Thursday, October 31, 2013

Enter Our Costume Contest to Win Tickets to the Real Housewives of Miami Viewing Party!

In light of today’s Halloween festivities, we wanted to forgo a social media post and do something more festive. We want you to share your most creative (cute or spooky) costumes with us and the MDPR team will choose our favorite! You don’t want to miss out because we are giving away two tickets to our Real Housewives of Miami Finale Viewing Party with the star of the show herself, Joanna Krupa!

The event will take place on Monday, November 4 at 7:30 pm. The winner will be able to enjoy sips and sweets all while watching the season finale featuring Joanna’s dream wedding.

Let the creative juices flow and make sure you send us your costumes by posting them on Twitter or Instagram and tagging @MonikaDixonPR! All costumes must be posted by Sunday, November 3 at noon in order to be considered for the contest.

Need some inspiration? Check out these festive shots that caught our eye on Instagram today.

Top Row: @ASOS and @CorriMcFadden 
Middle Row: @MichiganAveMag and @jfisherjewelry
Bottom Row: @MonikaDixonPR and @FreePeople

Make sure you tag @MonikaDixonPR on Twitter or Instagram for a chance to win our costume contest.  Have a fun and safe Halloween!

By Ashley Siech, MDPR Contributor 

A Week of Glamour with Joanna Krupa & Morgan Marie Beauty

Our weekend event posts usually consist of what’s happening all around Chicago, but today we want to share some upcoming events the MDPR team is looking forward to next week!

Monday is the season finale of The Real Housewives of Miami and what better way to watch the last episode than with the star of the show herself, Joanna Krupa! We can't wait to watch her tie the knot with longtime fiancé, Romain Zago.  

What makes this event even more amazing is all of the great sponsors!  The evening wouldn’t have been possible without: Acchaa Spa, A Mind and Body Total Fitness, Citizen Stone, Christian Karin, Fly First, Leah Chavie Skincare Boutique, ParadigmNext, Sugar Hills Bakery, Public Hotel and CS Brides

To purchase tickets, visit Proceeds will benefit Joanna’s charity, Angels for Animal Rescue.  

Let's send well wishes to the new Mrs!

Our second event of the week is just as exciting—the ladies of Morgan Marie Beauty are throwing a preview party of their first ever holiday collection!  The beauty line will be introducing a limited edition palette of 5 shadows, 2 blushes and a bronzer, an invisible blotting powder, 10 new lipsticks and 6 new lip glosses. All MMB products will be available for purchase, so you can event knock out some holiday shopping. 

Guess will enjoy makeup touchups and tips, raffle prizes and signature cocktails and sweets! The ladies will also be revealing the first face of Morgan Marie Beauty! Can you guess who it is?

We hope to see you next week! 

By Ashley Siech, MDPR Contributor 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How to Fix and Avoid Dreaded PR Mishaps

There's a fine line between do’s and don’ts when a public relations disaster occurs. Within the past year there have been a handful of significant PR catastrophes that easily could have been avoided. Let's revisit them and then learn what should have been done to remedy the situation.

  1. The Paula Deen Scandal: We’ve all heard about the incident with Paula Deen and her racially insensitive comments, but what made the situation worse was that it took her days to apologize. which should have been done immediately. 
  2. The NRA’s Offensive Tweet on the Day of the Aurora, CO Shooting: On July 20, the same day that James Holmes open fired at a crowd in a movie theater in Aurora, CO, the NRA tweeted: “Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend plans?” The tweet was taken down hours later and the NRA stated that it was tweeted by an individual who was unaware of the day's event.  
  3. Abercrombie & Fitch CEO's Comments: A&F CEO, Mike Jeffries made the unnerving statement that “he doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people.”  Jeffries did not applogize and stood by his off-putting statement.

Now that we’ve revisited a few PR disasters, here are some tips to handle a mishap gracefully.

• Consumers want results, not excuses. Don’t wait too long to respond to the situation and respond by doing something visible to make it known that you are actively trying to solve what went wrong.

• Being sincere goes a long way. If you are trying to fix an issue, people will accept what happened and move on easier if you are genuinely sorry.

