Tuesday, December 6, 2011

PrettyCity Beauty Sample Sale Goodie Bag

Here is the goodie bag given to attendees of the PrettyCity Shape
Beauty Sample Sale Chicago tonight. I think it included Lavanilla Lip
Shines, Milani Baked Bronzer, Haken Body Butter, Mirabella Beauty
Colour Palettte, Ouidad Control Heat & Humidity Styling Gel, a hair
product from Redken, and a product from Tria (maker of the hair
removal device). I am not sure of the contents because I revived a
press pass to the event minus the goodie bag. As a result, I quickly
took a photo of the goodie bag before leaving.

PrettyCity Shape Beauty Sample Sale

I attended the PrettyCity Shape Magazine Beauty Sample Sale tonight at
Flirty Girl Fitness in Chicago. Lots of
women enjoyed themselves as they took advantage of free beauty
services such as nail polish changes and dry hairstyling and mini
makeovers from salons (Blueberry Moon, FM Hair Studio, Nails Naturally) as well as manufacturers like Eveline Cosmetics Kryolan and
PurMinerals. Making a custom lip gloss for $15 at the Bomber Betty
booth was popular as women waited and waited to create their perfect
lip gloss. Skin care companies in attendance included AnthroSpaLogic, Cosmedicine, Sella, Eveline Laboratories, and TreSkin RX.

I spun the wheel at the Cosmedicine booth and won an eye
cream. Also got a skin diagnosis from Cosmedicine - I have combination skin with hyperpigmentation. At the Shape Magazine booth I won a "Jurassic Park" blu-Ray 3-
disc set.

Disclosure: I received a press pass to the event minus the goodie bag.

Hairstyling by Elnett at Shecky's

L'Oreal's Elnett Satin hairspray offered hairstyling at Shecky's Girls Night Chicago.

You can read about this hairspray was banned in the US, reformulated and relaunched at http://www.haironthebrain.com/2010/03/l’oreal-elnett-satin-hairspray-2/

Shecky's Girls Line Up

Lots of women showed up for the latest Shecky's Girls Night Out in Chicago's Union Station. Makeovers were offered by BeneFit and Maybelline while beverages were offered up by Budweiser, Cointreau, and many others.

Mariano's Fresh Market in Loop

Mariano's Fresh Market finally opened in Chicago's Loop so I went the first week of its opening. It was warm out on a weekday evening so they had the patio open and were selling grilled-to-order beef sandwiches. Inside they sell hand-dipped apples and have a sushi bar, fresh pizza, and a huge wine & spirits department.

Taylor Swift Wonderstruck

Macy's held a huge launch event for Taylor Swift's first fragrance - Wonderstruck at its New York City Herald Square store. Taylor made a live appearance at Herald Square while Macy's live broadcast parts of the event to other stores across the country.

Macy's State Street in Chicago was one of the stores to get a live feed. The store offered karaoke of Taylor's songs. I held the mike for the phone but did not sing. I have done karaoke publicly only once in my life. Macy's also offered free makeovers from Elizabeth Arden (creator of the fragrance) and feather application on hair for those who made a purchase.

Nordstrom Cosmetic Trend Show Oct 2011

There were so many beautiful dresses including an Elie Saab gown worn by the models during the Nordstrom Oakbrook fall cosmetics trend show in October. Glamour was a big theme for the morning as hundreds of women showed up before 8am on a Saturday to see the latest trends.

Many vendors showed up for the event. The Oakbrook cosmetic trend shows are the most attended in the entire country according to the company. Chantecaille, Osmotics, Tela Beauty were some of the companies represented.

Mariano's Fresh Market Arlington Heights

After hearing one of my colleagues rave about Mariano's Fresh Market (and reading the mostly positive reviews on Yelp), I had to check out the original Mariano's in Arlington Heights. It was crowded on a Saturday afternoon as he warned me. Took a lot of pictures at the store. A unique feature is the cooking demonstration area pictured. They also have live piano music on the weekends, fresh fried dough, gelato,   and fresh-made pizza and sandwiches.

Nordstrom Fragrance Nov 2011

I attended the Nordstrom fragrance breakfast at their Oakbrook store a few Saturdays ago. A lot of women showed up at 8am to learn about new fragrances, win prizes, and eat a delicious breakfast of finger foods including panini, salmon blini, and mimosas.

Many vendor representatives showed up to talk about their new fragrance launches. Prada Candy was a big focus for the event. You can see that the event host wore hot pink in honor of the new scent. Bottega Veneta, Burberry Body, Elie Saab, and Jimmy Choo were some of the highlighted new products.

