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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Rey Reel: The Producer Behind Your Favorite Music

You’ve heard his music, but you probably don’t know his name. He’s responsible for Beyonce’s “Flawless” Remix, Drake’s “Trophies”, and Will.I.Am’s “Scream and Shout” Remix . The list goes on and is a who’s who list of Hip Hop, R&B, and Pop favorites. Producer Rey Reel lives in the studio and has an exciting 2015 coming up.
When he was seven, Reel (nee Raymond De Andre Martin) moved to Inland Empire and lived in the same apartment building as Audio Push, who at the time was known as The Push. He fell in love with composing. He loves sound from orchestrated to synthetic. “I enjoy putting something together and watching it blossom,” he said. He started making mix tapes for Audio Push and evolved from there. At fifteen, he worked on his first real project with producer Hit-Boy, who has worked with Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, and Kanye West. When they see a teenager enter the booth, some people may wonder who this kid is and what does he know, but Reel felt there was no trust issue with his age.
“It’s all about creativity and being a creative influence,” he says. “We just go in and have fun.” Reel is a hands-on producer so the artist gets something tailored to what they need. He likes to meet them personally and see what they’re trying to do. “They might say, ‘I’ve been doing a lot of ballads so I want to do something up,’ so we do something up,” he says. “Or wherever they want to bounce around.”
He brings his fun, vibrant personality to projects. Clients trust his ear and sense of direction where fans want the music to go. He wasn’t able to share any light on his 2015 projects, but feels they’ll up his production value and make him a household name. Reel advises anyone who wants to produce to never give up. “You never know how far you are until you reach success,” he says.

Monday, November 24, 2014

StyleSeat Comes To Chicago

When I moved to Chicago, I knew nobody.  I had no idea what neighborhood I lived in, let alone where the grocery store was.  Yet, the first fear that ran through my mind was, "Where am I going to get my hair done now?!".

My search would have been so much easier with the latest beauty guru finder, StyleSeat.  One of the largest online marketplaces for booking beauty and wellness services, StyleSeat makes it possible for you to search local service providers in more than 15,000 cities.  From manicures and pedicures to facials and haircuts, there is a wide range of services available.

With the launch of their mobile application two months ago, StyleSeat is now right at your finger tips!  Whether you are on vacation, looking for the best massage in town, or squeezing in a lunch break mani, it is so easy to search and book a service.

My favorite part is that each service provider profile features a portfolio of their work, as well as their services, prices and hours.  Easier than looking for your soul mate on Tinder, StyleSeat can help you find the perfect match for your beauty needs.    

On Wednesday, November 5th, StyleSeat set up shop in the Belt Room at Soho House Chicago.  Guests were invited to meet StyleSeat CEO, Melody McCloskey and sample services with top nail artists.   It was lovely to meet the StyleSeat team, as well as enjoy a manicure with my new found friend, Meaha. 

You can search service providers and find out more about StyleSeat at www.styleseat.com.  Stay beautiful, Chicago!

Akira Fall Fashion Show: Shop The Runway

We're lucky to have some of the best places to shop here in Chicago. You can shop luxury boutiques or  your big department stores. But personally, I love to shop boutiques that give you the high end feel without the high end price tag. I love standout unique pieces that you can't find just anywhere. My go to place to stop by is Akira. I can still remember foregoing my lunch and making the walk from Jackson to State Street just to shop for shoes at the Akira store. As Carrie Bradshaw would say , "I just felt it fed me more"!

Gracia High Lo Shine Skirt

They are unique to Chicago and have their finger on the pulse of what's hot and in trend. So when it comes to their fashion show, it's leaps and bounds above the rest! They're so much fun to watch and for fashionistas like myself, their styling inspires so much. Their most recent show, The Fall fashion show: The Last Dimension was held October 4th. If you didn't get a chance to make it here are the must haves straight from the runway that are perfect pieces to wear during the holiday season!

For Love & Lemons Wrangler Mini Dress

BB Dakota Liezel Coat

Akira Assymetrical Zip Skirt 

Akira Festive Rose Skirt

Akira Sequin Spider Web Midi Skirt

Akira Deep V Crop Top

photos courtesy of Steven Chellappa 

-Teresa Espinoza
Fashion & Style Editor

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lost Girls Vintage Storefront Grand Opening

What once was lost has now been found!  Chicago's favorite mobile vintage shop, Lost Girls has found a new, stationary home at Modern Cooperation.  This Pilsen store front is home to locally made goods from more than 85 individual vendors, including clothing, home goods, and jewelry.  With their latest expansion, Modern Cooperation has partnered with Sarah Azzouzi and Kyla Embrey of Lost Girls to offer a one-of-a-kind, collection of clothing and accessories in a vintage pop-up store.  "We wanted this space to be a highly curated collection of our very current, favorite pieces," said Embrey. 

