Thursday, December 19, 2013

An Intimate Dinner with Kitchen Surfing

There's no place like home. I appreciate this phrase even more now after moving back into my house after months of renovations. To celebrate, I wanted to plan a perfect intimate dinner for our nearest and dearest.

Because it was my first time hosting a dinner party, I put a lot of thought into the decor to make every guest feel welcomed. I didn't want to overlook any detail, even if it meant getting my hands dirty! I had a blast handmaking floating candles for the table decor at Waxman Candles Chicago

For the napkin presentation, I found vintage gold letters of each guest's initials. The table was set with rose gold silverware and glasses from the antique Randolph Market. Fresh flowers and pine cones from Jason Home and Garden gave the table a winter theme. One of my favorite finds was a chalkboard paper runner from Paper Source. It was fun to see my guests let their inner artists out!

I used the site Kitchen Surfing, which lets you pick a chef that customizes a menu for small gatherings, to find Chef Rick Paniagua. Chef Rick was a joy to work with. I chose his Intimate Night menu. A fitting name for my night with friends! It was Asian influenced and included decadent selections ranging from Togarashi seared tuna over wakame and kelp salad, dressed with ichimi togarashi mayo to his mother’s famous flourless chocolate cake with dulce de leche drizzle and raspberries!

Chef Rick and his sous-chef handled everything from the cooking to cleaning. They had everything in the kitchen covered, which put my mind at ease during dinner.

The planning was a little hectic and time consuming, especially with two little guys running around. With the help of Chef Rick Paniagua and my supportive hubby, everything went seamlessly. The service was flawless, the food was incredible and above all, we were able to share and enjoy a wonderful night in our home with friends.

What is your secret to the perfect dinner party? Leave a comment and let us know!

By Monika Dixon

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Never A Dull Moment In The Windy City

The cold days of Chicago winters can make you reluctant to leave the house. Our lovely city lends plenty to do even on a cold weekend. We’ve found some fun events that are worth bundling up for. Music, theater, ice skating, you pick! Get out and have some fun before the hectic holiday week ahead.


Your Go-to Holiday Cocktails at Epic (Epic, 112 W. Hubbard St.) 6pm-9pm

Adler After Dark (Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr.) 6pm-10pm

Miracle on Wells St. (Second City) 8pm

Alan Gresik (Green Mill Jazz Club, 4802 N. Broadway) 9pm-1am


Elizabeth and James Trunkshow (Krista K Boutique, 3458 N. Southport Ave.) 11am-7pm

Andrew Belle (Space, 1245 Chicago Ave.) 8pm

A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St.) 8pm

Blue Man Group (Briar Street Theatre, 3133 N. Halstead) 8pm


Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier (Navy Pier) 10am-10pm

LivingSocial Chicago Beerfest (Union Station Great Hall, 500 W. Jackson Blvd.) 7pm-10pm

Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl (420 W. Diversey Pkwy.) 8pm


Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light (Museum of Science and Industry) 9:30am-5:30pm

The Bad Plus (Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Ct.) 4pm

Dinner at Vie (Vie, 4471 Lawn Ave.) 6pm-8pm

Hey Cowboy (Bub City) 9:30pm

Which hot spots will you hit this weekend? Share them with us by leaving a comment or by tweeting us at @MonikaDixonPR!

By Marisa Coulter, MDPR Contributor

Monday, December 16, 2013

Washing Your Face 101

Beauty trends come and go, but washing your face is something that is essential for everyone’s beauty regimens regardless of skin type. Although face washing poses itself as a seemingly easy task, even the most skin-conscious of us make some mistakes. Today, skin guru Leah Chavie taught us the ins and outs of face washing on WCIU’s You & Me This Morning. We learned so much from her segment, we couldn't keep these beauty tips to ourselves.


Forget the washcloth!
The first step in washing your face is ditching a washcloth. It's actually one of your skin's worst enemies. Washcloths can be scratchy, abrasive and harbor bacteria.

Use these instead...
Non-Latex sponges are your multi-purpose friend. Use them for applying foundation and as a soft, gentle alternative to a washcloth.

The Jane Iredale Magic Mitt is Leah's go-to for quick and sanitary face washing. Just get it wet (no cleanser required) and you are ready to use this beauty tool. To clean your Mitt between washes, use soap and water and hang it to dry.

Up, Up, Up!
Since youthfulness is a quality most of us seek in our skin, Leah stressed the importance of using upward motions when washing your face. Always remember these three hot spots: face, neck and décolleté. Use upwards strokes around the cheekbones and lift around your eyebrows. Around the eyes, a figure eight and flushing motion will bring energy to the muscles.

A clean face is a happy face. We hope these tips help liven up your skincare routine!

What are your favorite skin products? Leave us a comment and let us know!

