Meet Gabrielle Union at Ulta Beauty for Flawless Hair Launch Chicago September 28th

There are few people I look up to as much as Gabrielle Union. I love how real she is about working out, family time, and glam. I first became enthralled with her for her role as news anchor, Mary Jane Paul on BET’s Being Mary Jane.

This fall she’s continuing to add to her business line with her own book – We Need More Wine. She’s also furthering her partnerships in the beauty industry. Next week, on September 28, 2017, Gabrielle Union will be in Chicago to launch her own haircare line at Ulta Beauty. The line is called FLAWLESS by Gabrielle Union and is designed for women with textured hair to have more good hair days than bad. Flawless hair care products have a combination of 3 oils including Argan Oil, Avacado Oil, and Marula Oil all made responsibly with Fair Trade principles to promote the South African markets.

I wanted to share with you this special opportunity to meet my favorite savvy businesswoman and role model, Gabrielle Union. She has been through the journey of loving her hair – something that I have struggled with my whole life. It’s seriously been on my summer bucket list every summer.

“I’ve finally gotten to a place of self-acceptance and recognizing that my natural hair is beautiful — and so is whatever weave I may wear,” Gabrielle Union told Glamour. “I’m perfectly happy rocking an Afro puff, my French braids, Senegalese twists, a faux-hawk, or an ombré wig, or heat-styling my natural hair with extensions, like in the photo above. And that makes me a happy person in my life.”

Thursday, September 28th Gabrielle Union is going to be at Ulta Beauty (430 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611) for a meet & greet in honor of the launch of Flawless!

In order to qualify for the meet and greet with the star – starting Friday, September 22nd the first 200 customers to purchase 1 Flawless product at this Michigan Ave. Ulta Beauty will receive a pass to meet Gabrielle on September 28th. Once the first 200 are sold out, the offer is expired.

Let me know on Instagram or Twitter if you get to meet her by tagging #windycitycosmo! Best of luck!

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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. 

Sunday strolls. #stlouis #art

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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.

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Meet the Chicago Entrepreneur Behind The Beauty App, LISA

There’s a lot that goes into getting ready for an event. And by event, I mean there’s a lot that goes into getting ready for a week. Is your hair done? Did your gel manicure start to peel?

The more that I attend parties and grow in my marketing and blogging career, the more I realize that it takes makeup and maybe a straightener to get good photos – not just Snapchat filters. And most of all, putting on your best face and looking good not only presents a better image for you and your brand, it also makes you feel more confident.

One platform that is here to help is the LISA App, the first open marketplace mobile application that connects clients to artists in the beauty industry by allowing them to schedule high-quality personal services whenever and wherever they want them, at a price that suits their budget. I had heard of the LISA App from The Tape Play’s launch party and from Chicagogrammers first birthday party and then at the Chicago Yelp Drink and Learn event at Workspring. 

After meeting some of their stylists and having my own hair and makeup done by some of the beauticians through the LISA App, I reached out to the founder, Lisa Nation to learn what inspired her to start this beauty on demand business, the apps that help her streamline her business and some of her secrets to B2B (business to business) success.

How did you get the idea for your business?

It was my husband’s idea, he had that ah ha moment driving to work one day. I’ve been a licensed hairstylist for over 23 years but for the past 17 years I have worked independently due to the commission split salons take from each service provided. When he explained his early concept, I jumped in head first and started to build out the infrastructure from the Artist’s perspective.

How long did you sit on the idea before taking steps to make it a reality?

September 24th, 2014 was when we hashed out the primitive idea, three days later he quit his job and we were off to the races.  We raised our first $100,000 in 2 days with just the concept of LISA, although the app was nameless at the time.

What were some of the steps that you took to create your business? Did you survey people? Did you seek out investors? Did you start solo?

Neither us knew one bit how to build an app, but, we are both resourceful. We strategically put the right people together and started whiteboarding. Once we felt we were in a good spot we held an investor presentation for 60 potential investors. We raised 1mm within 24 hours.

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Lisa Nation, Founder of The Lisa App.

How did you attracts stylists and beauticians?

At LISA we believe that anyone who can use scissors, a brush, chemicals or nimble fingers and make someone look and feel good deserves to be coined an Artist.

How do you build a platform for a community that doesn’t even realize a disruption is needed?

You have to listen to the people who live it everyday, what are their struggles, what would they like to see changed. That’s why LISA is a company that was built by the Artists for the Artists.

Before we began development, we invited 30 Artists to a summer camp in Florida. For 5 days 30 strangers came together to tell us what they would need if an app were built for them. We listened! You cannot build something if the people who are going to use it do not believe in it.

Can you tell me more about your business and the services you offer?

LISA is the first ever, true, open marketplace in the beauty industry that connects consumers and Artists in real time. LISA’s #1 focus is the B2B marketplace. LISA helps over 100 corporations supply beauty and wellness perks to their hardworking employees. LISA has designed software to assist these corporations to make it user-friendly for not only the back office (HR, Benefit Directors) but also for the employees to easily book in office services via the app. As we continue to grow our B2B efforts we will slowly start to promote the B2C marketplace in order for the employees to bring these services home with them.

Where’s your favorite part of getting ready for an event – makeup/hair/nails?

That’s a tough question to answer, I spend so much time making other people look and feel good, I rarely take the time or enjoy getting myself ready. If I had to choose, it would be hair.