Owner of Modern Cooperative, Tiffany Paige is not only passionate about bringing creatives together in one space, but also the unique neighborhood of Pilsen, which she calls home.  "It's a little rough around the edges, which I like," said Paige.  "We don't have a lot of chains or big things.  It's a lot of local, family owned businesses.  I love this neighborhood!  I literally wouldn't live anywhere else."

Appropriately adorned with sparkly, vintage outfits, Lost Girls celebrated the grand opening of their new space on Saturday, November 15th.  We joined in the celebrations, sipping on mimosas, and talked shop with Sarah and Kyla. 

Halfstack Magazine:  A major symbol of Lost Girls is the bright orange chevron pattern, consistent throughout your branding and caravan of vehicles, Winnie and Minni.  What was the inspiration behind this now iconic pattern?

Kyla:  Sarah really wanted the chevron and I really wasn't sold on it at first.  I felt like it might be too trendy and in a year we may regret the decision, but she felt really strongly about it being this classic, iconic design. 

Sarah:  Well, we were talking about what prints we liked and I really liked chevron and we really didn't feel strongly about any other pattern.

Kyla: Yeah, houndstooth would have been way to difficult to execute!  

Sarah: Can you imagine painting everything houndstooth?!

HS:  What inspired Lost Girls to make the jump from being exclusively mobile to now a store front?

Sarah:  We are both continuously like "What's next?  What else can we do?".

Kyla: We have done a lot of collaborations with Modern Co-op and it makes sense.  We have a complimentary customer base, so when they had an opportunity to expand and they asked us if we wanted to be a part of it, we said, "absolutely".

HS:  How did Lost Girls get its start?

Kyla:  We were both selling vintage separately, at different markets around the city and got to know each other.  We had a few weekends where there weren't markets going on, so we were like, we don't need to wait for other people to do our thing, so we started doing our own pop-ups. 

Sarah: We were looking to get a trailer originally, but neither of us had a car.

Kyla:  I had a scooter!  That was our only mode of transportation. 

Sarah:  And then one day, I was just searching on Craigslist and I was like, "Oh my God...Oh my God!  I found one! I found it!".  I was freaking out and I called Kyla like thirty times!  I sent the email, they emailed me back like an hour later and I was like seriously freaking out, because I knew it was the one.  It was a 1976...she is a 1976 and they had just driven her up from Georgia.

Kyla: And I am from Georgia!  But the best part was that one of the guys who owned it, his dad runs the largest Salvation Army store in all of the Midwest and that's where it was parked and we were like, "Oh my God!  It's already at a thrift store!"

Sarah:  She was so little and perfect, and we didn't even take her for a test drive.  We were just like, this is it!

HS:  Is your storefront where people will primarily be able to find you this winter?

Kayla: Yes!  We are also looking into traveling more and being more selective with the indoor markets and pop-ups that we do.  We'll still be out there on the road and moving around.

Sarah:  I think one of our goals is just to be able to travel more and having a stationary shop will actually help us be able to do that.

HS:  What's next for Lost Girls?

Sarah: Sleep!

Kayla: Yes!  We haven't really done a lot of that in the last two weeks.  But I am just really excited to be in this neighborhood, specifically.  I love Pilsen!  The community is great, there a lot of other vintage oriented businesses down here and everyone is so welcoming.  We have been pleased to find that everyone has been welcoming us with open arms. 

For more information about Lost Girls, tour dates and inventory, check out their website!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Train to maintain

In the fitness industry there is a lot of talk about goals:  What event are you training for? Are you looking to lose 15 pounds? Are you trying to get stronger? What is it ultimately that you are looking to achieve? The responses, of course, are numerous, and each person has their own list of items they'd like to check off. In many cases, they are very specific; for example: mastered the Scorpion pose - done; 5 dead hang pull ups - got 'em; lost 10 pounds - I hope they never come back...

