Friday, January 18, 2013

CHEERS! 20 Influential Chicagoans Share Bucket List-Worthy New Year's Resolutions and Memorable Moments of 2012

2013. A new year means one thing: time to set those resolutions! Whether it’s building a stronger body, developing more meaningful relationships, launching a new business, or implementing a new, glow-and-go makeup regime, anything is possible as long as you set attainable goals (just don’t forget those clear, concise action steps). So don’t be timid, aim high!

To get our creative juices flowing, Luxe File Chicago reached out to some of the city’s most notable names to find out what New Year’s resolutions were at the top of their To Do lists and the really cool, crowning achievements that capped off 2012.

The Editor-in-Chief: J.P. Anderson
Editor-in-Chief, Michigan Avenue magazine

What 2013 resolution would you set for yourself if you couldn’t fail.
I just started doing CrossFit a month ago and am addicted. My resolution is to stick with it all year, get into the best shape of my life and beat my personal record in the 5K.

Most memorable highlight of 2012.
Taking the helm at Michigan Avenue magazine. It's been a hugely rewarding step for me and I love every day of it.

The Green Goddess: Gina Bazer

What 2013 resolution would you set for yourself if you couldn’t fail.
Get my two-year-old potty trained and do such a good job of it that he actually potty trains other kids.

Most memorable highlight of 2012.
Working with an amazing team to put out my first issue of Chicago Home + Garden as editor. Also, working with my dad to create the website for my husband Mark Bazer's talk show, The Interview Show, and not losing my keys, phone, or glasses all year.

The Molecular Gastronomer: Homaro Cantu
Owner and Chef, iNG Restaurant and Moto

What 2013 resolution would you set for yourself if you couldn’t fail.
I’d like to see my new cookbook, The Miracle Berry Diet Cookbook, in everyone’s kitchen. It took eight years to create and I also opened up iNG Restaurant and produced the TV show, CookiNG under PRESSURE, with the sole purpose of making this crazy little berry (it has the potential to eliminate sugar from the human diet) ubiquitous.

Most memorable highlight of 2012.
Starting my own production company, Future Food Productions, and spending more time with my family, thanks to the dedication of my great teams at Moto and iNG Restaurants.

The Fashion Designer: Peach Carr
Contestant, "Project Runway" Season 8

What 2013 resolution would you set for yourself if you couldn’t fail.
I would love to outfit Jennifer Hudson and Michelle Obama in Peach Carr Designs as well as to have my line in all the chic Chicago boutiques.

Most memorable highlight of 2012.
While filming "Project Runway All Stars" last summer, [fashion designer] Kayne Gillaspie and I were selected to go with the final four designers to Paris. We met Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, the lead designers of the house of Valentino, and were given a rare sneak peek of the couture garments which were featured on the runway the next day. Following the Valentino Couture show, I was offered a job in the Rome location. It was an opportunity beyond rare. 

The Publicist: Monika Dixon

What 2013 resolution would you set for yourself if you couldn’t fail.
I have the pleasure of representing a few brands that are centered around sugary goodness: Sugar Hills Bakery, Sugar Chic Designs and A Sweet Delivery. This means lots of snacking on their treats throughout the work day. I absolutely love this luxury but to balance it all out, I'm going to make it a priority to start training with Alex Vasileski of A Mind and Body Total Fitness. He's a genius when it comes to fitness, nutrition and being a strong motivational force.

Most memorable highlight of 2012.
Working with the Chicago Children's Choir for the Opening Night Exclusive of SitaRam. The CCC team was truly a dream to work with. They are professional, kind, enthusiastic, and above all, extremely passionate. Their love for their work shines through and it made our collaboration an experience that I will treasure forever.

The Fitness Guru: Charity Gonzalez
Founder and CEO, Urban Fit Club

What 2013 resolution would you set for yourself if you couldn’t fail.
Get to the gym at least four times a week. When I'm working out consistently, I feel best about my body and keep up with a healthier lifestyle. I am also a "class girl" and love everything boutique fitness studios have to offer: the energy, the push of a badass instructor, and a challenging, specialized workout.

Most memorable highlight of 2012.
Seeing my business evolve and serve my gym partners and customers better. The new Urban Fit Club will be more of an online destination and resource to find and research the amazing boutique fitness offerings and deals around town. It also provides stick-with-it workout plans that will keep a city chick both physically and mentally motivated.

