Category Archives: Entertainment

Get into the Halloween Spirit: Chicago Edition

Get into the Halloween Spirit: Chicago Edition


Looking outside this week – the leaves have changed to vibrant reds and oranges, the temperatures have dipped just below “sweater weather” and you’ve nearly outdone yourself with the Pumpkin Spice Lattes. As days turn into nights, that chilly, eerie feeling arises and you know for sure – it’s almost Halloween. With the holiday quickly approaching, here are 5 things to do in Chicago to get you in the Halloween spirit.


Halloween Spirit: Scary and Creepy Movies

Chicago Edition: Rocky Horror Picture Show at Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport)

Scary movies are one of the best ways to get yourself into the Halloween spirit. Whether you are a fan of gory films, or classic, bone-chilling cinematic features, a movie allows you to escape for a little while into a different world. To enter that world in Chicago, head to The Music Box Theatre, where premiere independent and foreign films have been shown for the last 20 years. Halloween brings showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, including live actors, sing-alongs and props to throw around. If you’re not familiar with The Rocky Horror Picture Show, it’s a campy film from the 70s that has inspired a following of fans for years. Its kooky plot is unlike any movie you’ve seen before – head the The Music Box Theatre and you’ll be fully immersed in the experience. For more information and to purchase tickets click here.


rocky horror


Halloween Spirit: Caramel Apples and Halloween Treats

Chicago Edition: Andrew’s Caramel Apples (5001 W. Belmont)

When it comes to Halloween, everyone thinks of candy and tasty Halloween treats, such as popcorn, candy and caramel apples. A great place to get caramel apples in Chicago is Andrew’s Caramel Apples. This family owned business is known for selling their candy apples by the case – they cover the apples in classic caramel and peanuts. For more information on pricing and ordering call (773) 286-2224.


caramel apples


Halloween Spirit: Pumpkin Carving and Decorating

Chicago Edition: Pumpkin Carving Party at Sheffield’s (3258 N. Sheffield)

Another great Halloween tradition is pumpkin carving. In addition to having a great display at your doorstep, you can bake the seeds from the pumpkin. Pumpkin carving brings family and friends together while giving you an opportunity to show off your creative side, perhaps with a classic Jack-o-Lantern style, or a special carving… even adding your own signature flare. On Thursday, October 23, 2014, starting at 6 p.m., Sheffield’s Beer and Wine Garden hosts their annual pumpkin carving event, for free. During the event Pumpkin Beer will be on tap and there will be specials on hot mulled cider. To learn more click here. Get there early to reserve your pumpkin!


Halloween Spirit: Dressing up for Halloween

Chicago Edition: Shopping at Fantasy Costumes (4065 N. Milwaukee)

One of the best parts about Halloween is being able to dress up in a costume and hit the town – showing off your creativity with your friends. Instead of running last minute into one of the Halloween pop-up shops, make a visit to Fantasy Costumes, a well-known costume shop that has been located on the North side of Chicago for over 45 years. Not only do they sell and rent Halloween costumes, but they also have Christmas outfits, St. Patrick’s Day costumes and Mardi Gras accessories. Customers at Fantasy Costumes are always greeted with a smile and great service. If you’re searching for that one specific thing you can’t find anywhere else, this is the place to come – the shop is a whole block long! They have various rooms including their own kids’ costume room, a wig room and a mask room, and a wide selection of adult costumes as well. For more information click here.


fantasty costumes


Halloween Spirit: Haunted Houses

Chicago Edition: Chicago Ghost Tours

Who knew Chicago was haunted? With a history riddled with battles, fires, gangster massacres and more, there are rumored hauntings all throughout the city. Chicago Ghost Tours takes you on a ghost hunt – even to one of Al Capone’s hangout spots! You’ll be sure to bring back stories from this tour. Call (773) 953-6332 to reserve your spot on a tour today!


Happy Halloween, Chicago style!


{Image credits: Header1, 23}


Chicago Gourmet: Bringing You the Best Chicago Chefs – And Where to Find Them Any Day of the Year

Chicago Gourmet: Bringing You the Best Chicago Chefs – And Where to Find Them Any Day of the Year


Perfect sunny weather set the tone for celebration and indulgence at the 7th annual Chicago Gourmet, presented by Bon Appétit.  Set on the stunning backdrop of Millennium Park and the Pritzker Pavilion, the festival brings together lovers of food, wine, beer and more for two days of incredible tastings. The event was preceded by Friday’s Hamburger Hop kickoff as well as several themed dinners around the city in the months prior, all in anticipation of one of Chicago’s best events of the year.


