Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Complete Guide to Lollapalooza

With Lollapalooza only a few days away, it’s time to start nailing down the nitty-gritty details to make the most of your music festival experience. We know finding tickets for Lolla is a task in itself and they they don't come cheap, so we can imagine that you'd like to weekend to run as smoothly as possible - meaning no dehydration, painful sunburn or worse. To help you get your festival on without a hitch, we've scoured music fest tutorials and collected information from the official Lollapalooza website to bring you a convenient guide to maximizing your fun.

Make a Plan of Attack
Before you hit Grant Park, make a plan with your group for the day. Know that because of the crowds and stage equipment, your cellphone reception will be spotty, at best. Your group will most likely want to separate throughout the day to see their favorite bands before that happens determine meeting places and times prior to entering the grounds. Also, don't forgot to fuel yourself throughout the day. Take advantage of Lollapalooza’s convenient food vendors at Chow Town. No need to leave and complicate group coordination even more!

What to Bring:

1. Water
While this may sound obvious, water can either make or break your time at the festival. Lolla allows patrons to bring two factory-sealed water bottles up to one liter each and empty CamelBak water bottles. Take advantage of this. It will not only keep your energy level high and prevent you from taking an embarrassing trip to the hospital, but refilling your water bottles at the free water fountains is a great alternative to paying for overpriced beverages from vendors.

2. Sunscreen
Again, maybe this sounds like a no-brainer, but a crispy, red face is unpleasant and a surefire way to ruin your entire weekend. Keep in mind that Lolla does not allow aerosol cans, so bring sunscreen in the lotion form. And, don’t forget to reapply. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, you should reapply water resistant, broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 every two hours.

3. Sunglasses
In addition to protecting your skin, it’s also important to protect your eyes from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Not to mention, wearing sunglasses will help you see the stage if the sun is shining. Sporting your favorite designer pair may not be the best decision for this occasion because they could get damaged. Instead, purchase a fun, affordable pair like these Rad Bands from Rad + Refined. Can you think of a more perfect occasion to wear these sunnies?

4. Rain Gear
While the weather for the upcoming weekend is looking pretty mild with highs in the mid to high 70s and a slight change of rain, we would hate to have a repeat of last year’s downpour. Chicago has done its part in creating an emergency plan for this type of situation, but it doesn't hurt to be personally prepared. Bring a poncho or raincoat but leave the umbrella at home. They are allowed on the festival grounds but they can be bulky and easily lost. You may also want to bring an extra pair of socks in case your feet get wet because no one enjoys sloshing around in wet shoes all day.

5. Bags
Try to pack as lightly as you can. It will save you back pain and help avoid long lines at security checkpoints. We recommend a compact backpack to carry all your festival supplies but nothing you would bring camping or anything framed. While you cannot bring any outside food or drinks (except the water bottles), you are allowed to bring soft-sided coolers, which may come in handy if you want to save the food you buy inside for later.

6. Money
Plan ahead which meals you will purchase on the festival grounds so you know approximately how much cash you need to bring since most vendors won’t accept credit cards. While there will be ATMs available, you should expect long lines and hefty fees, so hit the bank the day before the festival. Be mindful that while you should plan on bringing plenty of cash, it’s dangerous to walk around with large amounts of money. Bring only what is necessary and keep it close to you.

7. Camera and Cellphone
Lolla does not permit any professional recording equipment, but no one expects you to neglect your Facebook page and Instagram all day, so take plenty of pictures with a personal camera or cellphone. Keep in mind that you are attending Lollapalooza to enjoy the music and expose yourself to new artists, so limit your social media usage and live in the moment. (We're still trying to master this one...)

Most importantly, keep an open mind. Lollapalooza is one of the greatest music festivals in the world and you are exceptionally lucky to be attending. Make the most of your experience by following these helpful tips. Maybe we’ll see you there, and don’t forget to post your photos and give us a shout out at @monikadixonpr!

Happy festing!

By Rebecca Taylor, MDPR Team Member

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Get Jimmy With It.

Junks out. Jimmy’s in. Get Jimmy with it.

Between attending meetings, planning events, pitching stories and creating social media content, we’re dependent upon quick n’ healthy hunger fixes. 

