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chicago

You Are The Company You Keep : Why We Blog

It was a life lesson my parents tried to teach us at a young age: if you surround yourself with go-getters and motivated individuals, it would ‘rub’ off on you and make you that way.  We didn’t always understand what they meant – or if they just didn’t like our friends growing up – but the older we got, the more we understood. Surrounding yourself with like-minded and successful people can inspire motivation.  Success, learning, and networking is like an addiction — once you get a taste of what it is like to be ‘one-of-those-people’, you become empowered to continue to learn and create.

Getting a graduate degree was step one for us. We were surrounded by colleagues who were motivated to pursue further understanding and deeper thought. We began learning the importance of not just accomplishing a task, but enjoying the process of collaborating with peers. And it may sound silly, but our lifestyles as a whole began to shift; we started spending more time in coffee shops getting to know people and their passions rather than partying at bars and nightclubs where the discussions were more superficial.

Once Upon a Dollhouse
With Dani and Caitlin of Once Upon a Dollhouse

Most recently, we discovered blogging. Once we entered this sphere, we quickly recognized that this was largely a female-dominated industry filled with creative influencers, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists.  The desire to have these women ‘rub’ off on us was real.  We have always had a strong network of women in our lives, from our Mom to our five aunts to our cousins and  to our friends, it’s hard to ignore the magnetic energy that a room full of women can produce.


We didn’t know at the time what we were bringing to the table. We did know that we had something to offer.  In this past year, we have truly grown as individuals and as bloggers.  Joining groups where women were open to listening and sharing ideas (e.g. the Windy City Collective, Chicago Grammers, and Style Collective) has been meaningful and beneficial.  Somewhere along the way in these discussions, it did ‘rub ‘ off and we caught the bug to try something new and push ourselves professionally and creatively. This infectious transfer of motivation among women helps us to enjoy the blogging process and to have fun even when things seem hectic.

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We are getting a second chance in our thirties to redefine the next fifty years of our life. Although we don’t know what we are going to do with that opportunity yet, we do know that we will continue to grow.  We are truly grateful to the people we have met along the way who have been generous with their ideas and time – shout out to Annie Spano and the dolls from Once Upon A Dollhouse to name a few.  They inspired us to see a bigger picture and talk through a path with us chicks.

Blogging is about reciprocal influence by sharing who you are with the universe and letting the universe shape you. At Chicks and Salsa, we are trying to do just that one week at a time. Thanks for hopping along for the journey. Get out there, form connections, empower yourself and inspire others. Check out our Chicks And Salsa Chick Chat podcast to hear us think out loud about other things in life that motivate us!

Until next time,

Your Chicks,

Rina and Sonia

“Just Like Mommy” Fashion by Jems&A

I’ve always believed that confidence comes from within. You can’t fake it.

When my family comes together at the end of the day, we sit over dinner and discuss the things we are most proud of from the day.  It might sound self-indulgent, but we hope that in recognizing our strengths and accomplishments we can be encouraged to continue to improve.  Although it’s easy to focus on the “weight we need to lose” or the “wrinkles that are creeping in,” teaching self-acceptance can be a great confidence booster. It’s amazing, as a mother of two, to watch how much we influence the level of confidence our children have. But there is something I have learned about confidence: it is multidimensional. While self-worth comes from within, our outward selves can impact how we feel about our inward selves.  Even though confidence isn’t always driven by what you see on the outside, it can definitely influence it.  

Just Like Mom!

I have observed my almost 7-year-old daughter watch me get ready for the day.  Some days I feel like wearing yoga pants and no make up. Other days, I feel like wearing heels and a dress that make me feel good.  When in both looks, I make it a point to be body positive and self-accepting as I know she’s listening to my thoughts and watching my actions.  I’m certain I’m not alone when I admit there have been times that my daughter has emulated me in a way that I am not proud of.  I use those moments as a stiff reminder that she’s watching and I need to be sure to send the right message about self-esteem and confidence.

My daughter loves to dress up.  One of the looks she loves best is when our clothing matches. It could be as simple as matching colors, style, or even patterns.  She can tell when I am “feelin’ myself” and she has a way of emulating that momentum.  I don’t claim to have a perfect body or a beautiful face but one thing that I love the most is when I feel confident in my own skin — and I want to teach my daughter to feel the same.

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I recently stumbled across a really fun website called Jems&A.  It’s a female-owned business whose mission is to design and style children’s clothing to help kids express their creative side in what they choose to wear.  The Chicks love to support women’s businesses that also promote positivity!   Their clothes were appropriate for my daughter and consistent with my own personal style which made it easy to do some “mommy & me” matching. They have clothes for not only daily wear but also for a fun night on the town.

Making memories with my children is what I cherish most in this short life. Taking the time to focus on my relationship with my children is one of my main priorities.  It was fun to play dress-up with my daughter and incorporate laughter into our fun looks!  If you like what see here in the post, consider checking out Jems&A. If you use the code ChicksAndSalsa20, you can get 20% off an order of $50 or more.

Feel good, look good, and share that same confidence with your mini!  To read about how to discuss compassion with your mini, check out our post here.

Your chick,
Sonia


Forget Boat Ownership – Why Boat Sharing is Perfect for Me!

I’m a Chicago gal….well mostly.  Though I was born in Missouri, I’ve spent most of my life in the Chicagoland area.  I moved to downtown when I started my undergraduate career at Depaul University in 2001.  It wasn’t long before I realized the beauty of living in this not-so-hidden Midwestern gem of a city!