What’s the hardest part of owning your own business?

Accountability. No one cares more about your business than you.

How do you distinguish yourself from competitors?

The goal is not to be first and best, the goal is to be early and better. We studied all of our competition and simply did it better. We learned from their mistakes and created features that they did not have, ie; open-marketplace, B2B strategy and all around Artist functionality.

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Do you use any apps to manage your business? If so, what are your favorites?

MailChimp, I use it to view report. Grammarly. Email tracker pro (I’m always watching to see who has opened my emails), Trello; this is how our team shares updates and stay organized and Zapier, I get a notification every time a consumer requests an Artist for a service.

What, do you find, is the hardest part of starting a business?

Prioritizing. Staying with your mission. There is such a temptation to sway from your original concept. DON’T. It will cause you to lose focus.

How do you network as an entrepreneur? Do you use LinkedIn? Do you send emails? Do you go to events?

It’s all about networking. I have joined many groups that inspire me and help me grow as an entrepreneur. I go to and participate in as many events as I possibly can. (get some networking tips here)

Sometimes I’m so tired, I don’t want to go, but I know I have to because it takes only one person and a 3-minute conversation to open a new door for you and you never know who that may be.

Since we are heavily focused on B2B, I’m on LinkedIn more than I am on FB or Instagram. LinkedIn is a terrific resource to learn about companies and the people who work there. Most of my business is email. One thing I have learned through this process is though is to avoid emailing Monday’s and Friday’s.

Windy City Cosmo experienced this first hand and was part of the LISA app’s promo video with Tape Play. (see video below).

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Being Single Costs an Extra $2K a Year and Other Reasons You’re Poor

You took fake it till you make it too far.

We’re entering the summer months – which in Chicago is a very big deal. It’s that time where buying rounds of drinks (at every rooftop in the city) is important. We’re getting fake tans and taking yoga classes and getting the matching yoga pants that are trending on Instagram.

But before you start doing it for the gram (yes, we saw you throw out the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino), you might want to take some advice from the goddesses of being the plus one of the rich and the famous, Guest of a Guest. 

Guest of a Guest recently published a post detailing why you’re poor. They covered it all from Ubering every day (yes, it’s still cool to walk a few blocks, even in heels) to buying a name brand white t-shirt instead of the value pack at Target.

I did a double take when I saw that dating around can set you back an upwards of $2,000 a year. Ang then Guest of a Guest emphasized, “No, seriously, studies have demonstrated this.”

If you’re trying to save for a summer vacation and wondering why you have no funds to go somewhere and get an actual tan (Cabo, Meekanus, anyone?) then you need to stop what you’re doing and check yourself.

On the list (there are 13 reasons) included:

  • Buying name brand instead of bulk
  • Ubering everyday
  • Doing it for the gram
  • You’re single

For more financial advice, learn from this guru who talks about giving up Uber and brunch to save for bigger investments. 

Cheers for taking a moment to be financially savvy! No one will know that your white button down isn’t Burberry and if you’re staying at home drinking Barefoot wine and Netflix and Chilling instead of buying dinner for your next one night stand. We get it, you’re bad and boujee.

 

 

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Craft Beer Week is in Your Chicago Neighborhood This May

Nothing quite satisfies like craft beer – for some people. If that’s you – then this week is your week.

Bringing together Chicago’s craft beer aficionados, the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild is hosting its annual Chicago Craft Beer Week from May 18 through May 25, 2017.

There is a number of great events every night to prepare you for excellent craft beer options for your Memorial Day boat parties.

I’m personally excited for a number of these events (yes, I’m a cosmo martini girl, but beer is also sexy). A number of breweries from all of Chicago will be participating, including newbie, Dovetail Brewery (1800 W. Belle Plaine, Chicago, IL).

Three-Course Beer/Food Tasting:

On May 18th, there’s a Three-Course Beer/Food Tasting Menu at ALULU. They’ve prepared a special three-course tasting menu for $38 just for the week.

1st COURSE
BEER: Sky Malta Rue – tropical citrus IPA
PAIRED w/ shrimp ceviche + house crackers

2nd COURSE
BEER: Halcyon Equinox – herbal Belgian Saison orange zest PAIRED w/ milk braised pork + glazed carrot tartine

3rd COURSE
BEER: Aurum Defender – Earthy full-bodied Bier de Garde with wildflower honey
PAIRED w/ ribeye tartare with roasted bone marrow.

Beer Under Glass:

Beer Under Glass is The official kick off to Chicago Craft Beer Week, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, May 18 at Garfield Park Conservatory. This event is filling up so purchase tickets now.

Dovetail Brewery is partnering with Roots Pizza (Chicago Ave location) and doing a tap takeover with Lake Effect at JP Burkes Patio & Tap Tuesday, May 23.

Brewsters – Celebrating Women in Craft:

May 22nd is a big night. It has two events that look amazing.

First, there’s a whole night dedicated to celebrating women in craft at CHAOS Brew Club.

Also, that night is an Intro to Craft Beer Class. You’ve probably dated someone who likes craft beer or you might decide that it’s something you want to learn more about. P.S. This is in Aurora at Brewpub.

For a full list of Chicago Craft Beer Week activities (organized by neighborhood and date and time) visit the official website here.

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