Monday, July 20, 2015

Chicago-Simply Stylist

Okay loves,
I have a very exciting, extravagant post for you this time. It's long but bare with me, lol. :) I hope you are sitting down because this event post takes the cake. I must say this one is the ultimate post so far, lol. 

But seriously, this one is going to be great so sit back grab some popcorn, or whatever snack you choose, and enjoy this blog post. 

HONEY. BABY. LOVE. 

This past Saturday, I was in Chicago!!!!!!!!!!!!!(In my Oprah's voice). And let me tell you, I had the time of my life. I went for a day, making it a day trip. When I tell you I had so much fun, honey, I had fun. I met so many amazing people, but I'll get into that a little later. 

THE BACK STORY!!!

A while back, this year, I just felt like I needed a change in scenery, for the events I attend. There weren't much happening in the DC area and I was getting bored, so, I did some research on events in other cities.

Sarah Boyd-Simply Stylist-Creator
Somehow, I came across Simply Stylist. Simply Stylist hosts Fashion and Beauty Networking Conferences for up and coming bloggers, stylists, beauty artists, hair stylists, and etc. to help them break into the industry. Even if you are just trying to figure out things or where to start, this is a good event to attend. Very inspiring. 

The name and logo captivated me and I wanted to know more about this event so I did a little more research on it. As I am searching their website I noticed that they have been doing these events for a while now.

And how come I am just hearing about them?! 

They host annul conferences three times in 3 different locations: Los Angeles; March 2015, Chicago; July 2015, and New York; October 2015! They also have on-going monthly sessions in LA. They're like mini versions of the conference. 


So, as I am getting deeper in my researcher I see that the panelist are celebrities, celebrity stylists, makeup artists,  actors, popular bloggers and YouTube vloggers, and  Catt Sadler of E! News hosts the conferences!!!

AMAZING RIGHT!!!
I must go to this event!  

After my thorough research, lol, I purchased my flight and admissions ticket. But I didn't buy just any ticket, you guys know me I had to get the VIP Fashionista ticket. I wanted to experience everything. This ticket allows for you to be at the conference all day from 9:45 a.m.-5 p.m and you get an awesome gift bag at the end!  

Since I missed the LA conference and I've been to New York a number of times I decided that I'd go to the one in Chicago. I've never been to Chicago, so, it would be a day of firsts.

The conference was held the beautiful Dana Hotel & Spa. Such a great location!!! I was so excited when my DAY TRIP BEGAN!

MY DAY TRIP IN CHICAGO!!!

After doing much preparation the day before my trip, I was finally ready to go! My alarm went off at 4:05 a.m. because I had a 6:45 a.m. flight and a 6:15 a.m. boarding time. This was about an hour and 50 min flight. Since I had an early flight and I had to check into the conference at 9:45 a.m., I decided to fly in my outfit. That way I was able to bring less baggage. I only carried my purse.

OH YEA!!! 

I flew Southwest. I love this airline and their early bird check-in because I got to board the plane first!!! 

SCORE!!!

Once I was dropped off at the airport and boarded my flight, I was in the air in no time heading to Chicago. The amazing thing about my flight was that there was only 70 people booked to fly so everyone was able to spread out. Although I was given that opportunity my row still had 3 people in it, including me. It's all good because I sat close to the front so I can get off faster. 
MY FLIGHT BACK HAD ONLY 60 PEOPLE BOOKED!
 #BLESSED
Sidebar, Isn't it annoying when the plane lands and you sit in the middle to the back of the plane and you're ready and trying to get off and there's people taking their precious time getting their bags from the top of the bins? Then once they get their bags they move extra slow, lol. To top it off, they let people go in front of them like you haven't been waiting patiently behind them the entire time. Like they could've let you go, lol! So ever since that happened to me, I make sure that I sit close to the front so I can get off faster, lol..

Back to reality. While in the air I was able to get some great footage of the clouds as well as a gorgeous cloud picture. I ended up using the footage for my YouTube vlog opening. 

#LOVE!

When I finally landed in Chicago at 7:40 a.m., my adventure began!!! I decided to be a tourist for the day before I had to check into the conference at the hotel. I rode Uber to every location my heart desired, lol.

My first stop was the the Chicago Bean in Millennium Park.

YAY, YAY, YAY!!!
Along the way, in my Uber, I was able to do a little sight-see and get video of Lake Michigan. My Uber Driver played my tour guide while driving me to the Bean!!!

She was so cool and nice. To me that was a great welcome. 

When I got to Millennium Park I took a photo of the water fountain and then walked to the Bean! On my way to the Bean I called my mom to tell her that I made it to Chicago safely and where I was going. She told me to be safe then said that I should go visit Oprah's street sign. I am so glad she told me about that, actually reminding me it was there, because I would have been heartbroken if I didn't make time to see Oprah's Sign and Harpo Studios. 

"I LOVES HARPO. GOD KNOWS I DO." 
-Sophia (Oprah Winfrey) 
The Color Purple

After getting some footage for the vlog and pictures for this blog post I called another Uber for Harpo Studios and Oprah's honorary street sign. When my Uber arrived I got in the car, but before I let him pull off I was able to take a picture of this beautiful face sculpture.

If you can't tell by now, I love art!

On my way to the studio, in my Uber, I noticed all of the beautiful artwork and buildings. Chicago is such a beautiful place. 

That is all I kept saying throughout my trip, lol.

