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Monday, July 21, 2014

Designer Styles for Under $50

Hey Halfstackers! Designer intern, Shaylee here. We have put together your designer style must haves for items under $50. This mac cremesheen lipstick is one of my favorites to wear during the summer when you have a nice tan glow. Simple gold bracelets to go with any outfit are very expensive but we have found one for a great price! Also check out some cute jean products. For men, these nike items and under armor are great deals along with these trendy, affordable sunglasses. Happy savings!

Image Credit

Check out our designer items for under $50, from brands like Marc Jacobs, Nike, Mac, Under Armour and more!
Mac lipstick, Marc Jacobs Bracelet, Dress, Jean Jacket, Jeans , Sunglasses, Nike Sweatshirt, Under Armour Shirt, Shorts, Nike Long Sleeve

Vlogger Review with Sabrina - Baby Soft Skin with Sofi & Live

Baby Soft Skin

Tan lines, peeling skin and fear of wrinkles.  I know exactly how you feel, I am in the same boat.  No matter how many times you read it or how many times your mom tells you that tanning is a bad idea, some of us (me included) feels like they look better with a bit of a golden hue.  I am sure some of you realize through trial and error that moisterizing heavily to keep that tan from peeling is the key to a gorgeous even glow.  But for those of you I see walking around looking like your back is peeling like a python...you may want to pay attention!  

I am here to share with you an amazing secret.   I found a product that not only moisturizes beautifully but is great for keeping a gorgeous tan.  Sofi & Liv is a natural skin care product made for mom's and families but is AMAZING for really anyone!  I have been using this product nonstop since the summer season hit, and I may be purchasing the product again before the season ends.  I use the soap in the shower and then moisterize my entire body from head to toe with the lotion.  This year I am walking around with some pretty awkward tan lines and I have yet to have any peeling (even on my shoulders), which is unheard of for me.

The product line is split in two, one for moms and one for families.  I have the entire line of two soaps and two lotions, including the famous 'Natural Bottom and boo-boo balm'.  At first glance this product seems as if it is for rashes and the obvious boo-boos but I have been using it every night on my hands before I go to bed.  Holy Cow!!  Amazing!  

Smooth.  Soft.  Glowing skin.  Just what every girl wants.

The product is all natural, so it is great for sensitve skin and it doesn't have any weird strong perfume smells.  It is amazing for you whether you tan or not, and is without a doubt one of the best products I have used.  Plus, it is not tested on animals and it's created by a female...can't get much cooler than that!  

I have the link below.  Be sure to check out the site, and leave a comment below letting us know how you like the product!  

Sabrina Victoria

Friday, July 18, 2014

Things to do - Taking back the streets Art Exhibit and WAT-AAH!

You know how we roll here at Halfstack, we live by the the mantra of do good, feel good. So, when a a company in Chicago is doing good for the community, we can't help but shout it from the rooftops. That's where this Friday edition of Things to do begins.

If you like art, like helping kids stay healthy and love the great city of Chicago, then you must definitely check out the Taking Back the Streets Art Exhibit brought to you by WAT-AAH! One of America's fastest growing water companies geared towards kids and teens. So, what's the whole event about you ask?
Working in the support of the Parntnership for a Healther America's National "Drink Up" campaign, the traveling art show is here to encourage all of us Chicagoans - in particular youth - to drink more water! Who doesn't need water? I know I should be drinking more water - here is a great take on the benefits of drinking more water including taking 10 years off your face: The Daily Mail UK.

The exhibit will be a weekend-long gallery show at Moonlight Studio that is showcasing some amazing artwork by nationally recognized street artists. Yes, Graffiti friends, the kind of graffiti that is legal, inspirational and most effectively empowering and sure to leave you in awe. Friday, though, the event is catering towards the youth with kids workshops that will offer creative tips for aspiring artists! I wanna go and I am almost 30! If you have kids, this is a must hit event, even if you don't have kids it sounds like it is going to be one helluva party. Hey, Chicago's very own FLOTUS made it out to the New York opening. So, let's do her proud and pack this event this weekend.

Halfstack had the opportunity to speak with the founder of WAT-AAH, Rose Cameron, about her journey down this path and what her goals were for the company! When asked what makes WAT-AHH unique from other companies slinging bottled water she highlighted that the brand focuses on children. Both from a product standpoint, branding as well as the fact that there is NO sugar in her product at all. She is working hard to ensure that she can make water a better source for thirst quenching. Rather than soda, juice or other carbonated drinks, Rose has spent the last 6 years working hard to make water a viable option for kids. As someone who came from a family that suffered from diabetes and health conditions, Rose worried over the health of her own family and launched a business to find a solution. She has made it a point to find a way to make water more exciting and even cool to drink!

