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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There’s a New Fashion Designer in Chicago P.S. It’s You

I swear I don’t intend to wear dresses that are short.

I have grouped them in my closet as NSFW.

 

In fact, my favorite dress is this blue Banana Republic dress. The Banana Republic tends to have more conservative dresses, but I still have the same problem. If my legs aren’t overexposed, I feel that my chest is.

 

It’s not that I want to cover every inch of my body – I would just like to not flash the world every time I sit down on the CTA.

Dresses tend to be too short to function in.

It’s a tall girl problem and it’s a short girl problem. It’s a curvy girl’s moment and a skinny girl’s issue as well.

Dresses aren’t made to fit you off the rack. They’re meant to fit you well enough.

Why Doesn’t My Dress Fit?

A woman shared with me her frustration of finding clothes that fit her. She recalled going to her formals with her sorority.

“I hot glued myself into my dress,” Krista Goral said about the dresses she created in college for special occasions.

Goral went through traditional places like J. Crew to get her clothes and she asked tailors to create a better fit, but there wasn’t a simple answer to find clothes that fit her body.

 

Krista Goral, founder of MeasureMake. Photo: Amanda Elliott

 

So, like most entrepreneurs, she created one.

Goral  took one idea, one problem, and decided to quit her job in November and pursue her mission—to make dress shopping not only an enjoyable experience but also to create the perfect fit dress for your body. Her company is MeasureMake and it’s exclusively in Chicago.

“A lot of women have one thing that they don’t like, and every woman thinks it’s just her,” said Goral.

In a blog post on MeasureMake, Goral explains that one size doesn’t fit all for the very reason that “there are no standard sizes of people.”

She started with making dresses for herself and then she reached out to what she called “real clients, like people I don’t know,” Goral described, from Reddit and internet searches, where she found Windy City Cosmo.

I was at Paris Fashion Week when I received my invitation to be one of MeasureMake’s real clients.

The dressmaking process began and ended with a personal touch. We had a phone conversation after my trip, and she set up an appointment.

Design Your Dress:

Like every first time, I was nervous. My first and only time being measured was having a bra fitting. And this was a whole dress fitting.

How naked did I have to get for this?

And where was this happening?

I originally was going to to go to Goral’s apartment, but then she came to my apartment because it was more convenient for my schedule.

I opened the door for my personal fitting and there she was—Krista Goral—in a tunic green top and jeans holding her motorcycle helmet.

I told her that she was like Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. 

After a brief introduction. We were ready to get down to the main event.

I wore yoga pants and a t-shirt.

Getting Measured For a Custom Dress:

“So how do we do this?” I asked.

She had a notepad and measuring tape. She said I just had to stand up, and she would take my measurements.

I put my arms out, and she draped the measuring tape around me. I resisted the urge to suck in.

It was so fast and harmless that a windy day in Chicago feels more intrusive than getting measured.

After being measured was the fun part. She let me choose between two black fabrics and showed me pictures of how others looked in the dress.

“Can we do a split on the sides?” I asked.

And we took it from there—designing my dress—adding sleeves and discussing the length.

The Fabric to Make a Dress:

Though she had a mission, Goral didn’t have a background in design or fashion. So, she started her business with learning as much as she could. She spent months reading and studying about sewing and fabrics and design.

“The toughest part of designing clothes is finding fabrics,” Goral admitted.

And then, after she purchased the fabric, it was a process of making mistakes.

“You can only fix each seam once—maybe twice or then it ruins the fabric,” Goral said.

She started practicing dress making by designing and sewing dresses for herself.

“I went to a thrift store and bought used silk bed sheets,” Goral said, “They were never to sell, just practice.”

All of her fabric now comes from a mill based in New York. She’s proud that her dresses are 100% made in USA from USA materials.

Since she is making individual dresses, she also didn’t need a lot of fabric, just about 10 yards, which was one of the setbacks in finding a mill.

Currently, she has two fabrics to choose from. They are both black and can be turned into little black dresses—with or without sleeves. One of the fabrics is a stricter material, which is more suitable for a date night little black dress of a suit dress for a business meeting. The other dress fabric is a flowy material and is better suited for a sun dress and as I call them, teacher dresses.

The Fitting:

The turnaround from booking an appointment to receiving the dress was quick. Goral said it takes about half a day to complete one dress.

Usually, her dresses require one alteration.

When Goral came to my apartment again to show me the dress, she sat in my living room as she finished watching an episode of Friends.

I closed my walk-in closet door and slipped into the dress.

I had never worn something so fitted. I was nervous looking at every curve on my body in the mirror. I peaked my head out of my closet and said, “Are you ready?”

It was so exciting to see her reaction as I showed her how the dress looked.

I was conscientious of my hips, and we decided to take in the fabric a bit on the bottom and at the waist for a better fit.

Like everything at MeasureMake, Goral adds a personal touch. She never mailed me my dress. She always delivered it in person, even though I live a good 30-45 minute drive away from her.

When I saw the final dress at dinner with her and a friend, I immediately changed into it. Afterward, we had an impromptu photo session in the restaurant. Goral, my dressmaker, actually took all the photos below.

I wore it again to an after-work cocktail party for Kettle One at C Chicago. I paired the little black dress with a suit jacket and it actually looked like a full suit.

Design Your Own Fitted Little Black Dress:

MeasureMake has completed about 15-20 dresses.  Now that Goral has styled her family, her real clients, and Windy City Cosmo she’s ready for you to design your own fitted little black dress.

In just 20 minutes, you can be the next Chicago designer and most importantly, wear your own designs.

Book your free appointment with MeasureMake here to design your very own fitted little black dress.

Update February 2017: Since this Chicago startup has launched, you can now make your own custom dress in a variety of colors. MeasureMake dresses have been featured on The Steve Harvey Show with Bela Gandhi, Founder of Smart Dating Academy, and on other Chicago blogs, like LakeShoreLady.com. 

 

 

Featured Image Photo cCedit: Silvia Pellegrino via photopin (license)

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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