When Chicago Gourmet finally arrives, it feels like Christmas morning – bubbling anticipation for what’s to come. You prepare yourself for a day out in the sunshine meeting, greeting and eating around the Chicago culinary scene. It’s important to remember that Chicago Gourmet is a marathon, not a sprint, when it comes to taste testing the best the chefs have to offer.


Dozens of white tents around the perimeter of Millennium Park serve tasting portions of unique dishes the chefs designed just for the event, while tents in the middle of the park offer samplings of wine and spirits from around the world. While the lines grow as the popularity of each tasting tent is discovered, life isn’t so bad milling around in the sunshine waiting to be served an incredible mini-meal.


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Surrounding the food and drink tents are several stages that host chef demos, seminars, book tastings and more. Seeing your favorite chefs in action brings to life dining experiences you’ve had at many of their restaurants. The demos brought out personalities previously hidden behind kitchen doors or on the covers of cook books.


On Sunday, Chef Tim Graham of Travelle and Chef Jared Wentworth of Longman & Eagle, Dusek’s and Punch House teamed up for a presentation of the “Magic Beast” – specially sourced pork that was seared on a pan and served with a simply dressed kale and stone fruit salad. Amidst the jokes were a few lessons for home cooks – make friends with your butcher, brine your meat ahead of cooking and coat your salad with oil before the vinegar to prevent wilted leaves.


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chef Graham Elliot was equally entertaining as he reinforced his Chicago heritage in “Chicago Classic – Sweet Home 2.0.” Working with his Sous Chef Vinny, the two created a prosciutto-wrapped pork loin and a cauliflower giardiniera. “A good cook can go back in time,” Chef Elliot proclaimed as he explained that cooking popular dishes from other eras can transport you to a different time and place.


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


While Chicago Gourmet is an unforgettable experience that brings together the best of the best, the Chicago culinary scene goes year round. Along with the best tastings offered at Sunday’s event, you’ll find comparable menu items offered by the same chefs at their Chicago restaurants.



Bringing You Delicious Food All Year Long


Restaurant: Epic (112 W. Hubbard)

Chef: Dan Marquis

Chicago Gourmet Tasting: Pork cheek with pumpkin polenta and apples

To Try off Epic’s Menu:

  • Braised pork belly with Swiss chard, roasted apples, white polenta and natural jus
  • Duck confit salad with citrus supremes, red watercress, frisee and champagne vinaigrette
  • Pulled pork mac & cheese with chipotle braised pork and cotija cheese


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Restaurant: Antique Taco (1360 N. Milwaukee Ave.)

Chef: Rick Ortiz

Chicago Gourmet Tasting: Pumpkin habanero soup

To Try off Antique Taco’s Menu:

  • Pork carnitas taco, with Adobo rub, tamarind glaze, bacon, spinach, onion, avocado and queso fresco
  • Sweet & spicy chicken taco, with cucumber and jalapeno pickle, honey yogurt and purple onion
  • Habanero popcorn with olive oil and cheddar cheese



Restaurant: Park Grill (11 N. Michigan Ave.)

Chef: Gil Langlois

Chicago Gourmet Tasting: Pork rillette on toast

To Try off Park Grill’s Menu:

  • Fettuccine Carbonara hand-made pasta, Raisin River bacon, woodland mushrooms, truffle oil, poached egg, Grana Padano
  • Sautéed Great Lakes Whitefish butternut squash purée, Brussels sprout leaves, sage and pinenut relish, balsamic reduction
  • Chorizo Turkey Burger guava relish, cilantro cabbage slaw, pickled onions, potato bun, hand-cut fries


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Restaurant: Bread & Wine (3734 W. Irving Park)

Chef: Michael Dean Reynolds

Chicago Gourmet Tasting: Salted caramel popcorn panna cotta

To Try off Bread & Wine’s Menu:

  • Salted caramel popcorn panna cotta
  • Chocolate mousse with chocolate crunch, whipped cream and sea salt
  • Warm summer squash with poached egg, pancetta, ricotta, greens and balsamic



Restaurant: Mercat a la Planxa (638 S. Michigan Ave.)

