Tag Archives: Chicago

RPM Steak

I hate going out on Saturday nights. It’s crowded, lines are long, people are drunk and I am cranky.

BUT when the Melman family has a restaurant opening- you go or prepare to suffer mad FOMO. I don’t care if it’s Sunday at midnight, I’d be there.

So last night Alex and I got dressed up* for the RPM Steak opening and had our friends Juliet and Gregor Angus over before for some rooftop rose and “Juliet Spritzers”.

*I wore a dress, Alex wore a nicer v neck tee than usual- aka- his version of dressing up

Our poor husbands/photogs had to deal with us.  my dress: For Love & Lemons, Revolve.com

Our poor husbands/photogs had to deal with us.
my dress: For Love & Lemons, Revolve.com

Juliette and I first met in NYC back in 2001 when we were auditioning for an ESPN Reality Show called Beg, Borrow and Deal. I remember thinking she was nuts, and praying that if I made the show, she wasn’t one of the other three teammates that I’d be traveling with from Times Square to Alcatraz Island.

Well, she was. And we won. And I loved her from the morning we stood in Times Square and began filming, and still love her all these years later.

Bubba, me, Juliette and Josh on the roof of Alcatraz with host Rich Eisen after winning BBD

Bubba, me, Juliette and Josh on the roof of Alcatraz with host Rich Eisen after winning BBD

Clearly that show didn’t turn us into A listers (or any listers) but now Juliet is on Bravo’s Ladies of London and she’s a legit reality star. She literally got stopped for photos on the street- obsessed.

She grew up in Chicago and has family here still, which means we were able to catch up and I FINALLY got to meet her husband.

Juliet and Giuliana are old friends as well, so the opening was the perfect excuse for a night out.

The restaurant was packed with Chicago athletes, news anchors and pretty much everyone you’d want to see. It felt massive, and had multiple levels including an upstairs that’s perfect for private parties.

Both the Melmans and their PR team thought of every detail, per usual- the bars were everywhere and the food stations were ridiculous.

I’m glad I got to see it, cause I know getting a reservation will be pretty much impossible for the next…year or five.

Gregor, Juliette, Giuliana , Bill , me and Alex

Gregor, Juliette, Giuliana , Bill , me and Alex

Cheers *clinks spritzers*

 

 

 

How To: Act Like You’ve Been Here Before

This post is dedicated to CelebTV’s newest rockstar: 20 year-old Jordan Chollette.

JC and me post interview.  *BTW- hey OITNB...you all casting crazy eyes part two? this is my audition pic

JC and me post interview.
*BTW- hey OITNB…you all casting crazy eyes part two? this is my audition pic

What makes this intern so fab you ask? Well, let’s just rewind to last night.

Jordan offered to come work the Glamorama red carpet even though- it was a Friday night and he makes $0 an hour.

Upon arrival he was on time and ready to shoot. It didn’t even dawn on me that this was his FIRST RED CARPET EVER.

But know what’s crazy? When I did finally realize that this was his first rodeo, I felt no panic. None.

Mind you, I still get nervous with photogs who’ve been in the game longer than I have, trust me-  it’s warranted.

But Jordan acted like he knew exactly what was happening, and when he didn’t he watched with a stealth eye. He didn’t try and ask celebs for an autograph, or block another outlet’s shot. And when he made a last second decision to switch lenses, he did it with swift perfection.

On the walk home I got to thinking and realized that this is a rare quality in our industry ESPECIALLY from someone who can’t even legally drink in this country yet.

Ok, I’m done with the lecture, I’m just saying that the new generations are always asking for advice on how to get a gig in media…and this is one key way to make it happen.

As for Derulo…once I showed him a photo from the wedding, something clicked and he realized that he had performed a few weeks earlier. He gave me a gigantic hug, looked at JC’s camera and proceeded to ask if “our viewers” knew what kind of crazy surprise Alex had planned.

Jordan even has a smile on his face while filming!

Jordan even has a smile on his face while filming!

I asked; as far as weddings go, if he thought ours was ok and if he wanted a similar style if/when he gets married someday.

That media savvy kid slyly dodged question 2, and said that he could feel the love at our party and loved that everyone was having such a blast. (and yes,I realized he was a paid performer…BUT trust me- this dude was genuine) (I have video to prove it!) (If JC was actually rolling…i kid)

JD and JC- they just get it.

How to: Host Guests in Chicago (and actually enjoy yourself)

My Dad surprised my Mom with a trip to Chicago for her Birthday and we had FUN.

So I thought I’d share some activities that don’t include; The Bean, Navy Pier, The Ledge, Architectural Tour, Wrigley Field, Blue Man Group or a Segway Tour.

