Pink Sand & Island Love

Lenny Kravitz, George Clooney, Justin Bieber and now The Levys- have all fallen in love with Eleuthera Island.

Side note: we had NO idea these people were connected to our mini moon spot, until the locals shared the info with us.

We flew out bright and early the day after the wedding to Ft Lauderdale , Florida then hopped on Silver Airways (a little commuter plane) to North Eleuthera Airport. (3 hrs from Chicago—> FLA , then 45 mins to ELH)

Eleuthera is a small island in The Bahamas and it only has about 11,000 people living there. From the second we landed it was obvious that the locals not only tolerated tourists, they embraced us with tips, funny stories and hidden gems of their beautiful island.

us at Sunset after a long day of fun

us at Sunset after a long day of fun

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View from the front porch of our room

We stayed at The Cove- a boutique resort on the central part of the island. Our room opened to the ocean and had minimal clean decor with an amazing outdoor shower. The grounds were filled with hammocks and white villas, with an infinity pool overlooking the ocean, and a happy hour bar on the edge of a cliff.

The Cove isn’t some mega resort- there is a small fitness center, no spa and you can walk from your room to any common area pretty quickly. But their service is over the top and a place like this makes you realize that you don’t need all that fluff when the sun and sand are so beautiful.

Alex in our favorite happy hour spot

Alex in our favorite happy hour spot

The Cove provides free ; paddle boards, kayaks, snorkeling gear, rafts and bikes to use to ride into town. We took advantage of all of it, and saw crazy sea life including; starfish, tropical fish and even barracuda!

Before riding into town we asked if we should lock up our bikes and the guy laughed and said “Nah nobody gonna mess with them. Crime? What’s that??”. And he wasn’t joking. No matter how the locals lived, they weren’t interested in messing with our property- unless we were exchanging cash for local spices and other treats we picked up.

In the vows we exchanged- I promised to be more adventurous- so when Al decided he wanted to cliff jump at the resort- and I followed. (Well, I did after standing there making excuses for about 10 mins and acting like a little baby) Between those swims back to the beach and the long bike rides- it felt like we got tons of exercise.

that water behind us? yep- I jumped.

that water behind us? yep- I jumped.

relaxing post swim- those are Flash Tats I'm wearing (temp tattoos that look like jewelry)

relaxing post swim- those are Flash Tats I’m wearing (temp tattoos that look like jewelry)

Can we please talk about the food? We were FLOORED by the meals at the resort. Between the spicy tuna with crispy rice, fresh grouper sandwiches, and fish in a bag- we agreed it was the most delicious food we’d ever eaten at a resort.

We decided to venture out and go local one night and checked out The Rainbow Inn’s pizza night- pizza in the tropics- crazy, right? WRONG. This was the most delicious pizza we’ve ever eaten- and hello- we live in Chicago! I got the lobster and it tasted like it came from heaven. The best part was our cab driver Wallis, who ended up driving us for the rest of the trip.

He gave us the tip to “go to the city” and visit Harbor Island- which you access by a 5 min ferry ride on a small power boat for five bucks. When you arrive, you rent a golf cart from a local for 40 bucks and that’s how you roll around the tiny island.

When I tell you the pink sand beaches will make you whip out your camera to prove you’ve actually seen something this perfect, I’m not joking.

Pink Sand all day every day on HI

Pink Sand all day every day on HI

After exploring the island, which included a stop at Queen Conch for the best conch fritters and grouper sandwiches I’ve ever had, we set up camp along Pink Sands Beach.

pink sand perfection

pink sand perfection

This is the kind of beach with no rocks, and water that’s so clear you can swim without being freaked out over what may be swimming up next to you.

We did NOT want to leave the beach, and will stay on the Island for a day or two when we make our next trip back. We regretted not having enough time to try some of the famous foodie spots to eat or rowdy beach bars. We did make a stop to walk around the marina and swim at a bar on the docks that makes a killer frozen drink before heading back to Eleuthera and The Cove.

at the bar along the water after a swim. we got out when the bartender told us about the lemon shark that liked to also swim there. YOWZA.

at the bar along the water after a swim. we got out when the bartender told us about the lemon shark that liked to also swim there. YOWZA.