• When trying to resolve an issue, writing a boring press release won’t get you off the hook for your mess up. Connect with the public on all platforms and provide all the information needed to put the people at ease.

• Communication is key. Don’t ignore people because you are afraid of what they might ask. Answer all their questions, even if you don’t really know the answer; ignoring them will make it seem like you don’t care.

• Use social media appropriately. It's easy to send a quick tweet of your current, very honest thoughts. Make sure the content you put out there is thoughtful and appropriate from all points of view.

Look at things from an outsider’s point of view and always be smart about your actions. If something you’re doing doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. You don’t want to be on the list of Top PR Disasters!

Do you have any great tips on how to avoid or solve PR disasters? Let us know by tweeting us at @MonikaDixonPR!

By Ashley Siech, MDPR Contributer

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What's Happening This Weekend

It’s the weekend before Halloween and Chicago is gearing up for the holiday in all sorts of spooky ways. From haunted houses to pumpkin farms, you never know what creepy things the city might have in store for you! 


Fright Fest (Six Flags Great America) 6 pm - 10 pm

2013 Barley’s Angels (Public House) 6 – 8 pm

Horror Movie Night (Delish Diner & Bakery) 7 pm

We Will Rock You (Cadillac Palace) 7:30 pm

Rod Stewart Concert (United Center) 7:30 pm


Youth Pumpkin Patch (Park Ridge Community Church) 3:30 pm

The Macaroon Bible (Embeya) 6 – 8 pm

The Fear Haunted House (Navy Pier) 7 pm - 11 pm

Haunted Barn at Sonny Acres (Sonny Acres Pumpkin Farm) 7 pm

Bill Cosby (Chicago Theatre) 8 pm


Pumpkins in the Park 5K (Lincoln Park South Field House) 2 pm & 4 pm

Gurhan Trunk Show and Personal Appearance (Neiman Marcus Michigan Avenue) 10 am – 5 pm

Cheese Extravaganza (Standard Market) 1 pm – 4 pm

Chicago Haunt Tour (The Hop Haus) 5:30 pm – 12:30 am

The Massacre Haunted House (Naperville) 7 pm – 12 am

Halloween Mind Shivers Starring Mentalist Sydney Friedman (Davenport’s Piano Bar and Cabaret) 8 pm


Thriller 5K (Schiller Woods North) 10 am

Trick or Treat on Southport (Southport in Lakeview) 1 pm - 4 pm

Open House Chicago (Multiple Locations) 9 am – 5 pm

Click, Clack, Boo! A Tricky Treat (Lifeline Theatre) 11 am

Celestial Bodies at Chicago Artists Month (Multiple Locations) 12 pm – 4 pm

Screams in the Park (MB Financial Park at Rosemont) 7 pm

Do you have any extra special, or should I say spooky, plans this weekend? Let us know by leaving a comment or tweeting us at @MonikaDixonPR!

 By Ashley Siech, MDPR Contributor

Painless Waxing Boutique Grand Opening

We were thrilled to be a part of Painless Waxing Boutique’s grand opening party Monday night for their chic, new spa located at 3146 N. Lincoln Avenue in Lakeview. Hostess Debi Lilly transformed the space into a glam girl’s night out. The Hollywood-inspired, gold-accented room was filled with 200 guests enjoying champagne and adorable pink mustache and gold heart cupcakes from Sugar Hills Bakery.


One of our favorite things about the spa is the beautiful bar in the back that's perfect for hosting parties. Who wouldn’t want to sip cocktails while getting pampered? It was the perfect place for guests to mingle while awaiting the spa’s services.

Painless Waxing Boutique offered a variety of services throughout the event including eyebrow waxing, samples of Green Envee Organics body scrubs (we loved how soft they made our skin!), mini facials, Jane Iredale makeup applications and energy and tarot readings. And nail artist extraordinaire AstroWifey had guests practically lining up outside!

The spa offers so much more than just the services offered at the party. Pop in for airbrush tanning, eyelash extensions and skin care treatments. All of their services are designed to fit into a busy woman’s schedule. Quick lunch break facial, anyone?