I learned a lot about Chicago's building structures and sky scrapers in my College Art History class. Therefore, it was really exciting for me. Actually seeing buildings in person after reading and learning about them in class is amazing. 

SO FULFILLING!!
Once I reached Harpo Studios I took more pictures and videos. When I finished, I called another Uber. But, this time it was to take me to the hotel for the conference. I got to the hotel a little early so I had to wait a bit before I was allowed to check-in. While waiting, I changed into my heels and talked to some of the other attendees. 
THE VIP FASHIONISTA EXPERIENCE!!!

9:45 A.M.- Check-In
When it was time to sign in we all formed a line. While in-line, one of the attendees really liked my outfit. She asked me if she could take a picture, I said sure, and told me that it will be up on her website. 

10:00-11:30 A.M.- VIP Networking Brunch
Once checked-in, we all headed to the hotels lounge area for brunch. There were so many fashionable people at this conference. I love attending fashion events because you get to see such great style. 

Everyone was nice as well. 

At my table I met some great bloggers and stylists. I also met the Creator of this event, Sarah Boyd  and her mother in-law. Such kind beautiful women. Towards the end of brunch Sarah talked about how she started this Conference. The key thing I took from her speech was to follow your dreams. 

The food was delicious it was provided by Freestyle Food + Drink.  


SO FAR SO GOOD!!!

12:00-200 P.M.- Panel Discussion
After brunch we headed to the top floor, which had a rooftop, and headed to the discussion panel.
Before the discussion started, me and a fellow blogger, who was super nice, Laura Fox, went to the outdoor rooftop to take pictures.
Once we finished taking pictures we headed back inside to our seats and waited for the panel discussion to begin.

The Panel:
Cari McFadden, (right)Founder of eDrop-Off
Jacey Duprie, (middle, next to Cari) Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger: Damsel in Dior
Joey Maalouf, (middle next to Jacey)Celebrity hair and Makeup artist
Sazan Barzani, (left) Fashion and Beauty Blogger: Sazan.me

Hosted/Interviewed by: Catt Sadler

During the discussion, each person gave great stories on how they got started in the business as well as gave us great tips on how to break in. Very helpful. I was so inspired. I learned a lot from them and I took lots of notes. Catt was awesome as well she asked amazing questions. Well interviewing is apart of her job. They picked the perfect person to be the host.

After the discussion the floor was opened for Q&A. There were some good questions asked.  

12:45-1:15 P.M.- Break
Because the panel discussion ran longer than expected, break was cancelled. 

2:00-5:00 P.M.- The Brand Experience
Therefore, after the panel discussion it was time for The Brand Experience. But, before I went to the floor it was held on, I went outside on the rooftop once again, but this time to warm up. It was really cold in the panel room. Before I went down stairs I had to go to the restroom to get rid of a pen stain that appeared on my dress. :(  Luckily I was able to get rid of it!!

WOOT!! WOOT!!!

As I am cleaning my dress I notice a circle window and when you look through it there was a beautiful view of Chicago.

YOU KNOW I TOOK A PIC OF IT, LOL!

Once done in the restroom I went downstairs to the experience.

This was another part of the conference where people could network. But, this time with brands. I was able to network and connect with a brand.
MORE ON THAT IN THE FUTURE!!!

I was even able to talk with Joey Maalouf. I Love Him. I wrote that in my notes when he was speaking, lol. He is just so full of life and funny, but, real and honest at the same time. I love that about him. He was so nice when I met him and I was able to take a picture with him!!!

Me & Joey!
That was an awesome experience. When I finished speaking with Joey I went back to enjoying the party. There was food, mini mani section, artwork, products you can buy, a DJ, Simply Stylist shirts were sold, free drinks, a photo section with props, another section where you could either get your hair and make-up done, and etc. 
VIP Wristband and tanning tattoo!! 
2:30-5:00 P.M.-Breakout Sessions
I was enjoying The Brand Experience so much that I almost forgot about the breakout sessions. I was able to attend the last two sessions before the event was over with!!!

WHEW!!! THAT WAS CLOSE!!!

Macellas showing us his model walk!:)
I attended Styling 101 w/ Marcellas Reynolds and stayed in the room to listen to Creating Your Voice w/ Lauren Gores. I learned a lot from these two. They gave such great tips as well. Marcellas was fun and full of life. I like listening to his stories about the industry. 

Lauren was so nice and very informative.  She talked about how she started out. After her stories about creating your voice she opened the floor for Q&A. Very good tips. 

I enjoyed both sessions.
Lauren Gores

5:00- Event Ends
Well technically the event ended at like 5:15 p.m. We ran little over in time during the breakout sessions. But it was all good.

Once the event was officially over, I went downstairs and got my gift bag, then I called my final Uber and headed to the airport to fly home. 

 TEAR :'( 

I didn't want it to be over, I was too busy having fun. But like the saying goes, all great things must come to an end.
#SADFACE

This was the first trip I ever did solo. I just couldn't miss this grand opportunity to meeting amazing like minded people and to learn from the best in the business. There was so much I learned from this event and the networking was outstanding. I am so grateful for this event.  

THIS WAS AN OUTSTANDING EVENT! 
IT EXCEEDED MY EXPECTATIONS!
<3
 See you next time loves,
-NicciCatrice
Additional Pics!
Guide book!
INSIDE THE GIFT BAG!!!