I Planned A Drake Themed Galentine’s Dinner Party In 5 Days And It Was Everything

Having dinner with girlfriends is the best. But add cake and Drake songs – it’s simply the perfect theme I could think of for hosting my first Galentine’s Day dinner in Chicago.

I love a good party (see here, here, and basically all of my Instagram stories). And the reasons why I love them is because they help you bond with people. This Galentine’s Day dinner party was no exception.

First, I’m going to walk you through how I planned the Drake Themed party in five days- from the Drake on a Cake to the location.

Then, I’ll share with you what we did at the party.

How We Got to Drake on a Cake Galentine’s Theme:

The theme was Drake on a Cake. How did we get here? It all started with Chicago Restaurant Week and God’s Plan.

I was having a late lunch, which turned into early cocktails with a few fab Chicago lifestyle and food bloggers.  Drake had just released the song, God’s Plan, and we started talking about the lyrics which led our Instagram-obsessed selves to Drake on the Cake Instagram account.

 

Nicole Triebe from Windy City Dinner Fairy at Restaurant Week. Photo by: The Brazen Gourmand

 

During the lunch, I met the infamous Nicole Triebe, Founder of  Windy City Dinner Fairy, who I had followed on Instagram, but we’d never met in person. And, I’m going to tell you, meeting in person is so important. 

The day we met for Chicago Restaurant Week was also the day I started to promote my new relationship podcast, Ok Cool. We started talking about dating stories in Chicago and we were swapping our worst date stories.

Drake + Good Lobster Rolls + Bad Dates = BFFS

 

After a few laughs, some mussels, and some good cider, I had to interview Nicole about Windy City Dinner Fairy for my blog. So, we set up a date to make a Drake on a Cake and learn more about how she started baking and cooking.

The Drake on a Cake: Making the Cake:

About a week later, what was just girl talk, turned into baking the Drake on a Cake. I started my afternoon with Nicole from Windy City Dinner Fairy with a bottle of champagne. She already had the eggs and some ingredients on the table. Without a recipe, she swirled the batter and tossed in the ingredients to make a double chocolate Drake on a Cake.

 

Baking a Cake with Windy City Dinner Fairy.

 

Meet The Girlboss Behind Windy City Dinner Fairy:

While her cake smelled sweet, her story of becoming a girl boss was about a 15-year long road. See, Nicole always knew what she was good at, but it took time to develop her skills and her clientele. She was working a full-time job as a Paralegal when she started her creative, custom dessert catering company, Windy City Dinner Fairy. She was catering with a friend and made pastries for a coffee shop. And then on her own, Nicole was hired as a personal chef for three CrossFitters. It was when she made cupcakes for a wedding that she realized that this was what she wanted to do. She switched jobs to be an Assistant Underwriter at an insurance company and still kept making cakes and food on the side. Her business had expanded throughout the Chicagoland area. After working two jobs, which she didn’t like very much, she was ready to incorporate her side hustle on her 35th birthday – December 1, 2017.

 

The cakes were cooling, and it was time to pop the champagne. After hearing her story, we brainstormed the best Drake lyrics. Ultimately, we went with “You The F*ckin Best.” Windy City Dinner Fairy then made then made a “You The F*ckin Best”  playlist as she finished icing the cake, and I finished the champagne. I knew that those weren’t just empty words on a cake – she really is the f*ckin best for quitting her job and making her side hustle her business.

 

We Chose the Drake lyrics “You The F*ckin Best” for The Galentine’s Day Cake. 

 

P.S. if you need a visual of what it was like to bake with Nicole, you can watch her in action with Glossed and Found, an online video magazine making a hydrangea cupcake bouquet for Valentine’s Day.

The Galentine’s Day Invites:

One Party Can Lead To Another if you just believe. Chicago influencers from Chicagogrammers came to the Drake on a Cake Galentine’s Day Party. 

I think the only thing to do with a cake is to have a party. So, I went to the monthly Chicagogrammer’s happy hour with 30 other Instagrammers on Wednesday, February 7, 2018.