Chef: Cory Morris

Chicago Gourmet Tasting: “Chicken Truffle Brussel” – chicken croquette with truffle-flavored Brussels sprouts

To Try off Mercat a la Planxa’s Menu:

  • Mixto croquetas – Serrano ham and chorizo croquettes with romesco
  • Ropa de Cabra – Kilgus Farms goat ropa vieja, goat cheese, baguette
  • Conill Amb Castanyes – Braised rabbit agnolotti, truffle chestnut puree, brandied cherries and rosemary brown butter


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Enjoy what these incredible chefs have to offer year-round. When 2015 comes up, watch out for Chicago Gourmet ticket sales – they sell out and this is an event you do not want to miss!



Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


The Chicago Lifestyle was invited to attend Chicago Gourmet with a media pass. All content, images and opinions are from The Chicago Lifestyle.



Jack Daniel’s Patio Opens at Wrigley Field

Jack Daniel’s Patio Opens at Wrigley Field


I recently had the pleasure of watching the Cubs play on a sunny afternoon, with a whiskey in my hand, celebrating the opening of the new Jack Daniel’s patio at Wrigley Field.


July 24 marked the grand opening of the new patio at Wrigley Field and Tennessee’s Jack Daniel’s made the experience great! Women in Jack Daniel’s dresses lined the path up to the patio where there was food, plenty of whiskey to go around, and a meet-and-greet with the Assistant Master Distiller, Chris Fletcher. Fletcher shook hands and let us sample the whiskey before he went down to the field to throw the first pitch.


My favorite part of the evening was the opportunity to speak with Fletcher himself and hear about his history with Jack Daniel’s and interesting facts about the company.


Jack Daniel was one of 13 siblings in his native Lynchburg, TN. He was a young age when his mother passed, and he ran away to live with a Lutheran preacher. This Lutheran preacher was one of a kind as he made whiskey himself and taught Jack the art.


One of the most important and distinct features of Jack Daniel’s whiskey is the charcoal. The charcoal is made in Lynchburg to add color and smoothness to the whiskey, and qualifies it as genuine Tennessee Whiskey. The barrel is also very integral to the distinct nature of Jack Daniel’s and affects the taste of the whiskey significantly. At Jack Daniel’s, they are the only whiskey distiller in the world to make their own barrels. In order to be designated Tennessee Whiskey, it must be made and matured in Tennessee. Typical maturation in the barrels is about four to seven years.


The pre-game festivities concluded with Fletcher throwing the opening pitch of the game in celebration of the new patio. As fun as it would be to call myself a “master distiller,” I got to learn just how mechanical and scientific the distilling process is and that Fletcher truly is a professional whiskey chemist – how cool is that?!


According to Jack Daniel’s, “Located behind section 420 of the upper deck, the new patio is a place for fans to congregate, take in a great view of the Chicago skyline, while enjoying Jack Daniel’s specialty cocktails and ballpark fare. An added feature, the patio has been newly rebranded with customized wooden tables inspired by Jack Daniel’s whiskey barrels featuring the Cubs and Jack Daniel’s logos.” The patio is now open to the public and offers an unbeatable view of the city over Clark and Addison Streets. So next time our beloved Cubs aren’t doing so well on the score board, take a stop by the patio for a glass of Tennessee Whiskey; I suggest the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey!


Chris Fletcher of Jack Daniel's


Jack Daniel's at Wrigley Field


Jack Daniel's Patio at Wrigley Field


Jack Daniel's Whiskey at Wrigley Field


Jack Daniel's Patio at Wrigley Field


This post was sponsored by Jack Daniel’s. All content and opinions are from The Chicago Lifestyle.


{All pictures by Lauren Fondriest | The Chicago Lifestyle}


Riot Fest: Squeeze in One More Outdoor Music Fest Before the Season is Over

Riot Fest: Squeeze in One More Outdoor Music Fest Before the Season is Over


Chicago has so many different music festivals throughout the summer, and the sad fact is sometimes we have to pick and choose which ones we should go to. Summer’s almost over, but there’s still time to make it to one more!


Riot Fest (September 12 – 14, 2014) is a punk, rock, and alternative music festival that hit Chicago in 2005 and has gained a name for itself. Remember those bands you used to fan girl over in high school?  Riot Fest showcases all your favorite bands from then and now, and even offers genres like rap and electronic. There’s something for everyone to see, really.