Little did we know the granola, grain and nut-based bars we turned to in a pinch were not as nutritious as we were led to believe, and contained ingredients that sounded more like chemistry lab components than food products. Thanks to Chicagoan Jim Simon, founder of Jimmybars, we found a solution to our dilemma – bars that are high in protein and fiber, low in sugar and contain ingredients we actually recognize.

In 2009, after coming to the (frustrating) conclusion that most ‘health’ bars were terrible tasting and made of artificial ingredients, Jim and his sister Annette sought out to create a truly nutritious ‘grab-n-go’ snack or meal replacement.  Jimmybar was born!

What sets them apart? Jimmybars are filling due to their real and simple ingredients – so basic that even children can appreciate them.  You’ll understand what we mean when you read about the four cleverly named flavors below.

 How ‘Bout Dem Apples

This delicious bar is made with apples, almonds, dates, organic brown crisp rice, almond butter, walnuts, gluten-free oats, cinnamon, honey and vanilla.  In addition to being both gluten and dairy-free, this treat is also low in sodium and free of trans fats.

  No Bluffin’ Banana Muffin'

Made with bananas, dates, almonds, walnuts and organic crisp brown rice, this bar is sure to satisfy your muffin cravings. But don’t fear a resulting muffin top, as it’s dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan.

 Peanut Butter Clutter
Packed with protein, this bar is made from peanuts, peanut butter, almonds, dates, honey and organic crisp brown rice. Unlike many competing bars, it is gluten and dairy-free as well as ALL NATURAL.
Super Hip Chocolate Chip

A guilt-free fix for your chocolate cravings!  Packed with non-dairy chocolate chips, peanuts, dates, almonds, almond butter, walnuts and organic crisp brown rice, it’s vegan, gluten and dairy-free.


What’s not to love?

What makes Jimmybar most impressive, however, is that they support local industries; the wholesome ingredients are purchased directly from Chicago-based companies. And who doesn’t love an extra laugh?  Seriously, read the names of the bars—they’re pretty witty!  
Each bar's packaging reads, “Jimmybar! is made by a small dedicated staff of underpaid yet eager entrepreneurs who always put product over profit.  We source our own ingredients, go out of our way to use organic/locally grown product and will never use sugar or unhealthy additives.  Eat us as a snack, meal replacement, pre workout bite or just because someone has been begging you to start eating healthier! Cheers, Jim.”  
We admire and appreciate this down-to-earth, humorous approach to healthy eating.  

Maintaining the approachability of the brand, Jim even encourages customers to post pictures of their Jimmybar experience on the Jimmybar Facebookpage!

Hungry?  Click here to find the Jimmybar carrier nearest to you!  Or, order them online.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Test Your Business Etiquette!

We learned the importance of being kind and polite from Miss Manners when we were children, but now that we are professionals, her lessons have a whole new meaning. Especially when the stakes are high and one slip could have grave consequences, it’s crucial that you understand the do’s and don’ts of business etiquette. 

With new communication platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, determining what's professionally acceptable has become a gray area. The uncomplicated “rules” our parents knew have evolved into flexible guidelines, blurring the lines of appropriateness and creating ample opportunities for error.
Take this quiz to help you identify the areas of business etiquette you need to know. And don’t forget to review the answers to the questions. Their descriptions offer a few more pieces of helpful advice.


1. It’s appropriate to move on with a conversation if the person you are with forgot to introduce you.

a.       True       b. False

2. It’s appropriate to hold private conversations in office bathrooms, elevators or storage closets.

a.       True       b. False

3. What percentage of your message is conveyed through your physical appearance?

a.       30%        b. 55%   c. 75%

4. How far should you stand from another professional when you are having a conversation?

a.       15 feet                  b. 3 feet               c. 7 feet

5. It’s appropriate to tell a colleague that his or her zipper is open.

a.       True       b. False

6. The host, the person that organized and invited people, should pay the bill.

a.       True       b. False

7. It’s important the change your voicemail message if you’re out of the office.

a.       True       b. False

8. It’s appropriate to send confidential documents or large attachments via email.

a.       True       b. False

9. It’s appropriate to leave your cellphone on during a meeting if you’re expecting a call.

a.       True       b. False

10. It’s appropriate to comment on a conversation you overhead from a colleague’s office.

a.       True       b. False

1. False: It’s rude not to introduce someone, but if this happens, it’s even more awkward to carry on a conversation without introducing yourself.