Wallis also filled us in on how the hotel’s owner made his $$$- back when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, he was one of the few who stayed to clean it up and his garbage biz made $300 million. (according to Wallis) Pretty cool, right?

This place truly is magical, and while it’s not a direct flight yet from Chicago (or most places)- its totally worth checking out.

Here are some tips:

  • Make friends with a cabbie and use them for any transportation you need- they’ll tell you about the hidden places to snorkel, eat, and visit. We recommend Wallis.
  • Don’t bring anything fancy- I wore flat sandals, flowy dresses and bikinis all day and night. Heels have no place here.
  • Buy the local spices. We only bought one Lady Di’s spice rub and are really regretting it.
  • Be patient- they truly are on “island time” and it takes a hot second to get your food/drinks.
  • Drink the local beer- Kalik and Sands are delish.
  • Eat at the places that look “scary”. That’s where the food is the best, and most reasonable. The prices at the hotel and Rainbow Inn were CRAY High- so expect that. But Harbor Island was more reasonable for some reason.

 

So You Wanna Have A Surprise Wedding…

On July 19th I did something I swore I’d never do; I walked down an aisle in a white dress and got married.

dum dum de dum- j/k walked down the isle to "The Veldt"

dum dum de dum- j/k walked down the isle to “The Veldt”

Weddings just aren’t my thing- I’m not into showers, planning, girlie trips, favors, etc. BUT I am very into my new husband and since marriage was very important to him (and a life with him was UBER important to me)- we found a way to both have the most incredible night of our lives. Here’s how it went down: We decided Alex would throw me a “surprise engagement party”, with a small celebration of family and friends at our home and then a larger party at the Art Institute. The invite would say that this would serve as our “wedding” since we planned to do a “destination family-only event”, so guests were encouraged to attend since this was the “big day”. By early Feb both of our Father’s knew what was really going on- this made it easier to help with family and friends, and deliver the message that attendance was encouraged. Next came; Rachel DeMarte (our AMAZING event planner and her husband James), Justin Jacobson and his team including Erin at Platinum Events, Chef Tony and his team at the Art Institute, DJ Matt Roan and his wife/my make up artist Shannon O’Brien,  Rian from Glamour Girl (spray tan) Captain Ron, my hair stylist Tina Morales and photographer James Atkins. Once the trust tree was planted- we focused on what few details really mattered. I wanted; a pink peony bouquet, simple decor, a kick ass playlist, food that was delicious, yet straight forward, an ombre runner I’d seen on Pintrest, and my close girlfriends to all wear white.

Ladies in white

Ladies in white

If I’m being totally honest, some CelebTV homies were also in the loop (they do sit within 5 ft of me/see my computer/question my June & July lack of doing night events)

Jen & Meggy- got bits and pieces of it all. (Alex didn't know I told them...hee hee)

Jen & Meggy- got bits and pieces of it all. (Alex didn’t know I told them…hee hee)

 

Izzo wasn't into walking, so he carried him down the ombre isle

Izzo wasn’t into walking, so he carried him down the ombre isle

this princess stole the show- natch

this princess stole the show- natch

We both agreed to have some fun and incorporate; our two Frenchies and a nautical theme since- our first date was on a boat, we got engaged on a boat and our boat captain Ron was going to marry us. We also wanted; a photo booth, outside venue, McDonald’s to-go at the end of the night, plus plenty for our guests to eat and drink.

El Capitan doing his thing

El Capitan doing his thing

Back to that nautical thing- choosing someone to marry you is NOT an easy task. We agreed that Ron would be perfect since he’d watched us fall in love and he and his wife both take love and marriage very seriously. Thankfully, he not only agreed to become ordained for the occasion, but he delivered a beautifully thoughtful service. And the engagement? I knew he’d ask me sometime between January and July19th…but when he got down on his knees on a boat in Austin, Texas in early May- I was shocked and floored by the element of surprise.

this tourmaline ring is everything I never knew I wanted and more

this watermelon tourmaline ring is everything and more

Know what’s not fun about a wedding like this? You can’t call your girlfriends with the news! You also can’t wear your ring for months!!! (first world problems I know…) And dress shopping? Enjoy that solo mission.