What to Expect at the Festival


Riot Fest is an outdoor event, located in Humboldt Park. This creates a large yet intimate atmosphere – everyone is very welcoming and diverse, but it is easy to stay in your own world with your friends as well. The park is large enough so that two bands can be playing at once and there is no sound overlap. You can sit comfortably away from people and enjoy the music as well as dive into the crowd. It is a very relaxed setting, with people wandering to and from different concerts throughout the day. However, at every concert you can always find someone dancing and singing along. Knowing what bands are playing really isn’t even necessary, you’re bound to find one you can enjoy or recognize simply by walking around the park, or at least find some tunes worth moving to!



What to Bring


Unfortunately, alcohol is not allowed into the festival, but there are various vendors that sell different types of food (even vegan) as well as drink options. An umbrella or poncho is recommended as it has been known to rain in past years (yes, bands still play in the rain!) but summer appropriate apparel is recommended, especially if you plan on seeing the bands up close and personal. Bringing a jacket or sweater of some sort, something that you can easily take on and off, is smart if you plan on staying for the concerts at night. A water bottle is also a good option for days that it may be hotter, you can never be too careful!


Even if you don’t know any of the bands playing, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. I mean, who doesn’t love music, beer, and dancing? But we recommend checking out the lineup anyways, ya know, just in case!


Friday, Sept. 12th Saturday, Sept 13th Sunday, Sept. 14th


Buying Tickets


The good news is that Riot Fest offers a layaway plan for your tickets! To create your layaway plan, click here! Tickets can be purchased for all three days (September 12, 13, and 14), a combination of two of the three days, or just one day.


Riot Fest takes places in Humboldt Park (W. Division and N. Sacramento) on the West Side of Chicago.


To find out more information about Riot Fest Chicago,



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Why Millennium Park is Your Go-To Spot for the Summer

Why Millennium Park is Your Go-To Spot for the Summer


Don’t look now, but summer is blowing by! It’s hard to believe, but there’s still time to fit some cool activities into your summer. Millennium Park hosts a wide range of free events throughout the summer and we’ve got deets for you. Check out our August calendar and schedule your plans now!


Each free Millennium Park event has something different to offer. Love to workout in the mornings? Millennium Park’s scenery offers the perfect setting for a relaxing morning workout. Check out the Millennium Park Workouts to try new activities like yoga and get moving!


Millennium Park also offers a wide host of music events, for lovers of Jazz (Chicago Jazz Festival, Made In Chicago) to electro indie (Loops & Variations, Downtown Sound) music to classical Brahms (Grant Park Music Festival).


Movies for everyone! Get your movie fix at Millennium Park Summer Film Series, with a different movie every Tuesday. Check out movies like Avatar and Dream Girls to top off those sweet summer nights.



What To Bring:


A blanket or something to sit on is definitely recommended, but some go the extra step and bring little tables and chairs.  Snacks are a must and open alcohol is allowed within the event perimeters. Great spots such as Mariano’s across from the park (333 E. Benton Pl.) offer a wide selection of picnic fare and drinks. Don’t be afraid to have a little fun! Bring your wine, bring your friends, and bring your dancing shoes, because your summer just got a lot fuller!


Millennium Park Concerts, Free Concerts Chicago, Loops and Variations



Book Your August Calendar Now with these Fun Free Events:

(Click on the links to find out more! Information courtesy of City of Chicago.)



Monday, August 4, 2014

6:30 pm  Downtown Sound featuring Maps & Atlases + Wooden Shjips


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

6:30 pm  Millennium Park Summer Film Series featuring The Birdcage


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

7:30-8:15 am  Mid-week Yoga with Rachel Bers of Bloom Yoga Studio

6:30 pm  Grant Park Music Festival featuring The Seven Deadly Sins


Thursday, August 7, 2014

6:30 pm  Made In Chicago: World Class Jazz featuring John Moulder’s Earthborne Tales of Soul and Spirit


Friday, August 8, 2014

7:30 pm  Grant Park Music Festival featuring Northern Lights


Saturday, August 9, 2014

7-11 am  Millennium Park Workouts

7:30 pm  Grant Park Music Festival featuring Northern Lights


Sunday, August 10, 2014

6 pm  Millennium Park Presents featuring Chinese Fine Arts Society Rhythms of China 2014