Once the items are checked off the list, for many, another list merely comes to the forefront, usually building off of the previous one; however, for some there comes a point where the drive to workout becomes less about marking items off the checklist and more about maintaining the goods that are already in place. It's when this occurs that the athlete has moved officially into "maintenance mode".
For some the idea of maintenance mode may seem to go against the main purpose of athletic training.  Arguably, maintenance is a goal within itself. It keeps athletes working hard to continue to stay strong, to keep moving, to retain healthy habits that have already been established, and all without the added pressure (whether external or internal) to up their training. Regardless of whether or not you agree with the idea of "train to maintain", there is still something to be said for continually pressing on to sustain a healthy lifestyle.
Choose the maintenance method(s) that make you look and feel your best, and surround yourself with others who share in your passion to live a healthy lifestyle. There will be bumps along the way no matter what fitness route you choose, but never forget to celebrate the high moments that happen along the way. Maybe they are moments that were never a part of the original goal list, but those accomplishments are still to be recognized because they occurred as a result of a lot of hard work.

Some (Okay, One) Movies to See This Weekend, November 21, 2014

This weekend is light on quantity for new releases. The only one you're guaranteed to see in every theater is the latest in the Hunger Games series, so let's talk a little about that.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part I
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writers: Peter Craig, Danny Strong, Suzanne Collins
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Philip Seymour Hoffman

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is one of the best science fiction adventure movies of my generation, and possibly the best sci-fi/adventure sequel since The Empire Strikes Back. The first film in the series of adaptations of Suzanne Collins's young adult dystopian books was good, if overly attached to straight translation and in love with unnecessary shaky cam cinematography. But the sequel expands and enlivens the universe, raises the stakes to revolutionary levels, and it makes you feel what's going on in these tortured survivors' heads as they are dragged into a prefabricated and deadly media circus to pay for their deceit in the first film. It has as much discussion of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the insane demands we make of our warriors as it does visceral, popcorn-chomping fun.

And now, with the third (of four) release upon us, we'll see if returning director Francis Lawrence can recapture some of the magic of the second. It looks impressive and huge, which is to be expected for what is now a billion dollar franchise, but also for a story about a full-on revolution in the futuristic Panem. Whether the filmmakers have been able to coax a workable dramatic structure from only using half of a book, I'm not sure. But after their last effort, I am more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

The returning cast includes Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence as possibly the best protagonist in modern franchise filmmaking. All the trailers have shown a further cracked Katniss being required by her revolutionary admirers to take up arms against the oppressive government, and nobody, including newcomers Julianne Moore and Natalie Dormer, and the revolution's mastermind, Philip Seymour Hoffman – in, sadly, one of his final screen appearances – think she can do anything beyond being almost catatonic. That will be a fascinating arc to see unfold, and hopefully it will be relatively resolved by the end of Mockingjay – Part I.

And if we need to wait a year for the movie to feel complete, oh well. We still get half a sci-fi action film with some huge thrills.

Nailing it with Nailtini and Sally Hansen

Nail polish, nail art and nail wraps have really been seeing their glory days the last couple of years. I remember my days of going to the salon to get my nails "did" when I was a young lady living on my own before kids and relationships entered the picture. When all I had to worry about was me. Now, I'm lucky if I can get 10 minutes alone in the bathroom to paint my nails. Never in a million years would I have guessed how nails would be taking the spotlight in the beauty industry like they are today.

It's always interesting to see what the trends are when it comes to DIY beauty. As people have less to spend, but still want to look and feel good, they are choosing to take the salon home and complete manis on their own. Brands like Nailtini and Sally Hansen are doing a great job of giving people affordable options in fashion forward colors and providing them with edgy and trend forward techniques.

Nailtini is taking DIY to a whole 'nother level with their "cocktail" mixing kits and their latest "Laquer Cabinet" program. This is a subscription based program that stocks monthly limited-edition lacquer collections curated by top nail and beauty experts, plus two empty mini bottles for you to try your own hand at lacquer mixology. What an ingenious idea to add to the cult of DIY beauty. It's fresh and fun and perfect for the cosmo city-girl on the go who doesn't always have time to stop at the drug store to pick up the latest on trend colors. Yet, it is still creative enough to allow you to experiment on your own. Nailtini is the only line of nail lacquer developed to maximize the creativity of the user by "cocktailing" different shades. I gave the set a try and it's a definite must try. The polishes coat beautifully and the colors are vibrant. These shades are inherently thick and opaque. You can check out Nailtini HERE.