That's pretty bad-ass if you ask us. Now, take a minute, if you will to check out WAT-AAH while you chug down a liter of the clear stuff and then check out some great art tonight, will ya!? See, do good, feel good - WAT-AAH keep living by that mantra and we are sure you will continue to grow!

Learn more here.

Moonlight Studios
1446 W. Kinzie St.
Chicago Illinois 60642United States

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Event Recap - Healthful Happy Hour

This week Halfstack had the opportunity to visit The Goddes and Grocer during the Healthful Happy Hour organized by Chicago's own Sarah Baker of balancedbabe.com! Tasty bite sized plant based apps were sampled, great sangria was consumed and interesting people were met. The food was delectable and sourced from the team at FarmedHere and cooked by the talented chefs at The Goddess and Grocer.

The concept behind FarmedHere is such a great direction to see Chicago participating in! FarmedHere produce is grown indoors in urban facilities, away from the bugs, diseases, pesticides, and weather that impact most produce today. They utilize vertical growing technology and local distribution methods to reduce energy use, travel time and costs tremendously. Their business model is considered one of the most sustainable ways to guarantee access to fresh, healthy produce in city centers, in any season.

The FarmedHere website explains, "On average a head of lettuce travels 1,200 miles to reach your plate, our greens travel just across Chicago, which is why they’re the freshest. Indoor farming isn’t new, but recent advances in lighting technology and farming methods allows FarmedHere produce to be grown more efficiently than on outdoor farms, while creating local city jobs and making post-industrial buildings alive again." This is truly an amazing business doing amazing things for our community.

If you haven't had the opportunity to visit The Goddess and Grocer, we highly reccomend heading to Bucktown for an early bite to go! It's a deli meets artisanal grocery store that also offers catering. It's a triple whammy people. The food is on par, they offer local microbrews and the staff is attentive and so helpful! What more could you ask for in Chicago? They are the perfect go-to

I was lucky enough to get some time with the G&G Team and they shared some great information on the brand. It's exciting to see the direction the Goddess and Grocer is taking as they continue to support local sustainable businesses. As a brand, they truly believe in sustainability and supporting local. They always strive for ever-greener practices. They recycle, donate unused food to Zero Percent, and have started switching to green packaging.

Supporting local vendors and small businesses is something they've been about from the start. They have made it a point to stock local brands and help local businesses grow. They have taken on the opportunity to help the brands they stock develop. They were one of the first shops to stock brands like Vosges, Jenni's Ice Cream and brews from places like Revolution. It's a beautiful thing to see the relationships and support that has developed among these local businesses helping to raise one another up.

The evening was a great opportunity to see great people doing great things and feeding the city plant based food that was actually really good. Sarah Baker of Balancedbabe.com did what she does best - organized a great event to showcase the benefits of a plant based diet! She has some more events coming up this summer and fall, so be on the lookout! You can keep up with her on twitter and Facebook.

Make sure to check out our quick video recap of the night below and subscribe to our youtube channel for weekly videos on events, fashion, beauty, grooming and lifestyle! You can do so by clicking here!

**Photography by Dwight Bejec.**

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pattern Remix For Him & Her!

Hey Halfstackers! Designer intern Shaylee here. Summer is all about wearing fun, exciting patterns. Check out this roundup we have put together of the hottest patterned trends. Rompers are very in this some, especially floral patterned rompers along with floral tanks and dresses. They add some pop to any outfit on a hot summer day. Men, check out these funky patterned shorts and t-shirts! Don't be afraid of some patterns this summer!

Image Credit

Check out these patterns from brands like Forever21, NastyGal, and Nordstrom.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Want some SATISFACTION? His & Her Review of this Controversial new Show!

Last week, Half Stack was invited to attend the exclusive media premiere viewing party of the new scandalous show called Satisfaction by USA network. Half Stackers Thom and Stella attended in order to provide all our fab readers a his and her review of this show and the premiere event that is sure to shock some viewers (or the majority of them).


