If Taste Is One of Your Three Wishes… I Dream of Falafel

IDOFThe summer is almost here and its time to think about those bathing suits and shorts. It also means that meals should be lighter and healthier. Lucky for me, we found a place right in the heart of Lakeview , home of hip and cool. Mediterranean food is full of flavor and color, just like the region. But along with the Mediterrananean food, food is served the way you want it. That’s why one of our favorite new places is “I Dream of Falafel.” Owner Hassan Naseem told me recently that the reason for the name was to give it a hip, cool feel. The name to me conjured up images of Barbara Eden in her harem costume munching on these delights of the Middle East. This is a relatively new concept  because at the time there was not that many Mediterranean  food places in existence. The first IDOF restaurant was started about five years ago at the base of the Sears Tower. Today there are four restaurants in the city, and one in the burbs. We got a taste of”Falafel” at the Belmont location today, and talk about tasty.

Everything  at IDOF is homemade and fresh. This also reads true for the pita chips and potato chips . No commercial packaged chips here. There is plenty of yummy things to dip them in to as well. Our personal favorite was the zesty garlic sauce .Like so many places , they made a claim to hot sauce. I found it to be spicy with a kick , but no running to grab a glass of water . There is plenty to drink , but what we chose was from a special Pepsi fountain machine similiar to the Coke Experience. This is indeed special because it is the only one of its kind in Chicago and IDOF was given clearance by PepsiCo. My favorite was Diet Pepsi with Strawberry flavor.

All dishes at IDOF are built from the ground up. Diners can choose their entree and what they want in it. The meat is lean and filled with flavor and the falafels are also fresh. Hummus also is made right in the restaurant, you can choose regular or the spicier red pepper hummus.Love the couscous with the spices and cranberries. It isn’t your typical veggies for the entrees as well. Diners can choose tasty toppings like tabouli , tzatziki salad, greek olives, rice, and my favorite the chickpea / quinoa salad. Spices wake up the taste buds. If you don’t feel adventurous , don’t fret because they have chef inspired dishes that have the same goodies as the other entrees. So whether you order a wrap, salad plate, or just order one of the other dishes, you will experience a taste explosion that allows the spices to be more pronounced than our plain old American food. Top off the dinner with the best baklava outside of Greektown. Guaranteed that you won’t go away hungry, but you also will go away with a feeling that you have done something good for your body. And that will definitely look good on you.

muralThis mural is part of the decor of the restaurant. It gives a hip, cool vibe

vegan dreamDoesn’t the vegan dream look delicious?. All of the ingredients are fresh made daily right in the restaurant.

chicken shawarmaYou can either make your own, put it on a wrap, or make it into a salad or rice dish. It’s all up to you.

http://www.idreamoffalafel.com/

You can also order online  or visit one of the many locations .

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The Modern Day Czar Can Travel in Style Thanks to The Dashing Tote

dashing toteAs a modern day woman, I have had to wear many hats. Even though one of those hats isn’t mother, I sometimes feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day. I have business meetings, auditions, and for keeping that figure from tastings trips to the gym. One of the last things in the world I want to do is look like a bag lady . When I shove my shoes, toiletries , and gym clothes in my bag, i usually can’t close the bag and then people stare at me on the bus. Things also usually fall out as well. It can be a real mess.

Well all I have to say is thank heavens for the Dashing Tote from Fitmark. I always like to patronize companies that give back to the community. Fitmark definitely does that . In the three years that they have been in business, their products are now sold in 35 + countries . They believe in the future of our children and have distributed over three thousand bags filled with school supplies to underprivileged kids and student athletes through the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. They also hope to donate six thousand more before the end of the year.This is awesome for a multi million dollar company and it teaches kids that they can be rewarded for being a good student. Plus these are great bags.

The one thing that I love about the tote is the color. It is so stylish and I have hardly ever seen a more vibrant shade of purple. They had me right there. There is lots of pockets and the bag fits nicely in a drawer or locker. The detachable bag is perfect for shoes or a wet bathing suit. It keeps the rest of the bag’s contents dry.Deep pockets also provide a home for your water bottle after a grueling workout. The compartments also allow scripts and sides to be accessible while I work out on the treadmill and cycle. The mission of Fitmark also inspires me to be the best I can be. It makes me feel I can be the athlete I want.