Now, Sally Hansen is a tried and true nail polish brand. Yet, I am loving their recent push to highlight trend styles and colors in their product lines. The matte/shiny nail combo was a huge trend on the runways for this year. A fresh take on the traditional French manicure, created by layering a slightly darker matte pink shade on top of a glossy one. Subtle and classy. Sally Hansen has a great new clear coat that dries matte to create a velvety finish. Sally Hansen Big Matte Top Coat with Complete Salon Manicure in Almost Almond, creates a flattering nude matte shade which is right in line with the trends seen on the runway. The color coats well after just two coats and the matte finish is definitely a badass take on the classy mani.

Sally Hansen’s award-winning Complete Salon Manicure collection infuses trend-setting shades with an expert quality formula to deliver salon-caliber results. Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure delivers seven salon manicure steps in one bottle. Chip resistant strength joins gel-quality shine. Must-have color meets nourishing benefits. Plus, a built-in base and top coat, it’s everything you need to achieve a professional manicure at home. What more could you ask for?

Both these brands are definitely nailing it in the beauty department! Check them out and sidestep that salon price tag for an attainable do it yourself option!
Jen - Editor in chief

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Are you my lucky...

Think about this: remember most of our happiest, saddest, the most successful moments or conversely the most horrible moments of failure in your life. Do you remember the date? If you do, check to see if it happened on dates that deal with numbers where we fall we under their influence. Did good things happen on a lucky number day? Did a horrible thing happen on a date that is know to be significantly bad in your horoscope calendar? Each one of us has 3 major numbers that control our lives, feelings and achievements. Knowing them, in the words of Martha, is a good thing.

The numbers (also called our personality numbers) help us get a foot in the door of many social situations. They help take our own skills of intuitive reasoning further. They broaden our understanding more. They helps us develop our particular personality and can act as a guide for making some good decisions — also a good thing. So how do we figure out our three personality numbers? Yes btw, we have THREE! Simple.

The Horoscope number

The first personality number is the horoscope ruling planet number. Every ruling planet has a number. Some signs have more than one planet ruling them thus they have more than one number.

Here are the planets and numbers:
Sun is number 1 and is ruling Leo
Moon is number 2 and is ruling Cancer
Jupiter is number 3 and is ruling both of Sagittarius and Pisces
Uranus is number 4 and is ruling Aquarius
Mercury is number 5 and is ruling Gemini
Venus is number 6 and is ruling both of Taurus and Libra.
Neptune is number 7 and is ruling Pisces AND also cancer.
Saturn is number 8 and is ruling both Capricorn and Aquarius .
Mars is number 9 and is ruling both Aries and Scorpio.

Your action Number

The second number of our lucky numbers is the action number. The attitude (or action) number is the way that people see you. It depends on your birthday.

Example: if your birthday is on the 6th of the month, your second number will be 6 and the ruling of it is Venus.  If your birthday is on the 18th of the month,
your second number will be 18. But that needs to be reduced to be a single digit. Reduce your number so that 1+8=9. Your second number will be 9 and the ruling of it is Mars.

The Destiny Number

The third number of our set of luck numbers is the fate or destiny number. In another way to express it, it is the way your life will be. We start with our birth date. Add your Day + your month + the year (all 4 digits) and reduce them to a Single Vibratory Number. This will give us a lucky number that is unique to you.

Example: If you were born on October 9, 1961, your numerological equation will look like this:
10+9+1962=1981. Reduce your sum: 1+9+8+1=19. Reduce it again: 1+9=10. Once more: 1+0=1. Your Third number meaning (the destiny number) is number 1 and is ruling by the sun.

What do the three personality numbers mean?
The full example of the personality meanings numbers will be like this for someone who was born on July 12 1963:
The horoscope numbers for Cancer are 2 and 7. Moon is the ruling of the number 2 and Neptune for number 7.
The action/attitude number will be based on the birth day. As it is 12: 1+2=3 .
The Action number is 3 and ruling by Jupiter .
The fate/destiny number will be:
07 +12+1963 =1982 : 1+9+8+2=20 : 2+0 =2.
The third number is 2 and is ruling by the moon.

So the Numbers for this guy are 2,7,3,2.  This guy has 4 numbers because the horoscope numbers are 2 numbers for cancer.  If a number appears twice in a set of lucky numbers, we can say it affects them twice as much.

For a better personality analyzation, you will need to read what the all numbers mean and how can they affect your behavior, your life and your destiny.