Interested in learning more about Painless Waxing Boutique’s services or hosting a party? Visit their website or their Facebook page.

By Ashley Siech, MDPR Contributor

Photos by Marcin Cymmer

Friday, October 18, 2013

5 Simple & Stylish Halloween Costumes

Halloween is the time of year when you're able to let your imagination run free.  From hair and makeup to the actual costume itself, nothing is off limits when it comes to letting your alter ego take center stage!

With Halloween just around the corner, here are some costumes sure to get some attention amongst all the sea of festive outfits.

1. Audrey Hepburn

A classic costume, and one of our favorites, is Audrey Hepburn. Not only is it easily identifiable, but also chic and easy to put together. Wear a basic black dress, short or long, and pair it with elbow length gloves. Accessorize the outfit with a statement necklace, tiara (or embroidered headband) and throw some ballet flats or kitten heels on and you're instantly transformed into Ms. Hepburn. Oh, and don’t forget the retro cigarette holder!

2.  Karl Lagerfeld

One costume that is creating a lot of buzz this year is fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld. The Chanel powerhouse has such a distinct look. The basis for your Lagerfeld costume is a black suit with a crisp, white button down underneath. Next, pile on the accessories! We all know Karl likes things over the top, so choose anything from long pendant necklaces to pins and brooches, and don’t forget those black fingerless gloves and the black sunnies. Finally, grab a white wig and pull it back into a low ponytail and you are now emulating the king of fashion himself!

3. 1920’s Flapper

A Halloween favorite (and one of the simplest) is the Louise Brooks inspired flapper. This costume doesn’t require much effort because it has so few elements, which makes it great for a last minute option. All you need is a simple drop waist dress -- the more fringe the better. Accessorize with embellished shoes, a feathered headband and a bold lip color and you're set to dance the night away.

4. Cher Horowitz from Clueless

The 90s are back in a big way. Why not do an ode to one of the classics, Clueless? The star of the film, Cher, had a distinctly preppy style. Start with a plaid mini skirt, white button down and a cropped black cardigan. Then slip on some over the knee socks, Mary Janes and her signature beret hat. Accessorize with an old flip phone (if you can even find one!) and some shopping bags. Et voilà, you’ve become the epitome of a 90s valley girl.

5. Kate Middleton

One of the most talked about events of the summer was Kate Middleton's birth to Prince George followed by her impressively chic ensemble the next day. To get her look, you need a blue polka dot dress, ivory pumps and a replica of her iconic sapphire engagement ring. Go all the way with this costume by carrying a toy doll wrapped in a white blanket, and maybe even ask a friend or boyfriend to play Prince William!

Have other creative Halloween costume ideas?  Share them with us in a comment or by tweeting us at @MonikaDixonPR!

By Ashley Siech, MDPR Contributor

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Less Stressful Email Inbox

We've all experienced it. We step away from our desk for a total of 20 minutes and BAM! -- just like that, we have an inbox full of emails urgently awaiting our attention. And the anxiety ensues. 

Well, me might have a way to ease this never-ending cycle called we've dubbed 'e-problems'. 

Enter Mailbox, a new iPhone and iPad app that works alongside Gmail to create more user-friendly, anxiety-reducing email experience. 

Mailbox is navigated almost entirely with a simple swiping motion:
-Quickly swipe right to archive. 
-Long swipe right to delete.
-Swipe left to snooze an email.
-Long swipe left to add to a list.

Yes, you read correctly. You can snooze an email to be re-enter your inbox at a later date and time that you designate. This is perfect for important messages that aren't necessarily urgent. 

For those that dislike Gmail's email threads as much as we do (is it not impossible to follow a string of conversations!?), you'll love the format of Mailbox. Conversations are displayed in a more chat-like layout, with the thread in chronological order. This way, you can catch the conversation in the sequence it occurred rather than begin at the end as in Gmail.

One warning: do not be alarmed when you see the number on the app icon indicating the amount of emails you have awaiting you. The number indicates how many total emails you have (read and unread), as opposed to Gmail's count of only unread messages. 