Seeing the rollout of “Satisfaction” for the USA network was exceedingly thought provoking on so many levels.  It blew my mind. Chicago is not as sexy as LA or New York, so the opportunity to see a new show that is working it hard to be sexy and thought provoking was a thrill. The evening was beautifully orchestrated and the venue was sexy with stunning views of the city overlooking Buckingham Fountain as the sun set. The place had a plethora of exceedingly HOT men in tight, Black T-shirts with “Satisfaction” stamped across their chest. Each greeted you at the door slinging cocktails and amazing hors d’oeuvres that were delightfully prepared for the evening. There was a performance piece of art behind the bar that was like a silk tent hiding bodies bumping and grinding like they were under a bed sheet. Models strode through the audience taking a quick IPad survey about relationships and sex with the results given in a very cool panel discussion. The panel was composed of 2 couple therapists, the show's producer and a moderator. The panel component was where the night shined!

The Panel: Photo courtesy of Jeff Schear/USA Network

Satisfaction” centers around a late thirty something (perhaps early 40ish) man and his wife. He is a stock trader/hedge fund manager and she is a housewife that has just recently taken a job staging real estate for sale.  Overworked, he has lost connection to his wife and missed out on much of his 16-year old daughter's growing up. Under pressure, he finally cracks, quits his job in a highly preposterous manner, finds his wife having an affair with a high priced gigolo and decided to become a call boy himself. I did mention he was a workaholic stock broker right? Personally, I don't know that many men who work 70 hours a week and can still have the bod to pull off being called a "$5000 a weekend” lay.  Maybe a couple of hundred after a couple of drinks but 5K really? But this is not the only place this show was dubious. To be blunt, I found so much of the show’s casting and script amazingly dubious if not sickening. While I can take for granted the show is exceedingly white while most of America is not; that the couple is in the upper 1% of American earners while the American middle class is shrinking, that they have a teenage daughter who isn't pining for a car or at least a driver's license and needs to still be chauffeured? Ok — can we have a reality check please? I found the back story full of holes big enough to drive a truck. Can a wife hire an expensive escort on a regular basis without her husband question the deduction in the checkbook (hello — he's a numbers guy).

Would a person dismiss a Full bright Scholarship Award (aka a full ride) and put their career on hold completely for 16 years because she got knocked up? Ask yourself this; how does a couple manage in the world today? I don't know any couple of 20 year olds where both don't contribute to the bottom line financially. The kid usually goes to daycare or a grand parent.  I found it really difficult to buy into the validity of their existence! It’s not to say that a couple can't pull apart because of lack of interest, time and understanding of the other person, but there has to be more reality to the show. The show felt like a fairy tale and I found it almost impossible to like the characters because they were so flat and two dimensional.  If I was the husband, I would be bored with my wife too if she viewed me as nothing more than a walking wallet and saw me as a means of carrying her existence.

And conversely, I would kick my husband to the curb if he didn't see me as desirable and fun to be with other than just a mother to his teenage daughter. But instead she goes to a 20 something year old gigolo for sex and he dumps his job to become a gigolo? Not buying it USA network. Oh, and did I mention that the 20 something gigolo drives a Porsche? Really? A Ford Mustang perhaps but a Porsche and not the Boxter either.

The show could be so much more but it's not exactly on Showtime or HBO so the attention to detail just isn't there.  The show's producer was brilliant in the panel discussion when she mentioned that for a couple to work, both people have to be interesting unto themselves to be interesting to their partner. When a person gets bored with themselves, they loose interest and look to another to essentially validate their existence. I think she nailed the subject on the head. Stagnation and routine leads to boredom. Unfortunately given this brilliant insight, why didn't she give the viewer characters that we would actually like to want to watch. I can watch paint dry on my own. I guess what blew my mind on this experience was how such amazing fodder for a show could be so boring given the talent and in sight of such a brilliant producer.



Ok, I am not as detailed (seems like all details) writer as my counterpart Thom is. Instead I will say that I enjoyed the actual preview party! It was fun and like Thom mentioned, the models/waiters/bartenders that were hired were incredibly HOT! I definitely enjoyed that aspect of the event!! As it goes for the actual show, hmmm....I did enjoy the sex scenes (although they do not compare to shows like True Blood, but hey Satisfaction is on USA network).  The story concept for the show was awesome, it is something that happens to most couples (if they are willing to admit it or not), that sometimes in a marriage or relationship, it just gets stale. Hey that explains the over 50% divorce rate in this country!