Personality Types According to Birth Number 

Number 1:
People who get number One are driven and ambitious. They get things done. Their ability to focus is amazing. They can concentrate even in the midst of chaos surrounding them. One people are usually objective, shrewd, able to make hard decisions with ease. Sometimes these people are stubborn, obstinate and have inflated egos. The sun gives them the power, energy, light, fame, leadership personality. It also gives them a vain, self-centered personality streak and additional stress.

Number 2:
When you get number Two, these people are honest, trustworthy and sometimes moody. Two people are very talented with plenty of wonderful ideas. They are usually philosophical by nature. They are the people you go to when seeking sincere advice. Two personalities have the ability to get along with most people. They are gifted at uniting and bringing people together. The moon gives Two people romance, sociality and an awareness of humanity. They are beloved. They are also cautious and hesitating.

Number 3:
People who resonate with number Three are naturally lucky. They always seem to be in the right place at the right time. Three people are highly intuitive and intelligent. Additionally, those with number Three personality traits are highly creative and are excellent communicators. Jupiter gives them wisdom, generosity and acknowledgment. They like traveling all over the world. They have a direct, at times dictatorial, personality.

Number 4:
As we might expect, people who resonate with the number Four frequency are stable and mature. They are solid leaders. If something needs to get done thoroughly and with an eye for detail, go to a number Four personality. Think four legs on a table, four legs on a chair — they are stable and solid. Four people need structure in their lives. They can often feel misunderstood. However, they can flow with this feeling because they know the importance of their role they play in the lives of others. They are integral and necessary for progress. Uranus gives them creativity, humanitarianism and a dynamic personality. They are full of surprises and full of contradiction. They are full of change, prone to depression and at times, need to be alone.

Number 5:
People who resonate with the energy of Five have a genuine interest in other people. They are social.  They take active roles in the community. They are high-spirited and love to travel. They do not require routine or structure. They are able to adapt well in most situations. Five people have many projects and ideas going on at the same time. Because of this, they are often strapped for time. This can cause them to lose out on some opportunities. Mercury gives them communication skills. They are fast acting, plan quickly, plan often — plans, plans and more plans. This gives them stress and they have a nervous personality.

Number 6:
Six people are naturally creative. They have discriminating tastes. They will often be called upon to reconcile matters. Good with numbers, they are very intelligent and math oriented. They get along with others easily. Six people have a harmonious disposition. They would rather make love and avoid war. They recognize their responsibility to others and take their supportive role seriously. Venus makes them romantic, good lovers, good musicians and poets. They are also stubborn.

Number 7:
People who resonate with number seven are scholars and poets. They are intelligent with amazingly analytical minds. Yet, their minds are usually in a dream world. They move things and events to their liking. These people have the ability to bring out the best in people, places, and events to their life experiences. This leads them on a path of consistent revelation. Neptune gives them a great sixth-sense and inspirations. Neptune also gives them the running-away-from-reality type of personality.

Number 8:
Those who resonate with the vibration of eight are extremely successful. This is particularly true in business where success relies on a longer period of time that allows progress to unfold. They are not good with short deadlines. These people see trends and the bigger picture. They are able to ride a wave to their great gains. These people are great at games of chance, the stock markets and anything that deals with playing the odds/working with statistics. Saturn gives them responsibilities, challenges and wisdom. They are conservative and have a secretive personality.

Number 9:
Those who resonate with number nine are magnetic, charming and conduct themselves with ease and confidence. They are very hot and very sexy. Nine people are influential and easily manage groups of people. These individuals are perfect for leadership roles and roles of power. They are great when they utilize their nine strengths in a healthy manner. Mars gives them ambition, generosity and are goals oriented.  They are aggressive individuals.

Numbers have a great influence on our lives and behaviors. When we understand our numbers, it shows up why the people born under the same horoscope sign and also under the same rising sign are different. The reason is because they have different numbers that color their life. Thus, they will act differently in situations.
Speaking of colors, we will learn how colors can affect our personality in the coming article. Stay tuned. Happy Thanksgiving.