I LOVED this dress- here I am post ceremony with our "ring bearer" - my brother Kyle

I LOVED this dress- here I am post ceremony with our “ring bearer” – my brother Kyle

To be fair, I wanted to do it stealth and after stalking dresses on Pintrest, I fell for the 3rd dress I tried on at Ultimate Bride- by Israeli designer-  Berta Bridal. *side note- apparently you have to order these things 6 months in advance…lucky for me I just made the cutoff*. I picked out vintage jewelry from Vintage Underground in Wicker Park and wore the sparkly Louboutins my guy got me for Christmas for the walk down the isle and then changed into a pair of Rose Gold Nike Sky Hi Dunks I found 3 days before the wedding.

on the way to the AI we id some city pics- peep the kicks

on the way to the AI we id some city pics- peep the kicks

We rented this bad boy to cruise around in

We rented this bad boy to cruise around in

The weekend of the big event I hid out at the Waldorf Astoria so none of the friends or family in town would bump into me and “I’d wonder what they were doing in Chicago” at random! But of course- some surprises were in store for me as well…

Hi friends and family - sorry we fooled you!

Hi friends and family – sorry we fooled you!

The week before; two of my close friends from college let me know they’d be in town out of the blue and my guy “stole their numbers from my phone” and extended the invite. When I saw them walk in, it meant the world.

You're engaged Zink! Nope- I'm married- this is my wedding!

You’re engaged Zink! Nope- I’m married- this is my wedding!

Kellee, Kathleen and the new Mrs. Levy

Kellee, Kathleen and the new Mrs. Levy

My dad who isn’t a big dancer- not only crushed it on the dance floor with me, but he also gave a fantastic toast.

we danced to "God Only Knows"

we danced “butterfly kisses”. SIKKE! “God Only Knows” was our jam

As did my normally shy bestie Kim, who came in from NYC. Policy with Kim and me- in my reception dress Of course, my girlfriends are no dummies and they tried every trick in the book to get me to spill some detail that would reveal what they “thought” was going on.

friends or CIA agents? having some photo booth fun

friends or CIA agents? having some photo booth fun

And Alex, well along with the help of our friend Jason Erkes- well , he got me the best when he announced that Jason Derulo was in the house for a surprise performance.

my face when he said Derulo was in the house

my face when he said Derulo was in the house

still can't believe it's happening

still can’t believe it’s happening

it did happen. photo evidence.

it did happen. photo evidence.

I know what you’re thinking- did the Mom’s kill us? Nope- they were all so happy to see us married that nothing mattered.

Kyle capturing the look on my Mom's face when the bomb was dropped

Kyle capturing the look on my Mom’s face when the bomb was dropped

Guess what? Thanks to our dream team- this night could’t have been more perfect.  And NO they didn’t do this pro bono- so my praise is 100% pure. I’d trust any of them to do this day over again in a heartbeat. Shout out to Mother Nature for the flawless weather too! So what did we avoid? Aside from showers, bach/ette parties, rehearsal dinners, brunches, etc- we didn’t take input from anyone else, and did what made US happy. Isn’t that what love is really all about? *Oh and cheers to Match.com- without you- NONE of this would have possible*

we may have smooched 1 million times

we may have smooched 1 million times

What It’s Really Like to Work a Super Bowl

I just wrapped my 9th Super Bowl week- SB XLVIII in NYC.

And everyone asks me how much fun I had. Which is kinda of fair, sometimes you find yourself in these surreal moments and think; “Wow, this is work?”.

But the rest of the time all you can think is about crawling into your bed with bad reality TV and a pizza.