The Bar at the Premiere. Photo: Jeff Schear/USA Network

I didn't relate to any of the characters, and yes I am married! I understand that marriages take effort and sometimes there are many issues! But in this show it was just unrealistic. I'm not going to go hire a $1000+ a day gigolo just because my husband doesn't talk to me...really? Us 99%ers cannot afford that! I don't expect my husband to just quit his job and become a gigolo and make a fortune sleeping with multi millionaire women who have to pay for sex. My gosh, just writing this down, the story concept is ridiculous.  So writers of this show, please make this more realistic if your goal was to make this show relatable to us everyday folk who don't live in million dollar mansions! Also give the characters some personality, right now they are as stale as their marriage.


Make sure to Check out Satisfaction on USA 7/17 at 9pm Central!!!!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Halfstack Highlights - Meet the Balanced Babe: Sarah Baker

Hey Halfstackers! I am so excited to share this latest Halfstack Highlights post with you! We are introducing Sarah Baker of Balancedbabe.com, healthful and Style Body Soul. We've partnered up with her to bring you a great monthly column on Halfstack and share some amazing upcoming events with all of you readers. 

In today’s episode of Halfstack Highglights, we discuss Sarah’s journey into blogging about health and nutrition as well as her image consulting, health and nutrition business. Sarah shares some great tips on how to maintain balance as well as some great tips on eating healthy. Finally, she shares some upcoming events including her Healthful Happy Hour happening this Tuesday July 15, 2014 from 6-8Pm at The Goddess & Grocer – in bucktown. Make sure you say hi to our photoblogger Aimee while you're there! Also, make sure you add the Hashbrowns CafĂ© Popup Brunch to your calendar - August 9th 2014 from 11-3! 

You can listen to the podcast below

Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Listen and subscribe via iTunes.

If you listeners are interested in checking Sarah’s blog: you can visit her online at balancedbabe.com and sarahnicolebaker.com. You can also keep up with The Healthful Guide events at: eathealthful.com. You can find Sarah on twitter @balanced_babe. And remember, please feel free to rate our podcasts and leave a comment on itunes! Your comments and feedback will help us to grow as we develop this outlet!

Affordable Chic Apartment Therapy Finds

Hey Halfstackers! Designer intern Shaylee here, we have great trendy apartment finds for you! New fun throw pillows to add that chic look to your bed. Candles add a great therapeutic sense to any room in your apartment. Check out these fun candles to brighten up any room! Light some candles and make some tea with this clear glass teapot and cuddle up on your cozy couch. Happy decorating!

Image Credit

Check out these items from brands like Macy's and Nastygal!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Chicago Artists Make Use of Venues Indoors and Out

One of the cool things about art is its ability to be shaped into whatever you want. You can make it out of anything and you can do it anywhere. It comes from a place of action. The venue doesn't matter. Inside, outside, somewhere and somehow in between. It's up to you. The Chicago artists who circle the South Logan Arts Coalition have taken that notion to heart.

As regular Halfstack readers may recall, I saw local band Bailiff at the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival a couple Sundays ago. After they finished their set, I wandered around the festival until I found something that caught my eye, a “pop-up art gallery” in an abandoned storefront along Milwaukee. I went inside and noticed a foreboding sign.

“Caution: Nails sticking out of the floor! Trip Hazard,” it said.

Photo Noah Vaughn.

“Neat!” I thought as I crossed the danger rubicon, of course catching my shoe on the first nail I came across. It made a noise like a sloth burping. People looked at me. I probably blushed.

Inside was a world I was unfamiliar with. It looked rushed, which was the plan all along, I would later learn. The walls were matte white, basically drywall. The pillars looked like Jenga pieces that had been chewed by the family dog. The room was a shell.

But hanging on those tattered walls were installations from local artists. Some were portraits of Chicago corners. Others were blown up photographs of cracked, craggy traffic lanes. There was even underwear that had been painted over.

There was something in the basement, too. It flowed upwards from the stairway. It was unsettling. It was loud. It had a percussive clang that put words in my brain I never thought I'd string together: industrial ping pong.

Gwendolyn Zabicki, the creative force behind the South Logan Arts Coalition, or SLAC, reassured me it was not some sort of steampunk monster eating things below us.

“[It's a] video by E. Aaron Ross and I believe he is using an axe to hit the columns in his studio,” she said. “The lights are off and he realized that the contact would make a spark, so it's a video of that action.”