Bad Cops: The Seven Five Documentary Shares NYPD Corruption

Corruption is unfortunately everywhere. Even people meant to keep the peace and uphold the law challenge our trust because we’ve experienced otherwise. In 1992, several New York police officers were arrested, exposing a widespread ring of corruption in Brooklyn’s 75th precinct. Showing at DOC NYC, Tiller Russell’s documentary The Seven Five recounts rogue cop Micheal Dowd and his posse’s story and delves into why they would do it.
The Seven Five To say being a police officer is a hard job is an understatement. Cops rarely see people at their best and need to do things others are not willing to do. In the 1980’s, Brooklyn’s 75th precinct was one of the deadliest in the country, leading in drug wars and cop shootings. For many, being a cop is a calling. For Michael Dowd, it was a job, a poorly paid one he didn’t want to do and in one of the worst places to be a cop. One cop in the documentary wonders who he burned to get sent there. Dowd felt it didn’t make sense for a cop who risked his life for $36,000 a year somewhere he was despised not to take dirty money. Dowd and his partner stole from everyone and everything. They started taking drugs and money from busts. They took security payments from drug lords. Eventually they set up their own cocaine ring on Long Island.
Micheal Dowd testifies in 1993 “I consider myself a cop and a gangster,” former police officer Michael Dowd says. Russell’s expertly pieces together old news and surveillance footage while revolving around Michael Dowd’s interview. The sold out premiere reunited not only the corrupt police officers for the first time in twenty years but put the face to face with the whistleblowers. Russell described it as “the strangest high school reunion.”
The Seven Five could have been filmed here with some recent bad cop stories in the news. Breaches of power like this story cause us to look askance at people in power. As hard as it is at times, we need to remember we would not have darkness without light; for every bad cop there is a good cop.

Mrs. Prindables - A holiday treat

The dropping temps have arrived and with them come early morning blankets of snow. That can only mean one thing in Chicago, the holiday season has arrived. Thanksgiving is merely a week away. Have you started planning yet? Have you already begun your grocery store excursions, goose egg hunts for that one weird ingredient in your grandmother's recipe? Are you thinking of your four course meal prep and all that it entails?

Well, I've got a little secret to share with all you type-a Thanksgiving preppers out there. Dessert doesn't have to be complicated to taste good! It's ok to cheat every once in a while, especially if it means you aren't driving yourself crazy to find the very last package of pecans at the grocery store. So, here we are with a week to go. How about you side step the elaborate desserts and opp to check out Mrs. Prindable's? Beautiful, elaborate and delectable confections that are indulgent in just the right way.

Mrs. Prindable's takes creating tasty things to eat, to the next level of culinary artistry. Mrs. Prindable’s conceives and composes the smoothest, most decadent caramel you will ever taste. Caramel apples are by far my favorite fall treat. I didn't know real caramel until I tried a Mrs. Prindable's caramel apple. My store bought plastic wrapped caramel apple was in the minor leagues. With unrivaled expertise, developed over more than 25 years, we transform the finest, purest cream butter, sugar and natural vanilla into a memorable sensory experience.

That purple packaged introduced me to a new world of taste and I had to share it with all of you as a perfect Thanksgiving addition to your dessert menu. They have a wide variety of options, not just caramel apples, but chocolates and gift baskets as well. Their large apples are the perfect center piece for your dessert table this year. Take my advice, give yourself a break Thanksgiving preppers and order one of these and you won't be sorry. You can even share some holiday cheer with reindeer topped apples. I tried out the Milk Chocolate Walnut Pecan with my family and we were in sweet heaven. The sweet chocolate and caramel mixed with the saltiness of the pecans and walnuts combined with the crisp apple bite, created a masterpiece in your mouth! You can order by 11/24 and still have them arrive in time for Thanksgiving!You can check out Mrs. Prindable's here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Looks for Less for him: Artistic Creations

Art, in its literal form, was a huge trend in menswear. Everything from splatters of paint to strokes of color, covered menswear on the fall runways. This trend lends itself a bit more to the casual end of the menswear spectrum however it does so in such an effortless fun way. Don’t feel you have to wear a rainbow of color, instead opt for pieces that incorporate just a few colors.

1. The Look: Givenchy Fall 2014 -  The look for less: 2. Dip-dye colorblock Hoodie Sweatshirt - Armani Exchange 3. Vanishing Elephant Digital Print Wave Button 3. A question of snake Sweatshirt - Topman 4. Vanishing Elephant Digital Print Wave Button-down shirt - Urban Outfitters 5. Dripping Paint Girl Tee - Urban Outfitters

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Art is Life: Conversation with Eric W. Stephenson

It was a cool, beautiful evening when I arrived at the National Elks Lounge located in Diversey, near the Brown line section.  Lost, yet hopeful; I asked two people if they could help me find the National Elks Lounge because I had a report to turn in as soon as possible and that it was very imperative that I arrive to the event promptly.  Hence, they helped me find my way to the exhibition because I had no idea about the five W’s and one how of unknown journey I was taking.   After revisiting the same street twice, wondering if I should keep looking for the address- or better yet, go home and watch television and catch some sleep; I decided that quitting was not an option.