Some of them had seen my Instagram stories and asked me what Drake on a Cake was.  After Chicago bloggers and influencers Alyssa Erickson from Doughscuit, Allie Barke from Alliesfashionalley, and Katie Cahnmann from Appetite_4_Adventure were interested – I decided it was for a party.

A handful of people were going to the Chicago Pizza Party like Allie Bahcall from Bahcallmemaybe, who works for Yelp and the other half had no plans –  so we choose Saturday night.

I literally met new people that night like Ratanya Bowens and said, “Hi, I’m Amanda, what are you doing Saturday night?” With the blizzard coming on Friday, I knew the more invites the merrier.

So, I had a cake. I had people. Now, I just needed a time and a place. Three days till the party.

The Place to Host a Dinner Party:

Dinner parties are my favorite thing. I realized that I’m still an aspiring cook and so I appreciate the many wonderful chefs in Chicago who introduce me to new foods and flavors.

 

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We had the Galentine’s Party at Urbanbelly in Wicker Park. We had a big table to the side with a green wall in the backdrop for the semi-private dinner party.

 

I went out the next day to a handful of restaurants in Wicker Park and talked to the managers about hosting the dinner party. All three of them were great spots – Bru Chicago, Piece Brewery and Pizza, and Urbanbelly. 

 

I knew I wanted a semi-private event space where I could set up some type of decor. I ultimately chose Urbanbelly because they had this beautiful green backdrop and a nice table space with a corner area for us to drop our coats and purses and do what girls do best – relax and talk. Plus, the manager, Elizabeth was so nice.

The Decor:

If ever there was a time for a Target Run – it’s for a party. Target has really cute decor for $1 or $3. I picked up some cards, balloons, some pens and stickers, and a few photobooth props.

 

Appetite 4 Adventure and AlliesFashionAlley were some of the Chicago bloggers at the Drake dinner party. 

 

Plus I got some champagne gum as a palate gum. It made a great conversation piece.

The Night of The Drake on a Cake Dinner Party:

Let me just say, I loved everything about this party. Urbanbelly in Wicker Park had the table reserved for us with water and chopsticks already on the table.

We all decided on which Ramen and dumplings to order – don’t forget the dumplings. They are small, but flavorful. I got the beef and cheddar and the chicken curry. They were so good! And then I ordered togarashi fries for the table. Which were perfect in between good, spicy bites of my chicken ramen.

Last night was messy, funny, and as real as a Drake song makes me feel. My dreams came true – I threw a Drake themed dinner party for Galentines Day. We made Valentine’s Day cards from Drake lyrics and had a Drake on a Cake. I went to a few restaurants to host the party and @urbanbellychicago was wonderful and made us feel special. After ramen, some dumplings and piña coladas, the manager brought us amazing ice cream shots and pb&j ice cream – soft serve with crunchy peanut butter and huckleberry jelly that even @seriouseats recognized as some of the best ice cream in Chicago. The food was amazing! And I had never been there before. Getting a card written from Drake lyrics made us all laugh and most of all I had amazing company. Cheers to week of love and laughter 🥂

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I had never been to Urbanbelly before – but everything was good and everyone loved it. I learned that the master chef is renowned Chicago chef, Bill Kim, who has been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand and the StarChefs Rising Stars Award.

One of the best parts of Urbanbelly is their cocktails and desserts. Seriously these can be extras and often overlooked when having a big bowl of ramen. But, we had to try. They have house-made signature cocktails including a new pina colada inspired cocktail. I went for the cider.

Making Valentine’s Day Cards From Drake Lyrics:

After we shared dating stories and caught up on life. I had everyone put their name in Valentine’s Day bag. We all wrote out Valentine’s Day cards to each other using Drake lyrics. I think this was one of my favorite parts of the night!

 

We pulled names from the Valentine’s Day bag to write personalized notes using Drake lyrics. 

