcha GreenTea Lemonade from Goddess and the Baker. Those are the true amenities of life.

We grabbed breakfast at Goddess and the Baker along with the rest of Chicago  – biscotti and hot chocolate ,please.

I came into this weekend feeling overwhelmed, and now I feel confident and refreshed and most importantly, relaxed.

It’s so nice to meet all of the beautiful and spirited people who live in Chicago and who visit. But, it’s also nice when you get the steam room to yourself and can walk home from the club.

Cheers to girl’s weekends.

For more ideas for girl’s weekends or just a weekend travel, subscribe to Windy City Cosmo here.

xoxoxoxo

 

 

 

 

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.

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