I thought this was the perfect, cavelike venue for such a piece. Zabicki said it was more of a happy accident it worked out that way.

“We do pop-up storefront studios and the occasional artist residency in a vacant storefront,” she said.

“Basically I make lots of phone calls, cold calls to property owners and ask, 'Hey, can we use your space for a month?' then they usually say no, and I say, 'How about a weekend?' and they're like, 'Yeah, sure.'”

That's how she and SLAC got involved with the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival, which is only one of many welcoming places for artists of all stripes in the city.

“There are a lot of DIY spaces,” she said. “I think that's because Chicago is very gentle and very accepting.”

It's not just big public gatherings like street festivals, either.

“There's a lot of apartment galleries and pop-up spaces and people take them seriously as real art venues,” she said.

Zabicki said economics play a huge role in this.

“The cost of running a real art gallery is just not a model that works for most people,” she said. “I think a lot of artists in Chicago have to wear multiple hats.”

This leads to some creative thinking, not only about their pieces, but about the way in which they display them and how they market themselves to potential buyers.

“They're an artist and they're also a curator, they're an artist and they're also a writer, they're an artist and they also have a day job,” she said. “There's a lot of space and a lot of vacant storefronts, and there's of opportunity in Chicago.”

In a bit of “what a small world” coincidence, I noticed a few pieces by artist Stephanie Burke. The name was familiar to me and after a few minutes it clicked. She is the wife and collaborator of Jeriah Hildwine, who was the assistant manager at the Ace Hardware I worked at as a college freshman, before he got a teaching job at the Logan Street Art Center. I asked Zabicki if she knew them, and she lit up.

She said that upon finishing graduate school, she began teaching at the Logan Street Art Center with Hildwine.

“I saw on the internet, he does a thing called Shooting With Artists, where he takes artists to Indiana and he teaches them how to use a gun. I said, 'I want to do that with you.' I went on a trip with Jeriah and Stephanie. They told me, 'Make a bunch of targets so we have something to shoot.' I drew a T-Rex with an erection. I thought, no no, I gotta tone it down. I covered it up a little, but you could still kind of see the dinosaur boner. Once I got to know them, I realized a dinosaur with an erection was the perfect Jeriah and Stephanie thing. They were shocked that I was holding back.”

I like artists. They're fun.

I knew I had to follow up with Hildwine on this, so I sent him an email about his shooting program. He said they make the artists, typically firearm novices like Zabicki was, create their own targets for whatever reason they want. It could be something scary, like the sexually menacing T-Rex, or something benign, like what local artist and curator Kirk Faber did.

Hildwine, at right, shows how to use the rifle.

I remember especially these drawings he did of beer cans, they looked straight out of a kid's coloring book, really cool stuff,” he said. “Shooting a childlike drawing of beer cans is the polar opposite of the Bin Laden target, which is a super angry, violent sort of thing to shoot at.”

Casey McGonagle, another local artist, went in a significantly darker direction for his target.

[He] printed a big photo self-portrait so he could shoot himself,” Hildwine said.

Hildwine said it's a way to get creative people outside, in a literal sense, of the typical gallery setting. He said that, with his new teaching position in Flagstaff, Arizona, he has not had a chance to do Shooting With Artists in the Chicago area lately.

Hildwine said he plans to continue showing his work in Chicago, not only because his wife still lives here. It was a place for him to set up connections and it still offers him opportunities to grow as an artist.

It's a more affordable city. There are jobs. I don't mean to say that entry level jobs with 40k salaries fall from the sky, but it's a lot less impacted than other cities. Rent isn't absurd like it is in New York or [Los Angeles], and public transportation is pretty good. What this means is that you can live somewhere cheap, take the train to work, work food service or retail or whatever, and still have some time in the studio. Then Friday night rolls around and you hit the openings, network, make friends, all that.”

He offered some advice to those trying to make it as artists in the city, too. He said they must be outgoing and introduce themselves to everyone at galleries and parties.

There's all this stuff going around on the Internet lately about 'how to treat an introvert,' and while it's nice to be nice to people and respect their differences, if you're shy, introverted, you're unlikely to get very far in any art scene,” he said. “You've got to talk to people, be friendly, go to their shows, in the hope that someday they'll return the favor.”

So, Chicago artists, it's doable. You can show your work. You can grow the pop-up art scene. Maybe you can shoot guns at your worst nightmares. Have fun.