The tote comes in two colors Black and the fashionable Purple Wine

http://fitmarkbags.com/

fit mark

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For A Purr-fectly Good Time- It’s the Kit Kat Club

kit kat club logoHaving a truly entertaining evening usually consists of dinner, drinks, and then a show. There are theatres all over Chicago that boast truly quality entertainment. Sometimes you just want to have an evening where you can let your hair done and just plain have fun. A few nights ago, we had one of the most fun tastings ever. We got a chance to go to the Kit Kat Club in Boystown.

The Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club is located in a part of Chicago not far from the cheers of Wrigley, but in a world all its own. The LGBT community in Chicago is loud and proud. Some of the coolest restaurants and clubs are on the main drag between the Addison and Belmonts stops on the “El”. Entering the Kit Kat is quite an experience in itself. Large screen televisions show old movies while patrons dine and enjoy some of the best tasting cocktails I have ever had. They pride themselves on the fact that there are over two hundred cocktails to sip. And they come up with some of the kitschiest names for these concoctions.First I tried the Too Wong Foo , named after the classic movie with the late Patrick Swayze and “Rizzo” from “Grease” Stockard Channing. It had a sweet flavor that I liked and also that citrisy feel with a taste of grapefruit. Jen had to have her malibu tasting drink which she found in the Blue Hawaii , named after the Elvis Presley movie . She loved the pineapple taste and the tropical feel. After that, we could move onto the starters or opening acts. Love the fact that everything here is related to Hollywood and show business. Very appropriate for an entertainment town.

The food here is pure gourmet quality , the kind that you would find at the hotels, five star restaurants, and places in River North. It is truly a hidden treasure  They are supposed to tempt you for the entrees, but if you are not careful , you can fill up on these yummies. We had a sampling of the immense menu of opening acts. My favorite was the coquilles st jacques , a dish that was made of the tenderest scallops that were accompanied by gruyerre cheese , brandy in a cream,sauce that was covered with bread crumbs. It was a true work of art. I also enjoyed the shrimp tacos. They were filled to the brim with shrimp , avocado sauce , and came with a kick. Truly a dining delight. This was just a warm up.

  I was in the mood for something different , so I opted for a salmon dish called the Yoko Ono. It was sweet salmon with a teriyaki glaze and the original touch was that the mashed potatoes were laced with wasabi. It woke up my tastebuds and made them smile. Jen is a creature of habit, so she ordered the James Dean . The burger was huge and covered with the kinds of things that make burgers great like bacon, bbq  ranch dressing, and carmelized onions . The fries were even special with their dusting of parmesan cheese on them.

Along with the meal, there is entertainment as well. I squealed for joy as I saw the screens playing “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” with no sound. Well everyone knows the movie, and it also allowed patrons to croon their version of “Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend.” The movie stopped long enough for the show. Every night  , is a different diva. One of the “girls’ even made it as far as RuPaul and the “Drag Race” Our “diva” that night was the incomparable Kinley Preston. (Hey why do they have better bodies than us? LOL) She had the crowd yelling as she performed some Taylor Swift and her “Style” The perfect finish to the night was the light as air Kit kat Secret Carrot Cake  and the purely sinful Kit Kat Brownie Sundae. No I don’t feel one bit guilty because everyone deserves to have a little fun.

Something is always going on at the Kit Kat. Sunday is the Diva-licious brunch with 1/2 price martinis . Wednesday has drink specials along with BOGO entrees and on Tuesday , you can have your cards read. For more info go to kitkatchicago.com. Special thanks to Steve and Edward for the lovely meal and also to the lovely Kinley as well. Come to the Kit Kat , you’ll have a gay old time.

blue hawaii It is so tropical and yummy ..the Blue Hawaii

gentleman prefer blondesYou can also enjoy classic movies like “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” shown on the big screen

kinley prestonKinley Preston is gorgeous and she will get you dancing

yoko onoLoved the wasabi mashed potatoes , so original

brownie sundaeHad to go to the gym after that brownie sundae

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Make Your Jewelry As Personal as You – Endless Jewelry and the Jennifer Lopez Collection

endless jewelryLife is filled with so many moments.We share those moments with the ones that we love or the ones that have been there for us through the years. Style is one of those things that bring a smile to our faces. It is something that is uniquely a part of us as well.

Endless Jewelry allows a woman to make those choices. The best part is that the leather  bracelets are affordable and come in different colors to match the seasons and your moods. I love the pastel ones the best  You can have a bracelet for literally every outfit. Sometimes though you also want to be elegant as well. Along with the Endless Jewelry collection comes a name that stands for fashion and fun. Endless jewelry is proud to present the Jennifer Lopez collection. J Lo has added her stamp with her own collection of charms and bracelets. Her bracelets give women that sense of sophistication and fashion that J Lo is known for. I love the single golden reptile pattern with its leather surface and the gold means I can use it to dress up any outfit. I also love that you can make it more personal with charms Talk about versatility , you can even wear it as a necklace for a sporty look.. The bracelet is about seventy dollars and charms range from 30 to 150 dollars.