 

The best Valentine’s Day card made via Drake Lyrics was:

Katie,

Tonight was your night. Go get you some lobsters and shrimp.

You smart and you know it. I get it. I get it. You outdo those pimps.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Love,

Sam

I mean Drake lyrics written as a card had us all laughing.

The next part was dessert. The manager surprised us and brought us some of Urbanbelly’s dessert to try and it was seriously amazing. If you only have room for one dessert – order the shake shot. I was confused when they put a mason jar filled with soft serve and shot glasses on the table – but taking a shot of ice cream is now one of my favorite shots. UrbanBelly’s shake shot has vanilla soft serve, Vietnamese iced coffee & chocolate crisp on top.

 

After Ramen, we took cake shots – which are just as amazing as they sound. 

 

I’ve never tasted peanut butter and jelly in ice cream form – but it was better than the sandwich. They take crunchy peanut butter and mix it with berry compote into the vanilla soft serve. Then, we also sampled the soy caramel soft serve.

Finally, it was time for the cake behind the party – Drake on a Cake. Urbanbelly cut the double chocolate cake and served us. The homemade frosting was so good!

Happy Galentine’s Day:

Our bellies were full and my heart was filled with joy. I’ve always wanted to throw something ridiculous like a Different rake on a Cake party. Celebrities have been my muse for several parties. For my 25th birthday, I threw a 1989 Taylor Swift party and we shut down the bar to make a music video to Shake it Off.

 

We finally got to eat the Drake on a Cake. 

 

So, that’s how you throw a party in five days. Hope you have a great Galentine’s Day and thank you for reading Windy City Cosmo! Remember, you’re the f*ckin best.

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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A New England Taste for Chicago Restaurant Week at Oyster Bah

For this Chicago Restaurant Week – we took a trip – with our forks – to New England for some fresh seafood and nautical ambiance.

This week is what some people call “better than Christmas.” It’s Chicago Restaurant Week from January 26 – February 8, 2018. Chicago Restaurant Week is a dream for Chicago foodies because you get to eat a fixed price menu at some of the hottest and finest Chicago restaurants.

A few bloggers and I got together for a tasting at Oyster Bah (1962 N. Halsted) in Lincoln Park to catch up and eat some fresh seafood.

The food was good. The ambience was perfect. And the company made the experience.

Dig in at Oyster Bah:

Since I know you want to – let’s just dig in. I do really think that you bond over meals. While I love good sauces, fresh seafood, and a savory meal – time flew because of the conversations.

We did Oyster shots together and split a lobster roll. I loved how zesty and fresh everything was! Seriously, get the lobster roll and save room for the mussels!

Restaurant Week is a Great Way to Meetup with Friends and Talk About Your Projects:

Best of all, because we met up during the launch of my relationship podcast, Ok Cool, we started talking about our dating lives. Some of the Chicago bloggers shared our worst dating stories from Match and other places. P.S. I don’t really like Match – it took three months, and I only met up with one person.

My favorite story was about how a guy went to the bathroom during the dinner date and didn’t come back! My friend was left with the bill and oddly, his coat which he left behind. At the end of the night, she gave his coat to a homeless guy and had a few drinks with the bartender, who saw what happened.

Restaurant week is the best way to try favorite dishes from Oyster Bah for a set price. The lunch special is $22 and dinner is $33. Reservations can be made by here.

Battle of the 90s at Split-Rail:

Next on my restaurant week list is Split-Rail because – guys – they have a battle of the 90’s – Friends vs. Seinfeld.

https://instagram.com/p/BequJGulEN1/

All photos were shot by: The Brazen Gourmand

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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What’s a Typical Day for a Blogger?

So, what do bloggers do besides look amazing in photos and get facials?

One of the scariest and coolest parts about being a blogger is that you get to make your own schedule.

The thing is that it can either be a full day or a light day depending on how many brands you’re working with or events you have.

Unlike a job where you are assigned your work, as a blogger you have to create your work.