Back to Blogging

Okay, I've gone too long without blogging. I have been swamped at work. And any time I've spent on social media has gone to tweeting at @virginiaalee. I'm now back to blogging and will be reviewing some old events I've attended to see if I should do a blog post on them or not.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

How to Connect WIth Journalists by WGN's Nancy Loo

Nancy Loo (@Nancyloo) of WGN gave Midwest Moms Brands & Bloggers Summit attendees a lot of great advice on how to connect with journalists.

You can read a recap here: http://honestandtruly.blogspot.com/2011/07/brands-and-bloggers-summit-recap.html

Cameras Galore at Brands & Bloggers Summit

There were cameras galore at the Midwest Moms Brands & Bloggers Summit. We counted 8 and a half at our table since one was a very small camera. MJ Tam (left), editor of Chicagonista.com, organized last Saturday's conference.

Reuniting With Birth Mother Through Facebook

WGN's Nancy Loo shared a true story about how entrepreneur/blogger/author Wendy Piersall found her birth mother through Facebook at last Saturday's Midwest Moms Brands & Bloggers Summit. An incredible story. Not a dry eye in the house

Brands & Bloggers Summit Swag Bag

I learned lots at last Saturday's Midwest Moms Brands & Bloggers
Summit. Here is the swag bag and gifts from sponsors at the event.

Craiglist's Craig Newmark

Craiglist's founder Craig Newmark spoke at Chicago Techweek yesterday.
Some memorable quotes include "I have no vision. I really don't bother
with ideas. I am very good at cutting through bullshit."
The Craigslist customer service rep (that's his real title) is now
focusing on Craigconnects.org - "Connecting the World for the Common
Good" . The first campaign focused on helping veterans and military
families. His next campaign will try to promote accountability and
transparency in non-profits.

BlogHer's Jory Des Jardins

BlogHer co-founder Jory Des Jardins was interviewed by someone from
Chicago Sun-Times yesterday at Chicago TechWeek. She talked about top
reasons why women blog: 1) express myself 2) have fun 3) connect with
people like me. She talked about clients such as Procter & Gamble and
PepsiCo want to authentically connect with bloggers and create more
virality. She also talked about the democratization of media and the
wisdom of crowds.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Great Retail Theater

Thought Henri Bendel in New York hosting cobblers from Tuccia di Capri
was great retail theater. I have never seen anything like this, and
I've shopped a lot.
Three cobblers came up from Miami to make custom sandals in the store.
Think they said it takes about 2 hours to make one. There's the
element of limited-time only (they were there just through July 11),
customization, and the storytelling aspect of telling your girlfriends
that you saw sandals being made for you right before your eyes. How
many of us can say we've seen cobblers make shoes? Not many.

Eataly is for Meat Lovers

I think Mario Batali's Eataly is probably best for meat lovers. You
see all this cured meat (assume it's all handcrafted). And there's a
huge cheese case as well.

Mario Batali's Eataly

If you are in New York and you love to eat, go visit Mario Batali's
Eataly. It is a food emporium for tourists and locals (saw a lot of
office types coming in after work). There's a seafood restaurant,
pizza, meat restaurant, a beer pavillion, wines, gelato, paninis,
Lavazza and another cafe. You could eat here for days and never repeat.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Teknion CoCreate Panel

Teknion hosted a panel on CoCreate: New Thinking About the
Collaborative Workplace today at Neocon. Speakers Ellen Albert of MTV,
Tom Vecchione of Gensler, Susan Steeves of SSDG, and Tom DeGarmo of
Studios. Topics included individual vs shared space, different
workstyles, more people working from home but office won't go away,
coffee bars in offices, creating opportunities for colleagues to
strike up conversations, technology incl texting/Skyping/

Kimball Office Bag Models

These women were modeling the free and gorgeous canvas bags from the
Kimball Office showroom yesterday at Neocon in the Merchandise Mart

Monday, June 13, 2011

Kimball Showroom at Neocon

I'm at the Kimball contract furniture showroom at 325 N Wells. They're
giving out free beautiful canvas bags to Neocon attendees. Also have
DJ and sandwiches.

Friday, May 27, 2011

50 Condiments

Get the June issue of Food Network Magazine for the mini-booklet
featuring 50 condiment recipes including Bloody Mary ketchup, stout
mustard, ginger miso mayo, and red onion marmalade. Plan to make
kimchi salsa: combine 3/4 cup chopped kimchi, 1 1/2 cups diced
tomatoes, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, juice of 1 lemon, and salt to
taste. Kimchi is Korea's national dish - fiery! You can get a jar of
the milder stuff in many supermarkets near the tofu in the produce

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Candy & Snack Today Photo

Candy maker Promotion in Motion offered free photos yesterday. You can
be on the cover of Candy & Snack Today.

At Sweets & Snacks Expo

Here's me at the Sweets & Snacks Expo yesterday.