2. False: First of all, if you have to engage in a conversation in the office bathroom, perhaps it isn’t a conversation you should be having at work at all. Second of all, you never know who could overhear.

3. 55%: It’s important to pay attention to your body language because it can give a lot away. If you are slouching and avoiding eye contact with the person you are talking with, you may be sending the message that you have better things to do.

4. 3 feet: While this distance depends on what country you’re in, 3 feet is a safe distance to avoid speaking loudly while also respecting the other person’s personal space.

5. True: You obviously shouldn’t make a big deal about it and embarrass the person in front of his or her colleagues, but it is appropriate to discretely pull the person aside and let him know that his zipper is down. This also applies to other potentially embarrassing situations.

6. True: Be familiar with your company’s lunch policy before inviting clients or colleagues out to eat, and check the prices of the restaurant before you go to make sure that it’s within your budget.

7. True: It doesn’t have to be fancy, but leave something to let callers know that you aren’t avoiding their call. You can say something like, “I am out of the office today, July 29, until Aug. 1. Please leave a message or dial extension 234 for additional help.”

8. False: Nothing on the internet is ever private, so stay away from sending confidential information or large attachments through email. Consider using other resources, like UPS or FedEx.

9. False: If you have to have your phone on during a meeting, put it in vibrate mode. Otherwise, turn it off because it’s disrespectful to your other colleagues who have worked hard preparing for the meeting if your phone goes off unexpectedly. It sends the message that you are uninterested in what they are talking about.

10. False: To prevent this situation from happening, simply avoid eavesdropping on your colleagues. If you do happen to hear something, it’s probably best to pretend you didn’t. If they wanted you to know what they were talking about, they would have invited you to join the conversation.   

Hopefully these little tips have helped you develop a better understanding of business etiquette. It’s all about making the people you work with feel good and offering basic social comforts. It also says a lot about your character, which may help you skip a few steps if you’re in line for a promotion or job offer.
Good luck!
Source: USA Today

By Rebecca Taylor, MDPR Team Member

Friday, July 26, 2013

Interview with Lanvin's Dominika Matuzik

I feel the beauty is in the simplicity, and is so apparently pure when it’s not overcrowded with finials and other clutter.”

After having studied architecture at the University of Nuremberg in Germany, Lanvin fashion advisor Dominika Matuzik developed an appreciation for clean, sophisticated lines, eventually leading her toward a career in fashion. She explained that like so many other professionals in the industry, she made her entrance “based on necessity and a natural love for all things beautiful.” Drawn in by her bubbly, compassionate personality and aptitude for design, the MDPR team visited the Parisian-inspired Oak Street store and chatted with Dominika about her views on fashion and the upcoming fall collection. 

Photo by Marcin Cymmer
Dressed head to toe in Lanvin, wearing a sleek black pencil skirt, fluid leopard print blouse and classic crystal heart necklace, Dominika captured the essence of her personal style with this sophisticated, yet somewhat playful ensemble. Finding inspiration from Lanvin fashion designer Alber Elbaz who said, “Simplicity is not a bad word; It doesn't mean boring,” she has defined a style reflecting minimalist lines with a nod toward European couture downplayed by a hint of realism. 
Dominika is a natural when it comes to crafting the perfect outfit, saying it’s important to be creative and have fun mixing different patterns, textures and colors for an unexpected, yet complementary look. She referred to a visit from Alber Elbaz who spoke about his experiences taking a delicate fabric, such as silk, and throwing it in the dryer to experiment with the texture. She learned not to take fashion too seriously, a sentiment she hopes her followers will grow to understand.
Photo by Marcin Cymmer

With the fall season rapidly approaching, we spent a lot of time discussing the new styles and her favorite pieces from the collection. She said Lanvin followers should expect insect inspired jewelry as well as a lot of plaid, animal print and asymmetry.
Here are the pieces she chose to feature from the Lanvin Fall/Winter collection:

1. Navy blue satin sandal with a small platform and satin ankle strap
I love the color, and they are so comfortable for a 5 inch heel.”

Photo by Marcin Cymmer

2. Ruby crystal necklace with grosgrain ribbon 
The beautiful necklace was inspired by the ancient city of Babylon. I love the necklace because it looks like an heirloom but with a modern, fun twist.”

Photo by Marcin Cymmer
3. Long-sleeve navy dress
The timeless long-sleeve navy dress is so hard to find these days and is perfect for every occasion from a business meeting to a cocktail party. It’s an absolute must-have.”