I run Windy City Cosmo, so I have to develop the content calendar, reach out to experts and entrepreneurs, interview, and write articles and then promote them and my brand.

I’m going to go through some of the aspects of blogging and then give you a one minute recap of what a typical day looks like for bloggers.

Content Creation

Content creation is one of my favorite aspects of blogging, and I’m currently looking for a full time job in that area.

There’s many ways to come up with content ideas. I look at the different areas that my blog covers – beauty/health, building relationships, food/bar/travel scene and how to grow a business. I like to find events or people to interview for each of these topics.

Usually, I look at magazines like CS magazine or TimeOut Chicago. I also receive Google Alerts. And I subscribe to publications and organizations with similar beats like the tech and entrepreneurial news from ChicagoInno, 1871, Women Tech Founders and Built in Chicago, or the global beauty and business brands and bloggers like Marie Claire and Forbes and On-Air Beauty Expert, Deepica Mutyala, as well as connecting with people in these areas like my interview with the former editor of Vogue. I also join local Chicago groups like Creative Women’s Co. which I’ve volunteered for their events (they also have a great podcast), or Ms. Tech which I’ve covered for Windy City Cosmo, and I’ve written for them.

Then, I also think about ideas or events that I would be interested in and what might be good for that time of the year. I like to think in terms of season or holidays, but’s it’s also so important to think about evergreen content – content that is relevant all year round.

Keywords and Relevance

When I think about writing an article, I have to think of what people are searching for as well. Writing for the web is kindof like filing except you want to make sure you write something engaging not just robotic. (Hint: start with the headline). There’s a system created by Google and it’s called SEO – search engine optimization. If you label your document correctly (through your title and keywords in your post), people will know it’s relevant when they search for it. It becomes more relevant when you link to other documents/articles, and even more relevant when people share it and talk about it. You can learn some more tips about SEO here. One of my favorite authors about the subject is Orbit Media.

When I write an article I think about the specific topic I’m addressing and if it will be relevant and if it is worth filing away for reference. The only caveat is if it’s timely. I’ve learned that it’s hard to compete with bigger brands when it comes to timely news – but just because you can’t break the news, you can create a voice and opinion from that news. People like Luvvie from Awesomely Luvvie have grown their audience from doing that and writing for popular websites.

Photos

Photos are an important part of blogging. This can be the main part of blogging for some bloggers. They will have photo shoots almost everyday or spend a Saturday shooting looks for the week.

Most bloggers with recommend Canva which helps you easily create pictures for your blog. For photo editing, people use different apps. I’ve enjoyed Snapseed, which I learned about from a fashion designer.

Writing a Post

Writing an article can take awhile. There’s a lot of aspects to creating content and writing can sometimes be the hardest for bloggers. The main parts of the article to focus on is the intro and the headline and having a keyword. But, also don’t neglect the conclusion and how someone would share or learn from your post. Hubspot has a great class about how to create content for different mediums. I learned about how to take one post and truly reuse the content to get more traffic.

Another overlooked part of blogging is editing. I will recommend Grammarly for editing. If you don’t have someone who can look at your work, Grammarly can be that free extra set of eyes. It’s a Chrome plug-in that you can use on WordPress or even for your emails and social media posts.

Testing Content

I’ve read a lot of tips from other bloggers and also followed them. I learned that having a theme or style whether that’s your Instagram filter or tone on your blog have helped them to grow their following. If you look at Once Upon a Dollhouse, a blog about two best friends, they are always wearing creative outfits like twin. Chicago blogger, Emma Lenhart has a similar filter in all of her Instagram filters and she talks about her process here.

Bloggers also experiment with their posts. For Instance, Macy Stucke found out that her pictures would get reposted if she was at a crosswalk. In a podcast I’ve listened to The Chris Loves Julia Podcast and Julia talks about how she would post a few different photos to figure out what her audience liked. For instance she would post a photo of a room and then she would post a photo of someone in the room to see what had more engagement on Instagram. A huge part of creating content as a blogger is testing content.