Here’s why:

  • It’s cold. With the exception of Miami, the other seven I’ve worked- including Jacksonville and Phoenix- were FREEZING. This means trying to look party-cute without looking like that girl who is shivering and covered in goosebumps.
  • You stand around- a lot. PR people are planners, so they like to plan for the media to be late. For example- they will have media check-in at 7pm but start the actual red carpet at 8:30pm. Standing. Often in heels, in the cold.
  • There is lots of walking, traffic and little downtime. Picture rush hour in any city, then multiply that by 100 times the people- and they are all drunk and belligerent.
  • Men. Listen – I LOVE men, being around men and just men in general. What I’m not a fan of is being one of 5% female around intoxicated sports fans in a strange city in a dress. Super Bowls tend to skew very male heavy- great place to meet a boyfriend- just bring mace.
  • Lodging. This year- albeit- I really lucked out cause I was covering parties for Bud Light and got to stay on their phat cruise ship hotel. Most of the time, you end up in some no-tell motel cause everything has been booked by the league 9 mos in advance.
  • It’s great for the waist line. Do you think they serve food on the red carpets? HA. BAH. HA. Normally, you scarf down one meal a day at the end of the night around 3am.
  • What body clock? I normally go to sleep at 9pm and wakeup at 5am. This year, I kid you not- I interviewed Nelly at TWO something am. Maybe even 3am. And that’s the way it goes- you are on celeb/athlete time.
  • Everyone wants a piece of the action. The red carpets are packed tight, with cameras knocking you in the head, reporters boring celebs to the point that they stop talking to the rest of the press and walk in and cranky PR people.

Let me be clear- this is not just a b*tch fest- I LOVE the Super Bowl, and it’s my favorite event of the year. I’d cover it in any weather and loose sleep for days. The adventure is always worth the drama. I just want to give a little glimpse into the real deal.

And the best part is…you never know who will show up.

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Uber Pain in the A$$

For all of you rolling your eyes over the #Chiberia posts all over social media- don’t.

It is flipping freezing in Chicago,  beyond freezing. It’s:

I-walked-home-from- yoga- and- had- to- google -“frost bite on legs”- freezing.

Why did you walk you idiot? I know that’s what you are thinking right about now.

Glad you asked.

Uber, this super nifty car service, decided to go into hibernation during Chiberia. As in, hardly any cabs are available and their black car rates are spiked with an insane surcharge.

How insane? See below:

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Yes, a less than a mile ride translated into FORTY FIVE DOLLARS. To get to work. But it was either that or not make it in…aka- not an option.

I get the whole supply and demand thing, but COME ON. It’s not New Year’s Eve, it’s literally too cold to be outside for more than five mins without being at risk for frostbite.

Uber, why don’t you rally around the kids who made you popular in this town and cut us a break? Show you have our backs when we had yours and helped get people into your cars when a taxi was the norm.

Don’t run over the hand that opens your app.

Celebrating in Paradise

Hi. I’m back.

There is something I hate about birthdays. So much expectation and build up- and for what? I’m not a fan of parties, dinners or even opening gifts or feeling obligated to attend or buy them.

I know- total Debbie Downer. Don’t care. 

So this year I cut out the b.s. and traveled to paradise with my guy. St Barth’s to be exact.

He’s been traveling to the French Island since he was a kid and was excited to show me around, but I had no idea how magical it truly was until I experienced it.

If you’re thinking about your next trip…here are details of our trip on our travel blog.

I’ll just say it was the best 6 days of my life.

Cheers!

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Boo!

I’m back.

Leave it to Halloween to bring me back to the blog world…I just get so excited I turn into Claire Dunphy and want to spread spooky creepiness everywhere.

This year’s costume choice left me beyond stumped.

There were the obvious and over-done celeb couples; Miley/Robin, Kim/Kayne and the Duck Dynasty guys.

Alex* and I wanted to do a couples costume- bless his agreeable heart- BUT I refuse to just be a “sexy cop and reno 911 cop” or “sexy cowgirl and Indian”. I need creativity! I need relevance.