The Mad Scientist: Lynn House
Chief Mixologist, Blackbird

What 2013 resolution would you set for yourself if you couldn’t fail.
As simple as it sounds, I just want to be happy, healthy, and comfortable in my own skin. I work in a very competitive field where bad habits come easily and can take a psychological toll on one's soul. This year is all about finding inner peace.

Most memorable highlight of 2012.
It’s been a spectacular year: participating in the Sundance Channel and Grey Goose Entertainment’s Beyond the Bar series; hosting my own event at Tales of the Cocktail (the world’s premier cocktail festival); being a featured mixologist at the James Beard Awards in New York City; and headlining the Absolut X kick-off in Chicago. 

The Event Maestro: Justin Jacobson

What 2013 resolution would you set for yourself if you couldn’t fail.
Marketing my company, Platinum Strategic Marketing & Events, in major cities like Miami and Los Angeles. We do a lot of event production work in Chicago and New York, and I want to see Platinum grow and become a successful bi-coastal company.

Most memorable highlight of 2012.
Expanding our offices; planning an over-the-top corporate conference for Allstate Insurance; and producing Bang & Olufsen’s national "B&O PLAY" product launch campaign in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Miami all within a week. Also, having my girlfriend move in with me!

The Host: Graham Kostic 
Creative & Editorial Director, GlossedandFound

What 2013 resolution would you set for yourself if you couldn’t fail.
I would want to be on Broadway. Alas, I am not going to make that a New Year's resolution because that's NOT going to happen.

Most memorable highlight of 2012.
I quit my job to redesign and relaunch Glossed & Found. It has been a fantastic journey devoting myself full time to the brand. From the day to day creative to working with some of Chicago's most talented folks, I couldn't have asked for a more colorful, exciting and fun year.

The Party Planner: Debi Lilly 
Chief Eventeur, A Perfect Event

What 2013 resolution would you set for yourself if you couldn’t fail.
A calm, zen-like life filled with days of endless relaxation, daily workouts, and eating healthy, nutritious meals. Unfortunately, the life of an entrepreneur, author, editor, and working mother of two doesn't quite allow for this dreamy state of daily bliss.

Most memorable highlight of 2012.
I love to write. Ever since I was a child, I have dreamed of writing a book and magazine. By far and away, 2012 was a dream of a year. After four years of writing, we published our first book, A Perfect Event, and a few months later, our seasonal e-magazine.

The Wine Guy: Scott Manlin
Managing partner, Bonvivino Capitol

What 2013 resolution would you set for yourself if you couldn’t fail.
The older I get, the harder it becomes to maintain the balance between being healthy, fit and at an appropriate weight while pursuing my avocations of food, wine and travel. To that end, I would set as my resolution to head to the gym or do something physical at least four times per week whether I am home or travelling.

Most memorable highlight of 2012.
Proposing to and ultimately marrying my amazing wife, Elizabeth. Everything else seems small in comparison. 2012, in that respect, was an exceptional year.

The “It” Girl: Agnes “Lulu Mae” Miles
Production Coordinator, “24/7 Secrets of the City” on NBC5 Chicago
Executive Assistant to “24/7” Host, Catie Keogh

What 2013 resolution would you set for yourself if you couldn’t fail.
Create and donate knitted blankets to local animal shelters. It's a goal I've kept for years but find myself wanting to donate more and more.

Most memorable highlight of 2012.
Creating the sold-out "Debbie Gibson for Love, Lulu Mae" Collection, working for the Emmy-winning host, Catie Keogh, and becoming the production coordinator of "24/7 City Secrets" on NBC5 Chicago. Filming in Switzerland and Ireland with the "24/7" Team was pretty awesome, too!

The Entrepreneur: Brad Parker

What 2013 resolution would you set for yourself if you couldn’t fail.
Opening new restaurants is amazingly fulfilling and I want to see American Junkie locations in Boston, Miami, Austin, and New York City. Seeing people enjoy themselves in your establishment brings a great deal of joy to my life.

Most memorable highlight of 2012.
Breaking ground on American Junkie Chicago. We worked on getting this location open for the past two-and-a-half years and it has been amazing to see a parking lot transform into a beautiful building. I hope Chicago enjoys what we have put together.

The Humanitarian: Jeannette Pawula
Founder and Executive Director, Charity4LIFE

What 2013 resolution would you set for yourself if you couldn’t fail.
I want to revolutionize the way individuals view philanthropic giving through developing a social community based on charity. I believe in helping promote awareness and exposure for non profits and their causes. The second part of this vision is to be able to spotlight everyday heroes, both locally and internationally. Media has such an impact on the hearts and minds of individuals and I want to create a show about everyday people making a difference in the world.