Events: Hosting or Attending

One of the best parts of blogging is meeting new people. To do this, you go to events or you create your own and invite others.

Some bloggers are know for their events like Once Upon a Dollhouse threw an amazing Friendsgiving at The Four Seasons.

A lot of bloggers simply go to events. I average anywhere from an event a week to four events a night depending on my schedule. Some of my favorite events was a staycation in Rosemont or a cocktail party with The Everygirl at Celeste or the Popculture themed real estate party.

Gaining a Following from Social Media

Another main aspect of blogging is social media. I spend about an hour to well, I really don’t want to admit how much time I spend on social media a day. I’m primarily on Instagram or Snapchat and Facebook and then I also go on LinkedIn and Twitter. Some of the main things I do on these platforms is follow bloggers like me or people I want to connect with for articles or events or brand sponsorships (so PR).

Then I also reach out to my followers and see who they are following. I spend a good chunk looking at content and using that to think of my own brand.

Another thing I use social media for is outreach. I write comments and I go to other websites and read and comment on articles. I think when I first started blogging I was so focused on my content, but now I realize three years later that caring about other people’s content and learning about your followers helps you build a more engaged brand.

How to Make a Business from Blogging:

While writing for my blog and going to events is fun, I’ve really wanted to turn my passion into a profit. I have to make blogging a business by applying for speaking opportunities and networking and working with brands for sponsorships. Other ways bloggers make money is through affiliate links, coaching bloggers in how to blog, freelancing and managing brands social media profiles.

Sometimes I join blogger groups, but I also go to a lot of events and my relationships with PR people from when I was a journalist have really helped me grow my brand. From that, I’ve met some great PR people at parties and on social media.

Making Connections Through Social Media and Email Marketing

One of the key ways to connect is either going to parties and running into the same people and also combining that with social media and email marketing. One of my tips is to find people going to the same party as you and connecting with them before the event on social media. You’ll be surprised that people look for you at the party when you follow them and drop a line. I also connect with people after a party by using the Instagram Geo filter to see who tagged photos or by using the hashtag.

Another good way to follow-up is by email. I have a few templates I use. You want to include a blurb about your blog and how you can help each other. Sometimes it’s as simple as saying – hey, I’m a blogger. I cover this beat. I’d love to know more about the brands you’re working with and how I might be able to help your clients reach their target markets.

It’s also good to see which brands are working with bloggers. You’ll notice that Chicago bloggers like Emma Lenhart and LincolnParkMin have sponsorships with Glossier.

Other sides of the blogging business include setting my rates and invoicing.

Understanding Algorithms and Social Media Rules

Another aspect of being a blogger is reading about new algorithms on Facebook or Instagram. A lot of fellow bloggers have been shadow banned which means their post won’t show up in the hashtag feeds because Instagram feels that they violated their terms of use. Chicagogrammers, a Chicago based Instagram community, has a weekly newsletter about Instagram influenced trends and regulations.

A Blogger’s Daily Life

Below is a one minute video of what my Monday schedule looks like.

There’s a lot of aspects to blogging. I don’t do all of these tasks everyday, but I do touch on them in some form or another. I know bloggers who delegate their tasks or who build a team and others like me who do everything themselves and sometimes have guest contributions.

What’s your favorite part about blogging?

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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You’re Ordering Your Coffee Wrong, 3 Tips To Change That

Have you ordered a bad cup of coffee? We all have gone to a restaurant, ordered something that didn’t taste good and then never went back cc: Yelp reviews. But maybe it wasn’t the restaurant, maybe it was us.

See, we all have different taste buds and preferences. So, when you ask a server, “what do you recommend?” it will be based on their preferences – not yours.

We sat down with Al Liu, Vice President of Coffee at Colectivo Coffee, a Milwaukee-based coffee shop opening its second location in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood (2261 N. Milwaukee Ave.) on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017.

How to Order Coffee For Your Tastebuds:

Here are some tips to help you understand how you like your cup of coffee.

