Friday, August 24, 2012

Fiat's Fashionable Grand Opening Event in Chicago

It Girl Fam,

Last night, Fiat partnered with the luxury and lifestyle magazine Chicago Social to launch their new dealership with a bang. My initial thought when I walked into the venue was "This is so CUTE!" The red carpet at the entrance was a nice touch also.  It didn't feel like a dealership at all.  They did a great job of converting the space for this grand opening celebration into something intimate and charming. The venue was buzzing with amazing beats from the DJ while well-dressed attendees chatted, sipped, and enjoyed the atmosphere.  It was great.  .

The social media engagement was very cool as well. Participants got an opportunity to take a photo inside of the new Fiat 500 and then instantly upload it to Facebook.  I'm a ham, so I jumped right into the car and got my photo taken.  Afterwards, they distributed a red Fiat gift bag just for participating. Nice.

The owners said a few words right before the fashion show kicked off. Then several Fiats were driven off the showroom floor to reveal a mock runway for the models. This was unique.  Edith Hart was the featured clothing boutique and I believe the models were from Ford. The looks selected were fierce - very vibrant and edgy, but practical at the same time.

Fiat's descent on Chicago was impactful and welcomed.  I'm no car expert, but it appears that Fiat understands the Chicago market and will likely do well given their prime location, reasonable prices, and fuel efficient vehicles.

Below are some pix from the event.



Interior view of the Fiat 500

Couldn't help myself. I had to check out the white one too.

Friend DC Crenshaw, food critic

DC's lovely wife, Alayna Crenshaw

Everyone was having a good time...

Cute Fiat branded clothing. 
I want that white baby tee.

 Fiat dealership owners saying a few words before the show 

Edith Hart show was set to begin

 A few looks from the show.   

Crowd fully engaged in the fashion show 

New friend, Jennifer Rich from 101.9 fm

Jerry Paul & Cosmina

Michelle, Courtney, Sat, & Janae

 DJ Tyler was the truth. (I'm not joking!)
He played all the classic throwbacks.

ⓒ It Girl Industries 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

The New Look of Leadership - YWCA's Fashion Event & Fundraiser

It Girl Fam,

I love all things fashion. However, it is very gratifying when fashion can be leveraged to benefit a worthy cause.  Last night, the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago hosted an amazing fashion event called The New Look of Leadership.  Held at Bloomingdale's within the upscale shopping mall at 900 N. Michigan Ave., the show focused on fashion-forward professional attire.  The models chosen are successful leaders from across the city like Malik Murray of Ariel Investments and Ticha Penicheiro of the Chicago Sky.

The show was fun and energetic.  The models did their thing and the crowd was rooting them on.  My friend, Kali Raoul of The Image Studios, was one of the fashion show MC's along with Rachel Canis from Bloomingdale's. Their colorful commentary garnered smiles and laughs throughout the event. Between the show, the appetizers, the cocktails, and the networking, everyone was clearly enjoying themselves.

Participants made a $25 donation to attend the event and were encouraged to shop afterwards as 10% of each purchase that evening would be donated back to the YWCA. Everyone also received a goodie bag filled with cool give-aways from local sponsors, which included donated copies of The Girl Rules.  (When asked, I was happy to donate my book).  In addition to Bloomingdale's, the other event sponsors were Ariel Investments, The Image Studios,, The Seneca on Chestnut, and PWC.

Below are pix from the event.



The one & only 900 North, baby!!

Model Rohini Dey of Vermilion Restaurant werking it on the runway. 
(Yes, werk with an 'e'!)

Model Cheryl Pearson-McNeil from The Nielsen Company
looking very regal in her ensemble

The crowd enjoying the show

The final parade is about to begin with 
model Malik Murray of Ariel Investments

The final parade:
Models Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, Rosemary Gullikson of SNR Denton, 
and Quintin Primo of Capri Capital Partners

Quintin Primo & Ticha Penicheiro from the Chicago Sky

 Program was closed by Cindi Cervone Carlson 
of Challenger, Gray & Christmas 
and Cindi is on YWCA's Board of Ambassadors

Great job MCing, Kali!
(Fierce look, my friend)

 Hadassah Hickman & Carol Bullock, 
both on YWCA's Board of Ambassadors

 Friends Tamara Dervin & Erika Summers

 w/ Cheryl Pearson-McNeil post show
She's still bringing it. Her style is haute!

 Jill Brooks, Jen Ryan, Sara Maaske, Anjali Doshi, 
& Alex Botsford - clearly enjoying the event!