Monday, August 11, 2014

6:30 pm  Downtown Sound featuring Russian Circles + Colin Stetson


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

6:30 pm  Millennium Park Summer Film Series featuring American Graffiti


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

7:30-8:15 am  Mid-week Yoga with Rachel Bers of Bloom Yoga Studio

6:30 pm  Grant Park Music Festival featuring Bolcom and Mozart


Thursday, August 14, 2014

6:30 pm  Made In Chicago: World Class Jazz featuring Matana Roberts: Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile


Friday, August 15, 2014

6:30 pm  Grant Park Music Festival featuring Daphnis and Chloé


Saturday, August 16, 2014

7-11 am  Millennium Park Workouts

7:30 pm  Grant Park Music Festival featuring Daphnis and Chloé


Monday, August 18, 2014

6:15 pm  Millennium Park Presents featuring Broadway In Chicago Summer Concert


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

6:30 pm  Millennium Park Summer Film Series featuring Dreamgirls


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

7:30-8:15 am  Mid-week Yoga with Rachel Bers of Bloom Yoga Studio

7 pm  Millennium Park Presents featuring Harris Theater + Chicago Dancing Festival: Chicago Dancing Festival Simulcast


Thursday, August 21, 2014

6:30 pm  Made In Chicago: World Class Jazz featuring Fareed Haque – Chicago: Crossroads of the World


Saturday, August 23, 2014

7-11 am  Millennium Park Workouts

7:30 pm  Millennium Park Presents featuring Chicago Dancing Festival Celebration of Dance


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

6:30 pm  Millennium Park Summer Film Series featuring Wizard of Oz


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

7:30-8:15 am  Mid-week Yoga with Rachel Bers of Bloom Yoga Studio

6:30 pm  Millennium Park Summer Film Series Bonus Film featuring Avatar


Thursday, August 28, 2014

6:30 pm  Made In Chicago: World Class Jazz featuring Homage to Nelson Mandela: Ernest Dawkins’ Memory in the Center, an Afro Jazz Opera


Friday, August 29, 2014

Chicago Jazz Festival


Saturday, August 30, 2014

7-11 am  Millennium Park Workouts

Chicago Jazz Festival


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Chicago Jazz Festival



To find out more information about these events and summer in Millennium Park, visit



Your Guide to Beaching in Chicago: North Avenue Beach

Your Guide to Beaching in Chicago: North Avenue Beach


Your Guide to Chicago Beaches: Pick Your Beach


My favorite season, Chicago beach season, is officially in full swing until September 2. If you haven’t done so yet, here is your guide to taking advantage of the 26 miles of Chicago beaches. First, you have to choose the right beach. Out of convenience, many of us opt for the beach that’s the closest to us but I encourage all to branch out and be sure to visit other beaches as they all have something different to offer. To find your beach for the day, check out Chicago Park district offers an interactive map of all 27 beaches with information on the history, amenities/facilities, beach rules, public transit, photos, water quality and even the “swim status.”


Featured Beach: North Avenue Beach


North Avenue Beach is a great one for families. Looking onto the water at North Avenue, this beach seems to have it all. To the right is the city view we all know and love, in front of you is the lake full of boats and kayakers, to the left are miles more of the beach, and behind you is the always busy bike trail and park; it doesn’t get much better! They even have free wifi, lockers, and a life guard first aid station. According to, it was funded and constructed as a part of FDR’s New Deal WPA (Works Progress Administration). Like most beaches, alcohol is prohibited but one of the great things is that North Avenue is home to two great restaurants, One Stick Puppy and Castaways. This August, North Avenue Beach will even host the Chicago Air and Water Show!


Chicago Beach Panorama


Beach Food


Castaways seems to be the landmark of North Avenue Beach as the giant blue and white boat-esque building that many notice when driving down Lake Shore Drive. They also offer great beach food at their walk up bar but I suggest the Vodka Lemonades on Fridays for only $6.50!


Another hot spot and one of the three full service Chicago beach restaurants is The Dock at Montrose Beach. A favorite part about The Dock is all the live music, including Reggae Wednesdays! As far as the menu, they have everything from kid friendly food, to wraps, and quite the list of cocktails!