Photo by Marcin Cymmer
4. Zebra jacquard dress
It's unique because it's woven rather than printed. I love the animal print for the season. For me, the construction of the dress makes it very unique from the ruffle skirt, zipper detail to the grosgrain waistband. I picked the Volubilis necklace because it was inspired by the ancient city of Volubilis in Morocco. Alber Elbaz is Moroccan and I wanted to pay tribute to him.

Photo by Marcin Cymmer

5. Wool peplum jacket
The wool peplum jacket is a beautiful, classic piece. It’s couture at its best. I love the deconstructed seems and the feminine fit of the jacket.” 

Photo by Marcin Cymmer

6. Leather tote 
"The leather tote is from our Trilogy collection in a burgundy fall color. It’s a great size for everyday and for a weekend.

Photo by Marcin Cymmer

To purchase any of the items above, visit the Lanvin store at 116 E Oak Street in Chicago, or to request prices, call (312) 765-7075. 

Stay chic!

By Rebecca Taylor, MDPR Team Member

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Art of #Hashtags

Twitter can be a daunting world. Many delayed joining the Twitterverse in fear of having to learn the relevance of 140 characters, RT and #hashtags. I have to admit, when I took the plunge back, it was no easy task to adjust to the new digital world before me. But after some practice (and a bit of research), I was able to navigate my way through a timeline full of 140 character posts that were once a foreign language.

It wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Twitter experts before me, so now I’m doing my part to help you newbies (or vets who are still struggling)! The first chapter in this multi-part lesson - the #hashtag.


First things first. What is a hashtag? Since their arrival in 2007, hashtags have helped file tweets into organized folders. By putting a # before a word or phrase, you are sending that tweet to a category of tweets all labeled with that same word. So, when you click a hashtag, you are able to view all tweets that contain that hashtag. It’s like keyword searching for Twitter.

How do we use them?

Purpose: Simply, hashtags allow all us Tweeters an easy way to communicate around a certain theme or topic.

Frequency: The key is to not use hashtags in excess. When tweets are littered with hashtags, it often makes it difficult to find the substance of the message. Tag only keywords or topics that are most relevant to your tweet. Tweets with too many hashtags are often less engaging and have lower click-through rates.

Placement: It’s suggested that hashtags are used within the tweet rather than at the end. When they are placed at the end of a tweet, they are the part of the Tweet most likely to be deleted when retweeted so that the RT-ed message can remain in the 140 character limit. Most effective hashtags are used within the tweet and are separated by several words.

Use: Much like trends in the non-virtual world, Twitter is full of hot topics. For example, you couldn’t look at your news feed two days ago without seeing #RoyalBaby plastered from tweet to tweet. Following trending hashtags allows you to monitor conversations and participate in the top-talked about topics. Use hashtags to interject in conversations happening around your area of interest or business. Own a clothing boutique? Search #fashion and insert yourself into the stylish conversations taking place. This will allow you to expose yourself to those in the same area of interest.

There are many tools available for discovering the happening hashtags. I particularly like Not only does it tell you what the Twitterverse is discussing, it also shows you what’s being discussed according to your geo-tagged location. You can truly pinpoint conversation that allows you to engage with people and businesses close to home. 

But don’t abuse trending hashtags. If your tweet is about the latest restaurant opening, it doesn’t make sense to tag #Lollapalooza. Tagging an irrelevant topic just to gain more exposure will only damage your Twit cred down the line. It will look like you’re trying too hard to gain exposure. 

Other quick tips:  

-Try not to string together too many words in a hashtag. #thisistoodifficulttoread

-When you want to get noticed by certain people or businesses on Twitter, look first to see if they have a designated hashtag. Including the hashtag in addition to or in place of tagging the account will increase your chances of visibility.

-Ready to step it up a notch? Create your own hashtag. It can be extremely effective to create your own Twitter campaign with a hashtag unique to you or your brand. This is especially the case with events. It’s becoming very popular for brands and businesses to invent a hashtag specifically for an event. When your guests are tweeting from the event using the hashtag, it helps immensely with your social media imprint. Attendees feel more compelled to tweet about your brand’s gathering when there is an event hashtag, and when they do, they are exposing each of their followings to your brand! Voilà, more engagement!