From quaint storefronts, to cute coffee shops, and culinary excellence;  I knew  what would make this glorious city even more amazing is having or renting a boat.  Lake Michigan sits on the shorelines of, arguably, one of the most beautiful skylines in the US.  After getting married and doing a brief stint in the suburbs, my husband, two children and I decided to move back to Chicago.  Despite awkward questions and wonder of doing what most people don’t, it was one of the best decisions for our family.

One of the things we love the most about this city is all the green spaces, the family friendly events and the accessibility to Lake Michigan and it’s beautiful beaches.  We couldn’t help but question the possibility of boat ownership.  I feel like it rung in our ears every time we thought of it….the comments of the best days of boat ownership are the “day you buy” it and the “day you sell it.”  That’s when we discovered boat shares.

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One thing was certain, we wanted to share our love for the city and Lake Michigan with our children.  We chose to work with Pinnacle Yachts as our first boat share.  Kudos to my husband who took all the coursework to get certified to get “behind the wheel” of the boat.

Personally speaking, some of the pros of boat sharing are:

-Lifelong memories

-Hosting

-Jumping in the Great Lake Michigan

-The Play Pen

-Being directly under the fireworks as they take off from Navy Pier

-Seeing the beauty of our city from the water day or night

-Cruising the Chicago river

-Tying up to a restaurant for some yummies to share on the boat

-Sleeping on the boat after a long day in the sun

-Joining the likes of others with shared interest of the great outdoors

-Having the option to hire a captain should the driver want to enjoy a cocktail or two with friends and family

-No Mortgage

-No Maintenance

Here are some of the cons:

-Opening and closing the boat

-Scrubbing it down

-Not having first pick on popular dates on the boat

Clearly the pros outweigh the cons and though it’s a luxury, it’s a one to look into for Summer 2018 indeed.  The costs for boat sharing vary greatly based on the type of boat, days you would like to spend on the water and amenities you need when you are out there.  If you have any more questions or would like to learn more about my experience, email me at Sonia@chicksandsalsablog.com

See you on the water!  Check out our Boat Party for Savvy Chick Vlog here.

Your Party Chick,

Sonia

 

Windy City Playhouse Ticket Giveaway!

When the chicks were invited by the Windy City Playhouse to see their current play, “King Liz” I thought that it would make a fun date night and invited my husband along.  We were unfamiliar with this newly-founded playhouse and were excited for our evening in the city!

The theater seats 80-100, depending on the play. We were pleasantly surprised by the charming lobby with bar, comfortable seating, and friendly staff.  The contemporary decorating includes faux animal skin rugs, leather couches and a fireplace.  You can bring alcohol into the performance.  The chairs are roomy and comfortable leather lounges (not recliners) that swivel, and there are tables between the seats to place your drinks.  There’s plenty of room, which is really nice.

What I liked most about the theater was its design.  The audience faces each other with the stage in the middle, allowing two sets accessible by the actors merely by crossing the stage.  This was used to great effect during the performance, and kept the action going at a quick and fun pace. This setup also allows you to sit very close to the performers, and with the stage lighting and great acoustics, made this theater experience really visceral.

“King Liz” is a story about Liz Rico (Lanise Shelley), a brassy, highly successful African American basketball agent, who’s worked her way up to partner in the Candy Agency.  She’s a Yale grad from the projects, and was originally Mr. Candy’s (Frank Nall) assistant when he started the agency in his garage.  The story centers around her relationship with Freddie Luna (Eric Gerard), the hot new client she must recruit and help get drafted, to make the big splash needed for the board to name her as Candy’s successor.  Liz is self-centered, doing whatever it takes to make it to the top.  She’s sacrificed love, children, and friendships for her career.  Freddy comes from a troubled inner city background.  He lived in foster homes and has an assault charge that dogs him.  His tough exterior hides a need for guidance and love.  We see how Liz’s career goals conflict with Freddie’s unpreparedness for the world of professional sports, and how ultimately she finds her humanity.  It’s a fast paced play that keeps you engaged and entertained.

The lead actress, Lanise Shelley, who has an impressive resume including extensive Shakespearean training, plays the intense and powerful role of Liz Rico very well.  In fact, all of the actors were excellent.  They were well cast.

I liked the play.  The actors were engaging and their timing was great.  I laughed out loud several times.  It was even fun to recognize actor Phillip Edward Van Lear, who played Coach Jones, from Prison Break!

Try this theatre out!   King Liz runs through July 16th.  If you share this post on Facebook, you will automatically be entered to win a pair of tickets to see King Liz or their upcoming production of Becky Shaw!

 

Also, after some performances you can stay and have a “night cap” with one of the actors.

If you would like to go out for dinner beforehand, I’d highly recommend “Bread and Wine” down the street.  It’s a Michelin-rated restaurant.  My husband and I were thrilled with the food, atmosphere, and friendliness of the staff.  The owners even let us leave our car in the parking lot while we went to the play!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will really enjoy an evening combining Bread and Wine and the Windy City Playhouse.  Coming in from the suburbs, Irving Park is not as far as going all the way downtown.  Both restaurant and theater are walking distance from each other, and both are just east of I90.  That makes it very easy to drive.  It’s a lot less hassle than going downtown for an evening and, frankly, it was a lot more fun.

Your Savvy Chick,

Johanna Croll