Divvy Bikes. Ever sit in a cab during rush hour in the Chicago heat? Me too- that’s why I avoid doing that at all costs.

Divvy Bikes are everywhere- literally- a station is near almost anything you’d want to do in downtown Chicago and a bike costs $7.00 for 24 hours.

My parents and I decided to Divvy  home from Museum Campus tour back to River North, and while the ride was full of team building obstacles*, at the end when we parked those bikes- we exchanged high-fives.

*carrying heavy bikes up and down lakefront stairs, stations with no/broken bikes, my brutal sense of direction.

Riding up and down the lake front is not only mega efficient, but it also is truly stunning. Even people who hate riding in traffic can enjoy this ride- where the biggest threat is a wanna be Lance Armstrong* who zips past and gives you some kind of signal that translates to “GET OFF MY PATH TOURIST”. But this only happens once or twice, and it’s honestly kinda funny.

*when Lance was real good and using the strong stuff

There are so many bikes lanes in place now that even if you have to hit the streets- riding to and from a destination isn’t as daunting as it used to be.

Once we all recovered from Tour de Wind, we went to River Roast, the newest al fresco spot along the Chicago River.

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Me and Alex at River Roast- the view really stinks..no?!

Chef Tony Mantuano had just crushed our wedding and Chef John Hogan and I were old co-workers* when he ran Keefer’s.

*we worked in the same building. I was never in the kitchen- fear not- your food was safe.

The menu was…different. But a 2 Chainz kind of different- “good” different.

Think: less B.S. options and more – trust us- we got this- kind of menu.

Don’t be afraid of: creative apps, starters and sides. They are delicious. (Example: whipped parsnips. If you’re not into food….you may think that sounds weird and wrong. In truth – they are unlike anything you’ve ever had and from that moment forward you’ll call mashed potatoes “basic”).

Order: the fish for two or chicken for two. The entree section is small: fish , chicken, meat. And I understand why…that kind of magic takes time to perfect.

Our fish was, well, this isn’t an NSFW blog so I’ll just say it was delish, as were the potatoes it came with.

The chicken looked like it was trying to steal my beer can chicken thunder* , and the boys loved..and I mean…LOVED it.

*I made beer can chicken that was so good, Alex actually married me. And no, I still don’t eat chicken.

Let’s talk about the Chicago River..yes it’s dirty, you’ve seen the buildings on a boat*, and you are over it….but I’m here to change your mind.

Yacht* life with the birthday girl.  *pontoon boat on the river...Diddy did not show up.

Yacht* life with the birthday girl.
*pontoon boat on the river…Diddy did not show up.

*arch tour with an annoying Vince Vaughn wanna be guide and tourists with fanny packs (which are cool BTW).

Props to Living Social or Groupon (forgive me for forgetting) for offering a boat rental for a great deal.   We cruised the river on our time, in a pontoon boat (driven by my dad) for two hours and it was really really fun. And for the record- we brought only waters and Vita Coco on the boat- imagine if Fireball was in play!!!

The Captain pointing at his next location

The Captain pointing at his next location

How cute are my parents?!

How cute are my parents?!

Afterwards we stopped by Snarf’s Sandwiches before my parents hopped on the train back to Ann Arbor and they agreed those sandwiches were the best they’d ever had. I have to also give honorable mention to Taco Joint, a River North spot that my parents said they wouldn’t have stopped in on their own- but I vouched for the food and after eating there they said:

“And that’s why you trust a local”. 

My point? Those deals on-line sites are actually pretty cool and fun…you may not want to go on a date or with a posse*, but with family it’s perfection.

*I actually begged Alex to organize a river cruise night soon after today

Ahoy people and please, don’t hate on the coupons.

Lollapalooza 2014 in Photos

This is Brad- aka- Opie. We've been friends since '07 & every year he helps us score amazing passes

This is Brad- aka- Opie. We’ve been friends since ’07 & every year he helps us score amazing passes and he is one of the best humans you will ever meet. Also, he has that hat in pretty much every color. Pics from- ’14, ’13, ’12 and ’11

Thursday is "Day Zero" & I joined the annual boat trip for my first voyage

Thursday is “Day Zero” & I joined the annual boat trip for my first voyage

 

A couple years ago, a friend of mine was dating a music dude. This year he performed at the fest and I went to check out Cash Cash and say hello. Take me hooooommme

A couple years ago, a friend of mine was dating a music dude. This year he performed at the fest and I went to check out Cash Cash and say hello. Take me hooooommme

Another Day Zero photo with the legendary Pride Grinn

Another Day Zero photo with the legendary Pride Grinn

Saluting Opie

Saluting Opie. Day One Outfit: vintage Pucci dress, vintage Carlos Falchi fanny pack, Pink Nike Sky Highs