A not-so-little graphic for all you visual learners.


Total side note, but if you haven't seen Glossed + Found's debut rap video, you definitely need to watch it ASAP. So addictive! Look out for Monika and a bundle of our friends who make cameos.

By Emily Cleary, MDPR Social Media Director

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Festival Festivities

How is it already the last weekend of July? Summer is flying by! With Fall quickly approaching, it's crunch time for completing all those summer bucket list activities. We bet you had a Chicago festival (or two) on there, so this is the perfect weekend to check those off!


Fiesta del Sol in the Pilsen neighborhood {July 25 - 28}

Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz at Millennium Park {July 25 - 29}


Chicago French Film Festival in Wrigleyville {July 26 - August 1}

Jeff Fest Arts and Music Festival in Jeffersen Park {July 26 - 28}


The Bounce TV Summer Music Festival at FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island {July 27} 
Wicker Park Fest in Wicker Park {July 27 - 28}

North Shore Festival of Art at Old Orchard {July 27 - 28}

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Superfoods that make you glow!

Why fuss with expensive juice cleanses, exfoliating scrubs or complicated fad diets for that sought after sun-kissed glow? All you need is to stock up on a few superfoods from your local farmer’s market to achieve a fresh, healthy look. While many popular diets focus on one nutrient, such as protein, gluten or dairy, they also deprive your body of other crucial nutrients it needs to thrive. Especially during summer when you spend a lot of time outside in the draining sun and heat, it’s important to fill your body with nutrient-rich foods. That’s where superfoods come in. Because they are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and polyphenols, they can boost your immune system, lower inflammation, increase serotonin and enhance sexuality in addition to preventing chronic disease and prolonging life. After conducting some research, here are the top 10 superfoods that the we found to help aid in achieving that striking summer glow.

1. Blueberries
Add half a cup of blueberries to your yogurt or cereal for breakfast every morning to help protect yourself against pre-mature aging. These berries are packed with potassium and vitamin C, which will also help boost your immune system.

Try this Mixed Berry Salad with Mint for a refreshing dessert.

2. Spinach
Despite our childhood fears of this leafy, green vegetable, it’s the key to sparkling eyes. Trade in your traditional iceberg lettuce for this powerhouse full of vitamins B, C and E as well as potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids.

Serve this Spinach and Strawberry Salad instead of traditional romaine lettuce at your next dinner party.

3. Oysters
In addition to its reputation as an aphrodisiac, oysters are loaded with zinc, which helps with skin cell renewal and maintaining healthy hair, nails and eyes.

Serve Oysters Rockefeller for a classic take on this misunderstood superfood.

 4. Tomatoes
Here is another anti-aging superfood that will keep you looking fresh. Tomatoes are the best source of lycopene, an antioxidant that gives them their red color and is thought to prevent against some cancers.

Make this recipe for a Tomato Stack Salad with Corn and Avocado as a healthy lunch alternative.

5. Dark Chocolate
For those of you always looking for an excuse to sneak in a chocolate snack, this is the superfood for you. Dark chocolate will keep your skin hydrated and protect it from sun damage while satisfying your three o’clock sweet craving. But before you rush down to the vending machine, it’s important to know that chocolate above 60 percent cacao is the best.

It’s best to eat dark chocolate raw so you don’t cook off the powerful nutrients.

6. Yogurt
Mix yogurt with fresh fruit and granola for a healthy snack or even dessert. This calcium rich superfood will help maintain upright posture, strong nails and teeth.

Here are some ideas to help you incorporate yogurt into your diet.

7. Walnuts
Smooth skin, shiny hair, bright eyes and strong bones are only some of the benefits you will receive from eating a handful of walnuts. Eat them a la carte or in a salad for a huge helping of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E.

Walnuts can be used as substitutes in many recipes. Here are some recipes you may want to try.

8. Sweet Potatoes
Whether it’s in the form of fries or pie, or served mashed or baked, this superfood is full of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that helps prevent aging as well as improve vision, immunity and overall health.

Check out this recipe for Tangy Sweet Potatoes for your next holiday dinner.

9. Kiwis
Large amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants will keep your skin glowing and firm. Kiwis will help prevent wrinkles and are great for strong bones and teeth. They also help prevent cancer and heart disease.

Make Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips at your next barbeque.