We're definitely give this app a try! Anything to make looking at our inbox a little more bearable. 

Giving it a try yourself? Let us know your thoughts by tweeting us at @MonikaDixonPR! 

By Emily Cleary, MDPR Social Media Director

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Fashion Focused Weekend

It’s that time of year again, where Millennium Park is filled with beautiful models and the latest trends in fashion. From shopping events to runway shows, Chicago has it all this weekend.  Stop by the Chase Promenade to see what fall fashion has to offer and don’t be surprised if you see the MDPR team taking a peek!


Chicago International Film Festival (AMC River East 21) Visit website for showtimes

Aquatic Show (Shedd Aquarium) 10 am

The Killer Angels (Lifeline Theatre) 7:30 pm

Fashion Focus: Urban Shapeshifters (Millennium Park Chase Promenade North) 7:30 pm

Unbridled Thursday (Untitled) 10 pm


3rd Friday Open Studios (Bridgeport Art Center) 6:30 pm

Haunted Barn at Sonny Acres (Sonny Acres Pumpkin Farm) 7 pm

The Art of Fashion Runway Show (Millennium Park Chase Promenade North) 7:30 pm

Crazy for Swayze: A Swayzical (Studio BE) 10:30 pm


Family Pumpkin Carving (Bock Neighborhood Center, Shaumburg Park District) 10 am – 12 pm

Northern Grade Shopping Event (Millennium Park Chase Promenade North) 11 am – 7 pm

Half Acre Beer Company Tour (Half Acre Beer Company) 11 am

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (United Center) 6:00 pm

2nd Annual Via Del Corso Masquerade Affair with Jaslene Gonzalez (Parliament) 6:30 pm


Open House Chicago (Chicago Architecture Foundation) 9 am – 5 pm

Vintage Garage Chicago (Broadway and Argyle, Uptown) 9 am

FashionChicago (Millennium Park Chase Promenade North) 10 am – 6 pm

Boo at the Zoo (Brookfield Zoo) 11 am – 4 pm

Have any extra special weekend plans we need to know about? Tweet us at @monikadixonpr or comment below!

By Ashley Siech, MDPR Contributor

Who Said Pumpkins Were Just for Carving?

Pumpkins really are a fall staple whether they are on display as a jack-o-lantern, festive centerpiece or as an ingredient in tasty treats.  There are a multitude of ways to utilize pumpkins in a healthy way that you’d never expect!

1. Fresh Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin puree is a key ingredient in fall dishes and it always tastes better fresh than from a can. Follow these simple steps to create your own.

Start by cutting your pumpkin down the middle and scooping out the seeds and guts. Set them aside for later. Place your pumpkin, cut-side down, in a baking dish with a cup of water and bake for 90 minutes or until the flesh is tender.  Then, scoop out the flesh, puree in a food processor and voilà, your fresh pumpkin puree is complete!

2. Flavorful Pumpkin Stock

It's always a mystery of what to do with those stringy pumpkin guts. A great way to utilize these is to make a pumpkin stock for soups and casseroles.

First, separate the seeds from the guts. Next, place the guts in a pot filled with boiling water. You can also add vegetables such as celery or carrots to add even more flavor. Boil this for about 30 minutes or until the water begins to change color. Strain your stock and it's ready to be used in your favorite recipe.

3. Get Pumpkin Pretty

One of the most unexpected ways to utilize pumpkin is to make a face mask. Pumpkins are rich in zinc and vitamins A, C and E, which will leave your skin glowing. This mask also makes a tasty snack!

Start with about five teaspoons of pumpkin puree, add three teaspoons of brown sugar—this will naturally exfoliate your skin—and add a tiny splash of milk.

Mix everything together and apply to your face in a circular motion, avoiding your eyes. Relax and allow the mask to seep into your skin for 20 minutes. After washing the mask off, your skin will be smooth and fragrant.

Do you have a favorite way to use pumpkin? Share it with us by leaving a comment or by tweeting us at @MonikaDixonPR.

By Ashley Siech, MDPR Contributor

Recipes via, Busted Button and Care2.