By Marisa Coulter, MDPR Contributor

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

MDPR Holiday Luncheon

It isn’t every day that we are able to socialize with 24 of our closest friends and clients, let alone get them all in the same room. Fortunately for us, our MDPR family was able to synchronize their hectic schedules last week for an afternoon of holiday fun and celebration!

Last Friday, we hosted our holiday luncheon at our favorite fresh casual restaurant, Doc B’s on Walton. We had such a good time that even though the party was supposed to end at 2:30, we ended up celebrating past 3!

Having a decadent meal and treats from Doc B’s and Sugar Hills Bakery did not hurt either. Doc B’s served up an intimate family style spread of which the avocado pizza and the kale salad were the crowd favorites. Everyone’s sweet tooth was satisfied with the delicious and cute Oreo pops from Sugar Hills that were decorated with snowman faces, Christmas trees and snowflakes. They were almost too cute to eat!

What is a party without great drinks? Doc B’s nailed the cocktails on the head. The Crazy Beautiful, a Doc B’s signature, was one of the most popular. With its elderflower garnish, the drink was somewhat of a decoration itself.

Our guests were thrilled to find festive place settings that included ornaments by their plates. They were even more delighted to find out which ornament would be coming home with them and adorning their tree.

It was a day of fun, socializing and, most importantly, family. We are so glad everyone was able to attend and celebrate the successful year we’ve had together!

By Marisa Coulter, MDPR Contributor

Friday, December 6, 2013

Choos and Handbags Oh La La!

Mark your calendars! Whether your shopping needs entail a gift for your next holiday party or simply some much needed retail therapy, we are filling you in on two events that are right around the corner that you will not want to miss!

Jimmy Choo Cruise Collection 

What woman couldn’t use a new pair of shoes? On Wednesday, December 11 join hosts Janet Mandell of Fashion-A-Holic and Alexis Cozzini of Citizen Stone to shop the Jimmy Choo 2014 Cruise Collection.

Better yet, you can shop guilt free knowing the evening's proceeds will benefit our favorite charity, the Chicago Children’s Choir. There will be raffles and all sorts of fun to spice up your Wednesday. RSVP to

JGEREN and Samantha Sleeper Trunk Show

The Purely Fashion pop up shop is welcoming JGEREN designers Jen Gerenraich and Lori Wallis and Samantha Sleeper for a fashionable holiday trunk show on December 14 and 15 from 1 - 6 pm.

Not only are JGEREN’s luxury leather handbags on sale in stores for the first time, guest will have the opportunity to meet Jen and Lori from 4pm-6pm on Saturday only. Shoppers will also be able to mingle with the one and only New York-based fashion designer, Samantha Sleeper.

Samantha Sleeper will be presenting her limited edition holiday line that includes holiday dresses, separates and luxurious cashmeres fit for any fashionista’s closet. Guests will be able to shop leisurely while enjoying champagne and sweets from A Sweet Delivery. Be sure to RVSP and make it out to meet the designers on Saturday from 4pm-6pm!

Coming to the events? Let leave us a comment and let us know!

By Marisa Coulter MDPR Contributor

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Get in the Holiday Spirit

Having a hard time thinking of things to do during these frigid winter weekends? We’ve found some fun and interesting options to pass the time whether you want to spend it inside or out. Between Second City and Christkindlmarket, these events cover the whole spectrum of entertainment!


Holidays 2013: Open Something Greater (Art Institute Chicago) 10:30 am - 8 pm

Let Them Eat Chaos (Second City) 8 pm

Colt and Wylde (Bub City) 10 pm

Sofia Boutique Fashion Show (56 W. Illinois) 10 pm


Christkindlmarket (Daley Plaza) 11 am - 9 pm

Good Times Historic Bar Tour (Starting at Argo Tea, 435 N Michigan) 5 pm - 7 pm

Zoo Lights (Lincoln Park Zoo) 5 pm - 9 pm

Miracle on State Street (The Chicago Theatre) 7:30 pm

Thirsty (Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave.) 10:30 pm


A Holiday Fantasea (Shedd Aquarium) 9 am - 6 pm

Frank Lloyd Wright Interior Tour (Oak Park) 10 am - 4 pm

The Biggest Artist Sale EVER (222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza) 10 am - 7 pm

Chicago Beer Experience (Lincoln Park/Lakeview) 11 am

Dysfunctional Holiday Show (Second City) 4 pm

Wicked (Ford Oriental Theatre) 8 pm


Game Day Sundays at ZED451 (ZED451, 739 N. Clark) 10 am

Celebrate Christmas the Swedish Way (Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark) 11 am - 4 pm

Joffrey Ballet The Nutcracker (Auditorium Theatre) 2 pm

Other Earth Ensemble (Hungry Brain, 2119 W. Belmont) 10 pm

Soul Jazz Night (Green Mill Jazz Club, 4802 N. Broadway) 11 pm

What fun plans do you have this weekend? Share them with us and tweet us at @MonikaDixonPR!

By Marisa Coulter, MDPR Contributor