Fellow fashionista, Maegan Zarley of The Image Studios 

New friends Chrissy Hansen, Michael Carlson, & Emily

Just the girls....

Silvia Snowden, Illinois State Representative Marcus C. Evans, Jr,
Jasmine Guy (yes, for real - that's her name) & Lydia Snowden.
All looking stunning. Loving the bright pink lip, Ms. Lydia

Matthew aka DJ Chocolate Thunder on the 1's & 2's.
(ha! - I'm not commenting on his stage name)

ⓒ It Girl Industries 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

An Evening with Campari - A Sisters' Sip

It Girl Fam,

You know alcohol has never been my thing.  I may partake in a toast at a special occasion, but that's about it.  If you enjoy a sip every now and then, it's all love. This blog post is for you. :-)

I regularly attend events sponsored by Wine & Spirits distributors and manufacturers because they are the best...hands down. No expensive is spared with the choice of venue, entertainment, food, and of course, there's an abundance of the featured beverage. They also attract local tastemakers - the influencers and trendsetters who others tend to watch and follow.  Last, but not least, these events are FREE.

Campari America gets it.  Last night, Campari partnered with The BOSS Network to sponsor a private Women & Whiskies event at the Hubbard Inn in Chicago. Approximately 30 women networked, enjoyed appetizers, and experienced their choice of Campari beverages.  Randal Stewart, Campari's PR Manager, explained that she created this nationwide event to introduce women to whisky as it's considered a very masculine beverage.  The BOSS partnership made sense since the membership attracts very driven & successful female entrepreneurs and professionals - not only in Chicago, but also across the US.

Cameka Smith, thanks for the invitation.

Below are some of the pix.



Cameka Smith, Founder of The BOSS Network

Campari America PR Manager, Randal Stewart

Stephanie, Danielle, and Monica

With all the lovely ladies in the place, it was only a matter 
of time before the dudes started to show up!
Nicoh, we see you!! LOL!

Nynese, Cameka, & Deida

Women & Whiskies Tasting Journal
A cute photo book with education of whiskey 

Bowmore Islay Single Malt & Wild Turkey 
were some of the featured beverages

 The Hubbard Inn is very grown & sexy. 
I've passed it a hundred times but this was my first time going in. 
I'll be back. 

ⓒ It Girl Industries 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012

Chicago Natural Beauty Hair Event...A Celebration and An Education

It Girl Fam,

On August 14th, I will be celebrating 6 years of chemical-free hair.  Wow!  Where did the time go?

I cut ALL my hair off after 2 years of serious consideration & introspection, so there was no transition for me.  My reasons were simple - economics and time.  I spent hours in the salon every 2 weeks, I wasn't working out because I didn't want to mess up my hair and I dropped off a duffle bag at every appointment. I just had enough. I took the leap and haven't looked back.

When I started my natural hair journey, there wasn't a nationwide movement or support system like there is today. Many African-American women sincerely want to be free of the creamy crack (aka relaxers), but don't know where to start and have fear about the transition process.  Thank God for Rachel Odem as well as the national network of natural hair stylistas that are leading the movement and helping to educate woman on what to do and how to do it.  Rachel founded the Chicago Natural Beauty Meetup, which hosts natural hair and beauty events throughout the year.

I absolutely loved the event on July 29th. There is something about being in a room of approximately 100 natural women with no airs and no pretense - just warmth, sharing, and sisterhood. We all embraced and celebrated our natural hair. It was great.

Below are some pix from the event.



Ken Burkeen, founder of Huetiful (creator of Huetiful Hair Steamers)
Rachel O, beauty expert & founder of Chicago Naturals

Sponsors included 

 Meechy and Vaughn Monroe were the featured panelists. 
They are a dynamic duo that blog and vlog about their natural hair 
experiences, products, etc. and are national speakers in the space.  

They were super sweet and gave us valuable info! 
Ms. Vaughn is on my right & Meechy is on my left.
Aren't they beautiful?

 Octavia Hooks is a subject matter expert and salon owner. 

Octavia educated us on natural hair products, hair textures, and styles.
Her models are sisters. 
It was a cool way to demonstrate how the same exact style 
can look different depending on your hair texture.

 Sista TV was the event's MC. Love Love Love your energy!
She made the program come to life.

 In between education sessions & live demonstrations, 
participants could network, chill out, or check out the vendors.

 Some of the vendors... It was a bit quiet, 
because I shot this while a session was in progress.

ⓒ It Girl Industries 2012