Besides, I left my warm and cozy residence because I wanted to get out of the house and eat, drink a nice glass (or cup) of champagne and have a good time, along with observing excellent artwork.  If I wanted to be bored and repine about not “having a good time”, I would have stayed home, clipping my toenails and reading a romance novel due to boredom and kicking myself in the tail for not taking a chance and… live a little.

Ten, perhaps twenty minutes later, I found the exhibition, standing tall and beautiful; overshadowing a few buildings on the side and behind the establishment. I must admit, I was impressed when I first entered the place. Servers were serving food and wine to the guests.  The music was playing in the background, moving and smiling while playing their tunes. The one thing, however, did puzzle me watching two topless female models, posing various positions in front of guests and make-up artists, probably wondering when the event would end and when they can receive their paycheck, so they can go home and rest a while.

Yet, I played it off as I continued my search for Mr. Stephenson, the president of the Chicago Sculpture International and interviewee for the evening. Finally, one of the board members was kind enough to introduce me to Mr. Stephenson, a tall, elegant man with distinguished looks and a humble, quiet demeanor that makes me proud and honored enough to be in his presence for the time being.

“Shall we sit down?”  I asked, moving towards a vacant table.

He shrugged his shoulders and replied: “Sure.”  Afterwards, I began asking Mr. Stephenson how long the exhibition has begun, he said: “We’ve been around for ten years now. Our main mission is to display art by using trees for the world to observe,” he affirmed, explaining the conception of his artistry and the importance and essence of it as well. Although Mr. Stephenson believes in the beauty and creativity of art, he says that art does not always have to be so “serious”, sort to speak. Thank God for humor.  “When I judge other’s work, I look for creativity and craftsmanship. Even though one does not always have to be known as a professional artist, it does not hurt to put a little fun into one’s artwork, either,” he declared, light-heartedly.   In the midst of the interview, another server placed more plates of food onto the table, anticipating a response from us.  ‘The food is delicious,’ I told the waitress, smiling.

She nodded and left me to complete my conference with Mr. Stephenson.

At last, his publicist, Ms. Di Meo, had arrived to the exhibition. Once entering the establishment; we greeted, shook hands and sat down.  Generous and quite patient, might I add; when I asked him what is his conception of art, Mr. Stephenson added: “My definition of art pertains to one’s fascination with beauty and originality of it all. For example, when I think of artists such as Picasso and Rodin, I think about how original and fascinating their art was and how they took chances to make sure the masses would not only come to know and admire their work but that they’d make certain that their work receives the respect that they’d so desired,” he concluded. “That is what I call real art.”

For more information on upcoming events and Mr. Eric W. Stephenson, go to www.chicagosculpture.org.

Written By: Dana Rettig - Out and About/Culture Blogger

Ministry of Supply ROOF Runway Show

Temperatures have been dropping fast over the past few weeks, but that didn't stop the last rooftop runway show of the year from taking place at ROOF on theWit this past Wednesday. With a fully extended ceiling, ROOF is one of Chicago's premiere event spaces no matter what the season.

This month's runway show featured mens clothing line, Ministry of Supply. In a world where quality has begun to overrule quantity, Ministry of Supply focuses on creating technologically advanced clothing, for the everyday.

The Ministry of Supply Mission:
We believe clothing should be an extension of your body, equipping you to realize your limitless potential. We are empathetic inventors, using research based design, to create purposeful products engineered to help you achieve your life’s work.

While Ministry of Supply is currently exclusively sold online, a pop-up-shop in the lobby of theWit gave guests the opportunity to shop a selection of clothing and accessories in person. The Ministry of Supply store also features a collection of "If We Made" items, including Harry's razors for men.

A fun detail of the evening; all of the gentlemen who modeled Ministry of Supply on the runway currently work as busers and bartenders at theWhit. The crowd was alive with supportive cheers as each one took their turn down the platform. It was certainly a fun, fashion-filled evening, the perfect finale to a year of runways at ROOF.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Macy's On State Street 107th Annual Great Tree Lighting

It just wouldn't be Christmas in Chicago without a stroll past the holiday window displays that decorate Macy's at 111 N. State St.  This year's windows capture "The Journey of a Christmas Wish", combining traditional artistry with gorgeous visual elements that follow Macy's heroine, Virginia's imagination as she mails her wish list to Santa.  