If there is sunshine and there are people on the beach you can guarantee there will be ice cream carts up and down the coast all day! The ice cream selection has changed very little since you were a kid so be sure to bring cash for a Nutty Buddy or Fire Cracker Popsicle.


Also on North Avenue Beach, One Stick Puppy is a favorite because the corn dogs make for the perfect beach snack. I purchased the water bottle and always make sure I have it with me every time I go to the beach for the free water refills! Similar to One Stick Puppy, there are several other great beach stands open on the warm days with fun snacks!


Chicago Beach


Beach Activities


On August 16 – 17, North Avenue Beach will serve as the center for the yearly Chicago Air and Water Show featuring the he U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels and the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights. The show is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the Blue Angels are coming out this year! As it will be a long and hot show, be sure to bring a few water bottles and extra sunscreen.


What’s better than starting your day doing yoga in on the beach? Sun and Moon Beach Yoga offers both sunrise and sunset classes through September 1! If neither sunrise nor sunset suits your schedule they also offer late morning and weekend classes to cater to all yogis! You can either purchase a $15 pass, a Season Pass for $300 or you can choose from the 5, 10, or 20 class packs.


Chicago City Sports Monster Beach Volleyball has it all! If you’re interested in beach volleyball, Sports Monster offers 5 different levels, leagues available Sunday – Friday, 9-week leagues, pickup games, tournaments, and clinics. Leagues are open for registration so you can chose from one of their 5 locations and sign up today.


Enjoy your beach days and don’t forget to wear sunscreen!


Wear Sunscreen!



Glappitnova Brings Together a Kaleidoscope of Chicago Culture

Glappitnova Brings Together a Kaleidoscope of Chicago Culture


You know that feeling when you leave somewhere more motivated than when you went in? I had the opportunity to attend Glappitnova last week, and left feeling inspired, motivated and generally cooler for living in Chicago.


Read up on Glappitnova in the article I wrote in June.


Enter scene from Wednesday:


Mingling amongst the fashionistas, start-up mavens, cultural personalities and many more, I absorbed what the festival had to offer. Held in Moonlight Studios in the West Loop, the event took over the studio with several rooms to showcase the talents of local speakers and performers. Guest stars such as the Bachelorette’s Frank Neuschaefer introduced speakers as they embarked on their 10 minutes of storytelling.


“You are defined by your purpose” – “Use your talent responsibly” – “I failed so many times and now I’ve figured it out” …. These were some of the words of wisdom heard at Glappitnova. A few of the fabulous speakers I saw included:


  • Aalap Shah – Founder of SoMe Connect, who overcame failure after failure when he learned that he had to be either all in or all out, and threw himself all in
  • Case Kenny and Seth Sutton – Co-founders of PRSUIT, who bring together genuine guys sharing meaningful stories on their website,
  • Luvvie Ajayi – Blogger and Co-founder of the Red Pump Project, who witnessed the power of the Internet when she reconnected with an old friend half a world away, and now uses the Internet to help others
  • UB Rodriguez, WGCI Radio Talk Host, who built bridges so strong they carried him to his dream career


Host Frank Neuschaefer


Aalap Shah


Luvvie Ajayi


Hearing the lessons, the jokes, the inspiration and great tales through the night reminded me of how many unique personalities and talents there are in Chicago. Stepping outside the bounds of your usual scene has its perks – new connections were made, drinks were had and dancing ensued.


Following the speeches were performances by The Brothers StarRace, Lili K and Klassik. Klassik’s performance was both intimate and crowd-energizing. Stepping off the stage and onto the dance floor, he brought the crowd into a clapping, dancing circle around him. Great way to get the party going!


klassik, glappitnova



Stay tuned for next year’s Glappitnova event, and learn more about the organization and how you can get involved at


{Images by Lauren Fondriest | The Chicago Lifestyle}



Summer Festival Survival Tips

Summer Festival Survival Tips


Summer’s in the air, time to plan the Ultimate Summer Festival Hit List! Here is your inside guide to summer festival survival tips.


During the summer Chicago is festival city – after all, we only get a few months of summer. Every year I create my festival hit list around May as that’s when most festival dates are released. Most of the festivals I attend are free with a suggested donation, except for the annual music festivals, for which tickets must be purchased in advance. If there were a ‘Frequent Festival Goer’ rewards program, I would be a premium member.