He Heisman’ed my AJ MCCarron and Katherine Webb idea (fine they are broken up) as did he when I suggested Kate Upton and Justin Verlander.

BUT- he did agree to be Mike Tyson…and his Tiger.

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He wants to kill me for that tat..

I ordered the boxer costume for him on Amazon and the temporary tattoo, as well as the Tiger costume for me. Then I found some cool kat makeup on Pintrest  and added some pin-up style hose from Top Shop and black patent boots for me.

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Thanks Youtube!

The effect was perfect- people couldn’t stop laughing at us…which is the ultimate goal.

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A very blurry Tiger, Amanda Bynes, Potassium and Deer Head.

This Thursday is the actual Halloween …and costume part deux is in the works….

 

*Alex is my boyfriend who isn’t a fan of being public…which I’ve respected.

 

Whiffle Ball at Wrigley & Coolio on the Beach

Saturday was one of those days that was so bad ass, that you almost don’t want to talk about it because you think people will either think you’re an ass for bragging or lying.

Luckily the internet exists so I can blog about it.

The action started Friday night at Paris Club for a welcome reception for Kerry and Sarah Wood’s annual charity event; Whiffle For A Diffle.

They flew in a TON of random celebs and asked a bunch of local media personalities to play in the tourney and threw a cocktail party to kick it off. Let’s just say that Saturday morning’s 8am wakeup call was a TAD painful after the Friday night fun.

A handful of us- including Bill Murray and Matthew Perry- agreed to be “Celeb Co Captains” at 10am for the corporate teams who played in 4 games all day long. It was about 78 and sunny and we were suited up in full uniforms…polyester uniforms. Sizzle.

Luckily I got paired with my buddy Ernest Wilkins from The Red Eye and the coolest team possible- Chicago Athletic Club’s Blue Team- which was pretty much the only team with women. These girls and guys were WILD and danced the entire time…and let’s just say they had some fans. The only reason we every got on base was because the other team was distracted.

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“Team Twerk”

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Me and Ernest- not having any fun at all.

Shout out to my girlfriends and Matt (token husband) for coming out to cheer me on.

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Nicole, Kat and E Smith and oh…Norm from Cheers…in between games in the United Club

Midway through the day I had to bolt over to North Ave Beach to introduce Coolio for the Players Sport and Social Beach Bash…and clearly I didn’t plan my day because I realized I had to show up to the beach in full uniform. It wasn’t awkward at all….SIIKE.

My friend Erica who was doing the PR gave me a tee to rock and before you knew it Coolio and I were gangstas from another mother. I even gave him a pass for that shiteous U of M hat.

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So Gangsta (photo by Francis Son)

After I introed him to a crew of very sweaty and rowdy drunk people, it was back to Wrigley for the Celeb game.

We were given either red or blue uniforms and that determined which team we played for….I got red and so did my favorite actor in the world: Bill Murray.

To listen to Bill give a team pep talk felt just like watching a film. He is hilarious, dead pan and commands a group like no other. I BEGGED him to not allow me an at bat because I didn’t want to strike out in front of a ton of famous people and people in the bleachers. I also begged him to allow me to play catcher- since I figured that was less daunting than shagging fly balls in near the ivy. He asked if I could make a play at the plate if need be, then agreed to let me take the position.

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Post Game- I’m near peeing my pants with excitment

Our team was stacked with awesomeness including; Adam Rodriguz, Lee Dwyze, Lisa Gurerro, Finesse Mitchell, Steve McMichael, Derek Lee, Moises Alou and tons of local media peeps like myself.

Kerry Wood pitched the entire time and my job was to basically throw and run the balls back to him and talk smack to the other team. It was a riot. Oh and BTW- they started serving beer and wine at noon and liquor at 4pm…so people were loose.

The other team ended up winning, but no one seemed to actually care and we all headed to John Barleycorn for the after party which was full of dancing and debauchery.

I ended the night with a slice of mac and cheese pizza….which was better than any home run.

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Good Day Chicago represent!Me with Anna Davlantes bright and early at 10am.

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