10. Wild Salmon
Omega-3 fatty acids found in wild, not farm-raised salmon will help keep your skin feeling supple and moisturized. Selenium, a nutrient that will protect your skin against the sun, and vitamin D, a nutrient that will help keep your bones strong, are also found in salmon.

Experiment with these recipes the next time you decide to enjoy salmon.

Making any recipes? Eating any superfoods? Be sure to share pics with us on Instagram and Twitter at @monikadixonpr using #MDPRInsider!

By Rebecca Taylor, MDPR Team Member

Monday, July 22, 2013

Blog vs. Website

As you all know, the online world is expanding rapidly, raising a lot of questions about the most effective forms of online communication. Recently, we've had a lot of clients come into the office asking whether they would be better off starting a blog or building a website. While there is no right answer to this developing dilemma, we would like to offer some advice for choosing the right outlet for your business.
It's important to note that a blog is a website. It’s simply a more dynamic form of the traditionally static online source. Using a post based structure, content is updated frequently, and more opportunities for interaction between the company and reader are available through newsfeeds, events and social media.

While you can hire a web designer to build a multi-layer website for your business with numerous pages and eye-catching graphic elements, realize that with all of the blog software available, such as WordPress, you can create a blog with multiple pages all on your own. This is especially advantageous if you are an entrepreneur looking for a budget friendly option. Your readers might not even notice that it’s a blog rather than an official website.

The blog vs. website decision depends heavily on your business model and the understanding consumers have of your brand. Here are a couple things to think about when creating an online outlet for your business.
Blogs are great for businesses whose services and ideas change frequently and need to update online information on a regular basis. These are often creative businesses that engage in events, have direct interaction and receive feedback from clients, or are interested in advertising connections with clients. It's also less expensive because you don't need to work with a web developer every time you need to make an update.
On the other hand, business models that don’t include the responsibility of frequently updating company information, such as a medical practice or restaurant, are probably better off with a website.  These businesses will benefit from a simple site that offers customers an overview of the company, its policies and mission statement. It would also be valuable to work with a talented web developer if you have a shopping cart on your site. 
While most of us are familiar with the concept of a website, here are a few more tidbits of information about blogs to help you make your decision. 
  • Blogs are less expensive because there is less money upfront and they are cheaper to maintain. 
  • Blogs increase search engine optimization by automatically notifying the search engine that there is an update every time you make a post. 
  • If your blog becomes popular, you may be able to make money by selling ad space. 
  • Your clients can subscribe to your blog and receive notifications for every new post.
  • Despite the common myth that blogging requires a large time commitment, making a daily blog post is much easier than contacting your web developer every time you want to update information.
Hopefully you have found this post helpful and are closer to making a decision. There is not a right or wrong answer and with the right elements, you are bound to find success either way you decide to go. There is no one that knows your business better than you, and based on that, you will ultimately make the right choice. If you are in need of a website, blog or a writer to keep content updated, please reach out to us
PS - Looks like we have another prince-in-training! Congrats to Prince William and Kate Middleton on their healthy baby boy! #RoyalBaby
By Rebecca Taylor, MDPR Team Member

Friday, July 19, 2013

Chicago's Fashion Game

One thing we love about Chicago summers…there’s no shortage of fab events each week! It’s like the city’s style is on high gear and everyone’s ready to celebrate how truly fashionable Chicagoans are - despite our often-undeserved bad rap. 

This week, the MDPR team hit two events that were proof of our city’s fashion footprint. Whether it was to simply enjoy some complimentary fun and girl-time or to learn about the latest must-join-now shopping site, we hit the city to celebrate in the chicest ways possible. 

First stop – Fulton’s on the River for Refinery 29’s Summer Style Tour. It was a full-blown girl’s night (and heartfelt ‘thank you for loving Refinfery29’ gesture), complete with summer-y cocktails, DIY accessories (heavy on the studs and sparkles), a nail art bar, manicure station, and yes, even hand massages. The Big Apple-planned soirée was the perfect opportunity for us to meet some NYC Refinery29-ers, who, until now, we’re just online presences from a faraway land. We chatted for a few with Sales Manager Lauren Blake - who was in for less than 24 hours to help facilitate the event – and she could not have been sweeter. As we left with new arm party material, a fresh mani and an adorably adorned tote bag, we felt like very appreciated (not to mention appreciative) Refinery29 readers.