Most memorable highlight of 2012.
Spending Thanksgiving in Cali, Colombia visiting with Fundacion De Los Futuros, a project partner of Charity4LIFE.  Cali is considered one of the most dangerous cities in Colombia for locals and foreigners. We spent [Thanksgiving] with the four adolescents we were researching and I did not feel afraid to be on the streets at night. The experience put into perspective the impact our work at Charity4LIFE is really making on the lives of street kids worldwide.

The Gatekeeper: Carmen Rivera
Assistant to the Publisher, Chicago magazine

What 2013 resolution would you set for yourself if you couldn’t fail.
Start my next business venture (a specialty boutique) without fear of financial ruin.

Most memorable highlight of 2012.
Having a close family member battle and overcome alcoholism. It’s an ongoing battle and every day presents small hurdles one has to overcome when fighting an addiction. In the end, the most wonderful part was seeing them take back their life. It’s taught me to never take the little things for granted.

The Jeweler: Jules Vance
Owner and Jewelry Designer, jules

What 2013 resolution would you set for yourself if you couldn’t fail.
To become a master goldsmith and diamond setter. Alas, that level of skill takes decades to accomplish and I will savor the journey. Baby steps! Personally, I'm working on advanced arm balances and Full Wheel in yoga. After two spinal fusions, it may be physically impossible but I'm working on it!

Most memorable highlight of 2012.
Marrying my partner-in-crime, business partner and best friend, Brian Vance. We were married at sunset in a September Northern Michigan barn wedding and it was beyond perfection! Our jewelry designs are always drawn from personal experience and our wedding bands were no exception. My husband made us matching rings bearing the others name in Morse code.

The Producer: Cathy Vlahogiannis
Producer, "190 North" on ABC7 Chicago

What 2013 resolution would you set for yourself if you couldn’t fail.
Worry less and live more. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of everyday life and to agonize about how decisions made today will affect the future. My goal is to take each day as it comes, enjoy the beauty that each day brings, and to live the life that I have been given to its fullest.

Most memorable highlight of 2012.
Producing ABC-7’s New Year’s Eve live broadcast and 190 North’s Halloween “Spook-tacular”. I give my heart & soul to all of the projects I produce, but these two are my favorites. Nothing beats the energy of a live broadcast especially on the biggest party day of the year. 

Also, spending every Saturday morning with my dad, who was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, a terminal brain cancer. We would catch matinees, go out to breakfast, or have coffee and chit chat. It was the best. And I’m happy to say that my dad is doing well today!

The DeJesus Family

The Wood Family 

The Philanthropic Couples: The DeJesus' and The Wood's
Kim DeJesus, wife, mother, co-founder of the David DeJesus Family Foundation
David DeJesus, Chicago Cubs right fielder
Sarah Wood, wife, mother, co-founder of the Wood Family Foundation
Kerry Wood, Chicago Cubs pitcher (retired)

What 2013 resolution would you set for yourself if you couldn’t fail.
David DeJesus: Be a leader on and off the field. It's easy to get down and worry about yourself. I want to be that leader for my family and the Cubs. We want to be that team who brings this town a championship that they so deserve.

Kim DeJesus: I would bring health and happiness to as many people as possible, find the cure for horrible diseases and figure out how to end hunger.

Kerry Wood: I would like to be more patient. I think we could all use a little more patience.

Sarah Wood: Kerry just stole mine. I thought he was going to say “quitting chewing tobacco”. Mine is to appreciate every minute. Life is moving so fast with three kids. I want to enjoy the little things with them.

Most memorable highlight of 2012.
David DeJesus: My professional highlight was running out onto Wrigley Field opening day. There is so much history there so being able to make that run out to right field where so many legends have stood was an unforgettable feeling.

David DeJesus (cont.): My personal highlight was spending Christmas with my wife, Kim, and our son Kingston. When our son woke up and saw all the presents under the tree, his smile was priceless.

Kim DeJesus: My professional highlight was landing my first role in the major motion Bollywood film, Dhoom 3. Also expanding our family foundation and making a dedicated commitment to give back to the community.

Kim DeJesus (cont.): My personal highlight was Cubs opening day. I will never forget holding my son and watching my best friend step up to the plate in a Cubs uniform for the first time.

Kerry Wood: It had to be as I walked off the field at Wrigley retiring from baseball after my last strikeout to find my son, Justin, running out to me.

