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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The North Shore Al Fresco Agenda

I am absolutely thrilled to present the North Shore Al Fresco Agenda to you! This outdoor dining guide to the North Shore of Chicago has been a project of mine for a couple of months. I truly wanted to compile a list, or "agenda" for those who enjoy excellent food and sipping cocktails under the sun or stars. Travel from Evanston north to Wilmette, on to Winnetka, hitting Highland Park and rounding out the trip in Highwood. Peruse the guide, find your summer al fresco bucket list, and try a few new places!

For more information on each restaurant, please visit their website (all locations are hyper-linked in the guide to their site). Also, I have found that "liking" a restaurant's Facebook page is the easiest way to get up to date information.

Since I am a one-woman show, I tried to include as many restaurants as possible but I KNOW there are some gems that may have been left out. Please feel free to contact me with questions, comments, suggestions or restaurant review requests at cheryljhanson (at) yahoo (dot) com. Make sure to check out my Date Night: Food & Fashion series for local in-depth restaurant reviews. Cheers!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

#GNO: Girl's Night Out & Ravinia Ticket Giveaway!

Although I am all about Date Night with my husband, Girl's Night Out is a must on any mom's calendar. Here are a few simple suggestions to get the most out of your one hit wonder night out:

Dress for yourself. You are headed out with your friends, people who love you no matter what, even if it means you are taking a fun fashion risk like gladiator sandals.
Take it easy on the cocktails. Yes, I enjoy a few martinis, glasses of wine, or pints of beer as much as  (if not more so) than the average mom. I also enjoy not wanting to cry in the morning when my kiddos wake me up at the crack of dawn. 3 cocktails is my limit. Know yours.
Don't talk about the kids after the first 30 minutes. Get all of the news, bragging, and woes out of the way. Then talk about yourself. And listen to your friends talk about themselves. Remember those types of convos?
Bring a pair of foldable flats. If you wear uncomfortable shoes (which, let's face it, most cute shoes are not so comfy), this is a must. You don't want to be the hobbler slowing everyone down, blubbering about your blisters.
Don't drive. If Uber and Lyft are available in your area, download those apps, even it means deleting Talking Tom to make room in your phone.

Next week Wednesday July 1st, a few of my girlfriends and I are headed to Pink Martini and Aimee Mann at Ravinia, and you have the opportunity to win FOUR pavilion tickets to enjoy the show as well! My favorite Aimee Mann song is "That's Just What You Are"- a total 90's ballad with a catchy hook. She has been rocking since the 80s, and provides the perfect soundtrack for a Girl's Night Out!

To prep for the show, I hit up Style Hunters in Highland Park. They have a new location RIGHT where the Metra drops you off at the Ravinia stop, and you can take a free shuttle to the park. This consignment boutique has a carefully curated selection of high end fashion and accessories. From BCBG to Balenciaga, Chanel to Christian Louboutin, they have some of the most coveted designers and a healthy mix of upscale brands to provide the ultimate shopping experience.

I spied THESE gorgeous shoes front and center at the store- I can't imagine they will last long. I think they were a size 7.5...even though I wear a 9, I wanted to squeeze my feet into them SO badly!

I picked up this festival-friendly long-sleeved maxi dress for only $40!

Now it is time to get YOUR tickets for a Girl's Night Out at Ravinia! 

I am giving away 4 pavilion passes to the July 1st performance of Pink Martini and Aimee Mann.

***To enter, simply leave a comment below with your favorite Girl's Night Out anthem.***

Is it Taylor Swift's Shake It Off? Or maybe a little throwback with Cyndi Lauper Girls Just Want To Have Fun? Whatever it may be, make sure to SHARE with me!! For an additional entry, "Like" the Ravinia District on Facebook page; they offer additional ticket giveaways and fun event updates throughout the summer. Just comment that you Like them in addition to naming your fave GNO song. Giveaway ends Sunday at noon, so make sure to enter before then!

A HUGE thanks to the Ravinia District and Ripple PR for partnering with me on this series. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Try a Trend: Futuristic Fashion + Terminator Genisys Preview Tix!

There has been a barrage of futuristic fashion on the runways lately- from mirror-like metallics to sharp structural pieces, this trend is here to stay. You know I love to try trends, so let's give this a shot, shall we?

To master the Futuristic trend, the key is to not go overboard. You don't want to go full on Terminator, just one piece will do. Below is a selection of designer duds that I would LOVE to add to my rotation.

For example, I would pair the silver sweater with a pair of white ankle length pants and simple white stilettos. The crazy holographic skirt would look perfect with a basic white t-shirt and low sandals. The spiky ring is such a statement piece I would wear it with hematite pyramid studs and maybe a simple chain. Those shoes (LUST!) are of course Charlotte Olympia, and would look adorable with a black tailored jumpsuit.

Now for the affordable options...these are all under $100 and are on trend without being "trendy" if that makes sense! I can see incorporating these pieces into my wardrobe for years to come:
Now for a special treat!

With all this talk of futuristic fashion, it is incredibly timely since the new Terminator movie, Terminator Genisys, is coming out, right? have the rare opportunity to see it before ANYone else if you live in the Chicago area! The advance screening takes place on Monday, June 29th at the Navy Pier IMAX Theater, 7pm. To get your free ticket, simply head over to Gofobo using this link: Make SURE to arrive early- they do oversell tickets to ensure a full house.

If you aren't able to make the advance screening, the movie officially arrives in theaters Wednesday, July 1st. The Terminator series was a huge part of my movie experience growing up, and I can't wait to see the latest installment!