The view for Outkast

The view for Outkast from some secret platform that we sit at each year

The Mad Merch guys - these men are the BEST and were so nice to Alex

The Mad Merch guys – these men are the BEST and were so nice to Alex

Saturday we went to the Gilt party at EnV- it was a blast per usual. Lots of good eats & drinks & media friends

Saturday we went to the Gilt party at EnV- it was a blast per usual. Lots of good eats & drinks & media friends. Day 2 Outfit: vintage Gucci bathing suit, vintage skirt, tons of Flash Tats and Rose Gold Nike Sky High Dunks

Al is obsessed with "I got You" by Duke Dumont. We got to watch him DJ side stage on Saturday at Perry's. I learned that kids like inflatable animals by watching the crowd

Al is obsessed with “I got You” by Duke Dumont. We got to watch him DJ side stage on Saturday at Perry’s. I learned that kids like inflatable animals by watching the crowd

Sunday it rained but Erin and I didn't care and Lexi took photos of us dancing and posing in the rain

Sunday it rained but Erin and I didn’t care and Lexi took photos of us dancing and posing in the rain. Day 3 Outfit: my Mom’s top from the 60’s that I wore as a dress, white bodysuit from American Apparel, Blue Ray Bans

My favorite show of the weekend was Foster The People- we danced like crazy

My favorite show of the weekend was Foster The People- we danced like crazy

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.

Dealing With Idiots

It’s been so long since I’ve blogged that I actually had to re log into my account.

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I’m not just being snarky with the title of this post, although it could go SO many ways…

Last Friday, I attended Jeff Garlin’s premiere of; “Dealing With Idiots”.

I’ve known Jeff since I was a baseball cap wearing 24 year old PA for the NFL Network and he was in our celebrity fantasy football league. Back then, he constantly advised me to “Move to Chicago and meet a nice boy”.

By 2008, I had taken his advice and moved to Chicago, and was back on camera for CelebTV- standing on the red carpet at the Emmy’s and who do I see? Yes- Jeff Garlin. The interview was garbage since I spent the time telling him how I’d taken his advice and well, look at me now! Jeff was proud, and has been like a mentor ever since.

If nothing else, I strive to be a loyal and supportive friend…so missing Jeff’s Chicago premiere wasn’t an option.

He screened it at The Music Box Theater- which is a beautiful dump. It’s both historic and stunning, and old and outdated and many of my best memories have come from sitting in those rickety seats.

The film was directed by, written by and stars Jeff and he made it in 12 days. It’s based on the crazy parents he deals with on his son’s little league team.

It’s packed with some of the most talented comedians in the biz including; Fred Willard, Nia Vardalos, Gina Gershon, Bob Odenkirk, JB Smooth, Richard Kind and the list goes on.

If you love Jeff’s podcasts or Curb- you will love this film. It’s true comedy, simple, subtle and realistic.

Jeff took the time to answer everyone’s post-show questions during the Q&A and he told us he made sure to premiere this in Chicago vs LA or NYC.

You can catch it in select theaters, but if I were you I’d download it from i tunes…kick back with a beer and enjoy.

Sunrise Shoot

After shooting together for Racked’s Shoe Shoot, James Atkins and I couldn’t wait to take more pictures.

I really, really hate having my picture taken, especially if I’m solo..and if I’m sober- forget it. Now, if I’m out with the girls after a few adult beverages- I have no issue if someone goes into Terry Richardson mode and snaps away.

James gets this about me…so we set up a shoot where I’d feel as non-awkward as possible.

That meant a 3am wake up call. YES THREE AM.

We wanted to catch the natural sunrise light down at North Avenue Beach, which happens around 4:30am…so that meant I needed to rise and attempt to shine at the insane early hour. I’m lucky I didn’t burn off my hair while trying to create beachy waves while half asleep.

James showed up right on time and we made our way down to the nearly deserted beach just as the sky went from dark to watercolor. I grabbed a ton of random pieces from my closet and he brought along a watermelon…sounds bizarre but it actually made for some of my favorite photos.

Since people were spilling out of the bars as we headed to the beach, I didn’t feel THAT bad about relaxing with an adult cocktail to loosen up for the skin-baring shots.

Let me explain why I wanted to do a shoot that is borderline “WTF”. See, someday I’ll be trying to remember what it was like to not hate my body and I’ll want to show people proof that I woke up and did crazy early yoga. So trust me, in no way do I think I’m a model or super sexy….I just think embracing who you are is empowering.

As the 600+ shots started coming thru to my email, I wanted to cry- he really knows what he’s doing.

Here are a few of my favorites:

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Thinking about doing a photo shoot? Hire this man.

James Atkins beach knees blacksweater

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