For more info… http://www.endless-jewelry-shop.com/

endless-jewelry-jennifer-lopez-collection

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Paula and Chlo – The Gift of Individual Style

love necklaceIt is the time of year to remember those special people in your life. There are so many occasions that require us to find that special gift. We remember Mom, the graduate, or the woman who is getting ready to walk down the aisle. So many occasions, and so many choices for gifts.  Everyone knows that a woman wants a gift that shows her sense of style.

Paula and Chlo has that sense of style. They are an online boutique that founder Paula Slof prides herself on carrying unique and chic pieces. From one of a kind handbags to jewelry, P & C , offers the modern woman a chance to find pieces to show her style. The best part is that there is a gift for every price range. You can have that Red Carpet style without that designer price or you can  splurge. It’s your choice.

I picked out a beautiful Gorjana  necklace from Paula and Chlo . It is a simple piece that can either be layered or solo. I love delicate jewelry and this is perfect for the summer to come. The 18′ chain is dainty , but it isnt too long or too short. The “love’ charm is the perfect elegant touch. Wouldn’t it perfect for Mom or for a bridesmaid ? I just like it because it is simple and elegant.

For more unique pieces  go to

paulaandchlo. com

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So Easy and So Good – Paleoful Mixes Let You Enjoy Healthy Treats

paleofulJust recently, my new friend Ed was telling about the wonders of gluten and paleo. It is a way to eat healthy and also enjoy my meals. It gave me more energy and just generally made me feel more positive. A few days ago, I received a package of the new Paleoful mixes.They came with a promise of being able to enjoy sweets and to do it in a healthy way. I have to admit I am not a baker. I was quite pleased to know that these mixes came with easy directions. I also had all the ingredients already in my kitchen and didn’t have to make a special trip to the store. Another thing that made me happy was that it only took about 13-16 minutes before we could enjoy our chocolate chip cookies. It was a good thing too, because I wanted a healthy television snack for my favorite show. I didn’t feel like waiting for them to be done. The really great thing was that when they popped out of the oven, they cooled almost immediately.

cookies yum

And what really surprised me was that the cookies were good. They were soft and moist with that great out of the oven taste. There was plenty of chocolate chips and they were the perfect snack with an ice cold glass of milk  I definitely want to try the brownie mix as well.

For more info on Paleoful  go to http://www.paleoful.com

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Keeping the Beauty In and the Old Out- With Dr Nassif’s Line You Won’t Botch It Up

bio rhythmic skin care reviewIn the blog and acting game, it is important to always look good. Every day , I put on all the cremes, foundations, and lotions that are vital in keeping me looking good. Trust me, it can be very hard and it is a lot of work, Add to that the stress that I wake up to every day. Living in the city, there is noise constantly. Add to that deadlines and rejection. It is enough to make any one lose their mind. They don’t call it the Windy City for nothing as you walk outside to temperatures that say one thing and then the wind chill says another thing. Add these factors all up and you get wrinkles, lines , and crows feet. No wonder  so many women in this city look like a train hit them. Well I vowed not to be one of them.

And voila! I get introduced to Dr Nassif’s Bio-Rhythmic skin care line. I had to admit I wasn’t familiar with Dr Nassif or the show “Botched.” . I am not a huge fan of reality shows. But when I saw the term Beverly Hills doctor, I was a lit bit more open to the idea. Since another birthday had passed , I took stock of my skin and said I was thankful that I don’t look my full age. I figured with this product that I could keep that claim.

The Dawn to Dusk Exfoliating Creme is wonderful. It cleanses and exfoliates the dead skin and makes the skin soft.I have used a lot of products but none of them had made my face feel so clean and it actually glows. The great thing is the work doesn’t stop there. Most product lines only have a creme or serum for the night and day, with this one you have one for the needs of both. The day serum provided protection from uv radiation from computers, lap tops, and cell phones. The night serum takes over and repairs the damage from the course of the day. I am also in love with the collapsible caps that instantly dispense the serum and in just the right amount.  I am sure that any woman that is fighting the march of time will appreciate this product line.

these products can be purchased at http;//www.nassifmdskincare.com

dr paul nassifDR PAUL NASSIF

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