Sweets & Snacks Expo Bag

I had a great time attending the open-to-the-trade only Sweets &
Snacks Expo at McCormick Place West yesterday. Ate a lot of candy,
talked to candy and snack folks, and picked up samples - lots of them.
This is everything I picked up in two hours. The National
Confectioners Assiciation gives attendees one bag (Mars Wrigley one in
the picture) and punches your badge so you can't get more than one
bag. You can however return to the Expo to refill your bag as many
times as you'd like.
Disclosure: I received free Expo admission from the NCA.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Japan Pavillion at Restaurant Show

Japan Pavillion at Restaurant Show focusing on Unami. Tasted sushi and
potato chips with Unami (and reduced salt) yesterday. Japanese Unami
Recipe Contest today at 1pm at the World Culinary Showcase. Chef
Kristine Subido of Chicago's Wave is a contestant.

Groupon at Restaurant Show

Daily deals site Groupon had one of the biggest booths at the National
Restaurant Show.

Living Social at Restaurant Show

Daily deals site Living Social giving out handcrafted cigars and
offering blind wine tasting at its booth at the National Restaurant

Food Trucks at Restaurant Show

Food trucks are hot right now because they are cheaper to start up
than a restaurant and Twitter has allowed proprietors to inform
customers where they will be. National Restaurant Show has a Food
Truck Stop.

Steve Dolinksky

I met Steve Dolinsky, Food Reporter for ABC 7 - Chicago at the
National Restaurant Association Show today. I've enjoyed his "Hungry
Hound" segments on ABC 7. Am looking forward to trying his latest find
- Szechuan tofu at Mapo, a Chinese restaurant in Naperville. I happen
to love tofu.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Korean Pavillion

Chef Youngsun Lee of Kimchi Taco Truck in New York City, Chef Walter
Neuhold of The Professional Chefs Association & expert on Korean
cuisine, and Cecelia Hae-Jin Lee, author of Quick & Easy Korean
Cooking made bindaeddeok (mungbean pancake) at the Korean Pavillion at
the National Restaurant Association Show.

Korean Food With Cecelia Lee

I met Cecelia Hae-Jin Lee, author of Quick & Easy Korean Cooking,
today at the National Restaurant Association Show. She was presenting
with two other chefs at the Korean pavillion. Her session was on
Kimchi - The New Pickle? with a tasting of Kimchi Arancini.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chiquita Fruit Crushies

Woman in yellow t-shirt was handing out free Chiquita pineapple &
banana fruit crushies at Chicago's Ogilvie Center this morning. Yellow
bottle says "crushed fruit snack 100% fruit", "whole fruit 2g fiber",
"2 servings of fruit". Haven't seen this claim often on juice bottles:
"100% recycled plastic & recyclable bottle".

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Jo Malone Event

Susan Carroll, National Jo Malone Expert (previously with
Prescriptives) gave a presentation on Jo Malone's fragrances at
Nordstrom Oakbrook. She talked about the Art of Fragrance Combining.
We sampled different scents, a bath oil, and body cream.

Nordstrom Scent Bar

Nordstrom Oakbrook offered a scent bar at today's fragrance breakfast.
Attendees could visit the bar to sample fragrances from the floral,
fresh, oriental and woody families.

Kate Spade Twirl

Beautiful display for Kate Spade Twirl (a floral) fragrance at this
morning's Nordstrom Oakbrook fragrance breakfast.

Friday, April 29, 2011

CND Shellac After 5 Weeks

I got a manicure with CND's Shellac 14-day wear gel nail polish on
March 14 at America's Beauty Show. This is how my nails looked 5 weeks
later on April 18. I did get a chip on my left index finger (that I
filed away) after about 10 days but otherwise very long-lasting. I was
hard on my nails - went to several conferences/tradeshows, did the
dishes without gloves, opened plastic packages, and scraped off gunk
from kitchen counters during this time.
Disclosure: I received a free manicure from CND.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Athenos Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt has become mainstream. Reps dressed in green were handing
out free samples of Athenos Greek Yogurt and a buy one get one free
coupon to morning commuters at Ogilvie Center in Chicago.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

AIWF Chicago Korean Market Culinary Tour

Have you ever wanted to try Korean food but were afraid to try? AIWF Chicago board member and culinary instructor Rebecca Wheeler will be leading a Korean culinary tour this Sunday, beginning at Super H-Mart in Niles and ending at San Soo Gab San Korean Restaurant on Chicago's Northside. Super H-Mart is a huge Korean/Asian superstore that offers a wide array of Korean foods, produce & fish. Rebecca will discuss kimchee (spicy, pickled cabbage), Korean noodles & dumplings, spices including gochujang (red pepper paste), and the tofu making process. Lunch at San Soo Gab San will involve Korean BBQ (bulgogi), mandu dumplings, kimchee stew, rice, and banchan (side dishes). Pictured is Korean spicy squid (ojingo bokkum) from Kuma's Asian Bistro in Naperville.