This summer I plan to attend 35 city festivals, so far I’ve been to 10; summer is still young! I’ve been attending festivals since I was 18, I won’t tell you my age but let’s just say, I have been to over 100 festivals (yes, I keep count).  So far this year, I’ve been to Manifest 2014, Chicago Ribfest, Spring Awakening, Pride Fest and Pride Parade, just to name a few. Well, enough about me, let’s talk about the important stuff. What to bring, what not to bring and what to expect at a festival.


If you’re planning on attending a music festival such as Lollapalooza, North Coast or Riot Fest…..BUY TICKETS NOW! Tickets for these events sell out fast – very fast. You do not want to be the person not going because you don’t have a ticket. Websites such as StubHub or Ticket Hub re-sell tickets, usually at a higher price. Ok, so you have the ticket or better yet you don’t need one, now what? Let the planning begin!


The most important thing… what to wear? Rule number one is to be prepared for ANY weather. Chicago’s weather this summer has been somewhat unpredictable to say the least. I’ve witnessed a sunny warm morning turn into hail and lightning storm. I recommend a rain jacket or poncho, sunscreen, bug spray, light clothes, and extra shirt, all of which I didn’t bring the first year I went to a summer music festival. Planning an outfit can be a lot of fun, especially if you like to dress up in costume (trust me you won’t be the only one dressing up at a music festival). Make sure you wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be on your feet most of the day.


No matter what festival you’re attending, music festival or city festival, the most important thing is to keep hydrated. Alcohol doesn’t count! Drink in moderation as a full day of walking and dancing will dehydrate your body fast. Most festivals do not allow outside bottles, but make sure to dink plenty of water the day before to prepare your body. A trip to the hospital after a festival is not fun.


INSIDER TIP: I usually purchase a bottle of water at the festival and refill it at the water stations. This is an easy way to save money and avoid the long lines to get water. You can also invest in a Hydration Pack (trust me, this is an investment).  If you don’t know what a Hydration Pack is, it’s basically a backpack with a water pouch and a straw.




Have a meeting place for you and your friends. There’s nothing worst than going to the bathroom and returning to where you thought your friends were waiting to find out they are not there! In this case your phone is your best friend, if it stays charged.


INSIDER TIP:  Invest in a portable charger! You’ll want to take pictures to share on social media during the festival. You do not want to get caught with a dead phone.


Remember to have an open mind about the festivals, even if they don’t turn out to be what you expected.  No matter what festival you attend the ultimate rule is to have fun and create memories with friends.


{Photo via Spring Awakening}






California has Interscope, New York has Def Jam, but what about Chicago?


Throughout the years, Chicago’s lively vibes have fostered the growth of several highly talented artists (Vic Mensa and Krewella, anyone?) but we’ve never seen a major backbone behind it all. With all this high energy pumping out of Chi-town, all that’s missing is a unifier.


And that’s where Maek comes in.


Created by Jason Sizer and Tiffany Lee in 2011, Maek is a record label dedicated to predominantly electronic dance music (EDM) with a unique twist on indie pop and hip hop.


But why is Maek making waves?


Maek, unlike Def Jam, Interscope, Colombia Records, or any other label this country has seen, is completely free. Read it again: COMPLETELY FREE.




So let’s get into it, shall we?


How did Maek start?


Why sell people something they don’t have to buy? Jason Sizer (artistically known as Jason Maek) and Tiffany Lee realized that fighting the battle of free music just wasn’t working anymore; the model needed to be re-vamped. Jason’s long history in the music industry gave way for the long-time friends to create something they saw a need for.


And what better place than Chicago?


“Chicago has everything for someone who works in the arts,” says Sizer, and he’s absolutely right. Currently, there is no standard-setter for the music business in Chicago, but there is a 12% college population rate, many affluent neighborhoods, serious ethnic diversity, and an amazing arts and music culture. As the 3rd largest city in the US, Chicago has set the stage for Maek to reach the potential Sizer and Lee felt Maek had when it started as a small project, and the city is only proving them right.




But what makes Maek so different? (Besides the free music, as if that weren’t enough)


Maek’s premier artist, singer and songwriter Zaena, had quite a lot to say about Maek from an artistic standpoint.


“They really nurtured the relationship. They asked me a lot of questions I had never been asked by any other label. I was asked what my long term goals are, what I want to do with my music, what is important to me, people I want to touch, how I see myself. They never wanted to change me, it was always how they can help me be who I am as an artist.”