Another grand tradition for Chicagoans kicking off Christmas is the Great Tree lighting on the 7th floor in Macy's Walnut Room.  Standing 45 feet tall and decorated with over 6,000 LED lights and 3,000 ornaments, this year's tree was lite by some very special guests.  On Saturday, November 8th, Television/Radio host and producer, Ryan Seacrest and Macy's sponsored Make-A-Wish child counted down the much anticipated lighting of the tree.

After being serenaded by carolers, Walnut Room guests enjoyed an intimate performance by American Idol 9th season winner, Lee DeWyze.  DeWyze finished his three song set with a moving rendition of Hallelujah, right before the tree was lit.  A Chicago native himself, DeWayze shared that he has fond memories of the Macy's Great Tree lighting and that it was a great honor to be performing at this year's ceremony.

New to this year's activities is Macy's Holiday Arcade, located on the 7th floor, this shop features specialty toys and stocking stuffers.  Families and children are also invited to visit Macy's SantaLand and Holiday Lane on the 5th floor through Christmas Eve.  

Make this year's holidays special by sharing the magic of Macy's with the people you love!  The Great Tree will be available for viewing through January 11th, 2015.

Beauty Test Kitchen - Cosmetics Roundup

Hey readers!

Happy Monday ya'll. I just wanted to share our latest episode of Halfstack Beauty Test Kitchen. In this episode I am sharing a round up of beauty products I have been testing out. These are all products that I thought would be helpful to you all depending on your needs. The products range from lash and eye brow conditioners, tinted brow gel, a new primer I've been testing, an amazing under eye concealer, to a bronzer.

I've been battling some hormonal stress related issues and to be honest, my body has been reacting in a scary way. I know I laugh about it a bit in the video, because honestly, what else can I do?! I'd rather laugh it off then worry about it and make the stress worse :)! So, yeah I've been losing my hair. In particular it has affected my head and my eyebrows. I think that surprised me the most. As a latina, I've had thick eye brows my whole life, so when all of sudden I'm losing my eye brow hair, I kind of freaked out a bit. So, I've been trying to balance out and destress as this is all related to my hormonal issues. Now, when I find something that I notice a great deal of difference from, I need to share it. Of course, I have to start internally - diet, health and exercise, but anything that helps extra that I can do, is something I am all for.

So, that is where Revitalash comes into play. We shared this brand back in October for Breast Cancer Awareness month, but I finally got my hands on some product and it is working wonders. The brand was launched by Dr. Brinkenhoff (an ophthalmologist for 30 years) and was inspired by his wife Gayle who lost her battle to cancer last year. He wanted to create products that would help her feel revitalized and that were inspired by her. From that comes a line of products could help meet the aspirations of others seeking to enhance their natural beauty, build their confidence. All in all, a great brand with a heart. Through philanthropic endeavors – Athena Cosmetics is a proud supporter of breast cancer research and education – and a commitment to the environment – all packaging now bears the Eco-coalition logo earned for being 100% recyclable – the company proudly continues its focus on responsible and compassionate business practices.

So, I gave the eyebrow conditioner a try and I am really happy with the results over the last couple of weeks. My brows are looking healthier and fuller and not nearly as sparse as they have been. I use it in the morning and at a night. I also use the tinted eye brow gel after I fill in my brows. Great products, with a great message. They also carry products for your eye lashes.

The next set of products come from Jane Iredale. This is a brand that isn't just about cosmetics, but that also combines skincare. They are a mineral based line. The active light under-eye concealer creates a soft-focus effect on your skin. It conceals and brightens and has ingredients that help to nourish and depuff your skin under your eyes. The quad bronzer is a great 4 in 1 tool that you can use on your cheeks, lips and eyes. You can use the darker shades for contouring and lighter colors for an all over radiance.

Finally, let's talk about Sugar's "I Dream of Sugar" all over face palette. This is a kit that has some beautiful shimmery colors for winter. It's compact and perfect to just throw in your bag or as a companion kit for traveling when you don't want to bring a ton of makeup along, but still want necessities. The shadow colors are a bit light, but when applied wet, the pigmentation is quite a bit darker.

I hope you enjoyed this roundup! If you like what you see, please take a minute and subscribe to our YOUTUBE Channel! Let us know if there is anything you are interested in hearing more about!