Sunday, March 27th 10:30am (please allow 3 ½-4 hours for the tour). $55 non-members, $45 AIWF members. http://www.aiwf.org/chicago/

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Aladdin Collapsible Salad Set

 Aladdin introduced the Collapsible Salad Set at the International Housewares Show. The set consists of a collapsible plastic salad bowl, a strainer, and three leak-proof containers to transport salad dressing and salad toppings. The company representative said that research with women found that they many frustrations about lunch. One issue: women wanted to eat more salad at lunchtime but did not like the existing storage containers. This set allows women to take a big salad with multiple toppings (just like at restaurants) to work but carry home a much smaller container for the bus/train trip home. 

Iron Chef Cat Cora at Housewares

Met Iron Chef Cat Cora at the Starfrit booth at the International Housewares Show. She was at the booth to sign copies of her cookbook, Cat Cora's Classics With a Twist, and promote her new Cat Cora line of cookware. The marketing materials promote the line as "Professional Chef Tested. Modern Mom Approved"- I didn't realize she has four boys.

Lucky Magazine Launches Lucky Kids

You can tell the economy is improving. After pulling the plug on Cookie magazine for affluent moms in October 2009, Conde Nast again sees an opportunity to reach moms & advertisers. Lucky magazine, the shopping resource for style conscious women, launched Lucky Kids magazine in March 2011. Lucky Kids will be published only twice in 2011, with the second issue coming out in time for back-to-school. Actress Angie Harmon and two of her daughters (Avery, Finley) are on the cover.

CND's Ambassador Anne Clarizio

Anne Clarizio, CND Education Ambassador, and owner of Head to Toes Salon in Arkansas, did my beautiful nails using CND's Shellac gel nail polish.

CND's Shellac Nail Polish

I got Shellacked at the CND VIP Room at America's Beauty Show in Chicago last Monday. Shellac was introduced in spring 2010 as a gel nail polish with 14-day wear. It is applied like a nail polish but cured under a UV light so no drying time.

I wanted to try a lot of different colors. On my left hand the colors are Hollywood, Masquerade, Decadence, plaid (Black Pool, Cream Puff, Iced Cappuccino, with Romantique as the base), zebra (Black Pool, Cream Puff). On my right hand the colors are Wildfire, Hot Chilis, Tropix (1/2 Iced Coral), Tutti Frutti, and Hot Pop Pink.

Nordstrom's Beauty Director Jules

Last Saturday was Julianne "Jules" De'Chaump's last Nordstrom Oakbrook Trend Show. Jules will be leaving her job as Midwest Beauty Director to take on another role at Nordstrom's Seattle headquarters. Jules, we'll miss your energy and sense of humor.

Nordstrom March 2011 Gift Bag

I won a goody bag of the Clarins (Gentle Eye Make-Up Remover Lotion, Instant Smooth Line Correcting Concentrate, Moisture-Rich Body Lotion) and Elemis (Absolute Eye Serum, Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Gel Mask) items pictured. All attendees of the Nordstrom Oakbrook Spring Trend Show received the cream "lace" bag filled with the items in the plastic bag (samples of Antica Farmacista Orange Blossom, Lilac & Jasmine candle, Caudalie Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Cream SPF 15, Clinique Long Last Lipstick in Creamy Nude, Miss Dior Cherie eau de toilette, and Prada eau de toilette pour homme).

Disclosure: I won a goody bag from Nordstrom.

Box Appetit Lunch Box

I saw a lot of options to carry lunch to work at the Housewares Show. I took today as a vacation day to recharge after all the trade shows in March.
The Box Appetit was designed by black+blum in London. The box comes
with an inner dish, a sauce pot for dressing, and a fork/knife. The
clear lid has a sauce dipping area for sushi. The product is made of
Eastman Chemical's Tritan and is dishwasher and microwave-safe (for up
to two minutes).

Disclosure: I received a sample from the Eastman Chemical booth.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Caudalie's Mathilde Thomas

Met Mathilde Thomas, founder of French skin care company Caudalie, at
Nordstrom OakBrook's cosmetics trend show. This was her first
appearance at the show. She is holding her Beauty Elixir. Attendees who purchased two or more Caudalie items on that day received a gift of Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Revealing Mask.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I visited the SCOTTEVEST booth at The Travel Goods Show in Chicago. The multi-tasking vests and
jackets have multiple pockets for cellphones, passports, snacks, even
the iPad (on the larger sizes) so you don't have to check baggage.

Top Chef Fabio Viviani at Housewares

Bravo's Top Chef Fabio Viviani was at the Bialetti booth at the International
Housewares Show in Chicago. Fabio is the new spokesperson for Bialetti USA. At the show, he demonstrated Bialetti's Aeternum Cookware - a non-stick, nanoceramic cookware line.