It seems that Maek really fosters a familial environment within its walls as Sizer adds, “I guess the king goal of Maek is that we really just want to keep the promises we make to our artists and our staff, I think that really matters most to everyone.”


Maek Music


But what other goals does Maek have?


“We really want to demonstrate that the free music model will and does work for all parties,” says Lee, “We want to put a dent in Chicago’s music culture, to grow and to become recognizable.”


So what exactly can Chicago expect from Maek?


Maek’s debut project, Pandamonium, is a seventeen song collaborative LP from artists Jason Maek and Zaena with help from producers that have worked with artists like Lorde and Lana Del Rey. Every week during the summer until August 25th, Maek will release a song off the LP along with an art piece for each song (already released pieces featured throughout the article). A visual album for Pandamonium, currently in production, is scheduled to release in September as well, with ideas of a graphic novel in the works.


Maek directors also say to expect more visibility throughout the coming year as well as performance and tour dates and a noteworthy 1st year anniversary part in September.




So, why should you tell everyone and their mom about what Maek is doing?


Artist Zaena comments, “I think Maek is a very brave company. 2014 was the first year digital music sales went down, and it was a shock to a lot of people. Music has just become so accessible, so labels are trying to find new ways to stay afloat. Maek is the first free music record label in its genre, it has completely revamped the way a label is structured.”


“We’re really introducing something new to the music culture here in Chicago. We’re introducing a really cool sound,” says Sizer, “It’s all about embodying the passion and art of Chicago.”


To learn more about Maek and upcoming events, visit and don’t forget to follow on Twitter (@maekmusic) Instagram (maek_music) Soundcloud (Maek Music) and Facebook (Maek)!


{Images via Maek Music}



Taste of Chicago: Behind the Scenes with the Operations Manager

Taste of Chicago: Behind the Scenes with the Operations Manager


The annual Taste of Chicago launched this week – once again showcasing various delectable tasty treats, cool brews to wash it down, and crowds of hungry people. But through the masses I had the chance to sit down with one in-the-know individual and interview him.


Taste of Chicago


Johnny Meeks (22 years old, from Barrington, Illinois), the Assistant Manager to Taste of Chicago Day Operations, had this to say:


Q: What’s your favorite part about Taste of Chicago?


A: That is truly such a tough question. There is so much going on that makes the entire experience what it is. I would have to say I personally love the ability to snag quick little portions of amazing food and some of the best grub Chicago has to offer. I can grab a small deep dish slice, some Bourbon Street chicken jalapeño nachos, the always famous smoked alligator sausage, all while sipping an ice cold 312 and enjoying some amazing local talent on stage throughout the whole day.

Taste really brings together a true Chicago experience that may take someone months to complete, only in matter of beautiful 5 summer days. I also get a kick from the all the food tents yelling and howling all day long. It truly wouldn’t be the same without them.



Q: What’s the best way to live the Chicago Lifestyle?


A: Oh man, that’s an even tougher question! Well first of all, this may sound weird, but save seeing the bean and all that classic mumbo for another day. Come hungry and ask around for the best local grub in that area. Chicago is home to such great restaurants that each provides their own unique experiences.

If you have the time, do everything you can to go see a daytime Cubs game and park yourself right in middle of the left field bleachers. They may not serve Old Style anymore, but man, are those bleachers such a fun time. Grab some friends, go root on the city’s die-hard loved Cubbies and just wait till the 7th inning when the bleacher all stars start heckling the other team and make everyone laugh till it hurts. Chicago provides a little of everything for absolutely everyone. Also, what ever you do, never ever, under any circumstances, ask for ketchup.


Taste of Chicago


Q: What’s do you suggest to people for next year that come to Taste of Chicago?


A: I would personally suggest just sticking to the “taste” options from all the vendors. Don’t get me wrong, going for the full meal choices are all amazing and phenomenal, but I would recommend using your tickets for as much as you can possibly get. Spend them across as many vendors as you can to really live Taste the way it’s meant to be.

Oh, and without a doubt, apply double the sunscreen and only use SPF as high as you can. (Chuckles) You’re going to get a tan no matter what, I promise you.


Thanks Johnny!



Learn more about the Taste of Chicago here – and catch it before it closes on Sunday!


Taste of Chicago