Sarah Wood: I have had so many highlights as a wife, mom, and with our family foundation. Having Kerry home this summer and taking our first summer vacation ever was huge.

The Star Reporter: Kelli Zink
Host, CelebTV

What 2013 resolution would you set for yourself if you couldn’t fail.
I'd actually complete the book I've wanted to write for the past few years. Perhaps 2013 will be the year I learn that this thing won't pen itself!

Most memorable highlight of 2012.
Hosting Target's Fall Style Launch in New York City was a new and exciting challenge for me. It streamed live online and was unlike anything I've ever done.

The Recruiter: Emily Zorza
Division Director, OfficeTeam Chicago

What 2013 resolution would you set for yourself if you couldn’t fail.
My personal goal is to lose 24 pounds this year. The reason is because I have created Social B, a website that offers personal tips and tricks to lose weight and which I hope will inspire and motivate others to incorporate healthier options into their lifestyle.

Most memorable highlight of 2012.
Losing 28 pounds. It was a major challenge especially when my social calendar included three weddings with a host of engagement parties, showers, bachelorette parties, and rehearsal dinners.

Well, Luxe File Chicago is certainly inspired!

Photo Credit:
J.P. Anderson courtesy of Maria Ponce
Gina Bazer courtesy of Katrina Wittkamp
Monika Dixon courtesy of Kasia Jarosz
Graham Kostic courtesy of Tim Klein
Jules Vance courtesy of Weber Photography
The Wood's Family courtesy of Arlene Byster Studios

Written by Kerry & Sally Shorr

Monday, January 14, 2013

PARTY CRASHER: January 14-18, 2013

Nicole Jarecz's Party Girl

Not even snowflakes and dipping digits can keep party-loving Chicagoans from dashing outdoors to kick off their new (or simply re-scrambled) resolutions in style. Here is a collection of our favorite celebrations happening this week.

Monday, January 14, 2013

What: Mercer Estates Wine Tasting at Paris Club
Where: Paris Club, 59 West Hubbard Street
When: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
$$$: Free
411: There is no need to be a sommelier for this unique experience as guests can tap into the expertise of winemaker Jessica Munnell of Mercer Estates who will be on hand to guide guests through tastings and answer any and all red, white and rosé-related questions. To complement the wines, light signature hors d’oeuvres will be served, courtesy of Paris Club’s executive chef Alex Ageneau.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What: Charity4LIFE Happy Hour
Where: Municipal Bar, 216 West Ohio
When: 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
$$$: $10 Donation online (ends at 4:00 p.m. on 1/15); $20 at the door. For more info or to purchase tickets, click HERE.
411: Hosted by Kevin Chmura, founder of Spencer Burnett, and Chicago author, Jillian Conley, this monthly charitable-cum-networking mixer is a people-watching paradise. Charity feels good too: 100% of event proceeds provide resources to rehabilitate street children worldwide.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What: A Lovely Logan Square Wedding Party
Where: Shop 1021, 2650 North Milwaukee Avenue
When: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
$$$: Free. RSVP:
411: From the moment you say, “Yes!” to the kiss that seals “I DO!”, getting hitched is a non-stop ride of pure enjoyment. Prepare for your big day with trends and tips from Debi Lilly of A Perfect Event, gifts from Shop 1021, paper from Spilled Ink Press, sweets by Paper Moon Pastry, food from Provenance Food and Wine, flowers by Fleur, photography and music by Cage and Aquarium, linen and tabletop styles by BBJ Linen.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What: Fourth Annual Cheekiest Chicks of 2013
Where: PUBLIC Hotel, 1301 North State Parkway
When: 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
$$$: $20 online; $25 at the door. For more info or to purchase tickets, click HERE.
411: Cheeky chicks are some of the coolest girls on the block, and this year’s honorees feature ten of the most inspiring women in business and the community. Enjoy custom cocktails by Reyka and passed hors d'ouevres while shaking what your momma gave you to the sexy beats of DJ Megan Taylor.

Friday, January 18, 2013

What: After Dark in the Modern Wing
Where: The Art Institute of Chicago, 159 East Monroe Street (Modern Wing entrance)
When: 9:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
$$$: $25 adults; $20 members and students. For more info or to purchase tickets, click HERE. Space is limited. Complimentary appetizers and cash bar.
411: If you resolved to get more culture in 2013, then After Dark in the Art Institute’s Modern Wing will keep you on track. Go on a special tour to explore the innovative designs of Studio Gang Architects, then enjoy performances by theatrical ensemble Collaboraction.