The following evening, we headed to the first of Garmental and’s four-part #KeepItChic event series at RM Champagne Salon. We braved the unrelenting heat and humidity (making it a task to look as chic as we’d like) to attend the event, which featured Chicago boutique Edith Hart and clothing line Paper Crown. Alas, the poufy hair and overly dewy skin was worth it. Charming décor - including oversize balloons and DIY fringe, yummy bites, tasty drinks and signing up for made it all worthwhile. But, we have to say Garmental ladies, you are totally to blame for our newfound Keep obsession! We have serious shopping fever. We’ll be browsing (and maybe even purchasing) until next Tuesday’s #KeepItChic gathering when we meet Solstice Sunglasses

Oh, and one more thing, simply because this is too fitting for today’s topic not to share. How much do you love this outfit that our job shadow, Donzell, donned today? Polka dots, metallic shoes, effortless wayfarers…too much (in the best way possible)! 

 Stay fashionable!

-By Emily Cleary, MDPR Social Media Director 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Timing is Everything

It’s the age-old question: What’s the best way to get more exposure on social media?

Okay, maybe not age-old considering the birth of social media as we know it only occurred roughly a decade ago. (Although, for many of us, it’s hard to remember a time before we could virtually follow people and like things with the click of a button.)

Let’s take a trip down social media memory lane. (Yes, that’s what we have Facebook timeline for, but we’re doing this the old school way.)

Friendster (remember that?) launched in 2002, followed by LinkedIn and MySpace in 2003. The whole game changed the following year when Facebook hit the web, initially allowing classmates at Harvard to connect online. 140 became ‘the’ number in 2006 when Twitter was created, and four years later, pinning was added to our vocabulary following the birth of Pinterest. 

But having all of these platforms seems relatively pointless unless we know how to effectively use them. So, I’ve been on a hunt, wrangling together information regarding effective social media practices so that you can get the most out of your online presence. (Shall we say, bang for your post?) The first step – knowing when it’s worth your while, and when you’re better off remaining silent.

Here’s the breakdown:

Best: 1 pm – 4pm
Worst: 8 pm – 8 am

Best: 1 pm – 3 pm
Worst: 8 pm – 9 am

Best: 7 am – 9 am & 5 pm – 6 pm
Worst: 10 pm – 6 am

Best: 2 pm – 4 pm & 8 pm – 1 am
Worst: 5 pm – 7 pm

Stay calm…we didn’t forget about Instagram (née 2010). Nothing is very conclusive, but it appears that photos are most effective when uploaded in the middle of the day and in mid to late evening.

Remember, these are averages, so there’s never a guarantee that they will be the best practices for your specific purposes. Post at different times, keep an eye on your interaction and learn what works best for you!

A little tip: Print out the chart above and hang it in your workspace so you can refer to it easily. Pretty soon, you’ll get the hang and will be able to take off the training wheels, so to speak.

By Emily Cleary, MDPR Social Media Director

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Proactive Planning

It’s only hump day, but there’s no harm in looking ahead to the weekend. In fact, we believe Wednesday is the best day to start getting your Thursday – Sunday plans in order. Nothing like being a little proactive! 

Yes, you read correctly; Thursday is included. Isn’t that technically part of the weekend during the summer? :) 
To ensure your days of freedom are some to remember, we gathered together a lineup of events that allow you to take full advantage of summer in this great city that we call home. So, let’s get started.


PAWS Chicago Beach Party at North Avenue Beach

Cheeky Chicago’s Women, Whiskey and Runway at Untitled 

ROOF Runway Series at ROOF on theWit 

John Butler Trio at The Vic 

New Kids on the Block, 98 Degreesand Boyz II Men at Allstate Arena 


Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field 


#EXPOSURE2013 benefiting BrightPink at Ohio Street Beach

Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson at Wrigley Field

All Weekend

Pitchfork Music Festival at Union Park

Various Farmer’s Markets

Amalia Pica at Museum of Contemporary Art

Movies in the Parks at various locations 
Taste of River North at Ward Park 

Lincoln Park MerchantsAssociation Sidewalk Sale at block of Halsted, Armitage, Sheffield & Webster  

Sheffield Garden Walk andMusic Festival at Sheffield & Webster 

And if you’ve got the perfect Suit & Tie for Monday….

Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake at Soldier Field 

Happy planning!

By Emily Cleary, MDPR Social Media Director