At Colectivo Coffee, they label their coffee with three indicators – RBA: Roast, Body, Acidity. We’re going to walk through all three to help you pick the right cup of coffee for you.

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The Coffee Roast:

“I like medium roasts,” I tell the barista.

Honestly, I don’t even know what that means – I guess that I am a person who doesn’t know what she likes, so she stays in the middle.

I like to think of roasts as where you end up than where you start. See, roasts indicate a few things.

So, when you say you like a light roast, you want more caffeine and more acidity in your cup of coffee.

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The Mint Matcha Latte is one of Colectivo’s most popular seasonal drink. Look for a “Cold Fashion” near New Year’s at the Logan Square location. It’s a cold brew coffee version of one of Milwaukee’s favorite cocktails.

The Coffee Body:

Next, we move on to the coffee’s body. This indicates the richness.

Al Liu compared it to milk, which ranges from Skim milk through Whole Milk. Skim milk is lighter and Whole milk is heavier and more filling.

When you sip a cup of coffee, let it sit on your tongue. How does it feel? Coffee with less body will be lighter (in terms of weight) and coffee with more body will be heavier.

At Colectivo, their Guatemalan coffee has less body, while their Brazilian coffee has a heavier body.

For coffee aficionados, acidity is described as “smooth” for lower acidity and “bright” for more acidic blends.

For me, I also noticed that this translated into the taste of the cup of coffee. The Brazilian coffee was more flavorful – I could pick up on nutty aromas. The Guatemalan coffee was lighter and when I took a sip of the Brazilian compared to the Guatemalan coffee, the Guatemala coffee was weaker to me. It didn’t taste as strong as the Brazilian blend.

The Coffee Acidity:

Interestingly enough, coffee acidity doesn’t indicate the pH balance. It’s a sensation that you feel on your tongue.

Take a sip of coffee and let it sit on your tongue. Once you’ve swallowed it, notice if there is a sensation on the back of your tongue. The stronger the sensation, the more acidic the cup of coffee.

In my coffee tasting at Colectivo, I noticed that I preferred coffee with less acidity.

 

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Al Liu, Vice President of Coffee at Colectivo Coffee, with Amanda Elliott, Founder of Windy City Cosmo, for Colectivo’s Logan Square opening.

 

Conclusion:

After sampling a few different blends, I realized that I like coffee with less acidity and a fuller body. So, while I came in asking for a medium roast, I should have ordered a darker roast.

Note that different coffee shops have different scales of roasts. So, a light roast coffee at Starbucks won’t be the same as a light roast coffee at Colectivo. Pay attention to the acidity and body of the blend, which will be a better guide.

Coffee Flavor:

The last detail to consider is flavor. Coffee’s flavor changes based on location. In Guatemala, for instance, there are three different coffee regions. In the highland regions of Guatemala, Huehuetenango coffee is grown, which has a fruity flavor.

One of the most popular blends for more than twenty years at Colectivo is the Blue Heeler, Sumatra blend.  Sumatra blends generally have a  heavier body and lower acidity, and they have spice which can range from roasted bell pepper to sweet tobacco, sometimes.

Pro Tip: If you do pick up a bag of coffee from Colectivo, they come as coffee beans. You can ask the barista to grind your coffee for you.

Colectivo Coffee Shop Opens in Logan Square:

Colectivo Coffee shop opens December 20, 2017, in Logan Square, its second location in Chicago, IL. The new cafe features an outdoor patio and year-round fire pit, operable floor-to-ceiling glass windows, and Colectivo’s signature unexpected design touches throughout, like vintage industrial mixing bowls transformed into indoor hanging planters.

Logan Square will offer a full menu of Session Roasted coffees, Colectivo Keg Co. house beers, Letterbox Fine Teas, made from scratch & delivered fresh daily Troubadour bakery items, all-day breakfast, and signature sandwiches made on slow-made bread.

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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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.

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📍new orleans, LA ⚜️ (@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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